Feature: Steve Anderson On The Train Wreck That Is Jake Roberts


He was supposed to be remembered as one of the great minds of this business. Creative and innovative, he could cut a promo that would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. While he never ascended to the upper echelon of main event wrestlers or achieved mainstream media attention, he should be remembered as one of the greats of this business.

Instead, we will remember Jake â<80><9c>The Snakeâ<80> Roberts for what happened over the weekend.

Some wrestlers have addictions. They have demons. They have faults, fallacies and oh so many shortcomings. We have watched events unfold that sometimes led to the end of a life. But never have we been forced to witness the ongoing, never-ending tragedy that is Jake Roberts. To call it a roller coaster would be inaccurate. This has been a steady, straight-ahead journey to what looks to be pure disaster.

Reactions are coming from all over regarding what happened when Jake Roberts appeared on a Firestorm Pro Wrestling show this past weekend. After one too many airplane-sized bottles of vodka, Roberts entered ringside drunk as the proverbial skunk. Baby Doll, the former sister-in-law of Roberts, has expressed concern and sadness. JT Lighting, Jakeâ<80><99>s opponent for that night, has rightfully expressed anger and indignation.

Even Shannon, Jakeâ<80><99>s â<80><9c>assistant,â<80> has provided her own point of view, complete with a conspiracy theory about white powder in an envelope and a mysterious cold drink.

Note to Shannon: Sometimes less is more. In other words, stop making things worse.

This is sad beyond belief. The demons are winning.

Back in 1999, I had the pleasure of being invited to a screening of â<80><9c>Beyond the Mat,â<80> Barry Blausteinâ<80><99>s documentary on pro wrestling. It featured three wrestlers in various phases of their career: Mick Foley, Terry Funk and Jake Roberts.

I remember sitting in that screening room, enjoying the story of Foleyâ<80><99>s rise to the WWE championship and Funkâ<80><99>s dogged passion for the wrestling business beyond what his body could handle. Then, there were the segments on Jake Roberts.

It was chilling, watching a man eek out a career long past the spotlight he once enjoyed. Preferring to stay in his hotel room to abuse drugs and alcohol, instead of visiting his daughter. Helping his father, Grizzly Adams, do yardworkâ<80>¦in eerie silence, emotionally distant from his own dad.

Jake ranted on and on about a life of dysfunction. As the camera continued to role, Jakeâ<80><99>s speech became more slurred. His eyes clouded over from the effects of whatever he was taking and/or consuming.

After the documentary ended, Barry did a Q&A. Questions focused on Roberts. He admitted that what was left on the cutting-room floor was even more stunning and disturbing. Jakeâ<80><99>s antics off-camera were far more bizarre than anyone could imagine.

That was almost a decade ago, folks. And it hasnâ<80><99>t gotten any better.

Remember the Heroes of Wrestling pay-per-view? Train wreck. That TNA appearance? Another train wreck. And it just goes on and on and on. The train just keeps wrecking.

This should not be Jake Robertsâ<80><99> place in history. A drunk, past-his-prime wrestler who canâ<80><99>t function in the ring and exposes himself to all in the crowd, including children. TMZ has immortalized Roberts and help set his place in wrestling history with those images. He has been vaulted into the mainstream media.

Isnâ<80><99>t it ironic that he has finally achieved the notoriety he sought for so long.

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