I think I speak for a lot of wrestling fans when I say that we've seen far too many wrestlers suffer once their in-ring careers are over and in some cases they die young too. It's the most difficult and worst thing about being a wrestling fan. It pains us to see it happen because we feel like we know these larger than life characters even though we're really just fans watching them on television. The bad stories get too much attention. That's how society is. Too many people kick others when they are down. That's not we're here for, though.
There are good stories and this is one of them. That's why I'm here to tell you about the amazing story of wrestling legend Jake "The Snake" Roberts and the help he has received from his friend, fellow wrestling legend Diamond Dallas Page.
Before I get to the great news about Roberts, it needs to be stated that Roberts was a wrestler that made a lot of impact on the wrestling business in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He started in the World Wrestling Federation in 1986 and his main run there lasted until 1992. He was mostly a babyface during that run, but it was his heel work that made him stand out to me.
His promos were among the best in the business. They were so good that they legitimately scared the hell out of me when I was 11 or 12 years old. In recent years I can remember seeking out watching Roberts promos because I remembered how much they made an impact on me when I was a kid. Not surprisingly they were as great as I remembered.
In the ring Roberts was also a great storyteller. As a babyface, he always found a way to keep the fans emotionally invested in his matches and was great at making that heroic comeback. As a heel he wrestled at a methodical pace, used mind games and found creative ways to get out of there with the victory no matter what he had to do.
What people remember most about his career was his finishing move, the DDT. With the head of his opponent tucked under his arm, he would drive his other hand into the back of his opponent and send their head crashing into the mat below. It's a moved that lives on because so many wrestlers use moves that are variations of Roberts' DDT, but there's no question that he is considered to be the one that really made that move famous.
Here's a babyface promo from Roberts before his match at WrestleMania VI with Ted Dibiase. Listen how he delivers the promo without raising his voice, yet he had such a masterful way of telling his story and getting his point across that it worked as well as any talker in the history of wrestling. I also think WWE did a great job of doing a close-up on his face as he talked because his eyes made you fear him. He had mastered the art of the promo.
That was babyface Roberts. Here is the heel storyline that Roberts was most famous for: his snake biting the arm of Randy Savage. This was in the fall of 1991, I was 11 years old and Randy Savage was my favorite wrestler. Believe me when I tell you that this was the saddest day ever for this Savage fan, or at least it was up there with Randy's "retirement" earlier in the year.
Over 20 years later, it's still one of the better angles I've ever seen in the build up to a match. Both guys were brilliant in the segment, but Roberts made me legitimately fear him when I was a kid. That's what the goal of a heel is.
I think it's pretty well known that the latter years of Roberts' career and his post wrestling career have been a mess. He turned to alcohol and drugs far too often. It's not a secret, but we're not here to focus on the past either.
Let's fast forward to today. Roberts has made many strides in living a healthier, cleaner and most importantly happier life. While I'm not here to write the whole story, here's what you should know.
Jake Roberts is now 57 years old. In the summer of 2012 he weighed over 300 pounds. Cue Diamond Dallas Page, who is 56 years old and was trained to wrestle by Roberts when he was 35 years old, which was considered "old" in the wrestling business for somebody new. Considering DDP is a three time WCW World Heavyweight Champion and likely future WWE Hall of Famer I'd say his career worked out very well for him.
On October 29, 2012, Roberts moved in with DDP. It was something they called an "Accountability Crib" in Atlanta where Roberts would be held accountable for everything he did. No more drinking. No more illegal drugs. It was about helping him get on the right path so that he can enjoy his life. With the help of DDP Yoga (more info at DDPYoga.com) as well as the guidance of DDP himself, Roberts is making a lot of progress.
It was the beginning of the process to help Roberts deal with his demons with drugs and alcohol while also helping him to maintain a better life. Here's the teaser trailer of "The Resurrection of Jake Roberts."
I think the most poignant words in that video are from Roberts himself: "I need a life. A life." Seems simple, right? But it's not easy. That's why Roberts had to put the work in.
You can see that Roberts has made a lot of progress in that video. Here's a photo that offers even more proof of that.
That's Jake Roberts after losing 60 pounds in over five months. Amazing!
Even though Roberts is on the right path, there is a physical issue that he has to deal with too. Here's a video of Jake talking about how he needs to have shoulder surgery, so he was looking at ways to raise money in order to get the surgery done. His shoulder injury was limiting what he could do in his workouts in his recovery. The surgery costs $9,200.
As a result of that, what DDP and the friends of Roberts did was they created an Indiegogo page where people could donate to help Jake get this shoulder surgery. It's not a case where you just spend money without getting anything back. Among other things you can have your name appear in the "Resurrection of Jake Roberts" documentary, get a DVD, an autograph, a t-shirt, a phone call and for $1,000 you could spend some time with Jake and Dallas the "Accountability Crib" home in Atlanta.
What's the total on the Indiegogo page after just five days? Over $20,000! Not only did they surpass the $9,200 goal they had set out, but they have doubled it as well.
Here's a video of Jake and Dallas talking to Jake's daughter Brandy (he's a grandfather now too) about this project as well as the money they had raised in just the first twelve hours.
It's a moving video, but as usual Roberts was quick to bring humor to the situation by commenting: "I might as well get my tits done!" That was hilarious!
There was another comment from Roberts that really explained why it was so successful so quickly: "All those years - they must have really meant something." DDP agreed. They're right.
In the last two minutes of that video, Roberts looks into the camera to give another promo except this time it wasn't for the company he worked for. This was from his heart and it was a message to all those that have supported him through the years.
Roberts said that he doubted a lot of things in his life. He said because of the support that the fans have shown him there's one thing he can't doubt anymore: the love. Watch it. The tears are real. The emotions are real.
Putting Things in Perspective
This wasn't written because I was asked to do it. I've never met Jake Roberts or Dallas Page. I'm just a fan like anybody reading this right now. I'm a fan of anybody that gets in between those ropes to put their bodies on the line to entertain us because it's something they love to do. I have respect for the wrestling business and for everybody in it.
I want to share this story with my fellow wrestling fans around the world because Jake Roberts, like so many wrestlers before and after him, sacrificed a lot of things in life to entertain us. Of course he's made some mistakes, which he readily admits, but this is not a sad story anymore.
This story of Jake Roberts is one of success. It's about a father and grandfather wanting to be there to watch his family grow up. It's about a friend like Diamond Dallas Page being there for his friend when he needed him the most. Roberts didn't have to do it. He wanted to do it. He was driven to turn his life around. Finally, after many twists and turns, Jake Roberts is on the right path.
I hope that one day Jake Roberts get inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame because he deserves it. I hope that Dallas Page is the one to induct him. I hope that his family is there to see it. Most importantly, I hope that Jake can tell us about the journey he's been on in his life both in the ring and outside of it because it's an amazing story. Fans need to know about it and I think if he gets that Hall of Fame ring one day then an even bigger audience will get the chance to know all about it too.
To DDP, I commend you for helping your friend and mentor in a time of need. I have seen videos of your work with others to inspire them to live a better life. It's very admirable of you to do that and shows what kind of a man you really are. Thank you.
To Jake Roberts, I'll just say this. On behalf of all wrestling fans we thank you for everything you gave us in your career and I hope you don't forget how much the fans of the wrestling business truly care about you. Please stay strong and live your life the way you want to live it surrounded by your friends and loved ones.
For more info on DDP Yoga visit DDPYoga.com today. Go like DDP Yoga on Facebook. Follow DDP on Twitter at @RealDDP and DDP Yoga on Twitter @DDPYoga. All of the videos used up above come from DDP on Youtube.
Once again here's the Indiegogo page where you can donate to help Jake deal with his physical ailments and you get something out of it too no matter how much you spend.
Thanks to this Newsday article for providing info for this article.
Finally, here's a Jake Roberts video that a fan made. Jake commented on it himself because he was so impressed by it.
In the future I'll write about Jake Roberts again to update on his status and I look forward to watching the documentary as well.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I'm not asking for anything except that you help to spread this message for Jake Roberts, DDP and everybody that's a fan of the wrestling business.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org