I’ve been a wrestling fan since 1991, and it’ll always be the case for me that the best and most recognizable characters were the ones from back in those days.
I remember vividly sitting at home in November of that year and watching the evil Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts tie up ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage in the ring ropes and attack him with a King Cobra. Now bear in mind folks – especially those who are critical of wrestling – that this was real. By that, I mean that although it was part of the storyline and everyone knew it was going to happen, to sell the realism of it, they did actually have a King Cobra sink its teeth into Savage’s arm and stay there. It’s incredible viewing by the today’s standards, where there is no doubt that something like that just wouldn’t happen.
It’s stuff like that that made Jake Roberts my favourite wrestling villain of all time.
And yet by April 1992, he’d left the WWF and by the end of the same year his top-line career was over after a short stay in rival organisation WCW.
In 1996, an older, fatter looking Jake – who looked far worse than his 41 years – reappeared with the gimmick of a man who had overcome his demons with alcohol and drugs. It didn’t last though, and once he made his final appearance in January 1997, he became the cautionary tale of the wrestler who drank and snorted his career away; who never fulfilled his huge potential.
Occasionally you’d hear about his embarrassing drunken mishaps on small independent wrestling events in local high schools and community centres where he’d show up wasted and in no fit state to perform. Perhaps the best example would be on the Heroes of Wrestling event in the late 1990s where he drunkenly pretended to wank off his snake in front of an audience of puzzled children and stunned adults.
He’d talk about getting clean, but it never happened.
Until – that is – he moved in with fellow retired wrestler and Yoga enthusiast, Diamond Dallas Page.
In what sounds like a perfect wrestling plot, DDP took Jake in and got him clean and in shape using the power of his own brand of Yoga and healthy living.
And would you believe it, by 2014 Jake Roberts made it back to the WWE as a reformed man, with a one-off appearance on RAW followed by an induction into their Hall of Fame.
The Resurrection of Jake The Snake tells the story of how this happened.
Starting from the moment DDP first went to Jake’s house and continuing all the way through to his induction into the Hall of Fame, this documents every arduous step in his journey, thanks to a documentary maker who thought it might make for an interesting story.
It certainly does.
This movie gives you an in-depth look into the tormented soul that is Jake, and how his paper-thin skin and doubt in himself made it an almost impossible task to overcome his addictions.
It’s heartfelt and – I hope anyway – honest and is hugely absorbing, especially for a fan of his like me.
I couldn’t tell you for sure whether or not this would appeal to someone who doesn’t know who Jake is, but I honestly think it might.
I’d highly recommend giving it a shot.
The Resurrection of Jake The Snake is available to watch on NetFlix.