Jake 'The Snake' Roberts Discusses His First WWF Run, Hating Snakes, Changing His Physique, More
|By Raj Giri||August 13, 2012 | Comments|
Make sure to check back tomorrow for the second and final part of our interview, where Roberts discusses his favorite opponents during that era, working with Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior being fired before their feud and much more.
WrestlingINC: I wanted to talk about '80's wrestling in the WWF, where you became a huge star. What do you remember about signing with the company?
Jake Roberts: Well, it was quite the experience. I had been working in Mid-South and not really being given a fair shake there. I was told I was number five on the babyface list, yet I was going on last every night. So, that kind of tells you something. Bill Watts hired a guy to be his administrator. It was Terry Taylor of all people, you know, the Red Rooster.
I remember going to talk to Terry and I said, 'Look, I'm number five on the babyface list, yet I'm going on last every night. This is just not going to work.' He said, 'Well, what can I tell you?' And I said, 'Well, I can tell you something. Here's two weeks notice and I'll see you.' So, that's what I did. I was young, dumb and stupid, not thinking. I didn't have a job set up. So, I went home that night saying, 'I really screwed up. I just quit my job and I don't have a place to go to get some work done.'
The next morning, I called Vince [McMahon] and I was told that he was going to be out of town for two weeks and that he would get back with me then. I thought, Oh, my god. Now, I've really screwed up. About 30 minutes later, the phone rang and it was Vince. He wanted me to fly up and meet with him, so I flew up and met with him. Basically, we sat down and he said, 'We have an idea of you wearing lime green pants or purple pants -- tights -- and having knee high lace up boots and carrying a snake.' I said, 'Dude, that's just not me. I wear karate pants and I wear slip on boots. Because the last thing I want to do when I do is know that I wasted 5 years of my life lacing up boots.'
I actually did do the math of that and if you spent 20 minutes a day lacing up your boots, it adds up over 15-20 years, man. So, it was going to be about four months of my life lacing up boots if I did that. So, that's the reason I went to pull ones. You know, it's funny how you think of stupid s--t, but I'm good at that. So, he just kind of looked at me and said, 'Well, that's a shame because there's somebody who's going to be wearing purple and lime green with knee high snake skin boots and they're going to make about a million a year.'
So, I looked at him and I said, 'You know what? I would look very good in spandex. With purple and green and knee high boots. I think I'd look just wonderful.' And that was how I went to work.
WrestlingINC: You used 'The Snake' moniker when you were with Mid-South and WCCW. Did you already own snakes, or was that something that Vince brought to you?
Roberts: No. I hated the sons of b-----s. I'm terrified of them.
WrestlingINC: So, I take it Vince came up with the idea?
Roberts: Well, no, I came up with the idea. In Mid-South, I wanted to use a snake and Bill Watts was quick to tell me that this isn't a damn circus. 'We're not going to have any circus clowns or circus geeks carrying snakes.' Gee, he was so right. What a stupid idea.
Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.