Jake Roberts

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Jake Roberts
Jake Roberts 2013.jpg
Roberts in 2013
Birth name Aurelian Smith, Jr.
Born Gainesville, Texas, U.S.[1]
Resides Atlanta, Georgia
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Fred Black[2]
Jake Roberts[3][4]
Jake Smith, Jr.[4]
El Diablo
The Texan
Billed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)[3]
Billed weight

249 lb (113 kg)[3]

(1955-05-30)May 30, 1955
Billed from Stone Mountain, Georgia, U.S.[3]
Trained by Buck Robley
Grizzly Smith[4]
Moose Morowski[4]
Debut May 13, 1975[4]

Aurelian Smith, Jr.[5] (born May 30, 1955) is a semi-retired American professional wrestler, and the son of former wrestler Aurelian "Grizzly" Smith. He is best known by his ring name of Jake "The Snake" Roberts, and often brought snakes into the ring, most famously a python named Damien. Roberts was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Diamond Dallas Page on April 5, 2014.

Roberts is best known for his two stints in the World Wrestling Federation—the first between 1986 and 1992, and the second between 1996 and 1997. He wrestled in the National Wrestling Alliance in 1983, World Championship Wrestling in 1992, and the Mexico-based Asistencia Asesoría y Administración between 1993 and 1994 and again in 1997. He appeared in Extreme Championship Wrestling during the summer of 1997, and made appearances for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling from 2006 through 2008.

Throughout his career he was known for his intense and cerebral promos, his dark charisma, his extensive use of psychology in his matches, and has been credited as inventor of the DDT maneuver. Roberts was also one of the subjects of the 1999 documentary film Beyond the Mat. In 2012, Roberts moved in with fellow wrestler Diamond Dallas Page to seek help in getting his life back on track following years of alcohol and drug abuse.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Roberts started his career in 1974 in the Louisiana area, as a referee and wrestler, making his name in Mid-South Wrestling, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, and Georgia Championship Wrestling. It was in the National Wrestling Alliance during 1983 that Roberts became part of Paul Ellering's heel stable, the Legion of Doom, and began a feud with Ron Garvin over the NWA World Television Championship that lasted into 1984. In 1984, Roberts entered World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) joining up with "Gentleman" Chris Adams and Gino Hernandez in their feud against the Von Erichs, winning the WCCW Television title and 6-Man Tag Team title (with Adams and Hernandez). Roberts returned to Mid-South Wrestling for 1985, ending his run there in February 1986 after a feud with Dick Slater.

World Wrestling Federation (1986–1992)[edit]

1986–1988[edit]

Roberts made his World Wrestling Federation debut in March 1986. A month later, he made his pay-per-view debut, defeating George Wells at WrestleMania 2, memorably making Wells vomit when he wrapped his snake Damien around Wells's head.[6]

Roberts' first major feud was against Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. The feud began on a nationally televised episode of Saturday Night's Main Event in May 1986. Roberts executed the DDT on Steamboat on the floor right in front of his wife, Bonnie, whom Roberts had pointed to just before delivering the blow and then proceeded to rest his snake Damien on top of a prone Steamboat. Roberts went so far as to put the snake in Steamboat's mouth. He later stated that he was initially against doing the angle for fear that he might seriously injure or kill Steamboat. While Vince McMahon and booker George Scott were adamant about wanting the DDT to take place on the floor, he refused until Steamboat told him that he would be able to adequately protect himself from injury. Steamboat was rendered unconscious and sustained a concussion.[7] After Steamboat's recovery, the feud featured Steamboat introducing a "Komodo dragon" as his "pet" to combat the psychological effects Roberts' reptilian counterpart had on most adversaries. The feud continued with Steamboat winning most of the matches (losing only one because he threw Roberts back in the ring before the 10 count, then not beating said count himself), most notably a Snake Pit Match (ostensibly a no-DQ match) at The Big Event in Toronto, and the rematch on the October 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. Since their feud ended, both men have cited tremendous respect for one another, stating that the feud was a personal favorite for both. When asked about "The Dragon" in an interview, Roberts stated, "[Steamboat] was a great wrestler, but an even better man." Roberts began hosting a talk segment called "The Snake Pit", which debuted on the first episode of WWF Wrestling Challenge. "The Snake Pit" was patterned after "Piper's Pit", wherein Roberts would conduct interviews with wrestlers or managers to help push wrestlers and get feuds over with the crowd. The segment was eventually moved to WWF Superstars of Wrestling (to replace "Piper's Pit")[citation needed] until the final segment aired in July 1987.[8]

In November 1986, Roberts challenged Randy "Macho Man" Savage for the Intercontinental Championship in a nationally televised match. Before the match, announcer Vince McMahon stated that the fans would probably support Savage against the disliked Roberts. However, to the surprise of both McMahon and fellow broadcaster Jesse Ventura, the fans cheered loudly for Roberts throughout the fight. The match ended in a double disqualification. Around this time, the WWF was trying to get a feud between Roberts and Hulk Hogan going, but after Roberts DDT'd Hogan during an episode of The Snake Pit, too many people started chanting for the DDT rather than for Hogan, forcing them to step away from this like it never happened.

Many of Roberts' storylines revolved around the use of his snake Damien, seen here in the middle of the ring.

He officially turned face when he feuded with The Honky Tonk Man, a heel with an Elvis impersonator gimmick. The Honky Tonk Man attacked Roberts[9] with a guitar during his interview segment The Snake Pit. In reality, The Honky Tonk Man's guitar shot legitimately injured Roberts' neck, as it occurred before the use of guitars which were gimmicked to break easily.[10] The Honky Tonk Man denies that he legitimately injured Roberts, although Jimmy Hart, as well as a video of the incident (seen on the Pick Your Poison DVD) suggests otherwise. The attack led to their match at WrestleMania III in which Roberts had Alice Cooper in his corner. He would go on to unsuccessfully challenge The Honky Tonk Man for the Intercontinental Championship several times throughout the rest of 1987. The initial plan was for Roberts to win the Intercontinental Championship shortly after The Honky Tonk Man's win over Ricky Steamboat and begin an angle with the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, but because of the injuries he suffered from the guitar shot, the decision was made to keep the belt with The Honky Tonk Man.[citation needed]

Perhaps his best-known feud was against "Ravishing" Rick Rude, who began a gimmick of selecting a woman from the crowd to kiss after each match. On the April 23, 1988 edition of WWF Superstars Of Wrestling, Rude chose Roberts' real-life wife, Cheryl, who refused the kiss. After Rude began insulting Roberts, Cheryl slapped him, angering Rude before Roberts ran out for the save. This began a heated feud throughout the summer of 1988, which escalated after Rude began wearing a pair of tights emblazoned with a visage of Mrs. Roberts, (another act that was not sanctioned by WWF at the time and was Rude's own brainchild) which an irate Roberts tore off. Many believe this angle was far ahead of its time, a precursor to The Attitude Era.

1989–1990[edit]

André feuded with Jake Roberts based on André's fear of snakes.

Roberts moved from the feud with Rude into a feud with André the Giant. On a nationally televised Saturday Night's Main Event, Roberts and Rude fought to a no-contest, and Andre came out to help Rude. Roberts used his snake, Damien, to scare Andre into an eventual "heart attack." Although the subsequent feud on the house show circuit saw Andre victorious after most of those matches, Roberts can claim a victory via disqualification over André after André attacked special guest referee Big John Studd at WrestleMania V.

Shortly after his feud with André had ended, Roberts entered into a feud originally scheduled to happen years before with Ted DiBiase. Instead of fighting for the Intercontinental Championship, the prize of the feud was DiBiase's Million Dollar Belt. It was at this time that Roberts' disc problems were publicly acknowledged, as DiBiase attacked Roberts after a victory over his bodyguard Virgil on WWF Superstars of Wrestling. In the attack, Roberts was (storyline) injured by DiBiase and needed time off to have surgery to repair the damage. Roberts returned and feuded with DiBiase throughout the end of 1989 into 1990, including a point where Roberts stole DiBiase's Million Dollar Belt, daring him or Virgil to reach into the canvas sack to retrieve it. The culmination of their feud took place at WrestleMania VI, where in a match where the Million Dollar Belt was on the line, DiBiase gained a count-out victory over Roberts, thus regaining the non-sanctioned title. After the match, Roberts mounted an offensive against DiBiase and Virgil and then began giving away DiBiase's "money".

Following a brief feud with Bad News Brown in the summer of 1990, Roberts feuded with Rick "The Model" Martel throughout late 1990 into early 1991, after Martel (kayfabe) blinded Roberts by spraying cologne into his eyes. Roberts went so far as to wear white contact lenses to "prove" his blindness. After several months, the feud culminated in a match at WrestleMania VII, in which both contestants were blindfolded. The bout ended after Roberts beat Martel with a DDT.

1991–1992[edit]

In early to mid-1991, Roberts engaged in a feud with Earthquake who "squashed" Damien with a pair of Earthquake splashes during their match on the April 27 (taped March 26) edition of WWF Superstars Of Wrestling (in actuality, Roberts' bag did not contain a snake but hamburgers stuffed in pantyhose with a small motor to create movement). The feud was advanced when, several weeks later, Earthquake appeared on WWF Prime Time Wrestling and served "Quakeburgers" to co-host Lord Alfred Hayes, later claiming that the meat was ground from Damien's carcass.[citation needed] Roberts appeared on Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake's interview segment The Barbershop and stated that "You could do two things: Roll over and die, or get yourself a bigger snake", in which he revealed that his new snake was a larger python, a reticulated python named Lucifer — the supposed big brother of Damien.

Roberts began a heel turn later in the summer of 1991 following a series of televised vignettes featuring the Ultimate Warrior turning to Roberts for help in his feud with The Undertaker. In the set-up, Roberts explained to Warrior that, after passing three tests, he would have the "knowledge of the dark side" to defeat Undertaker. The segments included Warrior being locked inside a coffin (a reprise of an incident that occurred on The Funeral Parlor, hosted by the Undertaker's manager, Paul Bearer; earlier in the year); the Warrior being "buried alive" in dirt before being abandoned; and Warrior walking through a room full of live snakes to reach a chest containing "the answer". During the latter segment, the Warrior opened the chest, only to be immediately bitten by a King Cobra (actually a rubber prop). As Warrior "weakened" from the effects of the cobra's strike, Roberts was joined by The Undertaker and Paul Bearer, revealing the three were working together all along;[11] Roberts closed the final segment by proclaiming, "Never trust a snake."[12] A series of matches were planned, but the feud was canceled after the Ultimate Warrior was fired by the WWF the night of SummerSlam.

After SummerSlam, Roberts was placed in a feud with Randy Savage. During the post-SummerSlam wedding reception of Savage and Miss Elizabeth, Elizabeth opened a gift package containing a live snake. Roberts and the Undertaker attacked Savage, until Sid Justice ran them off. A short feud with Sid Justice ensued when Sid was scheduled to wrestle "El Diablo" and the Undertaker came out and accepted the Challenge to face Sid. Paul Bearer offered "El Diablo" what appeared to be bribe to walk away. As the match began, "El Diablo" came back to the ring and hit Sid with the Briefcase. Then "El Diablo" unmasked revealing himself as Jake Roberts. Roberts proceeded to unleash a king cobra on Sid, until Hacksaw Jim Duggan intervened. Sid and Jake wrestled on Superstars a week later. But soon, Sid injured his biceps, which forced the feud to end.[citation needed]

Roberts immediately began berating Randy Savage in a series of promos, aware that Savage — who had lost a retirement match to the Ultimate Warrior earlier in the year — was unable to exact revenge. During an October 21 taping for WWF Superstars of Wrestling in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Roberts goaded Savage into the ring and brutally attacked him, eventually tying Savage into the ropes and get the King cobra to bite his arm; the snake was devenomized and, according to Roberts' DVD Pick Your Poison, he had trouble getting the cobra to release his bite. The segment went on longer than planned, and Savage's blood was clearly visible as it dripped from the puncture wounds. Coincidentally, the snake died shortly afterwards, causing Savage to later joke that the snake got the venom from him.

WWF president Jack Tunney reinstated Savage as an active wrestler to get revenge for the attack. To explain the absence of the cobra, Tunney in kayfabe "banned" Roberts from ever bringing a snake to the ring again. Savage and Roberts feuded for the next few months. Their first match was at the Tuesday in Texas pay-per-view December 3 in San Antonio, Texas, which saw Savage earn a victory over Roberts; the two continued to brawl after the match, and Roberts eventually gained the upper hand by laying Savage out with a series of DDTs. Roberts then demanded that Elizabeth beg him to stop the assault, but when he was dissatisfied with her pleas, he slapped her in the middle of the ring. The feud would continue through the early part of 1992, and included Savage eliminating Roberts from that year's Royal Rumble match. The feud ended on Saturday Night's Main Event, with Savage getting the win. Roberts, livid at having lost to him and having received two of Savage's flying elbow drops (one of which after the match), was helped backstage. Enraged, he grabbed a steel chair and said that he was going to hit whoever came backstage first, whether it was Savage or Elizabeth. Just as Roberts was about to swing the chair, he was stopped by the Undertaker; Roberts was distracted long enough for Savage to hit him with the chair instead. That incident helped set up Roberts' feud with the Undertaker, who was in the midst of a face turn. Roberts appeared on The Funeral Parlor to demand answers from the Undertaker about why he stopped him from attacking Elizabeth. When Roberts was dissatisfied with the answers, he DDT'ed Bearer and, after jamming Undertaker's hand in a coffin, began hitting him with a steel chair; however, Undertaker was able to fend off the blows and chased Roberts backstage dragging the coffin behind him. At WrestleMania VIII, Roberts lost the match.[citation needed]

The WrestleMania VIII match turned out to be Roberts' last for the WWF for nearly four years. Roberts' departure came after he was upset that WWF chairman Vince McMahon did not offer him a position on the writing staff, despite being promised such previously. After Pat Patterson stepped down from his post on the writing staff stemming from the recent sexual harassment scandal, McMahon decided that out of respect for Patterson, the spot would be left vacant. Roberts felt he was not only being lied to, but also being betrayed. In response, he threatened to no-show WrestleMania if he was not given a release from his contract.

World Championship Wrestling (1992)[edit]

Roberts went on to work for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) alongside his father, Grizzly Smith, where he aligned himself with The Barbarian and Cactus Jack to feud against Sting and Nikita Koloff. However, before he could officially join WCW, he had to wait almost 90 days. According to the Pick Your Poison DVD, Roberts had initially signed a lucrative contract under Kip Allen Frey, who was running WCW at the time. On the 87th day, Frey stepped down and was replaced by Bill Watts, for whom Roberts had legit heat with back in his days at Mid-South Wrestling. Ultimately, Roberts estimates that he went from making about $3.5 million a year to approximately $200,000 a year.[citation needed]

His first major TV wrestling appearance for WCW was at Clash of the Champions, where his team won a 4-man elimination tag match. Roberts scored a pinfall victory over Sting, which built their feud further. His single WCW pay-per-view match was against Sting at Halloween Havoc in 1992. Their match was determined via the Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal gimmick.[13] There was a series of gimmick matches on the wheel, but because the wheel itself was not gimmicked, neither Roberts nor Sting knew the kind of match they'd be wrestling until the wheel stopped spinning. When the wheel stopped, it had landed on what many observers believed was the worst option — the Coal Miner's Glove match. While it was the company's top-selling PPV for several years,[13] Roberts soon left WCW. Before his departure, Roberts was scheduled to compete in the King of Cable tournament, wrestling Dustin Rhodes in the first round. He would be replaced in the tournament by The Barbarian.

Freelance (1993–1994)[edit]

After leaving WCW, Roberts spent his next couple of years wrestling around the world. In February 1993, he took part in a tour in Australia, while in April 1993, he toured Europe, particularly Austria and Germany. In September 1993, he took part wrestling a tour for New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Roberts debuted in the Mexican promotion Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) in April 1993, causing the defeat of Konnan on the career vs. career match at Triplemanía I. Roberts' run-in started a feud that lasted until 1994 at Triplemanía II-C, in which Konnan managed to defeat Roberts in a hair vs. hair match.

In the spring of 1994, Roberts returned to the United States to wrestle for Smoky Mountain Wrestling. On May 2, he defeated Tony Anthony to win the SMW Heavyweight Championship; the title change aired on May 14. Unfortunately, Roberts would no-show several defenses, forcing SMW to give the title back to Anthony on July 5. By the end of 1994, Roberts took a hiatus.

Return to World Wrestling Federation (1996–1997)[edit]

For more details on this topic, see The Attitude Era.

After spending over a year in hiatus, Roberts returned to WWF at the Royal Rumble in 1996, as a Bible-preaching face.[13] To go along with his new gimmick, his new Albino Burmese Python was named "Revelations." His gimmick also mirrored his real life, as Roberts had recently become a born-again Christian and had been preaching around the country.[13]

Roberts signaling at Hunter Hearst Helmsley in 1996

During his second tenure with the company, Roberts was pushed as a "Cinderella story" and faced "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the final match of the King of the Ring tournament. Due to injuries received at the hands of Vader in their semi-final match that night, Austin easily defeated him, and in a post-match interview, mocked his recital of the biblical passage John 3:16 by saying "You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!".[13] The catchphrase would help propel Austin to the top of the WWF, and is one of the moments that is often cited as the beginning of "The Attitude Era," along with Wrestlemania XIII, Survivor Series (1997), and WrestleMania XIV. Roberts next feuded with Jerry "The King" Lawler, who went to great lengths to ridicule Roberts' past bouts against alcoholism.

In November 1996, Roberts, Vader, and Brother Love appeared on the ABC sitcom Boy Meets World for one episode. In early 1997, the WWF wanted Roberts to wind down his in-ring career and to join the backstage side of the company. Since he still loved to wrestle, he did not make this transition well. This led to a relapse with drugs and alcohol. His last appearance with the WWF was at the 1997 Royal Rumble where he entered at no. 7 and was eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin. He was fired in February 1997. According to the Pick Your Poison DVD, after his firing, his long-time wife Cheryl filed for divorce.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1997–1998)[edit]

During the summer of 1997, Roberts debuted in ECW. His introduction came towards the end of a match between Lawler and Tommy Dreamer, which was the main event of the show. As the match went on, the arena lights were turned off. Moments later when the lights came back on, Roberts was already in the ring, and proceeded to give Tommy Dreamer a clothesline. He then went to the camera man and screamed; "Your God... he giveth, and he can taketh away. My God, he giveth... but he aint got the balls to do nothin' else." He promptly clotheslined Lawler, who fell onto Dreamer for a two count before exiting the ring.

Roberts also teamed with Tommy Dreamer at the 1998 November to Remember as his mystery partner against Justin Credible and Jason Knight.[14]

Beyond the Mat and Heroes of Wrestling[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Heroes of Wrestling § Controversy.

In 1999, Roberts was unflatteringly featured in the wrestling documentary Beyond the Mat. Throughout the film he made numerous confessions about his tragic past, including the murder of his sister and the collapse of his marriage. Amongst the more disturbing moments was Roberts reportedly smoking crack in a hotel room after a reunion with his daughter Brandy, though the act is not shown on camera. In 2005, Roberts, along with others, heavily criticized the film for showing him in a negative light, complaining that the depiction of him was "not the real Jake Roberts." Roberts also claimed that director Barry Blaustein and Terry Funk lied to him about the aims of the film, telling him it was a television special on the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. Roberts has stated that he hasn't seen the movie.

Great Britain; All Star/WAW/Hammerlock/WWE (2001–2005)[edit]

In 2001, Roberts moved to Great Britain, where he began competing for Brian Dixon's All Star Wrestling. In December, he made his debut for Ricky Knight's World Association of Wrestling in Lowestoft. On October 20, 2002, Roberts became the NWA UK Hammerlock Heavyweight Champion in Maidstone, Kent, England by defeating "Vigilante" Johnny Moss. Moss regained the title the next night in Ashford, Kent, though. In November 2002, Roberts started his own wrestling promotion in the UK, called "Real Stars of Wrestling". RSOW ran three events, each headlined by Roberts vs. The Honky Tonk Man and drawing very good sized crowds.

Roberts made his final British appearance at WAW's October Outrage show in Canvey Island, Essex, once again teaming with Steve Quintain against the UK Pitbulls. However, Roberts turned up at the show "in no fit state to compete", but went ahead with his match. Roberts cut a drunken promo paying tribute to Ray Traylor, who had died a few days before, and almost got into a scuffle with several WAW wrestlers who were sent out to defuse the situation. This did not involve challenging Zak Zodiac, son of Ricky Knight and Sweet Saraya, and who was only 13 at the time, to a fight, as has been previously stated by WAW.

Roberts made a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) appearance on March 14, 2005 on Raw, where he confronted Randy Orton, who was preparing to challenge The Undertaker at WrestleMania 21. Roberts warned Orton that facing The Undertaker, particularly at WrestleMania, could be a soul-altering experience; he then fell victim to Orton's "RKO," helping to fuel Orton's "Legend Killer" gimmick. He worked with the company to create a DVD retrospective of his career (the aforementioned Pick Your Poison DVD), which was released later that year.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2006–2008)[edit]

Roberts made an appearance on the October 19, 2006 edition of TNA Impact!. He announced he would referee the Monster's Ball match between Brother Runt, Abyss, Raven, and Samoa Joe at Bound for Glory. Roberts proceeded to cut a rambling, incoherent promo that was barely audible to the live audience. At least once, he ended up on his back during the promo and had trouble getting up. The promo lasted a couple of minutes live but was so incoherent that it was edited down to about 15 seconds on the broadcast of Impact! He had a snake in a bag, which he placed on Brother Runt after Runt came out and confronted Roberts. At one point, he even stuffed the snake's head down the front of Runt's pants. The confrontation was only partially aired on Impact!. At Bound for Glory, he performed his signature DDT on Raven, giving Samoa Joe the win in the match. Roberts did his signature after match ritual by putting a snake (which resembled "Revelations") on Raven.

Roberts made a one-night return to TNA in 2008 as a guest of "Black Machismo" Jay Lethal and SoCal Val's storyline wedding at Slammiversary.

PWA; Jim Rose Circus; and retirement (2008–2011)[edit]

Roberts made an appearance at Booker T's Houston-based Pro Wrestling Alliance (PWA) promotion, in which he cut a promo urging those who want to enter the wrestling business to not follow along his path. At one point he stated that he loved the wrestling business more than anything else in the world. PWA wrestler "Rockstar" Robbie Gillmore then interrupted Roberts and attempted to make an alliance based upon the fact that Robbie wears an 80s style shirt featuring a cobra. Roberts had just stated that all he ever wanted was a little respect, and the Rockstar's interruption irritated him. Roberts then attacked Gillmore.

In May 2009, Roberts joined the Jim Rose Circus for the Jim Rose Circus vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts: The Legends Collide Tour. Advertised as "a grueling 40 city campaign" containing pretty girls, wrestling, amazing circus stunts, and a fist fight, the tour features Jim Rose and wrestler Sinn Bouldi as "Team Jake".

In August 2010 during a 2CW event Roberts spoke about the recent death of his father and his upcoming retirement

On January 29, 2011, Roberts wrestled what was billed as his retirement match, when he defeated Sinn Bodhi at the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) show during the WrestleReunion 5 weekend.[15]

Post-retirement and WWE Hall of Fame (2012–present)[edit]

Roberts was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.

In October 2012, Roberts moved in with Diamond Dallas Page in Atlanta, Georgia, and regularly made media appearances with him afterward. Roberts was notified that he is to be inducted into the Cauliflower Alley Club by unanimous vote in December 2013.[16]

At WrestleCon 2013, Roberts announced his desire to return to WWE as a participant in the 2014 Royal Rumble.[17] On January 6, 2014, Roberts made an appearance on the "Old School" episode of Raw, laying a python over the face of an unconscious Dean Ambrose.[18] He did not appear at the Royal Rumble event, but the following night on Raw, he was announced as the second entrant of the 2014 Class of the WWE Hall of Fame. He was inducted by Page on April 5, 2014.[19] In the upcoming documentary The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts, Roberts explained to Page that WWE decided not to include him in the 2014 edition of Royal Rumble in favour of the Hall of Fame induction, but that the company was open to the possibility of Roberts participating in the next Royal Rumble in 2015.[20]

On May 18, 2013 Roberts returned to the ring for First State Championship Wrestling, a Delaware-based wrestling promotion, as part of an eight-man tag team main event. He teamed with Eric Chapel and CraziiWolf (Crazii Shea and Greywolf), defeating the team of Sal Sincere, Steve C Wrestling and Pretty Ugly (Jimmy Dream and Adam Ugly).[21]

On March 15, 2014 Roberts debut in Regional Championship Wrestling's Rumblemania 9 in Reading, PA. as a surprise partner for Cliff Serenyi against Russian Mafia w/Rich Rogers. This match ended in a DDQ. Rogers was knocked out when Roberts stuck the snake in Rogers pants.

On June 14, 2014 Roberts participated in a six-man tag match in the main event for Reborn Wrestling (a Christian wrestling organization in Johnson City, Tennessee), teaming with The Stallion and Alex Cage to defeat EZ Money, Reborn champion Cody Ices and Anthony Brody.[22]

On June 15, 2014 Roberts was an entrant in the CWF Hollywood Red Carpet Rumble which was won by Willie Mack.[23]

Gimmick[edit]

Jake Roberts is credited to have invented the DDT in a match where he had his opponent, The Grappler (Len Denton), in a front facelock, but when Roberts tripped over Denton's foot he fell backwards and[24][25] Denton landed on his head. From that match, Roberts claimed the move as his finisher, calling it the DDT, though instead of falling back, he stepped back before falling (which, as he explained on his DVD Pick Your Poison, was the quickest way to drive his opponent's head into the mat and also gave the move a "snap" effect). According to World Wrestling Entertainment employee Bruce Prichard, Roberts named the move after the pesticide of the same name, though Roberts himself has provided alternative explanations such as "Drop Dead Twice" or "Damien's Dinner Time". At one time during a taped WWF interview when asked what DDT stood for, Roberts replied "The End".

Roberts derived his nickname for being known as "snake like" and untrustworthy. Roberts also said on the Pick Your Poison DVD that he got his nickname by copying Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken "The Snake" Stabler (of whom Roberts was a huge fan).[26] To accentuate this, he would often slide ("slither") into and out of the ring on his belly under the bottom rope. Once he reached the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in March 1986, Roberts would bring a huge, live Burmese Python (though various snakes were used over the years, most were named "Damien") to ringside in a canvas bag. Other snakes used were a Reticulated Python named Lucifer, an unnamed (de-venomized) Cobra that bit Macho Man Randy Savage, and an albino Burmese Python named Revelations (during Roberts' Christian conversion gimmick in 1996). After executing a DDT, Roberts would coil the constrictor around the opponent's neck, and the snake would slither around on top of the fallen wrestler, sometimes appearing to strangle him.

Personal life[edit]

Roberts is the son of wrestler Grizzly Smith, with whom he had a strained relationship.[27] He has a half-brother, Michael and a half-sister, Robin, both of whom also became wrestlers (Sam Houston and Rockin' Robin).

Roberts married his first wife Karen Rauschuber on February 27, 1975.[28] The couple have a daughter named Brandy Grace (born July 29, 1975)[29] who appeared in the 1999 wrestling documentary, Beyond the Mat. Roberts also has twin sons from his first marriage, named Dustin and Derek (born 1980).[30][31] On August 2, 1984 Roberts married his second wife, Cheryl Hagood. The couple had 2 children before divorcing in 2000.[32]

Roberts makes a cameo in Trucks music video "It's Just Porn Mum".[33]

In 2004, Roberts faced a charge of "causing unnecessary suffering" after his snake, "Damien", was allowed to starve to death in the garage of his London Colney home.[34]

Roberts appeared in an episode of Boy Meets World in which he fought Vader. The episode Roberts appeared in was Episode 9 of Season 4, named "Sixteen Candles and Four-Hundred-Pound Men.".

Health[edit]

In 2007, WWE started a policy that they would pay all expenses for any former WWWF/WWF/WWE performer who needed to enter into any form of drug rehabilitation. According to various wrestling news reports, Roberts was placed in a 14-week voluntary rehab program by WWE as of December 10, 2007.[35][36] In May 2008, Jim Ross reported that, "Jake Roberts has been doing well the past few weeks, after completing a treatment program."[37]

In October 2012, Roberts moved in with former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page in Atlanta, Georgia. Page stated that their goal was to get Roberts clean, sober, and back in shape through DDP Yoga so that he could make one last pro wrestling run. Roberts' weight had ballooned to over 300 pounds, and he was having trouble doing simple tasks such as walking without becoming short of breath.

By early December, Roberts had lost close to 50 pounds and was attending AA meetings regularly. Page regularly updates his YouTube channel with videos showing a much healthier Roberts. Page said that he was doing this for Roberts because Roberts was one of the people who trained Page when he was attempting to break into the business as a wrestler instead of a manager.[38]

In February 2014, TMZ reported that Roberts was suffering from muscular cancer just below his knee, and is scheduled to go into surgery for it on the 25th of the month. In a response to the article, Roberts was quoted as saying, "If the devil can't defeat me, cancer doesn't stand a chance in hell! Pray for sick children who face this horrible disease 'cause The Snake will be just fine." In regard to this, he is scheduled to return to Jersey Championship Wrestling on March 14 and his WWE Hall of Fame induction will proceed as planned, with him saying that nothing would stop him from attending his induction.[39]

In July 2014, Roberts announced that he was cancer-free, as various operations had been successful.

On August 28 2014, Roberts fell ill during a flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas where he was scheduled to attend a birthday event for fellow wrestler Nick Cvjetkovich. First reports indicated that Roberts had fallen unconscious, however his manager/lawyer, Kyle P. Magee, confirmed that Roberts was alert and awake during the flight and notified the flight attendant of pain and shortness of breath. McGee said that Roberts was induced to a 'coma-like' state in order to treat pneumonia. Roberts was diagnosed with the flu two weeks earlier and ignored doctors advice of rest and continued to travel to events. Upon arrival at the ICU in Las Vegas, Roberts was diagnosed with pneumonia, something his own doctors missed. Cvjetkovich, along with Roberts girlfriend, kept vigil by his bedside, with Cvejetkovich saying that Roberts, who was being very stubborn, was more worried about disappointing his fans than getting better."[40]Magee also confirmed that doctors found an abnormality on Roberts' brain which they feel could be a result of all the bumps Robert's took over his long career. McGee also shot down internet rumors of Roberts' relapsing, stating that "drugs or alcohol have no bearing on this event despite internet rumors."[41]

Video games[edit]

Roberts has been included in several professional wrestling videogames including WWF Wrestlefest, WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006, WWE Legends of WrestleMania, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011, WWE All Stars, WWE 12, and WWE 2K14.

In wrestling[edit]

Roberts innovated the now popular DDT maneuver.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Roberts in the WWE Hall of Fame.
  • All-Star Wrestling Network (Georgia)
    • AWN World Heavyweight Champion (1 time)
  • Americas Wrestling Federation
    • AWF Puerto Rican Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Bad Boys of Wrestling
    • BBOW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[44]
  • Legends Pro Wrestling
    • Inducted into the LPW Hall of Fame (11/27/10)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0731195/bio
  2. ^ http://tsmradio.com/coltcabana/2012/12/12/aow-125-jake-roberts/
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Jake Roberts's WWE Alumni Profile". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Jake Roberts's OWW Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
  5. ^ Intelius search
  6. ^ The History of WWE - 1986
  7. ^ [Citation Needed] The previous link was dead
  8. ^ Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 281. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0. 
  9. ^ Honky Tonk Man nearly kills Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
  10. ^ Foley, Mick (1999). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. ReganBooks. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-06-039299-4. 
  11. ^ Reynolds, R.D. (2003). Wrestlecrap: The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling. ECW Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-1-55022-584-6. 
  12. ^ Sammond, Nicholas (2005). Steel Chair to the Head. Duke University Press. pp. 47–48. ISBN 978-0-8223-3438-5. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.229)
  14. ^ "Extreme Championship Wrestling Results (1998)". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Massingham, Matt (2011-01-30). "1/29 PWG results in Los Angeles: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of PWG Title match, Kaval vs. Davey, Roberts retirement, Legends Battle Royal". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  16. ^ DDPtv: More Good News for Jake.
  17. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzk22RC86f8
  18. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbszVMpAh94
  19. ^ "JAKE "THE SNAKE" ROBERTS". wwe.com. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  20. ^ http://www.sescoops.com/video-jake-roberts-breaks-bad-news-ddp
  21. ^ https://www.facebook.com/1cwwrestling/posts/1601622733396798
  22. ^ http://prowrestling.net/article.php?6-14-Reborn-Wrestling-Jake-Roberts-and-EZ-Money-meet-in-the-six-man-tag-main-event-of-a-Christian-based-pro-wrestling-show-37554 Retrieved 15 June 2014
  23. ^ http://www.pwponderings.com/2014/06/16/cwf-hollywood-061514-red-carpet-rumble-results/ Retrieved June 16, 2014
  24. ^ WWE Magazine, World Wrestling Entertainment, July 2007, p. 23 
  25. ^ "Jake "The Snake" Roberts Interview by Jon Robinson". IGN.com. 
  26. ^ "LegendsL Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts!". Pro Wrestling Daily. 2008-03-10. Archived from the original on June 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  27. ^ Jake "The Snake" Roberts: pick your poison
  28. ^ Texas Marriages
  29. ^ Texas Births, 1926-1995
  30. ^ "Jake and his son Dustin show off the catch of the day"
  31. ^ Intelius search
  32. ^ IMDB profile
  33. ^ trucks - it's just porn mum. 
  34. ^ "Wrestler 'left snake to starve'". BBC News. 2004-11-01. 
  35. ^ "Update On Jake "The Snake" Roberts Rehab Status". PW Headlines. Archived from the original on 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  36. ^ "Snake Rattled, But Rolls Out of Rehab". TMZ.com. 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  37. ^ http://www.prowrestling.net/artman/publish/WWE/article1001440.shtml
  38. ^ DDPtv: More Good News for Jake.
  39. ^ http://www.tmz.com/2014/02/23/jake-the-snake-roberts-cancer-tumor-knee-surgery/#ixzz2uAQH74iq
  40. ^ "Jake Roberts Reportedly Hospitalized With Double Pneumonia". Foxsports. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  41. ^ "Lawyer: WWE legend Jake Roberts has brain abnormality". USATODAY. Retrieved 2014-08-30. 
  42. ^ "Jake Roberts' Cagematch Profile". Cagematch - The Wrestling Database. 
  43. ^ "Jake the Snake (Hiss Me)". The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  44. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  45. ^ NWA National Television Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  46. ^ NWA World Television Title (Georgia) history At wrestling-titles.com
  47. ^ Louisiana Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  48. ^ North American Heavyweight Title (Mid-South) history At wrestling-titles.com
  49. ^ Mid-South Television Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  50. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Inspirational Wrestler of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  51. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  52. ^ SMW Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  53. ^ Stampede Wrestling North American Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  54. ^ World 6-Man Tag Team Title (World Class) history At wrestling-titles.com
  55. ^ World Class Television Title history At wrestling-titles.com

References[edit]

External links[edit]