Jake "The Snake" Roberts on PCW Ultra, Diamond Dallas Page & what's ahead for him
A recognized WWE Hall Of Famer, Jake "The Snake" Roberts worked for almost every wrestling company that you can think of between 1975 and 2008. Roberts was a top competitor within the WWF, having feuded with the likes of "Macho Man" Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and The Undertaker. He also managed to become one of the few wrestlers that non-wrestling fans would recognize, having acted and appeared within a variety of mainstream projects.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts has experienced a career rebirth in recent years, largely in part to the documentary The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake. Produced by long-time friend Diamond Dallas Page, Resurrection begins in 2012 with Roberts at an obvious low point, both physically and emotionally. Without giving too much away to those that never caught Resurrection, the acclaimed 2015 film chronicles Roberts' journey alongside fellow WWE Hall Of Famer Scott Hall, and the results are both thought-provoking and heart-warming.
Roberts stays busier as ever these days with a variety of projects, and he will be appearing as part of PCW Ultra's event at ILWU Memorial Hall on July 27th; with PCW Ultra 1 day later he will also be teaching a "Ring Psychology Seminar" at the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy. I had the pleasure of speaking with Roberts -- who can be visited online at www.jakethesnakeroberts.com -- about PCW Ultra and more, and highlights of such are below for Sportskeeda.
How did you first wind up working with PCW?
Jake "The Snake" Roberts: I'm available for anybody, it's just a question if you can afford me or not. (laughs) No, I've got to like what I'm doing or I don't do it. To me, at this point in my life, if I don't like it, I'm not doing it. It doesn't matter what I make at it, I do it for the joy of it.
You are known for being one of the best of all time when it comes to wrestling psychology, and you are teaching a seminar about that for PCW. Is that something you really enjoy doing?
Jake "The Snake" Roberts: I do it any time I can talk to guys about wrestling. If you're going to talk about wrestling, then you've got to talk about psychology. It's not a "tough man" contest!
Another thing that you are known for is doing one-man shows. As someone known to deliver great promos, was there a moment in your life when you first realize that you had the gift of gab?
Jake "The Snake" Roberts: Yeah, I guess when I went to see [Mick] Foley's show for the first time. I watched it and I listened to it intently and afterwards, I said, "Jesus Christ, I'm a lot funnier than he is." (laughs)
A bunch of the guys were around me at the time, the guys from the [Accountability] Crib, DDP, and we were just sitting around and telling stories. They were like, "Man, you should be telling these to people, you would make money doing this." I thought, "Well, okay, it's good for making money, but am I going to enjoy it?" I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it, but I went out and tried it. Lo and behold, I did enjoy it, because it's fun going back and remembering "the good old days." It was fun remembering those times, remembering those guys.
I don't enjoy so much the laughter about it, I just remember enjoying those guys that were at that guy. I like to share about those guys and let the fans realize what they were about a little bit. It's a wonderful feeling to take a walk down memory lane sometimes.
When exactly did you and Dallas meet for the first time?
Jake "The Snake" Roberts: I don't remember the year. We were in Fort Myers, Florida, he was running a club there called Norma Jean's. I met him there and from there we just kept bumping into each other to the point... I was staying at the Marriott and he came over and talked to me about conditioning and that's when he hooked up and made it a long-term thing.
The documentary that you worked on together changed a lot of people's perspectives of you. It showed your softer side. Do you feel that the documentary helped more and more people understand you?
Jake "The Snake" Roberts: I think more and more people understand the disease and how that can change your perceptive of somebody if they have that disease. Alcoholism and drug addiction is nothing to laugh at, nothing to toy with or poke fun at. It's very serious and it's something that affects us all in one way or another. Either you've got it or you know somebody and they've got it. If they've got it, lord help you because it's not easy, it's not fun to play with.
Getting it out there that real people do have real problems is big. I think it showed my willingness to help others when most people were scared to death to ask me anything. Maybe it's because of the way I carried my persona off, or maybe I was a complete a**hole, I'm not sure. I'd like to think it wasn't because I was a complete a**hole, I didn't mean to be. Your perception of me is what you carry.
I know that having done it, that I've helped a lot of people get sober, a lot of families get back together, I've helped a lot of families understand the disease. I've inspired others to try to get well... If we can help one person, it wasn't a complete wash. But we've helped a lot of people, I get letters all the time. From families, from kids, "I can't believe my daddy has moved back home." Hey man, I've been there. Forced out of the house because you couldn't put that bottle down, couldn't put that drug down.
I've been to a lot of jails, not by choice, I've been to a few rehabs too. I've never met anybody in any of those places who said, "When I grow up, my dream is to become a junkie, or an alcoholic." Nobody dreams of that at the end of the day. But it is something that happens to us, and all it takes is a few wrong choices. Once the hook is in you, it's hard to get out, and I'm one of the fortunate few that made it to the other side. A lot of my brothers are gone, whether it be alcoholism or drug addiction, and the lack of not having a destiny anymore.
When you take something that's so ingrained in them, like wrestling can get to be to you. The old-timers, that's all we knew how to do, that's all we were. We loved it, we lived it and we died by it. But the territories went down, then there were only 1 or 2 places to do it. It had nothing to do with how talented you were, or how good you were, it had to do with whether somebody picked you or not. This isn't a softball game, where everybody lines up and we pick you one at a time, that isn't how it is, man.
A lot of these guys had their careers taken away from them before they needed to be, it was by the choice of Vince McMahon. I get it, it's his toy to play with any time he wants to. But there's a lot of guys that gave up on life and died. That's just the truth, man, like it or not.