Repost: Jake "The Snake" Roberts shoot interview (RF Video)by Brandon Truitt
Feb 23, 2004, 19:00
This is a repost of an article originally posted on September 2, 2002.
Hey all... I'm taking Lundi Gras (Fat Monday) off to catch up on stuff down here, so I'm reposting a shoot that got a lot of response the first time around.
I didn't exactly look at the previous foreword before I chose this one, but this may be appropriate after Wrestlemania 20... It's very anti-Taker and anti-Triple H dating back a year and a half and things didn't really change much up until recently on top of the card.
Another reason behind taking a powder this week is that I'm waiting for my newest order of shoots to come in, including Kaz Hayashi and Kenji Mutoh (Great Muta), Ronnie Garvin, and the newest shoots by Terry Funk, Steve Corino, and Justin Asshole err... I meant Justin Credible. I also may be ordering some more interviews with some old-school wrestling personalities such as referee Tommy Young of WCW, the Missing Link, and former NWA champion Dory Funk Jr.
This week's preface will probably be short unless a major story breaks right before RAW.
The only thing I really have to bitch about right now was partially covered in the Crossface... the WWE's recent momentum being shattered by a fossil on a motorcycle and a walking steroid-uh who can waste twenty minutes-uh whenever he damn well wants-uh.
HHH taking credit for Brock's victory by "softening up" Rock was pathetic considering the mickey-mouse bullshit that happened in that HHH-Rock match. It's a better argument that HBK almost cost Brock the title by Superkicking his head off.
As for Taker... I've never been wishing so hard for someone's knee to go out (even HHH's). He blatantly no-sold HHH, Brock, Angle, AND Benoit's offense this week, going as far as no-selling the anklelock AND the crossface at the SAME TIME.
Unless he sells more for Brock than ANYONE he's ever sold for before at Unforgiven and jobs CLEAN (without the "up on three" bullshit he pulled last year), he should be the next victim of Jamal and Rosie for wasing over 3 minutes of broadcast time. I know he's not on RAW anymore, but it's as good a time as any to introduce them on PPV by finishing off what's left of him when Brock's done. Bischoff could also let them interfere in some SD-related matches just to mess with Steph.
Getting back to HHH for a minute... I'm going to start a new game this week due to his character's apparent schitzophrenia. The game is called "Face, Heel, or Tweener~!". We'll be taking a look at what he's done in the past week compared to what he's supposed to be booked as, then decide what he is.
Face: HHH got in the face of the new heel champion, Brock Lesnar, during the 20-minute opening promo and attacked him. HHH also got "screwed" out of his title shot by a combination of Steph and Brock's plotting.
Heel: HHH ended HBK's career again with a severe sledgehammer attack after their match at Summerslam. HHH also took on Undertaker for the #1 contendership, and only won due to outside interference.
Tweener: HHH was cutting a promo about ending HBK's career when he interrupted Lesnar. He was also doing the old Chyna "Turn heel to face and back again 20 times" routine during the three-way brawl between himself, Brock, and Taker. The people screwing him over were the heel champion and the supposed "face" commissioner.
This week's HHH appears to be a tweener, and not a very good one. Join me next week when we'll see if HHH takes on Flair in a main event match drawing a horrible overrun, if he steals RVD's IC title so he can do a double-switch with Stevie Richards before losing it to Kane, or if he and Jericho start interrupting each others' promos again for no reason.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts Shoot Interview (RF Video)
The tape opens with a series of clips; Jake interfering in a match between Jerry Lawler and Tommy Dreamer on an ECW PPV, Jake giving a DDT to Terry Taylor in Mid-South, Jake getting into an argument during a promo in AAA (Konnan's Mexican wrestling federation), Jake winning a cage match against Lord Humongous (Sid), and Jake cutting a promo on the Von Erichs and Iceman Parsons in World Class.
The interview begins with a question of how close he was to the business growing up. He says that he thought it was a shoot as a kid and had spent some late nights worrying about his father (wrestler and Bill Watts’ booker/enforcer, Grizzly Smith).
Hated the business as a kid because it robbed him and his siblings (Rockin’ Robin, Sam Houston, etc.) of having a father.
Disputes his own words from Beyond the Mat and says that he got into the business to get his dad’s love. Grizz never encouraged him and tried to get him out of the business several times.
His first territory was probably Mid-South, working as a referee (Jake can’t even remember for sure). His first territory as a worker was Florida. He said he learned a lot working as a referee. He was never formally trained but, rather, learned by trial and error as well as getting advice from people such as Bob Sweetan, Bob Roop, and Hiro Matsuda.
Eddie Graham- Greatest mind for finishes in the history of the business. Talked about doing weird promos in Florida with Dusty Rhodes and Kevin Sullivan, doing things like yelling “FUCK Santa!” at a show on Christmas night.
Other memories of Florida- Has memories of “a few girls who could pull chrome off a bumper”. Talked about the feeling he got from walking into the building in Albany where they filmed TV, with guys like Gordon Solie there, as well as just being around Eddie Graham. You could just soak up the atmosphere no matter who you worked with.
Early memories of working with Barry Windham- Talked about doing “praying mantis” matches with him. Talked about how he and Barry would do about 30-45 minutes then the main event guys, Dusty and Sullivan, would be done before he could even get his boots off.
Dusty Rhodes- Tremendous. Wished he could have spent more time around him. He’s not sure what happened, but Dusty really didn’t like him. (According to stories I’ve heard, Jake got piss drunk (what a surprise) and started doing impressions of Dusty in the locker room. Dusty came up behind him, asked him what was going on, and Jake gave him a smartass response and kept on going) Wishes that he could make up with Dusty and spend time with him now.
Magnum TA- Teaching him was fun. He and Jimmy Garvin used to pull a lot of ribs on Magnum and B. Brian Blair, who later was a Killer Bee in the WWF. He was very serious and if you ribbed him, you better be ready to rumble. Tells a story about giving them a long series of spots to do, then start riding them and spanking their asses halfway down the list. Said that Magnum got ripped off by Buzz Sawyer and Brett Sawyer before he even got into the business. (Another top guy who got ripped off by Buzz Sawyer before he even got into the business is The Undertaker)
Travelling in Florida- “Daily” Other than going to Tampa, it was a series of 500 and 600 mile trips.
Moving on to World Class- It was a mistake because the money was worse and he didn’t mesh well with clique politics. “I don’t like to lick ass to get a job or lick ass to keep a job.”
Fritz Von Erich- Rough, not much of a talker. Didn’t know him well and didn’t really want to. Saw what the boys went through and says that a lot of their problems stemmed from Fritz’ treatment. Says that the boys being forced into the business and trying to uphold the Von Erich name was a mess. Mike Von Erich never wanted to be in the business. Kerry Von Erich was a “dumb little kid” who was happy-go-lucky. Kevin Von Erich was just flying along, but he was playing football then being flown in a helicopter to go work matches for Fritz. When Kevin developed knee problems, Fritz gave him a bunch of bullshit about “toughing it out.”
Gino Hernandez- Not many memories besides doing coke with him. Gino was always smiling. Agrees with Tully Blanchard that the public story about Gino’s death (overdose of cocaine) was a cover-up because he had gotten involved with the wrong group of people.
Went to Mid-South, then Mid-Atlantic. Said he was booking in Atlanta when he was working alongside the Road Warriors in the original Legion of Doom (along with The Spoiler and Paul Ellering). Said that Buzz and Brett were up to their old shit, beating the Road Warriors on a nightly basis. Jake beat Gerry Brisco with a DDT in like 10 seconds to get the job as a booker. He was a happy medium in a power struggle between the Brisco brothers, Ole Anderson, and the other owners of the territory. Built up Ronnie Garvin’s “Hands of Stone” gimmick. Said that “you could tell when Garvin was about to make his comeback in the ring because his nipples would get hard.” Another idea that worked out was turning King Kong Bundy babyface.
Memories of working with Buzz Sawyer- “None of them are good.” Buzz was a cheap-shot artist and would beat the shit out of young kids on Atlanta TV, but Jake said he should have been like that 24/7 or not at all instead of beating up 210 pound green wrestlers.
Toughest guys in the business- Andre the Giant by far, then Haku.
At this point, he starts ripping on Bill Watts, but says he’ll hold off because he wants to do a whole 30 minutes on Watts alone later.
Why was most of his success in Georgia- It was because he was allowed to use his mind. Had success in Mid-South for the same reason. Claims that Watts gets a lot of credit for ideas he’d come up with.
How he got into Mid-South- Grizzly Smith was there, and it was a great place to learn. He said you had to learn because you worked the same towns each week. Starts ripping on the current guys for doing “the same damn match every week” instead of knowing how to carry a storyline. Says that psychology is “masturbating people’s emotions.”
Will wrestling go back to what it used to be? It’ll have to eventually. It’s starting to now.
Relationship with Bill Watts in Mid-South- Bill ruled with fear and was obnoxious. Said his favorite time to make him unhappy was when Muhammed Ali was there and he started no-selling Ali’s punches while still bouncing around for his opponent. When confronted about it, he said “Well, he’s not going to be here next week but I will.” Says his problem with Watts is that Watts is a thief. He’d steal from your mind, your pocket, or his own family. Starts making cracks about embezzlement as well as sexual harassment in the company, which deals with the affair between Dark Journey (Dick Slater’s black valet) and Watts that ended with Watts’ wife getting almost everything from him in a nasty divorce around 1987.
Talks about his quote in Diamond Dallas Page’s book where he said that he’d love to piss on Watts’ grave. Says that Watts was harsh with his fining and that it would go straight into his pocket.
Memories of working with Terry Taylor- Starts making Red Rooster cracks before saying that he liked Terry but that he had his nose too far up Watts’ ass. Said that he’d tried that routine in the WWF, which is why he got stuck with the Rooster gimmick. Claims that Dusty Rhodes had pulled a rib on Bill Watts by telling him that Terry was a great person to run his company because Dusty had gotten sick of Taylor and wanted him out of Mid-Atlantic. “Bill Watts made him GM. He GMed himself out of the damn company.”
Memories of working with Jim Duggan- Good friends with him. Worked around him more than working with him.
Working with Dick Slater and Dark Journey- Fun memories. Starts making more sexual harassment cracks. Said he didn’t get along with Slater because a girl he’d met in South Carolina and had fallen in love with in and was about to propose to turned out to be Slater’s ex-wife. Says he’s not sure why Slater had a problem with it since they’d obviously made a decision not to be together anymore. From then on, it “was always exciting to be in the ring with Dickie.”
Coming up with the DDT- He was wrestling a guy in New Orleans and had gotten a front facelock on him then tripped. The guy was out and the crowd popped BIG, so he started using it on a nightly basis. Says that no one does it right anymore, even guys like Raven.
Matches with Ric Flair- Very repetitive.
Did he think the DDT would become as popular as it did? Yes
Interview style- A lot of it comes from the fact that he can’t talk loud and that, as a kid, he’d never listen if he got yelled at. Talks about how once of his favorite interviews was where he started by only moving his lips because it gave him a sense of power because people would turn up the TV. Would get material from song lyrics and use little snippets of it. He stole a lot of stuff from Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, and Ozzy Osbourne in particular. Knocks most of the current guys’ interviews because it’s just a shouting match.
Did he think that UWF (the retooled Mid-South) was ever going to take off? No, because Bill Watts wasn’t going to pay people enough to go through what he wanted.
How did he end up in the WWF? Terry Taylor screwed up as GM. Jake claims he was the top babyface by far, but Taylor had him listed as the #5 babyface behind Duggan, Ted Dibiase, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, and himself. After that, he went home and called Vince McMahon the next day. They told him that Vince wouldn’t be in for 6 days, yet he called him 20 minutes later and had a plane ticket ready for him to come up to New York.
Impressions of Vince- Blown away. The presentation of bringing people to New York and picking them up in a limo helps. Larger than life character. At this point, he fumbles and say “Shit, I dropped my pipe… Just kidding, Mom, it’s only a rumor.”
Early impressions of Hulk Hogan- He was a loner because he was always having to watch his back. Unhappy that he only got to wrestle him twice, claiming that the fans chanting “DDT” instead of “Hogan” when he DDTed Hogan factored into that, along with Vince not liking his look.
Whose idea was the snake? He’d had it for years but Watts told him no because “This ain’t no friggin’ carnival, it’s wrestling.”
Were people unhappy about getting in the ring with the snake? Oh GOD yes. Kamala was one of the worst about it. He’d rib him by dangling the snake over the mirror while Kamala was putting on the makeup.
Other problems with the snake- “It loved to bite my fuckin’ ass” Talks about all the stitches he’d gotten from it. Talks about how snake shit was worse than baby shit, and that it had a skunk-like defense that it would spray. Talked about how much fun it was when it would shoot out at the crowd. One of his cobras had gotten loose in DDP’s house before and Kimberly (DDP’s wife) was pissed.
Wrestlemania 2- Awed by the magnitude of it because he’d gone from running the Superdome in Mid-South to being a part of a three-city PPV.
Working with Ricky Steamboat- All their matches were classics. Steamboat was a class guy and “if he knew how much I looked up to him he’d probably be embarrassed.” Great worker and better man.
His heel-heel series with Bundy- It was misery because “Tons of Fun Bundy” didn’t like to move in the ring. They’d had problems before but they’ve made up since then.
Who else did he work with around the time he came into the WWF- Hercules Hernandez, who roughed him up a bit.
Working with Junkyard Dog- “Very few matches, thank God” because he was hard to work with. Their best matches were in Stampede when JYD was Big Daddy Ritter.
What was Stampede like? Whole different circus. It was a great learning experience. Stops to make another Watts crack before resuming a Stu Hart story about all the different ways to put a sleeper on. Jake said it was bullshit and there was only one sleeper, but Stu wanted to prove him wrong. Because Jake was laid out with a knee injury, Bret Hart got drafted into it. “I started feeling bad around the third one because of the blood coming from Bret’s nose, ears, and the corners of his eyes.” Stu shared the wealth with his kids.
How much of the locker room were drunks in the 1980’s WWF? A large part. Said that it was somewhat expected because the WWF was running 3 cities a night and people were working about 80 days straight. Says that much of the drug and alcohol abuse was either to cope with what they went through or was a necessity to work in the WWF (like steroids, pain killers, and sleeping pills). Was never pressured into doing steroids, but had done them by choice after his neck surgery. Had done it because he’d been told he’d never wrestle again, but came back 3 months later.
His program with Randy Savage- Says that Randy REALLY needed to calm down and just drink coffee instead of eating coffee grounds. Very insecure, always thought that someone was trying to pull something over on him. Their Saturday Night’s Main Event match was a classic because NBC executive Dick Ebersol had threatened them (It was the only SNME not carried by Hogan, so Savage and Jake were in the main event. Ebersol told them that if they couldn’t carry the ratings points with a 30-minute match, that they’d be sent down to Bumfuck, Idaho or some such place.)
Said he got along with Ebersol well ever since he first met him at a SNME taping when he received a script from him without knowing who Ebersol was and told him to shove it up his ass. Said he went out to smoke a joint then Jesse Ventura came out to talk to him, found out what happened, and started freaking out a bit when he found out that Ebersol was the guy he’d done it to.
His babyface turn- It just happened. Said that going out there and doing exactly what he said he was going to do helped him connect with the crowd, although the snake helped. Says that he transformed his character when he turned, which guys like Lex Lugar wouldn’t do and, in turn, it killed their careers.
Snake Pit interview segment- Vince came up with the concept of it. Said that it was usually a battle of wits out there and “sometimes you were fighting an unarmed man.”
Politics- It was rampant back then and he was never a good politician.
Feud with Honkytonk Man- Good memories, good guy. Smallest and softest hands you’ve ever seen.
Working with Alice Cooper at Wrestlemania 3- It was a treat.
Rick Rude- Their feud was fun, with his wife (Cheryl Roberts) getting involved. Talks about how Nikita Koloff and Rude used to crash on his couch when they were just entering the business.
Nikita entering the business- He was breaking up with his girlfriend at the time he’d started training, so he was crashing with Jake. He was pissing Jake off by throwing away his ashtrays and so forth because Nikita didn’t smoke, so Jake was looking to get him out of the house. Eventually, Jim Crockett called Jake up searching for a guy who had a warrior-like persona and needed him right away. Jake said he had one but that he wasn’t a wrestler, and Crockett said he didn’t care and hired Nikita to work in Mid-Atlantic.
Why Jake didn’t work a program with Hogan- He wasn’t a threat to Hogan’s position as much as “the design of what they had going”, whatever the Hell that means.
Ted Dibiase- Great mechanic. All of their matches were fun.
Turning on Savage and working with Undertaker- It was Vince’s general idea but a lot of the details were his idea. Said a lot of the Ultimate Warrior angle in 1991 was his idea, too, but that Warrior got fired before he could work with him.
Warrior as a person- Never was a person. Always a goofball, totally lost. “An idiot as far as I’m concerned” Very dangerous.
Memories of the blindfold match with Rick Martel at Wrestlemania 7- Easiest damn match of all time. Said they could see right through the “blindfold, so they just played around with the crowd until they got the reaction they wanted. Says that Martel was scared that it wouldn’t work, but Jake told him that it would be the easiest paycheck he’d ever make.
Why’d he leave the WWF after working with Undertaker at WM8? He’d been promised a run as a booker, which had always been his dream, but that he didn’t get the job after Pat Patterson and Terry Garvin had been “released” after the sex scandal. When he didn’t get the job, he left.
WCW- Came in for Halloween Havoc 92 for the Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal match. Had a fat contract lined up but in the time but Bill Watts ripped up his contract before he ever signed it. Said that Watts fucked him over because he did it after he knew Jake had given notice in the WWF. Watts’ handling of the situation contributed to his eventual firing. The only way he’d work for WCW now is if he had a large amount of say-so of what ended up on TV, which he didn’t see happening.
Smokey Mountain Wrestling- It was short-lived. “There was a misunderstanding as to what I was going to be paid… not on my part”, inferring that Jim Cornette screwed him over. Cornette says in his interview that Jake kept no-showing events, and that Jake's "bitch of a wife" held him up for more money than he'd already agreed to.
DDP- Had run into him when DDP was running nightclubs in Florida. Liked him a lot because he was a hard worker and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Immediately wanted to see him succeed after hearing that Ric Flair, among others, had told DDP he would never make it in the business. Didn’t like that because it’s what his father had done to him and that he didn’t like Flair much anyway.
Working in AAA- “I’m a whore… I’m not a streetwalker, I’m a call girl” His only memories of it were being stuck at a bull arena until 5 in the morning because the fans wanted to kill him. He’d go back now if the money was good and the security was good. Talked about doing a hair match there, which was fun. “Cut my hair off if you pay me. Hell, cut my NUTS off if you pay me enough… Bill Watts tried…” The fans in Mexico were very violent and the security were very poor. “They’d kill you real quick, especially if you were a gringo.”
Talked about being “one of Missy Hyatt’s teachers.” Said that he did what he could and that he was one of the first.
Returning at the Royal Rumble in 1996- Money, and wanting to find out if he could still hack it. He was surprised at all the enthusiasm that people had when he came back, but it was only short lived.
Feuding with Lawler- Didn’t like it and thought it was a poor place to go for entertainment purposes. (Lawler and Sunny, among others, would cut promos talking about how Jake was still screwed up.)
On allegations he was preaching while still screwed up on drugs- Said that he can still talk to you about the Lord and that the Lord loves him no matter what he does. Those claiming he did both at the same time are liars. Said he got a lot of Hell for being born again in the WWF and that it eventually lead to a relapse. “Am I using today? No, not yet… it’s early.”
Does he think he could ever be clean again? Doesn’t think he’ll ever be completely clean again and not sure he wants to. Thinks that his addictions are widely overstated by people because he doesn’t do anything harmful while screwed up. Says that he’s picked on about it because he’s so open and that he only did that to tell people “if you don’t want to be addicted, don’t pick it up the first time because you’ll like it.”
Smoking crack on film in Beyond the Mat- Says that Barry Blausteen lied about a lot of things and that he was the only one who was honest in the movie. He was “made out to be a goat and a loser”. Said that it was pitched to him as being about plenty of wrestlers and that it would be totally different from what it ended up as. Says that Blausteen will pay a price one day for it.
How hard was it to deal with the boys in the locker room- Hard. Says that it was THE cliques running things in 1995. Said that “Shawn Michaels was really cool before he became Shawn Michaels.” Claims the “Shawn has left the building” gimmick was his idea.
Was he surprised at Shawn’s success? No, because he was very hungry and a tremendous athlete.
Feelings on Montreal- Those types of problems are caused by promoters and thinks that Vince played them against each other.
King of the Ring 1996 against Steve Austin- Just another match. Likes Austin, didn’t think he’d gotten a fair break in WCW or the WWF to that point. Said that he pushed for him behind the scenes at that time. Started coaching ways to improve his act at night.
His other duties at the WWF- “One of them wasn’t smoking rock.” It was mainly booking and storylines. He wasn’t a road agent except for TV. Said that he left the WWF because he was put back on the road and that he wasn’t prepared for that. If he’d stayed at the office, he’d have been fine.
Biggest misconceptions about him- That he loves being an addict and a drunk and that he’s an evil man. Says he’s helped a lot of people. Wants to be remembered as “an honest prick.”
Says it’s impossible to burn a bridge if you have talent. Doesn’t know if the rumors were true that Raven and DDP tried to bring him into WCW. Wants to work for Paul E in ECW eventually.
Does he think the perception of him is unfair? Yes, because no one has the right to judge him. Says he’s not judging Bill Watts as much as giving examples of what they know of him.
Advice he’d give to young guys in the business- Learn your art. Says that no one wants to do that anymore, which is a big problem.
What’s wrong with the business today? Guys can’t work and they don’t care.
Is the business in his blood forever? Always, moreso than he wants.
Where he sees himself in 10 years? Starts making smartass remarks about owning the WWF and having an illegitimate son named Shane and a daughter. He seriously has no idea because he’s 45 years old now.
Favorite guys to work with- Roop, Dibiase, Ronnie Garvin.
Where will the business be in 10 years? Hopefully in better shape. “Can’t be worse, talent-wise.”
What does he think about a guy like The Rock? He’s riding it… Says part of his success with interviews comes from home-learning since he comes from a family of wrestlers and that he has more respect for the business because of it.
Says that Beyond the Mat misrepresented his relationship with his daughter in order to sell the movie better. Says that prostituting his family is why Blausteen is going to burn in Hell and that his lawsuit’s eventual winnings will go to his kids.
Guys who will be big stars eventually- Doesn’t see any right now. Sees a lot of guys who “shouldn’t be out there… #1- Chris Jericho.” Can’t stand someone who acts tough but isn’t and never will be. Says it would be like Shawn Michaels pretending to be tough.
Hogan- Good or bad for the business now? Good for the business. Always will be.
Said that he never needed titles and that, if you have enough talent, you don’t need one. Said he didn’t need a title at any of the Wrestlemanias he was on. Said that Jake brought people to the arena, not a title.
Does he want to say anything to the fans? Yes… “To know me is to blow me or, rather, to blow me is to know me.”
Comments- He’s thoroughly dislikeable and seems to be self-serving at times, but there are some nuggets of truth in there. That’s the only reason I’m recommending it rather than blasting it like I will a completely bullshit one like the Iron Sheik, Dusty Rhodes, or Shawn Michaels. I don’t like a lot of what he had to say but I can see his point of view.
I'm not covering the matches on this one and probably won't from now on. Unless there's a particular match of interest on one of these tapes, I don't see the point in it.