What was you favorite tag team
matchup in the
? Partner and opponents.
Luther and I wrestled that masked
team…the Infernos with Jimmy Dykes. I
remember wrestling them in Raleigh, and
at the time Raleigh wasn’t drawing
real great. The house came up, and we
came back and wrestled them again. The
next week we came back and wrestled them
again…and Dorton Arena was full on one
side and the other side was two thirds
me tell you a little joke about
Luther had a little farm up
there…he was really a farm boy. I used
to tell him that when I was a kid back
on the ranch, we had a Stallion padding
where we kept the Stallion. And we also
had a Jersey Bull, and I tell you, you
can’t trust those son of a guns. Every
year, there are ranchers killed by
Jersey Bulls. They could be nice, you
stroke them on their heads…but you
turn your back and they’re gonna get
anyways, in the summers there my Dad
would send me over with a long handle
shovel to do some work on a drain. We
had a drain coming off a little stream
through a pasture. And this pasture is
where we kept the Stallion and the Bull.
They would both drink out of it, so
every week I was sent over there with my
shovel to keep the water running.
when I was shoveling, this Bull would be
standing around looking, watching me. So
when I shoveled, I would keep my eye on
him. One day, I saw the Bull behind a
gorse bush…this is a tall prickly bush
that was brought over to New Zealand
from England. The Bull looked kind of
sleepy, and was just chewing his
cud…and I thought, ‘Well, this will
be a good time to show this Bull a
lesson…he better not be looking at me
from close up.’
Did you go after him with that long
Yeah…I snuck up on him, and before
he could get to his feet I hit him on
the rear end with this long handled
shovel a couple of times. And, boy, I
got two licks in, and he was gone! And
after that, every time I cleaned this
ditch out, the Bull was on the other end
away from me…where I wanted him!
anyways, I told Luther that story. And
one night we were wrestling a tag team
match…and I had forgotten then that I
had told him that story.
the match, the two guys had Luther, and
he couldn’t tag me. They were kicking
the daylights out of him for about ten
minutes. FINALLY, he got to me and
tagged me, and he said to me, ‘Abe,
what we need is a long handle
shovel!!’ (everybody laughs)
How did you react to that?!
Here I was, all concerned about
him…and then he tells me that! I just
lost it! (laughs)
That’s one of the funniest things
that ever happened to me during a match!
tell you, Luther was a good guy, and he
was one heck of a man.
He was a powerhouse, wasn’t he?
He was about five foot seven, and at
his best he was about 240 pounds, and
there wasn’t an ounce of fat on him.
I remember he was in terrific shape.
You always kept yourself in outstanding
shape as well. Would you consider your
conditioning as your major strength as a
Yes, I always worked out. As a
matter of fact, as an amateur I worked
out on the weights…that was in the
50s. And then, that was taboo. The only
people that worked out on the weights
then were the weightlifters and
bodybuilders. None of the athletes
worked out on the weights.
Why was that?
The old story then was that you’d
get muscle bound by doing it. I remember
we had an Easter Camp, and they brought
in the light heavyweight Olympic
Champion, I think from 1952, to help
coach us. And anyhow, the head of the
wrestling association said, ‘Hey Abe,
you’re slowing up, and it looks like
you’re getting muscle bound. You
better stop working out on the
was putting on some weight, but even as
dumb as I was then, I didn’t think he
was right. I thought I was on the right
track, but I didn’t know for sure. But
I kept working out on the weights.
Camp…I had an invite to it, but my
invite got thrown out. And the reason
was…because I didn’t stop working
out on the weights. The way it is
now…you get thrown off the team if you
DON’T work out on the weights.
That’s about right!
The last ones to go without working
out on the weights were the golfers, and
now they’ve started too.
That’s right…gotta hit that
little ball further and further.
Abe, the Mid-Atlantic Gateway
primarily covers the years from
1974-1986 in Jim Crockett Promotions.
This is a time frame where you were in
the twilight of your career. Most people
that visit our site primarily remember
you working opening matches rather than
main events. Tell us about that
adjustment for you.
(pauses) I don’t know...how do I
describe it, David? Every so often then,
I would still go out (to other areas). I
knew there was nothing here with
Crockett for me, because those spots
were taken. We had guys, bookers and so
forth, and those (top) spots were just
taken, so I knew there was nothing for
was just a place to come…somewhere to
come. And then I’d often still go
overseas… somewhere else to wrestle.
I believe you were Ric Flair’s
first opponent in the Mid-Atlantic
area…in May of 1974. Later into the
70s with Crockett, did you feel as an
established veteran you were doing a
service of sorts by helping get all that
great new talent over?
Yeah, I guess…yeah. And I guess
Flair was one of them.
you know, I saw [Flair] at Tim Woods’
funeral. Sat down…same deal, and he
was there, and he never said ‘hi’ to
He and [David] Crockett were
together, and neither of them said
‘hi’ to me. Well, you know, that’s
How long did you stay with Crockett?
I had a confrontation with Ole
Anderson way back, and he became the
booker here (in 1981). Anyhow, we had a
little something going from the past,
and he wouldn’t book me anymore. I
didn’t quit. When Ole started booking,
he wouldn’t book me anymore.
When you worked underneath for
Crockett in the latter 70s and early
80s, does that period hold any special
significance for you? Certainly, a lot
of fans like me that were growing up in
the 70s primarily remember you in that
Well, I guess I’m lucky that
people remember me then because I was
just one of the undercard guys. It’s a
wonder that you knew that I wrestled Lou
Thesz! A lot of people in your age group
probably don’t know that, and don’t
know that I wrestled all over the
world…and the best all over the world.
You’re certainly very much
remembered by fans in the Mid-Atlantic
area for your work as an undercard
performer. In that slot, did you see
your role as being one of putting other
guys over, making sure the arena shows
got off to a good start…or just having
a quality match?
I think just having a good
match…that was the most important
thing. I knew I still had it in me
then…but of course, if you don’t
know the right people, things don’t
usually happen. It’s
politics…politics hits us everyplace
in this world, doesn’t it? (laughs)
From the guy that’s digging ditches,
to the guy that has the highest office
in the world! It’s all politics…
Did you have a favorite town or
venue on Crockett’s circuit?
Well, I think it would be the big
towns on the circuit where they drew a
lot of money…wherever the payoffs were
Fair answer! (laughs)
But there were a lot of true fans in
those days. And of course, in the
smaller places you could get out and say
‘hello’ to the fans…and that was
good. In the bigger towns, a lot of
times you couldn’t do that.
lot of people here came out to support
you, and it was great to get out and
talk with them.
How did Mid-Atlantic fans compare
with fans in other areas and parts of
the world you went?
In Japan, for instance, the fans
just sit there. They just sit there, and
don’t say a word…only occasionally
they might say something. The Japanese
don’t let their feelings be
known…they could be mad, but they
don’t usually show it.
I remember one time when I was wrestling
Inoki, and I was on the ring apron, a
fan came up and hit me with his
umbrella! I gave him a bad look, and he
took off running across the tops of the
chairs in the arena! (everybody laughs)
are mostly the same everywhere, but
Japan was a bit different.
Well, wrestling took you around the
world how many times?
One thing that you are really known
for, regardless of what part of the
world you were in or what stage of your
career you were at, is the Kiwi Leg
Roll. A really amazing wrestling
hold…I’ve never seen anything quite
(smiles) The Kiwi Roll…I came
across that as an amateur. I thought,
‘This is going to be great.’ You
know my first match I told you
about…against George Bollas in
Hastings, New Zealand…I put it on him.
That was the first time ever, and there
were headlines in the paper… ‘Jacobs
Comes Up With New Hold.’
Did you come up with the name for
Yes, I named it. Because, New
Zealander’s are referred to as
‘Kiwis.’ The Kiwi is New Zealand’s
bird, like the Eagle is here. The Kiwi
is a flightless bird, and it’s nowhere
else in the world. If you see a New
Zealander and say, ‘Hey Kiwi,’
he’s going to answer to you. So…I
just called my hold the ‘Kiwi Roll.’
think there was something written up, in
the Mid-Atlantic somewhere…there was a
picture and it was said that maybe it
was the only hold that’s never been
I have certainly never seen anything
like it…and to me, that makes your
hold very special and unique.
There have been ten or a dozen
wrestlers ask me about it, you know, how
to do it. And I tell them, ‘Heck, I
forgot how. It’s been so long ago.’
Come on, Abe! (laughs)
How did you come up with the Kiwi
Just working out in the gym. You
have 14,000-15,000 workouts, and you try
different things…you know?
Can you try to describe the Kiwi
Roll, for some of the younger fans that
may have never seen it?
Well, you get a leg and you roll him
around the ring…
Almost in a circular motion, right?
Yeah, yeah. Right around the
ring…and of course, you have pressure
right across his ankle.
To me, the Kiwi Roll was your
signature move. Were there others?
Oh, it was. The Kiwi Roll was my
signature move…it was a great thing.
while I was wrestling for Vince McMahon,
we had TV in Bridgeport, Connecticut,
one day I was heading to Chicago to
wrestle in the Amphitheater there, and I
was coming off the plane and a guy said,
‘I don’t know your name…but I know
you do the Kiwi Roll.’ (laughs)
It was, and IS, a very memorable
There are a lot of people now that
still ask me about the Kiwi Roll. People
will say, ‘What’s your name?’
I’ll say, ‘Abe Jacobs,’ and
they’ll have this blank look on their
faces. Then I’ll say, ‘Do you
remember a guy who used to do the Kiwi
Roll?’ They’ll always say,
‘Yeah!’ So they remember the hold,
even if they don’t remember me!
asked me fairly recently if I had a son
in wrestling. I told them no. (laughs)
Then they said they had heard of an Abe
Jacobs, Jr. in wrestling now. Somebody
trying to steal a little smoke, I guess!
Did anything come of this Abe Jacobs
Well, I got a call. At the time, I
was looking after (Ricky) Steamboat’s
Gym. The woman on the phone said she was
Abe Jacobs’ manager. I told her I
didn’t have a manager! (everybody
said she had this boy named Abe Jacobs
[,Jr.], and she wanted me to come to
Asheville to be in his corner when he
wrestled. I said, ‘I don’t think I
can make it.’ (everybody laughs)
one day they came down to Charlotte. She
came in, introduced herself, and said
she had this guy out there, and could
she bring him in to see me. I said,
‘Yeah…I’d like to see him!’ He
was a tall guy, but he had a big belly
and he wasn’t in shape. You know,
David, I just wish if some guy would
steal my name he would at least be in
And get this…she wanted me to
teach him the Kiwi Roll! (laughs)
That hold you forgot how to use,
right Abe? (laughs)
(laughing) But anyways, a lot of
people remember the Kiwi Roll, because
it was spectacular.
Jacobs and David Chappell, Concord, NC,
Without a doubt. Well, Abe, as we
finish up, please let us know what you
are up to these days.
Well, when I get back to New
Zealand…I have a sheep and cattle
ranch over there.
live here in Charlotte. I play a lot of
golf. You remember the quarterback,
He has a lot of charity golf
tournaments…for hospice, cancer and
things like that. And I go out and play
in all those tournaments. There’s a
big one in Greensboro for diabetes. And
Brad Johnson, the quarterback for Tampa
Bay, has a big charity tournament in May
that I’m playing in.
And you currently still work some
for a Gym in Charlotte, correct?
Yes, it’s not my Gym…it belongs
to a friend of mine. I go up there and
work for him part time. I looked after
Steamboat’s Gym some time ago, and we
actually have a lot of members from
Steamboat’s old Gym.
You still look in great shape
yourself, Abe! Seeing you again, is
really like turning back the clock for
me…because you look just the same as I
remember you in the ring! It’s great
to see you still going strong. Thanks so
much for spending time with the Gateway
Well, David, I appreciate you asking
me. Thank you for having me.
TO THE MID-ATLANTIC GATEWAY