Jake the Snake Roberts
Class of 2014
Hall of Fame Rating
8 out of 10
Professionally wrestling history is filled with great triumphs of athleticism, charisma and magic in and out of the ring. It is also plagued by the worst tragedies known to man.
The early death rate of professional wrestlers, whose heyday was in 1980s is staggering. We all know the list of childhood heroes who perished at a ridiculously young age. Their deaths can be attributed mostly to the culture which existed for those men. They were thrust into success without limits or controls. The 80s was when wrestling went mainsteam and no one was prepared for it, especially the wrestlers. It is that reason that it begot more drug addicts and miserable men than any era before or since.
Cut to Jake Roberts. Roberts is the poster boy for the most deceased generation in the history of the sport. And he is not even dead. He represents both all that is amazing with professional wrestling and counters it with all that is horrible and depressing.
Now this is not to disparrage Jake the Snake Roberts. He deserves his Hall of Fame induction. His redemption is one of the greatest in the history of the business. Roberts should have been dead. No one else ,who did the amount of drugs and drank the amount of alcohol that was Roberts calling card, is even alive to compare him to, excluding Scott Hall. Roberts recovery is miraclous and a testament to the deep down character of the man. Yet it is still undeniable that this induction is somewhat bittersweet. Jake the Snake Roberts as he currently stands is a shell of man compared to what he could have been, that is if the drugs were not part of his life.
Jake has been called a talent who didn’t need a championship to be over. This is such a rare occurance. Even Main Eventers sometimes get lost in the shuffle without titles; Bret Hart wasn’t as interesting without the title involved; he was missing something. Randy Orton grew boring without title matches in 2011-2012 (or in the case of today, titles)
Jake didn’t need it. He didn’t need to be near a belt and in WWF, never actually was. His presense was enough. His slow, methoidical nature, his sharpness in the ring and his amazing promos. The Snake has everything necessary to have a long and storied in ring career and to have something more behind the screen. Look at Triple H today. His legacy is cemented due to his position backstage. Perhaps Roberts would never have been Triple H, but easily could have existed in a Michael Hayes role in today’s WWE.
All of this is just speculation, of course, but potential is potential. No one was more believable in his role than Jake Roberts. When he was a villain, he was evil. Why did he have the snake bite Randy Savage? Because he was evil. Why did he betray the Undertaker? Because he was evil.
Despite all his positives, from 1987 on, Jake was in a spiral. And it all started with this…
A back and neck injury was the catalyst into a downward spiral for Roberts. He started with pills and coke and he was hooked. He was an addict. And it ruined his career. Roberts lefted WWF in a huff in 1992 and popped in WCW for one match with Sting in the main event. But Roberts in 1992-1993 was not the same man. He was sloppier and not as dynamic. His senses had become numb, again due to his drug and alcohol abuse. Addicts put addiction first.
Potential aside, Roberts also takes the cake when it comes to living an unhealthy mental life. He has been quoted in many interviews talking about how everything he does is a work. See an example below in the Real Sports interview….
How healthy is that? If I said to you that everything I do every single day was a lie, you would think I was a psychopath. Roberts was a such good liar that he lied to himself. He lied about his addictions and their effect. He lived in a fantasy land. If you ever want to be sad for an evening watch Beyond the Mat where Roberts not only makes a fool of himself, he creates this reality which feels partially real and partially a work, but a work on Roberts, who in reality never admitted his problems long enough to actually get help.
Apparently until now. Roberts has been mostly clean for over a year and has no officially appeared back on WWE programming. His redemption is complete….probably. I hope for Jake, for Jake to remain clean and sober. Perhaps then we can truely see the real man who is Jake the Snake Roberts.
Because Jake got his shit together. It could only have happened either with a sober Jake or a dead Jake.
And he does deserve it. Roberts was one of the most over upper mid card acts in the history of the company. He was that good. WWE has been waiting for the year in which they could do this, and DDP has been pushing for it.
On a side not, expect DDP to induct Jake Roberts, as he is the main source of redemption here.
Opens Door For?
Scott Hall. Roberts now proves that WWE will welcome you back once you have your personal life in order. Too bad Sunny is already inducted…might be good motivation to get normal again….
Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.
Other than sobriety, there was nothing keeping Jake Roberts out of the Hall of Fame.