Hitting rock bottom can change a person’s life or end it.
For Jake The Snake Roberts, it not only changed his life, but it began a miraculous turnaround -- which is being chronicled -- leading toward his inspiring induction into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
The time is right.
His revelation made him start owning his life -- positively -- mind, body, soul. A longtime addict, he is now in a very good place, mentally and physically.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
“The most important thing I can say to young people is don’t listen to your head. Listen to your heart,” he said. “If you listen to your head, your head will justify anything. Addiction won’t justify anything, but if you listen to that quiet voice inside your heart, which I believe for me is God, nothing can steer me wrong.
“That’s the reason I don’t sit in the front seat anymore. I don’t sit by the steering wheel. I get in the backseat and keep my mouth shut and just listen.”
But on Saturday, April 5, everybody will be listening to him as Roberts will be speaking from the heart -- front and center -- during the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Roberts received a surprise call, alerting him of the WWE HOF honor.
“Triple H called me to let me know I was being inducted,” Roberts said, “and everything since then has been like a blur.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed about for a long time, but it’s also something I’d given up on. Not because of my work in the ring because it was always very, very good, but because of some of my antics outside the ring and some of the things I said during interviews, lashing out.”
Roberts belittled and disrespected the business and some of those in it.
“Here’s breaking news, folks. Sometimes addicts and alcoholics do lie, and they say some pretty horrific stuff that has no basis of truth,” he said. “It’s just anger and shame lashing out, and that’s what I did.”
A clean, sober Roberts paints a different picture.
He said: “Vince McMahon and WWE, to me, are just amazing.”
Roberts, 58, will be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 5 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans and then recognized for the honor during WrestleMania 30, the following night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Roberts starred there when WWE visited occasionally in the 1980s and prior more frequently when he competed as a top wrestler for Mid-South Wrestling.
“To be going into the Hall of Fame in New Orleans, I figured out I must have wrestled 250 times there over the years,” said Roberts, a former Mid-South Louisiana champ. “It’s just incredible, and to be back in the Superdome, where I was in the ring with [boxing legend] Muhammad Ali, it doesn’t get any better than that. They couldn’t have picked a more perfect place for me to go into the Hall of Fame, and to be going in with some of the people that I’m with -- Lita, Paul Bearer, Mr. T., [Razor Ramon] Scott Hall my partner in rehab.”
Hall and Roberts, through DDP Yoga, are looking better and feeling better.
“If you had taken a dollar bill to Vegas 18 months ago and said we want to put this down, a bet, that Jake Roberts and Scott Hall will both get sober and clean. Yea, right,” Roberts said. “Well, you’d be a billionaire right now. So for all these things to fall in line, it’s a perfect ending to a not so perfect life.”
Roberts fell hard with alcohol, drugs and depression during his career. He lived the rock-n-roll lifestyle to the enth degree, which cost him his family at the time and nearly his life.
“I never met anybody in jail or rehab who said they their dream growing up was to be a during addict or an alcoholic,” Roberts said. “Nobody dreams that. It’s just something that happens to you once you start down that road. So if you’re going down that road, for God’s sake, turn around as soon as you can and know that the trip back is not going to be easy.
“It’s living a lie, and living a lie is not healthy. It’s pretty ugly, and it will just get uglier.
“So strap on the boots tight and do the best you can. Don’t ever give up. Never give up. Lots of times I wanted to give up, but I didn’t have anywhere else to go but death, and I didn’t want to do that.”
Roberts chose life.
In October 2012, Roberts moved to Atlanta to live with former star wrestler Diamond Dallas Page. DDP is doing incredible things for people with body and heath issues through his DDP Yoga. It’s not your momma’s yoga.
Roberts’ weight ballooned to more than 300 pounds, and he experienced trouble doing simple tasks like walking.
“He [DDP] contacted me and asked me how I was doing,” Roberts said. “Of course, I lied. ‘Well, I’m doing all right, man,’ because you don’t want to talk about how bad off you are. I went from the penthouse to the outhouse. C’mon. Gimme a break, You think I want to brag about that.
“I had taken all the mirrors off the wall because I didn’t even want to look at myself anymore. I was disgusting. I was 308 pounds, couldn’t get out of a chair, needed someone to help me to my feet. Physically, I was a wreck. I couldn’t open my hands. My fingers, hands were all gnarled from being hit in the head too many times and not taking care of myself, not getting off gluten, not getting off dairy, just not eating the right things, not training, not breathing right, not living.”
Through his addictions and excesses, Roberts hit bottom.
“I had already written down I’m going. I’m out of here,” he said. “It was to the point with me that I’d get angry, if I heard somebody else had died. I’d go, ‘C’mon. What about me?’ I wanted to go, but I just wouldn’t commit suicide, because I didn’t want to hurt my children any more than I’d already hurt them.”
Roberts then chose life, and DDP helped Roberts get clean, sober and physically fit.
By early December, Roberts lost close to 50 pounds, and he attended AA meetings regularly. DDP updates his YouTube channel with videos showing a much thinner, healthier Roberts. Page said he did this for Roberts since he helped train Page when he transitioned from a manager to a wrestler.
“Eighteen months ago my kids didn’t want to be around me,” Roberts said. “I have eight beautiful children. I’ve got grandchildren coming out of my kazoo, and I love every minute of it now. Life is grand.”
Several of Roberts’ kids will be attending the WWE HOF ceremony, and Diamond Dallas Page will be inducting him. Rumor has it Damien will be there, too.
A 2013 Cauliflower Alley Club honoree, he’s still in disbelief with the 2014 WWE HOF honor.
“It’s a dream come true for me.”
Roberts is the master of the DDT. Once he caught an opponent in his patented move, lights out, over. Fans enjoyed Roberts’ DDT so much that they chanted for it each time he wrestled.
Roberts could walk the walk and talk the talk. His promos sent chills up your spin -- very cynical, eerie, sinister, capped off with a devilish smile. To intimidate foes, Damien, his pet python, accompanied him to the ring. Nestled in a sack, Roberts unveiled his friend after the match, draping him on scared opposition.
Who can forget the massive 7-4, 520-pound Andre the Giant cowering to Damien. Even giants can run, when properly motivated.
The riveting instrumental entrance music and the snake sketchings slithering along his long legged wrestling tights added to the mystique of the legendary WWF talent. Roberts was over huge. Fans loved him (when wrestling the heels) and loved to hate him (when he was the heel).
Trained by his father Grizzly Smith, Buck Robley and Moose Morowski, Roberts debuted in 1975. The 6-foot-6, 249-pound combatant made a mark in Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Championship Wrestling from Florida, World Class Championship Wrestling, before joining the WWF, in 1986. He became a huge star in the WWF, wrestling for the company from 1986-1992 and 1996-97. He also worked for ECW, Smokey Mountain Wrestling, TNA and WCW.
At the historic WrestleMania III in Detroit, rocker Alice Cooper managed Jake The Sanke Roberts against the Honky Tonk Man with Jimmy Hart. Roberts competed in seven WrestleManias (II-VIII). At WrestleManias, he also wrestled Andre the Giant, Ravishing Rick Rude, Million Dollar Man Ted DiBaise, Rick The Model Martel and The Undertaker -- one of Undertaker’s victims through the Dead Man’s undefeated WrestleMania streak.
During his second stint in WWF, Roberts faced Stone Cold Steve Austin in the finals of the King of the Ring Tournament. After Austin defeated him, Austin mocked Roberts’ recital of the biblical passage John 3:16 by saying, “ You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!" A catchphrase was born. It helped propel Austin to the top of the WWF and is also one of the moments that is often cited as the beginning of The Attitude Era.
In Florida, Roberts was part of Kevin Sullivan’s Army of Darkness. Through a career that spans five decades, Roberts won the NWA TV title, an NWA six-man tag title, the Mid-South TV title, Mid-South North American title, WCCW TV title, Smokey Mountain Wrestling title, AWF Puerto Rico title and Stampede North American championship among others.
But make no mistake about it, Roberts was one of those talents who did not need a belt to get over and be a star.
• Jake The Snake Roberts will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame which will be broadcast live at 9 p.m. EST Saturday, April 5 on WWE Network from New Orleans, host city to WrestleMania 30.
Presented from the Smoothie King Center, the WWE HOF Class of 2014 features Roberts, Ultimate Warrior, Carlos Colon, Lita, Mr. T, Paul Bearer and Razor Ramon.
Video interview with Carlito about his father, Carlos Colon, being inducted into WWE HOF
Jim Varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)
• WrestleMania 30 is live at 7 p.m. EST Sunday, April 6 from The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Daniel Bryan faces Triple H with the winner battling WWE World champ Randy Orton and Batista for the undisputed title.
Undertaker puts his undefeated WrestleMania streak on the line against Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman.
John Cena battles Bray Wyatt.
The Vickie Guerrero Invitational showcases 14 divas including WWE Divas champ AJ Lee vying for the WWE Divas title. Also competing are Naomi, Cameron, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Eva Marie, Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Layla and Tamina Snuka.
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) vs. Kane and The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn).
WWE tag team champs The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. The Real Americans (Cesaro and Jack Swagger) vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando) with El Torito.
An Andre the Giant Memorial 30-Man Over The Top Battle Royal includes Alberto Del Rio, Big E, Big Show, Brodus Clay, Christian, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Darren Young, Dolph Ziggler, Fandango, Drew McIntyre, Goldust, The Great Khali, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, Justin Gabriel, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, The Miz, Rey Mysterio, Sheamus, R-Truth, Santino Marella, Sin Cara, Titus O'Neil and Zack Ryder.
WWE Hall of Famer the legendary Hulk Hogan will host WrestleMania 30.
The WrestleMania pre-shows starts at 6 p.m. EST.
WrestleMania 30 will be live on pay-per-view and the WWE Network.