Growing up in the 80s meant wearing neon splattered skid pants, spearing your younger brother with Lawn Darts, and watching the WWF (before they got sued to change their name to the WWE). The super-stars of the WWF were larger than life to me. Nothing could stop them. They could lift giants, soar through the air like eagles, and come back from the dead. Nothing could stop them – not even a King Cobra bite.
I remember it as if it was yesterday, Jake “The Snake” Roberts called out “Macho Man” Randy Savage’s macho-ness leading to Macho and Jake squaring off. Jake got the upper-hand by wrapping Macho Man in the ropes…what followed was pure horror to me as a young Hulkamaniac – Jake sicced the King Cobra onto Macho Man’s arm. Blood dripped from the cobra’s mouth as it gnawed on the Macho Man’s arm. After witnessing that, no one could convince me that “wresting isn’t real.”
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was one of the wrestlers that I feared. When his music hit and he began walking down to the ring carrying that brown sack, my skin crawled. During his promos, Jake’s stare burned through the television set and deep into my soul. I was paralyzed by his power. He spoke softly but violently. He meant business every time he climbed into the ring…and then, he was gone.
I don’t remember hearing about Jake leaving the sport. He was just gone.
Fast forward less than 20 years and in an instant my childhood fear of Jake “The Snake” Roberts was snuffed out as I watched the footage of drunk, and overweight Jake Roberts stumble into a ring in Cleveland, Ohio. Jake was booked by the Firestorm Pro Wrestling promoters to kick some ass by planting a few of his famous DDTs on his opponent. Instead, Jake rambled on the mic like a drunken sailor, fell into the ring like a rag doll, and was pinned in about 30 seconds. Oh, did I mention he exposed himself to the crowd? Yeah, that happened too. A far cry from the villainous Jake that I feared as a young kid who I thought was an unstoppable wrecking machine. Jake’s sad and disastrous performance occurred in 2008.
From there, he continued to go downhill.
The documentary does a great job of starting out during the height of Jake’s career at the WWF. It highlighted his skills as a soft-spoken, devious villain on the mic, his famous feud with Ricky “The Steam Boat” and others, and how punishing his DDT move was. It was exactly how I remembered him as an impressionable kid. The documentary then takes an immediate turn as we meet present-day Jake (at the time 2012). He’s tucked away in a run-down house surrounded by weeds that’s located off of a dirt road connected to a major highway. His shirt is two sizes too small, and so are his shorts. He’s unshaven, heavyset, and spacey. He’s a mess.
I didn’t realize that Jake mentored “Diamond” Dallas Page whenever Dallas was an up-and-coming wrestler, but he did, and Dallas never forgot how good Jake was to him. Hearing about Jake’s depressing status, Dallas decided to see if he could provide some help.
Dallas is currently a successful yoga instructor of DDP Yoga “It ain’t your mama’s yoga!” and thought that he could rehabilitate Jake through DDP Yoga, and by providing some loving counseling. The documentary basically follows Jake’s journey to better himself with the support of Dallas and others. There were several times that I thought Jake was close to overcoming his addictions just to fall again. It was hard to watch.
As I watched the documentary it became clear that the tough guy in the ring was just a act. In reality, Jake was hurting. His father, a wrestler too, never gave Jake the praise he deserved. His mother sexually abused him. His life was a train wreck that continued whenever he became a father which resulted in his kids separating themselves from him.
Many big names in the wrestling business were interviewed during the documentary to provide some insight into Jake’s life outside of the ring. One of the big names was…hey, yo…Razor Ramon. In a stunning twist I didn’t see coming Razor joins Jake on his journey to be healthier and happier. Like Jake, Razor was struggling with additions that overtook him. I couldn’t believe my eyes when they showed the state Razor was in before going through DDP’s rehabilitation process. He was an old, fat man in a wheelchair.
I was seriously stunned as if I just got laid out by the “Razor’s Edge.”
Watching Jake and Razor bond as they try to overcome their additions and rehabilitate their bodies was something truly extraordinary to witness. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake (currently streaming on Netflix) is truly an amazing documentary to watch, even if you’re not a wrestling fan. Consume Review Repeat gives The Resurrection of Jake the Snake 10 snake bites out of 10.