Jake “The Snake” Roberts is a celebrated performer in pro wrestling. He says he sometimes wonders about how his career would’ve played out if he didn’t struggle with substance abuse, but he tries not to dwell on the past.
“You know, looking back, hindsight is such an evil thing,” Roberts said on the DDP Snake Pit podcast. “You know, because hindsight. you can clean it up and say, ‘what would’ve happened if you done this and done that. What if? What if?’ You know? If a frog has wings he wouldn’t bust his a** when he jumped. You can’t look at it that way. All it’s going to do is hurt you. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I’ve survived them.”
Jake Roberts found fame in the World Wrestling Federation during the 1980s, where he carried a real, live snake with him to the ring. But the snake didn’t always cooperate with Roberts’ plans. In fact, he says a python once choked him out during a match.
“Ricky Steamboat had to pull one off of me in Indianapolis that choked me out in the match,” Roberts recalled. “I collapsed, went down, and Steamboat’s seeing that the snake was around my throat and that I was turning and he knew to unwind the snake. You can’t break the snake’s grip because what happens when you lay across their scales like this, their scales interlock You can’t break that lock. So you have to either get the head or the tail and unravel them. Well, Steamboat unraveled it then let go because Steamboat is afraid of snakes too.
“As I come to, the snake is going into the fourth row and the tail, luckily, is still in the ring,” Roberts continued. “And I lunge and grab the tail and I whip it all back in. It’s about a 17 footer. Because the people were starting the red sea movement where they’re all running and screaming. It was pretty incredible.
“We went back to Indianapolis about three months later,” Roberts concluded. “As soon as I got there, I thought I was fixing to be arrested because the police were coming and the building manager and I’m like, ‘What have I done?’ They’re like, ‘Did you bring the same snake?’ I’m like, ‘Why?’ ‘Because, man, everyone called wanting to know if it’s the same snake because they want to watch that son-of-a-b*tch kill you’. I’m like, ‘Oh I love my fans’.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the DDP Snake Pit podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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