Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Posted: December 18, 2010 in Comedy Journal

I’ve been made fun of my entire life for watching pro-wrestling. That’s not an odd position for me to find myself in.

I get made fun of a lot.

For the most part, I own it. I read comics and I watch cartoons. I listen to sissy music and even though I just turned 30 today, I still use the word “wiener.”

I’m fine with not being cool, I kind of identify myself as such, but when people make fun of me for watching wrestling, I get embarrassed, and it hurts my feelings.

I’m such a wiener.

Something about people looking at me like I’m a hillbilly makes me terribly insecure…probably because I’m a little bit of a hillbilly.

But I won’t pretend I don’t watch it. And I won’t pretend I don’t love it, because I do.

My buddy is a manager in regional pro-wrestling organization. He’s a badguy, a “heel,” and I think that might be the greatest gig in the world. Being paid to make people hate you is a job I think any comedian could revel in. Fuck, on a bad day, I do it for free.

As a kid, I loved all the wrestlers, or hated them, accordingly. The Good Guys fought fair, and typically won. The Bad Guys cheated or, worse yet, were from somewhere other than America. This was the way it went, but sometimes, a wrestler transcended their character, they’d pull off being a “cool” bad guy. Those were the best. When a guy cheated, or bad-mouthed the fans and still “got over,” I loved it.

I loved it when the writers couldn’t tell you to cheer for.

Of these characters, nobody was better than Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

For those of you unfamiliar with wrestling, Jake The Snake was a prototypical hardass: A cold-eyed, gravely voiced, long-haired dude with an awesome Tom Selleck mustache. He wasn’t a remarkable athlete or steroid freak, he wasn’t even that built. He just had a mean look and a great gimmick: The Snake. He had a post match ritual where he’d take a giant python and place it on the guy he’d just beaten. Sometimes the guy would freak out and run away, most of the time he’d lay there “unconscious” while the snake slithered over him and kids in the audience went haywire.

As a child, this enthralled me. I wanted to be him. I would make mock snakes out of my dad’s dress socks. I’d tie a few together and stuff them with other socks to make my own “Damien,” the name of his python.

They weren’t great likenesses of snakes of course, they were just socks, and I was routinely scolded for ruining dad’s best pairs, but I would still make them, and would regularly drape these sock serpents over my fallen couch-cushion opponents in the living room. I would celebrate on the couches and recliners that served as ringposts for awhile, before stuffing the socks back into my pillowcase, slinging it over my shoulder like Jake did, and strutting into the kitchen for a pop-tart.

So when my friend called me last year and told me that he was going to be putting on a show with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, I HAD to be there. I also had to go on-line and buy an old Jake “The Snake” action figure and rent an old WWF DVD.

I did not go ahead and suplex any couch cushions nor did I construct any mock serpents out of my socks, but that’s mostly because my socks aren’t arguyelle, and would have made stupid looking snakes.

People don’t understand how a guy like Jake still has to do independent wrestling shows to get by. He made millions. He had action figures and posters. I had just bought one on-line for 18 dollars.

But wrestling’s a tricky business, and it chews up most of its stars. Most wrestlers O.D. or drink themselves to death, suffer heart attacks at 40. Big Boss Man, Eddy Guerrerro, Bam Bam Bigelow, and one of the Road Warriors all died in there 40’s. So did Mr. Perfect, Ravishing Rick Rude, the British Bulldog and Miss Elizabeth. Test, Crash Holly, Umaga, and Flyin’ Brian Pilman all died before that. Lance Cade and The Texas Tornado were only in their 20’s.

Those that don’t die of various “natural causes” meet horrible and often spectacular ends; Dino Bravo got shot by the Mob, a dude named Ludwig Borga ran for a spot in the Finnish Parliament, and got elected on what was essentially a “Pro-Racism” ticket, after which he was institutionalized then shot himself in the head. Everybody remembers when Chris Benoit killed his family then himself, and when Owen Hart fell to his death at a live event. Even while I’m writing this, I read that one wrestler died of a heart attack this week, and another was arrested for Breaking and Entering. I’m also pretty sure one of the Bushwhackers died fighting a gorilla or holding up an ice cream truck.

Anyway, they’re all sad.

The ones that die in car crashes or from complications during surgery are the lucky ones. At least their ends are just sad, not hilarious.

Sure, some guys retire, sell cars or make movies, but most end badly. Jake’s not one of those, at least not yet. But he is a wreck. I saw in a documentary that he was addicted to crack cocaine. And I’ve heard stories about him showing up at shows, getting his couple hundred dollars up front, and immediately holding it in the air and saying, “Who can turn this into some Whiskey and an Eightball first?”

I’ve also heard he has a reputation of showing up to shows already drunk.

Really Drunk.

Like take your pants off for no reason drunk.

Like stop a match in the middle and eat a McRib drunk.

So I had to go to this wrestling match, not just because he was a childhood hero, but also because there was a chance that this could lead to a fantastically horrible story.

The match took place in a rec-center, a lot like a high school gym only not attached to a high school. I showed up a little early and hung out with my friend. I was there when Jake arrived, and I won’t lie, I was star-struck a little bit.

First of all. He’s enormous. I know I said he wasn’t a big dude, and by wrestler standards, I guess he’s not, but by people standards, he’s a monster.

I’m a big man. I’m 6’4” and about 260 lbs. He dwarfed me, made me look tiny. He wasn’t that much taller, he was just bigger; all over, just bigger. His hands and his wrists were thick. His shoulders were massive. His head was like a buffalo’s.

He was bigger the way G.I Joes were bigger than the old StarWars Toys. Even though they were about the same size, the G.I.Joes were still bigger, and wouldn’t fit inside the StarWars ships. He was the beefed up Road-Pig or Sgt. Slaughter toy, and I was the scrawny Han Solo who looked ridiculous next to him.

Secondly, I was not prepared for his charisma. This beat-up old man still had an aura about him. He had a charming and terrifying demeanor. He was dangerous and rough like an old biker, simultaneously in control but desperate.

He still had that deep creepy voice. Cold and raspy, but crystal clear regardless of how far away you were. It sounded like his body was unable to yell or scream, but simply because it never had to.

There’s no other way to put it. Jake was still cool.

I saw him pick-up an entire group of women. Trailer-park beauty-queens; ladies in their late 30’s with dyed yellow hair and stained yellow teeth, huge tits and tiny waists.

The kind of hot that ruins thousands of marriages in the Midwest.

They had an air of confidence about them that comes from having hundreds of men who wanted to fuck you, and hundreds of men who had.

Jake looked at them like you look at the valet, or a bathroom attendant; enough to remember their face for the night, but not enough to store the memory.

He scanned across them and casually said in that rumbling hiss,

“Who wants to fuck a Legend tonight?”

Then, pointing to the bustiest of the lot,

“You… You want to fuck a Legend.”

I can only assume, if all is right in the universe, that he was correct.

As they set up, and the crowd rolled in I got to talk to Jake some, or at least, be around him while he talked. Jake kind of liked me. I could just tell. I don’t know why, but he did. Maybe he could see what a treat it was for me to meet him, and maybe he appreciated the fact that I still didn’t ask him to sign anything or take a picture. He called me Deej, and everybody else just “brother.” And when he made jokes he looked at me to see if I was laughing.

I was.

I like to think he realized I was a little like him, that I loved and hated the crowd in the same way.

Once the matches started I reluctantly left Jake’s side and took a seat on the bleachers. As much as I loved meeting Jake, I was there to see my buddy manage wrestlers.

Any remorse I had at walking away from Jake quickly subsided once the matches started. I won’t lie, I got lost in it a little. I’m not used to being part of a mob, I’m not a sports fan and don’t go to games. Getting together and cheering for something unimportant is a fun guilty pleasure that I rarely get to indulge in. The fact that I knew most of my peers, even my friends, would look down on me for cheering at a wrestling match made it even better.

It was like walking around the house naked, and not for a little bit, but for a whole afternoon, and not sort of naked, really naked, butt-hole nekkid.

I knew I didn’t fit in there, at the show. And that was fun too. Most of the crowd avoided me. I was there alone. A 30-year-old man without his kids or his wife or an ex-wife. I was suspect for sure. The fact that I showed up with a notepad, and pen behind my ear confused them even more. What kind of weird queer brings homework to a rastlin’ match? For Christ’s Sakes! I was wearing a scarf!

Still, as the matches went on, we all got into it together. When the 400 lb guy somersaulted off the top rope, I screamed, and they screamed, and we meant it.

The show went long of course; all shows go long. and as the show drug on Jake “The Snake” got restless. (My god, I had almost forgotten he was there!)

I was still sitting near him. He was at a table in the corner, selling pictures and autographs for 5 or 10 dollars. He was selling the same action figure I’d gone out and bought. As the show got going, and the stream of people giving him money dried up, he got irritable. And this got my attention. Few things are more interesting than a known maniac getting angry.

“Get this fucking thing rolling” he’d say in that angry whisper. I’d cringe and get nervous, but equally excited that he’d snap.

“Let him go crazy God.” I whispered to myself,

“Let it happen right here.”

“This thing ever gonna fucking wrap up?” he’d hiss.

“Right here God. Let him lose his mind, right here.”

“Got Shit to Do” he said.

“Let this be it God. Let this be his meltdown.”

“For Fuck’s sake how long’s this thing gonna be?”

“Dear Lord in Heaven, let this end a stand-off. Let him take that fat wrestler hostage and demand a plane to Branson Missouri.”

But nothing like that happened. He just got grouchy and pissed. The crowd didn’t notice, I honestly don’t know how. I think maybe it was just that weird Midwestern ability to ignore something they don’t like until it actually ceases to be. Jake eventually left the little area where he was selling things, and I watched the last two prelims with few distractions.

Then it came. The Main Event. What I’d come to see.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Being in a Rec-center, the lights didn’t dim and there were no fancy pyrotechnics, just a dude in referee’s shirt coming out to make a dramatic intro speech. First, his opponent came to the ring.

He was disappointing. His name was Johnny Awesome, or Mr. Macho, something silly. He was dressed like a bad-guy from a Nintendo Game; Long goatee, frizzy hair, some biker gloves and knee pads, a weird mesh of 80’s punk and glamrock, just a touch of pink thrown onto his outfit to enrage the homophobes, and solidify his position as the villain.

My buddy was his manager. He normally wasn’t, but for this show he was. They wanted him in the main event, since he’s good at making rednecks angry, and they need the crowd to hate the bad guy.

Jake came out next. He still had the swagger, and the cool burlap sack he carried a snake in (a snake that was on loan from one of the local wrestler’s brother-in-law I’d later learn.)

He didn’t have an outfit. If he’d left his autograph station to change, I have no idea what had taken him so long. He came out it in a T-shirt and some sweatpants.

There was no snake theme or snake aspect to his attire.

They weren’t snake striped sweatpants. There was no snake logo running down the side or a snake embroidered around the waist or anything.

Just regular sweatpants.

And his shirt wasn’t a snake T-shirt with a scaly snake texture, or a snake decal anywhere on it. There was no writing that said “The Snake” or any picture of a python. Nope, just a T-shirt.

Jake was just a dude in sweats and a T carrying a snake in a bag. If not for his huge size and greazy swagger, he could have been any weird uncle or dick-head step dad, trying to impress the kids with a stupid pet.

Jake slid into the ring and pushed the burlap sack into the corner. He looked into the crowd to the cougar he’d spoken to earlier while he slicked his hair back and jogged around the ring in his pre-match ritual.

In spite of all of this, he still had it.

It.

That charisma and scary aura that could make you believe he was a killer. Or at least he did. Until right before the match started.

See, everything was going great, until Jake Roberts, without explanation, casually slid his hand into the front of his sweat pants and jerked at his dick for a solid 10 seconds.

I know 10 seconds doesn’t sound like a long time. But it is.

Go ahead, right now, put your hand on your dick and count to ten. I’ll wait.

See?

It’s a long time.

And don’t just put it there either. Really adjust stuff. Like it’s a tetris piece you don’t know how to place. Move it around like you want to make sure it’s still attached everywhere it ought to be. Like you’re looking for a leak at the base or something. Needless to say, you notice something like that.

The match started, and out of nowhere, he did it again. 10 full seconds, hand on his balls, really messing with it.

The match itself was lackluster. Jake’s an old man. He can’t really bang around the ring anymore. But he sure could grab his dick in the middle of it.

He did it again!

He tossed the guy against the ropes, knocked him down with a chop, then put his hand down his pants.

5 times he did this.

5 times!

At 10 seconds a pop, that’s almost a minute of dick-grabbing. This was only an 8-minute bout.

The bad guy would eye-rake Jake, Jake would recover, knock him down from a headlock, and grab his dick. I was confused.

I wondered if maybe something was wrong with The Snake’s own trouser serpent.

Maybe that trailer-park hottie from earlier had made good on his prediction and left him with something.

I didn’t know.

But I knew he was tugging at his junk an awful lot.

He did it again!

That Makes It A Full Minute!

What the hell Jake the Snake? What’s going on with your balls?

I’d get my answer.

Soon enough Jake went for the short clothes-line.

Boom!

Nailed it! The crowd goes crazy. Everybody knew what that meant. That was his warm up for his finisher.

The DDT.

The move he innovated.

The move that put Ricky The Dragon Steamboat in the hospital.

The move I had emulated on every single one of my friends in pools, or on trampolines during my childhood.

The move I still did on my friends when they were drunk and roughhousing after we got back from the bar.

He slapped the guys head under his arm and surveyed the crowd. He signaled for it, and rocked back on his heels to seal the deal and…

Boom! Forty dollars fall out of Jake’s pant leg.

40 dollars in ones and fives spill out in a loose pile that flutters all over the ring like that bird that got hit by a pitch from Randy Johnson. Poof! The clump fell, and stray singles slowly lofted down. I realized why Jake had been playing with his crotch all match.

It’s because that’s where he kept his money. It’s because his balls were doubling as his safe. He kept his money tucked up under his junk so nobody could get to it, or at least if they did, they’d have to touch his dick. He was keeping his money in his dick-safe because apparently the toe of your shoe just wasn’t safe enough.

Jake Roberts, a man who’d made millions of dollars in the WWE was now tucking his money in his genitals as to not lose 40 bucks.

I’m broke, as are most of my peers, but to the best of my knowledge, none of us are keeping money in our dick-safe.

The crowd didn’t realize what was going on. I think they were confused as to where the money came from, and possibly thought it was part of the act.

Someone who did realize what was going on was my buddy, the bad guy’s manager. He’d been managing bad guys all night, a full stable of bad guys in several different matches. The crowd hated him. He’d cheated, he’d been cheating the whole time, screwing over the flag-waving hero tag-team, and the fresh-faced kid who could flip off the top rope.

In a moment of bad guy genius, he entered the ring and went after the money recently liberated from Jake The Snake’s crotch. Without missing a beat Jake grabbed him and hit him with another DDT. The crowd roared!

This was great!

It even explained why Jake’s hands were down his pants for 15 percent of the fight. I know now the match was supposed to end differently. Jake was supposed to pin his opponent and go to put his snake on him, my pal was supposed to come in and try to rescue his wrestler, only to get chased out of the ring by Jake and into the arms of the guys he’d screwed over in earlier matches.

Jake wasn’t supposed to tug on his balls all night, and my buddy wasn’t supposed to enter the ring and steal his money. But the crowd bought it, and they loved it. As Jake draped his borrowed Snake over my friend’s incapacitated body and the ref scooped up the 40 dollars or so that had just moments ago been wedged between Jake’s nut sack and leg, the crowd lost their minds.

And I laughed my ass off.

Everyone was happy. The crowd got their answers. My buddy looked like a perfect villain. I got a good story, and Jake got to look like a hero.

That night, I’m sure some bartender brought Jake Roberts and some skank two whiskeys, and though he didn’t know it, he got tipped with a dollar bill that smelled like a legend’s balls.

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Comments
  1. Caleb says:

    I was a pretty huge wwf fan when I was little and I’ll still watch it if I run across it while I’m flipping through channels so this hits home. That was a truly great story. For a few lines there, I felt genuinely uncomfortable. And a little sad. Mostly because I have a notepad in my hand and a pen in my chest pocket. And I’m wearing a scarf

  2. Mike B says:

    “He didn’t have an outfit. If he’d left his autograph station to change, I have no idea what had taken him so long. He came out it in a T-shirt and some sweatpants.”

    I’ve got a theory.

    (nice writes, deej)

  3. Billy Justus says:

    remember when the million dollar man Ted DiBiasi used to stuff dollars into his losing opponent’s mouth post victory? jake could have easily one up’d that by doing that with his ball dollars.
    also, attached as “my website” is a very topical video of jake the snake sicking his pet cobra on the mach man randy savage. i recall seeing this as a child and it stuck with me for YEARS.

    • DJ Dangler says:

      That Cobra schtick Terrified me too. I found out later it was done with mirrors to make it look closer to Macho Man. I’d always wondered. He did something similar with The Ultimate Warriors later on. Jake The Snake was awesome.

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