Why It Ended – Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, part 2 (Ep. 49)
Release Date: 1/29/19
Recap by: Jeff Rush, PWPodcasts Assistant Editor
We start out with Jake talking about his health issues, working out (he still does DDP Yoga), and being a grandfather.
Jake’s talking about his oldest daughter who had been misdiagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis for ten years and the physical battle she’s been through and Robbie E does the worst, most awkward segue ever. “So Jake, speaking about injuries and being healthy and everything, tell me about the time the Honky Tonk Man hit you with the guitar on the Snake Pit.”
Jake says the head shot he took there really messed him up. He calls Honky a cheap shot artist, scum of the earth, lowlife, loser and a few other names. Jake says he was the IC champ for over a year only because he refused to drop the title for so long.
Apparently wrestlers have to register their gimmick names yearly, but the older guys like Jake are grandfathered in. He got a call recently from the place who registers the names saying Wayne Ferris was attempting to register Jake’s name. Jake says Honky has also done this to the Patriot.
Regarding his feud with Randy Savage, Jake says the audience was split on them because of their work rate.
“Ronnie Garvin’s hard nipples.” A group of words I never imagined assembling together was another topic. He and Jake would have some brutal matches and Jake says Ronnie would never begin his comeback until his nipples got hard. So there. Try watching a Ronnie Garvin match ever again without looking at his nipples.
The wrestlers featured on Superstars and Wrestling Challenge in the 80’s and early 90’s, who would have up to three matches per taping, were only paid $50 for the night. The thinking was the television exposure was the real pay. Enhancement talent, on the other hand, would get $500. Jake says he would give his $50 payout to his opponent out of a show of respect and, as a result, they would bump like crazy for him and make him look fantastic.
(They finally released a years worth of Superstars on the Network. Unfortunately the year is 1992, which is far from the heyday of that show. I’m looking forward to them releasing the mid-late 80’s stuff. Then we can watch three weeks worth of Jake Roberts matches and try to figure out which job guy got his $50 payout.)
Vince put Jake’s wife on the road with him in an attempt to keep him out of trouble. So Cheryl Roberts involvement in one of the most memorable angles of that era was basically because she was chaperoning Jake at the time. He has a funny line in here about failing a drug test even though he stayed up all night studying for it. He concludes that it’s a bad idea to bring your wife on the road because “they see too much.”
Rick Martel was terrified of having the blindfold match with Jake at WM7. He says he made it work as best he could, but time constraints made it tough. Apparently there was a 20 minute version of this match on a house show prior to the Mania match. Jake swears that one was better.
Jake says Warrior cost him a lot of money by getting fired just as their angle was heating up. The best part of this story is how angry and foul-tempered Jake paints Vince out to be, waiting for Warrior to walk through the curtain before firing him and telling him to “get the f**k out of the building,” and then turning to Jake, who I guess was standing right there and telling him he’s “got the worst f**king luck.” There was a wedding on that show! You’d think Vince would’ve been in a better mood.
Jake points out that he was the last person to have a full blown angle with Andre the Giant. From there he tells a weird story about working a house show match with Andre and a 12-year old girl from the audience getting involved, trying to help Jake by bringing him his snake and then Andre having her and her family kicked out of the building. Where was security for this show?
Jake says he played a lot of cards with Andre, and through doing so, was around when Andre demanded they make him a title belt that fit. This didn’t make a ton of sense, because he says they told Andre he’d be dropping the title to Hogan at WrestleMania III and then goes on to support Hogan’s lore about not knowing Andre would do the job for him at Mania by saying Andre was backstage before their match saying he was starting to enjoy wearing the title, maybe he’d keep it. Jake says everyone was shocked, Vince was stammering. The only problem with this story is Andre wasn’t the champion leading up to WM3. He didn’t have any title then. So unless he was just walking about backstage wearing Hogan’s belt, Jake is getting some stuff mixed up here.
Jake says Andre was stiff with his opponents because he took pride in his work. There’s some logic in their somewhere. Basically he’s saying Andre would shoot on guys if he felt they were making the match look bad. He also notes that Andre hated Randy Savage, which we’ve heard Bruce Prichard talk about in the past.
We already know from last weeks episode how Jake felt about Bill Watts. Jake says he signed his deal with Kip Frye when he joined WCW but that Watts had taken over by the time he started. He says Watts tore up Jake’s contract and told him he was only getting $1,000/week instead. Since Jake couldn’t go back to the WWF, he agreed. He took the new deal and says Watts screwed him at every turn, killing off an angle with Jake getting bitten by his snake. Finally Jake checked into rehab, he says, as a way of sticking it to Watts. He knew Watts would screw him out of his pay and Jake figured he could get Watts in trouble since he was trying to better himself in rehab.
Matt tries to get a story out of Spin the Wheel Make the Deal, but it just brings on another Watts rant.
Jake was brought back to the WWF as a surprise entrant in the 1996 Royal Rumble. He talks about getting the pop of the night there, then discusses the infamous Curtain Call. He was disgusted by it and says it was disrespectful. Two surprises from this story. Jake says Vince ok’d the Curtain Call, which was clearly not the case. But he also says Freddie Blassie was the most upset about it, throwing chairs around backstage.
Jake was frustrated during his second tenure with the WWF by being messed with backstage, which he says resulted in him turning back to drug abuse.
Jake says he still uses marijuana, that he prefers edibles.
Matt closes out the show getting back into the Jerry Grey controversy. Jake says he still considers Jerry a friend and that he just wants Jerry to be honest about everything, that he doesn’t actually owe him any money. That’s pretty much his stance, at least publicly. Matt points out that Jerry has told him that he didn’t start the campaign that’s out there.
Jake is releasing a book this summer. He says it’s 700 pages long.
Review: Another awesome episode. It was every bit as good as the first part last week, in that it shed a lot of light from Jake’s perspective, on many things. That’s the only problem too, though, is that it’s Jake’s perspective. Whether or not you find him to be a reliable source is another thing. I think in this regard, I largely do. It’s tough, though, with the stories that don’t add up, like Andre keeping the title he didn’t have. Like, if he got that mixed up, does he misremember Freddie Blassie throwing a fit backstage after the curtain call? Was Rick Martel really terrified of the blindfold match? If you can accept Jake’s story on it’s face the same way we agree to accept Bruce Prichard or Eric Bischoff’s retelling of stories based on their memories, then this is excellent. If you’re a Jake the Snake hater, this interview probably won’t do much to sway you. He does continue to be super vague about the Jerry Gray stuff, but I don’t know. I feel that is a personal matter. I don’t have a strong opinion favoring either side there. Recommended! Rating: 8/10
Jeff lives in Brooklyn and raises his two year old son while running a small business and listening to a lot of pro wrestling podcasts. He’s a huge fan of women’s wrestling, independent wrestling and Prime Time Wrestling and is hoping the main event of WrestleMania will be the one-on-one match we all know it should be. You can catch him each week on The Pull Apart: The Pro Wrestling Podcast Podcast and on Twitter @jefflikesstuff.