Jake "The Snake" Roberts

Jake "The Snake" Roberts

2009 News

Jake is regularly posting entries on his MySpace.com blog

Numerous sources claim 'The Wrestler', the highly acclaimed movie, is based on Jake, however the 'The Wrestler' could be the story of a number of former professional wrestling legends

WWE Legends of WrestleMania

Jake "The Snake" Roberts DVD available via WWE - WWE Shopzone

Jake "The Snake" Roberts in a living legend of professional wrestling.

At the height of his popularity he was one of the most famous wrestlers in the world and headlined many wrestling cards.

His feuds are some of the hottest the wrestling business have ever known. They included: Ricky Steamboat, Randy Savage, Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan.

A master of ring psychology and with solid wrestling skills, he usually finished off his opponents with the DDT (a front face lock piledriver).

Roberts has battled many demons over the years and was the talking point of the controversial documentary, 'Beyond The Mat'.

Roberts will always be remembered as one of the true greats of professional wrestling.

Bio (Credit: Wikipedia)

Aurelian Jake Smith, Jr. (born on May 30, 1955), better known by his ring name of Jake "The Snake" Roberts, is a second-generation American professional wrestler, the son of former wrestler Grizzly Smith. Roberts is best known for his stint in the World Wrestling Federation throughout the 1980s.

He was known for his promos and his dark charisma, his extensive use of psychology in his matches and for inventing the DDT finishing maneuver. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers to never hold a major championship title.

Jake Roberts is credited with training Diamond Dallas Page and Raven, as well as teaching much about wrestling psychology to Steve Austin and The Undertaker. Roberts and fellow wrestler Vader appeared on the ABC sitcom Boy Meets World for one episode.

Wrestling career

National Wrestling Alliance
Roberts started his career in 1975 in the Georgia area and made his name in the NWA as part of Paul Ellering's heel stable The Legion of Doom . He feuded with Ron Garvin in the 1980s over the NWA World Television Championship.

The Origins of the DDT
During a match when he had his opponent in a front facelock, he slipped and fell down and his opponent fell on his head, legitimately knocking him out. From that match, he incorporated the move as his finisher, naming it the DDT. For a long time, many fans had tried to figure out what DDT had stood for, with some even believing it stood for Damien's Dinner Time, as to the fact that Jake routinely placed his pet python Damien on top of unconscious wrestlers following the (usually match-ending) DDT. Most people believe the move referenced the pesticide DDT, which was perceived by the public to be a poison during the 1980s. When at last asked what the DDT stood for, Jake famously replied, "The End".

How He Became "The Snake"
Roberts derived his nickname from being thin and snake-like. Roberts also said that he got his nickname from Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken "The Snake" Stabler. To accentuate this, he often would slide ("slither") into and out of the ring on his belly under the bottom rope. Once he reached the WWF, Roberts would bring a huge, live python (though various snakes were used over the years, most were named "Damien", and for safety purposes, most were heavily sedated) to ringside in a canvas bag. 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. It was a masterful show of kayfabe (besides the fact that numerous fellow wrestlers and commentators were legitimately ophidiophobic), as the wrestler lay twitching and sometimes foaming at the mouth with the monstrous snake appearing to squeeze the life out of him. This display of theatricality got over with professional wrestling fans when George Wells, former Canadian Football League player turned wrestler, played "victim" to Damien at WrestleMania 2. His frothing at the mouth sold the gimmick as being something lethal.

World Wrestling Federation

The Many Feuds of "The Snake"

Ricky Steamboat
Roberts' first major feud was against Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. Few WWF fans knew that the two were former tag team partners in the National Wrestling Alliance, as it was never acknowledged on camera. The feud began when, on a nationally televised episode of Saturday Night's Main Event in May 1986, Roberts DDT'ed Steamboat on the floor right in front of his wife, Bonnie, whom Roberts had pointed to just before delivering the blow. 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. However, Roberts' fears were not unfounded: Steamboat was rendered unconscious and sustained a concussion from the force of the blow.

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, most notably a Texas Death 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."

Hulk Hogan
Jake also began a brief feud with Hulk Hogan, but the angle was dropped when Roberts started receiving cheers from the crowd (even though Jake was initially intended to be a heel). This was seen as bad for business considering that Hogan was the top box office draw for the WWF.

Honky Tonk Man
One of the more memorable moments in his career was when he had Alice Cooper in his corner during WrestleMania III in 1987. Jake's WrestleMania III opponent, The Honky Tonk Man , brutally attacked Jake with a guitar on Jake's interview segment The Snake Pit. In reality, The Honky Tonk Man's guitar shot legitimately injured Jake's neck, rupturing two discs. Jake admitted in interviews that the shot was prior to the use of breakaway guitars, so when Honky clubbed him, he really got hit hard. Jake started using pain killers following the injury, which led to severe opiate addictions later in his life. The Honky Tonk Man denies that he legitimately injured Jake.

Rick Rude
Perhaps his best-known feud was against "Ravishing" Rick Rude, who was doing a gimmick where he would select a woman from the audience to kiss after each match. Rude inadvertently chose Jake's real-life wife Cheryl, who refused the kiss; Jake rescued her before Rude could attack, although Cheryl slapped him hard enough to send Rude reeling. At another event, Rude wore a pair of tights emblazoned with a visage of Mrs. Roberts, which an irate Jake tore off, sending Rude running apparently naked from the ring when shown on TV, when those at the arena saw Rude in a thong.

The feud ended due to a reportedly real-life affair between Rude and Cheryl, though Roberts has stated that, to the best of his knowledge, there was no affair.

André the Giant
Next, "The Snake" engaged in a feud with André the Giant. In this storyline, Roberts used his snake to gain a psychological edge over the ophidiophobic André, to nullify the Giant's overwhelming size and strength advantage. Jake can claim a victory via disqualification over André after André attacked special guest referee Big John Studd at WrestleMania V . In retrospect, he views his feud with André as a compliment, citing that since André usually worked with the top guys in each territory, he believes WWE management was subliminally telling him he had the potential to be a top guy.

Ted DiBiase
Shortly after his feud with André had ended, Roberts entered into a feud with "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. 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 "injured" by DiBiase, and needed time off to have surgery to repair the damage.

After successful surgery, Roberts returned and feuded with DiBiase throughout the end of 1989 into 1990. The culmination of their feud took place at WrestleMania VI, where DiBiase gained a count-out victory over Roberts. After the match, Roberts, to the delight of his fans at the packed SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario, mounted an offensive against DiBiase and Virgil, and began giving away DiBiase's "money". One of the recipients was actress Mary Tyler Moore, who was seated at ringside.

Rick Martel
Following a brief feud with Bad News Brown in the summer of 1990, Roberts feuded with "The Model" Rick Martel throughout late 1990 into early 1991, after Martel blinded Roberts (kayfabe) 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 vanquished his rival with the DDT.

In early to mid-1991, Roberts engaged in a bitter feud with Earthquake after his 450-pound body "squashed" Damien (in actuality, it was hamburger stuffed in pantyhose with a small motor to make it look like a live snake was in the bag), and then used Damien's "carcass" to make "Quakeburgers", which he fed to on-air commentator Lord Alfred Hayes.

Jake would appear on Brutus Beekcake'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 whom he named "Lucifer"- the supposed big brother of Damien and "the devil himself."

The Ultimate Warrior
In mid-1991 Jake Roberts turned heel once again. For weeks, he was the one the Ultimate Warrior turned to in his feud with The Undertaker. The angle involved Roberts telling the Warrior that he would have the knowledge of the dark side necessary to defeat his adversary after passing three tests, which would be shown on WWF TV in consecutive weeks. The first was to be locked inside of a coffin, repeating an incident that occurred on The Funeral Parlor (which was hosted by 'Taker's manager Paul Bearer), a few months prior. The second test had Roberts "bury" the Warrior alive in dirt and walk offscreen. The third test involved Warrior entering a room full of snakes to and having to walk through them to find "the answer" in a chest in the middle of the room. When the Warrior opened the chest, he was alarmed to find a king cobra, which (kayfabe) bit him in the face; in actuality, the snake was devenomized and in fact, never actually bit him. As Warrior "weakened" from the "effects" of the cobra's strike, Roberts was joined by The Undertaker and Paul Bearer, revealing the three were in cahoots all along.

Although beautifully planned out, the two were set for what WWF hoped would be one of the hottest feuds of 1991 after SummerSlam 1991 , but, due to a financial dispute that the Warrior had with the WWF around this same period, the match never materialized. Warrior was fired after the event, but WWE still struck while the iron was hot and turned a negative (losing one of their biggest stars and, with it, the money grossing potential the feud had) into a positive.

Randy Savage
Afterward, Roberts had an extremely intense feud with Randy Savage after he interrupted the Savage's wedding reception at SummerSlam and later famously used a (devenomed) cobra to bite Savage's arm (the snake died after the incident, due to a toxic reaction). WWF president Jack Tunney reinstated Savage, who had lost a retirement match (to the Ultimate Warrior) earlier that year at WrestleMania VII, as an active wrestler to get revenge for the attack, and he and Roberts feuded for the next few months. Their first match was at the Tuesday In Texas pay-per-view, which saw the "Macho Man" earn a victory over Roberts, but it was Roberts who would have the last laugh as he attacked Savage after the match and slapped Savage's wife, Miss Elizabeth, 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 1992 Royal Rumble match.

The feud would end on Saturday Night's Main Event, with Savage getting the duke. Roberts, livid at having lost to his arch-nemesis and having received two of Savage's patented flying elbow drops (one of which happened after the match; Savage was going for a third until officials intervened), was helped backstage and, enraged, grabbed a steel chair, saying that he was going to hit whoever came backstage first, whether it was Savage or Elizabeth. Just as he was about to swing the chair, someone stopped him. While Savage and Liz, seeing they had averted a potential tragedy, got out of dodge, Jake turned to confront The Undertaker, who distracted Roberts long enough so that Savage could hit Roberts with a chair instead.

The Undertaker
In early 1992, Jake turned on The Undertaker, who had been his partner in the assault on Savage's wedding, thus completing the Undertaker's turn into a babyface. After an incident on The Funeral Parlor in which Roberts locked the Undertaker's hand in a casket and DDT'ed the show's host and Undertaker's manager Paul Bearer, the two continued to build momentum for their encounter at WrestleMania VIII. Roberts lost to his opponent at WrestleMania VIII and left the WWF soon after that, upset that WWF chairman Vince McMahon didn't offer him a position on the writing staff despite being promised previously. After Pat Patterson stepped down from his post on the writing staff, Vince decided that out of respect for Patterson, the spot would be left vacant. Jake felt he was not only being lied to, but also being betrayed. In response, Jake threatened to no-show WrestleMania VIII if he wasn't given a release from his contract.

World Championship Wrestling
Jake went on to work for World Championship Wrestling 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. Jake had negotiated a major contract with Kip Allen Fry, who was running the company at that time, would earn him $4 million and give him 50 percent of all merchandise sold as opposed to the eight cents got per shirt sold in the WWF. Just a few days before his contract could officially go in to effect, Jake's old real-life adversary back in the NWA, Bill Watts took over for Kip Fry. Watts had promoted Roberts on his own merits in the Mid-South Wrestling, and disliked the snake-bearing gimmick the WWF had put on him. With Watts now in control, Jake went from making about $4 million to half a million.

His single WCW pay-per-view match was against Sting at Halloween Havoc in 1992, after picking their match via a wheel, which was inspired by the movie Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. There was a series of gimmick matches on the wheel, but because the wheel wasn't gimmicked, it landed on what many pundits believed was the worst option - The Coal Miner's Glove Match. However, it was the company's top-selling PPV for several years, but Jake soon left WCW after his wife gave him an ultimatum to either focus on his career or on his family. The couple would divorce not long afterwards.

Return to WWF
Jake returned to the WWF in 1996, as a Bible-preaching face (his new snake was named "Revelations"). Roberts claimed to be a changed man who regretted his past, although some in the industry felt he was holding religious seminars as a way to make money rather than out of genuine faith.

Roberts was pushed as a "Cinderella story" and faced Steve Austin in the final match of the King of the Ring tournament. Austin won, and as Roberts was helped to the back, Austin mocked the Snake's recital of the biblical passage John 3:16, saying "Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!" "Austin 3:16" became a catchphrase that helped propel Austin to the top of the WWF and pro wrestling for the next three years.

Jake feuded with Jerry "The King" Lawler, who went to great lengths to ridicule Jake's past bouts against alcoholism. Later, Roberts and Lawler both said this angle was uncomfortable for them; at one point Lawler spat real whiskey at Roberts.

Independent Circuit
Roberts was fired from the WWF in 1997 for failing to show up for work during a series of house shows, as a result of an ongoing lapse in his sobriety. He competed briefly in Mexico, where he was shaved bald by Konnan, and began appearing in the independent circuit in the U.S. and Great Britain, largely out of the view of most wrestling fans.

Jake got a high amount of Internet buzz in 1999 as a candidate to be The Undertaker's 'Higher Power'. When Vince McMahon was revealed to be the one, he specifically cited on the air the speculation over Roberts.

Beyond the Mat & Heroes of Wrestling
1999 featured two notorious incidents showcasing the depths that Roberts' drug and alcohol addiction had sunk to.

Jake 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, Jake, 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.

Also in 1999, at a Independent PPV show entitled Heroes of Wrestling , Jake cut a rambling, incoherent promo in which he heavily slurred his words. Minutes later, he staggered toward the ring, apparently drunk, for an awkward match with Jim Neidhart, at one point even asking a hesitant female fan at ringside to fondle his pectoral muscles. During the match, when Jake's snake wriggled free from the bag, he waved the snake toward the audience while it was protruding from his crotch.

For more details on this topic, see Heroes of Wrestling#The infamous Jake Roberts interview .

In 2001, Jake 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, teaming with Steve Quintain against the U.K. Pitbulls

On October 20, 2002, Jake Roberts became the NWA (UK) Hammerlock Heavyweight Champion in Maidstone, Kent, England by defeating "Vigilante" Johnny Moss. Moss defeated him for the title the next night in Ashford, Kent, England, though. In November 2002, Jake started his own wrestling promotion in the UK, called "Real Stars of Wrestling". Jake would later go on to open his own training school.

Jake's legal troubles continued, after he was accused of animal cruelty for leaving the snakes at his house unfed for several months. One python subsequently died from starvation. Jake was fined £800 and was banned from keeping animals in the U.K.

Jake would later return to action for the World Association of Wrestling and became a regular on their shows again. He would also go on to compete for the Ultimate Wrestling Alliance, owned by Paul Tyrell and Phil Powers.

In February 2004, Jake wrestled for Wrestle Zone Wrestling, who are the leading wrestling promotion in the North-east of England. Jake headlined WZW's first sellout tour of Scotland and Carlisle. The tour would bring about even more controversy to Jake's already controversial career. On the night of the first show in Dumfries, Jake got into a backstage confrontation with established UK wrestler Alex Shane. Alex, after being taunted by Jake, attacked the legendary wrestler. Alex later said that he couldn't take anymore of Jake's insults and felt it necessary to hit Jake. Jake, after a warning by then-WZW owner Gary Graham went out and faced the UK Hardcore Icon Iceman. Jake won via his patented DDT. The next night at the Lakes Court Hotel in Carlisle, Jake lost his match to Phil Powers, but on the afternoon show Jake would get his revenge, when he beat Powers in what has been described as Jake's best match this side of the Atlantic.

Amazingly, Jake was later booked by Alex Shane on an FWA show as a late replacement for Steve Corino, who had been unable to attend the show because of flight problems.

During 2004, Jake caused further controversy by entering into a relationship with a female trainee of his, with whom he lived for six months, and who later went on to become popular UK-based wrestler, Aphrodite.

Jake made a 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 signature "RKO," helping to fuel Orton's "Legend Killer" gimmick. He worked with the company to create a DVD retrospective of his career, which was released later that year.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
Jake made an appearance on the October 19, 2006 edition of TNA iMPACT!, and announced he would referee the Monster's Ball match between Brother Runt, Abyss, Raven and Samoa Joe at Bound for Glory. He had a snake in a bag. Whether this was supposed to be Lucifer is unknown. At TNA Bound For Glory on October 22, 2006, he performed a DDT on Raven, giving Samoa Joe the win in the Monster's Ball match.

In wrestling
Finishing and signature maneuvers
Swinging knee lift
Short-arm clothesline
Shoulder block


Jake "The Snake" Roberts MySpace


3rd June 2003


Feb 2008

Jake Roberts has accepted Vince McMahon's offer to go into the WWE Wellness program

New Message from Jake Roberts - 9th March 2008

Almost 53 years ago, I hit the ground a-running. Most of the time didn't even look to see where I was going. I can say now without being ashamed that I made a lot of choices that were wrong. It's amazing with all those that I chose, that I'm still alive today. Three months ago, I made a great choice. One that has given me the opportunity to get my life under control and start enjoying all that I have sewn. It has been very tough and hard to do what had to be done. There were times that I really felt like getting up and hitting the ground a-running again.

There were a lot of things that kept me from doing this. Number one: my children. Number two: family. Three: myself. Four: fans and friends. Those were the most important. You see, I've neglected all of the above most of my life. Oh, I showed up to holidays, some birthdays, and events, but I was never completely there. You see, for many years, I didn't take care of anything in my life including the above, my mind, or my health. I was shooting through the sky and the world like a shooting star. It amazes me and confirms to me that there is a God and my God simply has something else for me to do. You see, I should have fallen to earth a long time ago.

For me, I had to reach a point where I had absolutely nothing left to lose. The hard part was living long enough for that to happen. But by the grace of God, I did it. You see, being stubborn, headstrong and gifted isn't necessarily a good thing. That allowed me to survive--if you want to call it that. My heart was beating but I wasn't living, feeling, smelling, touching, hearing, or seeing ... just existing. At the end, I was praying that I could somehow get to rehab and try one last time to exorcise the demons that have lived in me so long. My prayer was answered, through God, by Vince McMahon and the WWE.

For whatever reason, I am so thankful, grateful, and owe my life to the WWE. That is a huge statement and one that I don't enjoy saying due to the amount of shame that it brings. I put that shame aside and got my ass and mind and soul into the rehab. They have done nothing but be the most supportive and accommodating and helpful and hopeful and inspiring. Basically, they have stood in the corner and been the anchor while I was in the ring for the fight of my life. No, not wrestling, but a fight that would seal my fate.

Three months with two weeks to go, I have made the most amazing transition from hell to heaven on earth. No, I'm not getting soft, mushy, or living on a pink cloud. I'm just telling you the damned truth. You see, none of you have walked in my shoes and none of you should wish that on your worst enemy. I am proud of myself and of the WWE for giving me an opportunity that I would have never believed possible just a short time ago.

The rehab therapist physiologist and treatment team damned sure had a full tub of crap to work with. They were diligent, supportive, brutal, and loving. They picked me up when I couldn't stand up. They supported me and helped me walk. They guided me so I could see. I can never thank them enough, but I'll damned sure try. The way I'll do that is try my best and dedicate myself to a better life , a sober existence, and try in every way to encourage others who are in the same dilemma.

So guys, and girls, don't be afraid, don't be shy, and most of all, don't be stupid. If you are hurting and doing some of the same, reach out and get help. You may not be as far along as I was, but consider this ... you may not live long enough to get as far along as I was. You see, I've always been a freak of nature. Not by choice, but Divine intervention.

I am now available for bookings whether it be wrestling, acting, autographs, appearances, motivational speaking, tug of war, jello wrestling (a new favorite, I sure won't eat it..) and just about anything else. Reason being not only do I need to work, but I want to. That is different. You see, before, I had to work to support my addiction.

Speaking of addictions, I want say this: in the beginning, I enjoyed tremendously every drink and drug that I did. Had some wonderful times. But that is a nasty hook and lie that will wind up consuming you. When it's a choice, there is a right and wrong. When it becomes an addiction, it's all that matters. The addiction becomes you, and you become the addiction. All that you do in your life will be centered around this disease.

I can also tell you that I'm not ashamed or angry that I'm an alcoholic and drug addict. On the contrary, I'm quite thankful. You see, if I weren't afflicted with this disease, then the only excuse I would have had would be because I was a complete world record-holding asshole. I never wanted nor have I met anyone whose dream was to grow-up and become a statistic and a fatality to something that I originally chose to do.

As far as these rumors that fly about Wrestlemania and /or HOF, I have not been approached or spoken to--in any form or fashion--to be a part or even appear. It's a wonderful thing to have fans that appreciate what I have done and can look past my mistakes. I want to thank the fans and friends that have expressed their feelings. Someday, I have no doubt that I will be inducted. Why, you might ask? I'll tell you why. No one has ever been able to stop me from doing anything that I wanted to do. I was the only one that could stop me. Good news is, I don't think with my brain anymore when it comes to the right and wrong. I simply listen to my heart. You see, my mind could justify anything, but my heart knows the truth. Truth is ... it would be wrong to induct me at this time simply because it would look bad having a new world champion that is already being inducted to the HOF. Oops! Now you know just one of my goals. The rest will be shared as needed.

Fair warning ... there are 13 days left before the snake (the NEW snake) will be released. That is good news for most, and bad news for those who want to get in my way. Looking forward to seeing you all again and showing you the reward for all your help, love, support kindness and faithfulness that has created a new beginning for a proud, wiser, healthier, older, and optimistic human being.

Jake Roberts
March 9, 2008



Jake "The Snake" Roberts - Australian Sports Entertainment

Wrestling Legends


Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Greg Tingle, Sydney, Australia 1993