Since bursting on the scene in March, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts has become a mainstay of AEW programming. Roberts' return to the professional wrestling spotlight has also increased the criticism of his former employer, WWE. Speaking on Premier Live TV, Roberts criticized WWE's current creative process, citing their hiring of writers who don't come from a wrestling background as extremely problematic.
"You know, you can't have a great product when you got people writing your television that's never been in wrestling," Roberts said. "I don't get that. Where's that thinking coming from? Oh, I know where his thinking's at - Vince's thinking's that, 'Oh, I am so freaking good that I can make chicken soup out of chicken s--t, and I can use idiots to freaking write for me. That's how big my product is.' And he's pretty much right because he's got so much TV time, he can get over pretty much anything."
Roberts recalled how Vince would run the ship while he was a full-time competitor. According to Roberts, the WWE Chairman pushed his talent to fight for their spots.
"I got three days off in the next 55 days," Roberts said. "I need to go home! 'Well Jake, you need to come in here and battle for your position.' 'Why do I have to come in here and battle?' Vince McMahon liked having people kiss his a--. Beg, beg for that spot. Dude, I'm not begging."
While Roberts has been separated from WWE for a few years now, he says his former boss still fears him.
"He's still scared of me. I'm the one person he says he's still scared of," Roberts said. "Not because I have more money than him, because I don't. Not because of this, that, or the other, but because of my mind. A mind, you can overcome anything with it if you use it properly. There's nothing out there that I want that I can't get with the mind I have."
Roberts has worked for AEW for over eight months now, serving as the manager and mouthpiece for 'The MurderHawk Monster' Lance Archer. Roberts describes AEW's roster as dozens of hungry wrestlers allowed to be themselves.
"But you give somebody an upstart, like AEW, that's got a bunch of hungry god--mn kids out there," Roberts said. "These guys are hungry, man, 'cause they're the guys that are always told, 'Maybe next year,' or, 'You don't really have what we're looking for. You don't really have that look.' Who picks the looks? It's sad, man, to spend your whole life working towards a goal, whether it be professional wrestling, or an artist of any type, or anything, and then to be told there's no room for ya? What do you mean, man? I dedicated my whole life to this. And just because you don't feel like giving me the chance, you're telling me I'm not worthy of it?"
Roberts has been in the wrestling business for nearly five decades, and in that time, he's worn many hats. The WWE Hall of Famer has wrestled, managed, and even written TV for his former employer. During his time as a writer, Roberts spoke about his greatest success story: Steve Austin.
"When Steve Austin first came to the WWF, he was the Ringmaster," Roberts said. "And [he] had someone else talking for him! Are you freaking kidding me? That's the number one thing I'm against, is letting people talk for somebody else. Let's find out what this guy's about, not what this guy thinks he's about.
"When Steve Austin came to the WWF, I was helping write television," Roberts said. "And I watched, and said, 'This motherf--ker's got it, man. He's got that 'it' factor and he don't even know he's got it!' He started talking to me, and I started talking to him. He wanted to get better and he was listening. Every night he was on the road, he would call me and tell me about his match, how he dealt with it, and how he brought it to the end, and what result it had. Did it make him bigger? Smaller? What? So, I worked with him, and at the same time, I'm helping write television, I'm starting to scoot him into places sort of as an afterthought so nobody was watching."
According to Roberts, he was the only one who believed in the future 'Stone Cold,' and even referenced Vince McMahon having many doubt about whether or not Austin could become a main event-level talent.
"Well, then one day I told Vince, 'That guy right there, he's going to be your next super superstar,'" Roberts said. "Pfft. He says, 'Are you kidding me, Jake? That guy won't make it past his fifth, sixth match.'"
Roberts says Austin recognized how pivotal 'The Snake' was in getting him to superstardom, and has expressed his gratitude plenty.
"I love Steve and he loves me. He's thanked me many times for it," Roberts said. "He deserved it, man. Steve was one of those guys who had been lied to and screwed over, as we all are when we get into wrestling. But he'd really been given a double dose of it. He'd been given a giant spoonful of WCW, and they lied to him, they conned him, and they screwed him. Then he went to ECW. Well, what do you think you're going to get there, fella? Another dose. And now you're going to come to WWF last, and boy oh boy, by then, Steve had gotten pretty calloused. Not trusting anybody. I guess that's where I failed because I don't want to live in a world like that."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Premier Live TV with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.