Jake Roberts Interview
Written by: Arnold Furious
“One time I started a promo just moving my lips, not making a word. You think about the power I have over you to make you get off your fat ass to turn up the volume on your TV. Simply by moving my lips. Just think if I was to touch you. Scare you” – Jake Roberts.
“Evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb” – Spaceballs.
This is with RF Video and done at the RF offices by Rob Feinstein in 2000. We open with Jake doing a run in during Dreamer-Lawler in ECW. Then there’s some more clips from earlier and in Mexico. Then he cuts a promo on the Von Erich’s.
Jake kicks off by saying he’s miserable, which is how he starts every day that way no one else can screw it up for him. This is a sign of how well this interview is going to go.
Growing up/breaking in
His Dad was a wrestler (Grizzly Smith) but he believed it was real and worried about him. Jake hated wrestling and didn’t want to get into it at all. He got into wrestling to gain his father’s love and assurances (although he said in Beyond the Mat that he did it to spite his father). His Dad didn’t help him and tried to stop him several times. Jake was discouraged by promoters as well because he was too thin but he pushed to prove his father wrong. Jake started as a referee in Louisiana. He debuted in Florida as a wrestler.
Jake didn’t train with anyone. He learned by trial and error and various people talked to him including Bob Roop and Hiro Matsuda. Jake puts Eddie Graham over for being the greatest mind for finishes in wrestling. He talks about how he enjoyed working with Dusty Rhodes and pissing the fans off.
Jake puts over the rats saying they could “suck chrome off a bumper”. He puts Florida over as a great place to wrestle regardless of who was there. Just the building was amazing. He puts over Barry Windham for their early feud. They were doing 35-45 minutes every night under the main event guys who were working 5 minutes for all the money. Jake wishes he could have spent more time around Dusty Rhodes learning stuff. He doesn’t know what went wrong with his relationship with Dusty but they didn’t get along for some reason. He talks about how he’d rib Magnum TA because he was so serious. Magnum got ripped off by Buzz Sawyer (what a shock) so he was pissed off about that. Jake talks about how the travel was 500 miles at least per day.
Fritz Von Erich
Jake went into Dallas next but the money sucked. He didn’t like the cliques there either because he was a loner. He talks about how rough Fritz was and he didn’t talk much. He blames Fritz for the Von Erich boys behaviour. Jake talks about the Von Erich kids and how he thought a lot of Kerry but he was just a dumb kid. Fritz pushed his kids to work injured and pushed them harder than he needed to. Jake talks about doing a lot of cocaine with Gino Hernandez and how he was murdered but it was made to look like suicide.
Brisco’s asked Jake if he wanted to book and sent him to Atlanta. He walked right into the middle of a power struggle but everyone was happy with him as booker as a happy medium. Jake talks about the Legion of Doom and how that was his idea. Ronnie Garvin’s “hands of stone” gimmick was Jake’s too. He talks about Garvin’s nipples going hard right before he made a comeback. It was Jake’s idea to turn Bundy babyface after they said it couldn’t be done. Jake runs down Buzz Sawyer calling him a cheap shot artist who chose to rough up kids but wouldn’t fight anyone he couldn’t beat. Jake puts Andre and Haku over as genuine tough guys. Jake calls Bill Watts a piece of shit.
Jake says he got success wherever he got to use his mind. Jake takes a few shots at Watts for being a thief who paid badly. Jake gets angry at how wrestlers today just do the same old thing “pages 1-9 today, next week 1-9, week after 1-9”. He talks about how great psychology is and how it’s “mentally masturbating people”. He thinks the modern guys work technically and psychically well but they don’t have the emotional connection with the fans. Jake takes a few shots at Backyard promotions. He claims a wrestling fed will come along and just promote wrestling.
He ruled with fear. He was obnoxious. Jake talks about how Muhammed Ali came in but Jake didn’t sell for him because he’s a celebrity and he won’t be here next week. Watts is a thief who’ll steal from your mind, your pocket and his own family. Jake claims Watts is miserable and alone. He’s been “dead for 20 years”. They talk about the quote where Jake said he’d piss on Watts grave when he died. He talks about how the Watts fines all went to Bill Watts so he could screw the wrestlers over some more. He talks about Watts own kids not liking him. Not a patch on Jim Cornette’s rant at Eric Bischoff or Vince Russo. Everyone hates someone in wrestling and Watts is the target of Jake’s rage.
He had his nose up Bill’s ass and he did that everywhere else too. He said it didn’t work in the WWF because they couldn’t stand that attitude. Hence he got landed with the Red Rooster gimmick. Taylor ended up in Mid South as Bill Watts GM after Dusty got rid of him. Jake briefly takes some shots at Watts again for his companies going broke.
He puts him over as a buddy.
Dick Slater/Dark Journey
More shots at Bill for sexual discrimination. Jake talks about Dick Slater and how they had a lot of heat. Jake fell in love with Slater’s ex-wife without knowing they’d been together. Jake talks about how Slater would shoot on him in the ring sometimes but Jake still liked him.
Jake tells the story with The Grappler and how he held him in a front facelock. One time Jake fell over backwards and dumped Grappler on his head accidentally inventing the DDT. The first one knocked the guy out. Jake talks about guys not knowing how to execute the DDT although Scott Levy was closest. It’s named after the government poison chemical. Jake talks about execution with the pendulum swing with the legs. Jake wouldn’t let anyone kick out from the DDT. It’s all down to that. He says he could have gotten the headlock over if no one ever got out of it.
Jake talks about how he couldn’t speak loudly so he developed a promo style where he talk quietly and be different. “One time I started a promo just moving my lips, not making a word. You think about the power I have over you to make you get off your fat ass to turn up the volume on your TV. Simply by moving my lips. Just think if I was to touch you. Scare you”. Man, Jake has a killer way of saying things sometimes. That line just gave me goosebumps. He says he lifted stuff from various musical influences like Ozzy, Pink Floyd and the Stones. His theory is that if you’ve already heard something you’ll agree with it because you recognise it. He doesn’t like today’s interviews. They all yell too much. What about Raven, Jake?
UWF into the WWF
UWF Couldn’t compete with Vince but Jake blames Watts for not paying enough and killing the talent’s desire. Watts’s locker room was always tired. Jake asked one day where did he fit into the list of stars as he felt he was getting the biggest responses but he wasn’t getting the money. Terry Taylor told him that he had him #5 babyface. #1 Duggan, #2 Doc, #3 Teddy, #4 Watts then Jake. So he told Taylor he was giving his notice. He called Vince McMahon who was off somewhere but Vince got in touch 20 minutes later from wherever he was and sent him plane tickets. Vince just blew him away. His office has books on psychology. There’s a noise off camera and Jake says – “I just dropped my pipe, nah, only kidding Mah. That’s only a rumour. A rumour that’s true”.
He calls Hogan a loner who had to keep watching his back. They only wrestled twice because the crowd kept chanting DDT and it screwed the whole thing up. Jake talks about suggesting bringing a snake out with him under Watts but he didn’t want to do it. Vince jumped at the idea. He talks about how Kamala was shit scared of the snake. The snake bit Jake a lot and he talks about how much snake shit smells. Jake talks about how a snake shoots mist out as a self-defence mechanism and he often sprayed the crowd.
Jake puts over Steamboat over a lot. Great worker but beyond that a better man.
Pure misery. Bundy didn’t like to move much so the matches were horrible.
Other WWF feuds
Hercules Hernandez and they hurt each other a few times. JYD – hard to work with. Their best matches were in Canada when JYD was Big Daddy Ritter. Jake moves on to Stampede and how Stu never stretched him. He had a knee injury and got in an argument with Stu about how many ways there were to apply a sleeper hold. Stu claimed there were more than one way to do it. Stu dragged Bret in and slapped one sleeper on him after another until he started bleeding from the eyes. He puts Stu over for sharing the wealth.
Jake talks about working 60-80 days straight. It was all travel and work and your body is breaking down. The guys needed drugs or they’d have to take time off and they would lose their spot. Jake took steroids to recover from injuries but they were always his choice.
“Randy needs to quit chewing coffee grinds”. Jake enjoyed the feud although Randy was very insecure and thought people were always trying to get one over on him. They had a 30 minute match on Saturday Night Main Event which was the first time they never had Hogan in the main event so they had to carry it. He talks about meeting Dick Ebersol and the first time he met him they weren’t introduced and Ebersol gave him a script. Jake wasn’t receptive and told him to shove it up his ass. Ebersol asked Jake what he wanted to do instead and they went with it. He ended up going to Ebersol’s birthday party.
“To me they’re just people”.
Babyface run in the WWF
“If they fear you enough they want you to be a babyface”. Jake didn’t mind working one way or the other. He worked the same way as a face and a heel. Vince came up with the Snake Pit for Jake to do. That gave Jake the chance to have a battle of wits with various guys. Jake calls some guys “defenceless” in a battle of wits. He talks about politics and backstabbing. Jake was never a good politician. Jake doesn’t name any names that were. Jake puts over Honky Tonk Man for having the softest, smallest hands in the world. He calls working with Alice Cooper a treat. He enjoyed the Rick Rude stuff as well. We go off on a tangent to talk about Nikita Koloff and how he was brought into Georgia even though he couldn’t wrestle. He puts Ted DiBiase over and how all their matches were fun. Jake talks about the Savage/Undertaker stuff and how that was all his ideas. Warrior was after that and he got fired before they could have a match. He says that Warrior wasn’t a person he was just fried, lost. He calls him a dangerous idiot who can’t even tie his shoes, much less work.
Blindfold match with Rick Martel
Easiest match he’s ever had. He could see right through the hood. More people comment on that match than any other he’s ever had. It was the easiest money he ever made.
Leaving the WWF
Jake says he’d been promised a booking position. According to Vince, Patterson and Garvin were going and Jake would get that job so he felt lied to when that didn’t happen. He went to WCW right away after that. He lived in Atlanta and negotiated a good contract. Bill Watts came in and tore the contract up in front of his face. So he only ever wrestled one match with Sting and wished he could have worked more with him. He wouldn’t go back to the WWF or WCW without a booking position. He talks about how he wasn’t with Smokey Mountain Wrestling for long after that and there was a misunderstanding over pay. Cornette’s take on that is that he just didn’t show up and he still paid him more than the other guys but Jake’s wife bitched and complained about everything.
Jake met him in the nightclubs down in Florida. He puts DDP over for working hard and refusing to take no for an answer. Flair told him he’d never make it so Jake helped him as much as he could because he didn’t care much for Flair either.
“I’m a whore”. They paid him so he went. He could never get out of the arenas because the fans wanted to kill him. Jake says he’d go back because the money and the security was good enough.
He went back for money and to see if he could still do it. The fans were really enthusiastic but it was short lived. Jake detours off into how Missy Hyatte was a good student (ho, ho). Jake talks about how much the Jerry Lawler feud sucked and they didn’t need to go that personal. Jake talks about how he preaches about God and goes into drugs and how that’s the devil’s path and his own weakness. Jake says he’ll probably take some drugs before the day is out. Jake says he doesn’t think he’ll ever be clean or even if he wants to. He’s never harmed anyone or stolen anything or endangered anyone. He’s one of the few guys who’ve ever spoken out on drugs. “Don’t pick it up the first time because you’ll like it”.
Beyond the Mat
Jake talks about how he still does crack but Barry Blaustein ripped him off. He told the truth and Blaustein made him out to be a loser. Jake was conned into believing that the movie would be to help kids to show them the difference between right and wrong. Interesting to note that nothing ever came of Jake’s “lawsuit” however seeing as the way he was portrayed is pretty accurate. Jake talks about back in the WWF how the Cliques had taken over. He liked Shawn Michaels until he went into the main events. Jake blames the promoters for Survivor Series ending up as a last minute thing.
Jake puts Austin over and knew he hadn’t gotten a break anywhere so he wanted to put him over. He’s happy for him. In the WWF he did some booking and was a road agent for the TV’s. He got put back on the road and didn’t want to be there because it’s the “devil’s playground”. He couldn’t deal with it. Jake says he’s not evil – he helped as many people as he could. He wants to be remembered as an “honest prick”. He doesn’t think he burned any bridges. Jake says he’d like to work with Scott Levy. He wanted to work for Paul Heyman but never got the chance outside of a few one off’s. Jake thinks the perceptions of him have been somewhat unfair.
Jake tells young guys to learn the art if they want to succeed. “If you’re going to be a wrestler, be a good one”. Jake talks about Dory Funk Jr and how he told him “the day you quit learning is the day you should quit”. Jake talks about how he’s running a company (wrestling school, I believe) and he hopes that will go somewhere positive. Jake plugs JaketheSnakeDDT.com which is where he rants about the TV shows. We move onto the Rock and how Jake thinks he’s a good promo guy. Jake goes back to Barry Blaustein again and how they made shit up about how he’d not seen his daughter. Jake gets really pissed off about it. Jake takes a moment to complain about the lack of stars today and how Jericho is over rated. Jake says he didn’t need titles because he was over without them. “To blow me is to know me” – Jake’s closing words.
Well the interview comes off as awkward. Jake doesn’t want to be there and doesn’t want to be answering the questions they’re firing at him especially the ones about drugs. He’s happier talking about wrestling matches and whatnot gets defensive in a hurry sometimes. It’s not the most pleasant thing in the world to see. Jake is bitter and angry. It’s not fun to watch and to think that these are his memories from a lifetime is really quite sad. As for those who say Feinstein drew him into the drug thing – Jake brought it up first and repeatedly mentioned drugs throughout. You want someone to blame for your problems Jake, look in a mirror.
And now….the matches.
Jake Roberts v Big Daddy Ritter
This is from Stampede. Ritter is JYD. The winner gets a shot at NWA champion, at the time, Harley Race. Here’s the match – Jake sells a lot while Ritter works the arm and cheats. Jake uses a chair and decks the referee because he’s so pissed off at 5.21. 1/2*
Jake Roberts v Humongous
Humongous is Sid in a mask and this is a cage match. Jake comes out wearing a mask himself because he found that he couldn’t be hurt as badly that way. They both no sell anything to the mask and then try to remove each other’s masks as a result. Sid removes Jake’s mask and that allows him to use the mask as a weapon. Sid just destroys Jake, I mean tears him apart and busts him wide open. Jake takes his boot off and uses it on the back of Sid’s head and hits a DDT for 2. You see, he kicked out because his mask absorbed the blow. This also paints Jake as a liar somewhat for saying that no one ever kicked out of the move in his interview. Sid gets a chair tossed in to him but Jake hits a DDT on it for the finish at 8.25. **1/2. Good psychology and a solid performance considering it was Sid.
Jake Roberts/Road Warriors v Tim Horner/King Kong Bundy/Ronnie Garvin
Weird seeing Bundy as a babyface against the heel LOD. The Road Warriors actually SELL here. For example Horner gets to dropkick the whole heel team. Horner gets himself isolated eventually though and the Road Warriors show off some power stuff. Garvin eventually gets the hot tag, probably with stiff nipples, and we get ourselves a Pier 6’er. Horner makes the mistake of tagging back in and gets isolated again. Nice one, dumbass. “Evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb” – Spaceballs. He hot tags out and then comes back in again and gets isolated AGAIN. Everyone comes in and that ends the match at 9.22. **. Standard tag match but instead of spots it’d just be “everyone in”.
Jake Roberts/Jim Duggan v Nightmare/Humongous
Humongous is still Sid. Nightmare I don’t know. Slow to start with almost no contact. Jake nearly gets a DDT but Nightmare bails. Tags are made and everyone comes in to brawl. Jake is laid out on the floor and Duggan is isolated in the ring. Duggan-Nightmare is just that. They tag out allowing Sid to beat up Jake some more. You can tell its Sid under the mask because he uses a bearhug for most of the time he’s in the ring. Heels tag a lot and Jake takes a real beating. Duggan gets the hot tag and he uses Sid’s mask as a weapon on Nightmare, which is good psychology stuff for Duggan. Everyone comes in and Nightmare gets planted with a DDT to finish at 13.13. *3/4. Formula tag outing. Everyone bar Jake suck technically so it wasn’t much fun to watch.
Jake Roberts v Dick Slater
Slater jumps Jake ahead of the bell and chokes him with a scarf. Jake takes an ass kicking, again. He seemed to spend a lot of time taking a beating during his career. Jake gets run into the ringpost. He gigs out on the floor. Slater drags him back in with a piledriver. Side Russian legsweep gets 2. Slater takes some of his wrist tape off and uses it to choke away. Jake takes his boot off and waffles Slater with it. Jake hits a clothesline and you can hear the “DDT” chants. Slater backdrops out of it. Slater goes after the boot but Jake steps on it and as Slater is bent over – Jake gives him the DDT to win at 8.49. ***. Great little match there with a lot of colour from Jake.
Jake Roberts v Terry Taylor
Jim Ross is commentary here because we’re in Oklahoma City. Basics to start and Taylor hits a back suplex. Flying forearm from Taylor and it knocks Jake clean through the ropes. Jake sells that like nobody’s business. Taylor hits a vertical suplex and a legdrop for 2. Backslide gets 2 and Taylor is in total control here. Taylor works the arm but Jake hits the short arm clothesline. Jake works a headlock but Taylor hits a backbreaker out. Taylor sets low on an Irish whip and Jake nails him with a DDT but Taylor is in the ropes. Taylor climbs back in and gets hit with a knee lift. Jake looks for another DDT but gets rolled up with an inside cradle at 8.41. Taylor wins. **1/2. Another solid match. Crowd response is highly mixed.
Jake Roberts v Barry Windham
Windham dominates and Jake sells. Jake gets a crossbody for 2. Kevin Sullivan, with pink hair and Angelo Mosca comes out to distract Windham so Jake throws him to the wolves. Windham gets beaten up at ringside and that’s your match at 3.37.
Jake Roberts v Big Bossman
This is a WWF match in Japan. Bossman controls with power, Jake nearly gets the DDT but Bossman bails. Jake works the arm a little so Bossman hits a spinebuster. Bossman uses that to his advantage and works the back for 5 minutes. Bossman misses a splash off the ropes allowing Jake some recovery time. Jake fires up and hits a big short arm clothesline. Jake misses with a high knee and the crowd think it’s a comedy spot. Bossman makes the mistake of trusting Jake’s condition on his appearance however and WHAM – DDT finishes at 10.15. *1/2. Not bad but tremendously dull with Bossman controlling for over half the match.
Clips of Jake in AAA throwing a midget into the ring. Konnan attacks Jake and they have a brawl. Konnan who was in a match at the time lost on count out and CRIES about it. If it was that important – why go and fight Jake on the floor? Konnan’s character is an unbelievable moron.
Jake cuts a promo in SMW. He rates Dirty White Boy a soft 4 out of 10.
Jake Roberts v Dirty White Boy
JIP with a whole bunch of interference on the floor. White Boy is blind in one eye thanks to a previous injury. Jake’s selling is still solid as White Boy bumps him around a bit. Jake takes a moment to go outside and assault a guy taking pictures before using the flash on the eyes of White Boy. He’s DDT fodder after that at 2.42 shown.
Jake Roberts v Shinya Hashimoto
Jake promises not to use the snake that he’s got sat in his corner moving around in the bag. Arm ringer from Hashimoto and Jake doesn’t reach for the ropes he reaches for the snake bag producing some tremendous selling from Hashimoto as he runs out of the ring. Jake does some funny psychology stuff in here complete with the finger shake allowing the crowd to “DOOOOOOOOOOH” and “OOOOOOOOOOOH” along with him. Hashimoto works the leg a little. Hashimoto backs into the ropes to avoid the DDT. Jake goes down selling the knee but Hashimoto doesn’t buy it. The referee is suckered though as Jake asks for time out. Hashimoto turns his back and Jake jumps him. Crowd appreciates the ruse. Short arm clothesline and the DDT. Jake does some star jumps to demonstrate his superiority before covering for 2. While no one is looking Jake sneaks over the snake bag but the referee spots him causing a great moment of comedy. Jake hits a lariat and steps on Hashimoto’s neck while pointing out that his shoulders are down. Hashimoto goes to the kicks, which look a little stiffer to how Jake is accustomed and he hits a bulldog as a receipt. Ensiguri from Hashimoto and a spinning heel kick finishes at 11.43. ***. Jake can be a great comedy heel. I’m surprised he didn’t do more in Japan. A pissed off Jake pulls out a GODDAMN COBRA!!!! He fakes throwing it into the crowd and generally scares the hell out of everyone.
Some more Jake promos close us out.
Overall tape thoughts –
The interview is far from great with Jake being reluctant to embellish on any stories. His refusal to talk about ribs is just part of that. The matches are somewhat patchy with TWO freakin’ Sid matches. So on the whole I’d say – thumbs down. Not overly recommended. It doesn’t have all the controversy you’d expect. You’re better off reading about it here than watching it because Jake just makes you feel uncomfortable by looking at him.
Head over to Simania.co.uk to check out his selection of shoot interviews. Bret, Shawn and Cornette are all there and I recommend those bad boys over this one.