With a single glance and a few dark words, Jake “The Snake” Roberts could make any Superstar believe that his career was about to come to a miserable end. To many, Roberts wrote the book on wrestling psychology, an art and skill that he displayed on a weekly basis to WWE fans throughout the '80s and early ’90s. With his trademark snake companion at his side, Jake created and mastered the “DDT,” a revolutionary maneuver still used regularly today. Despite the fact that he never wore WWE gold, his in-ring exploits made him a champion to his fans forever.
Jake’s career has spanned more than three decades, but according to the legendary performer, nothing has, or ever will, top his experience at WrestleMania III. In front of more than 93,000 people on sports-entertainment’s greatest stage, Jake was accompanied to the ring by his childhood hero, rock star Alice Cooper. "The Snake" still remembers that day like it was yesterday.
“At the time I had a couple of blown discs in my neck and I was in pain 24 hours a day, but on that night, I felt no pain,” said Jake. “It was an incredible feeling. I remember when Alice and I were riding to the ring in that little cart and I looked over to see him gasping for air. He told me it was too much of a rush. He couldn’t handle it,” Jake continued. “The adrenaline and the energy coming from that crowd was overwhelming. It was an amazing night, and I’m very proud of it. Nobody can ever take that away from me.”
Jake’s sinister demeanor and intimidation tactics are legendary. Many Superstars, both past and present, holler at the top of their lungs to get their point across, but Jake could freeze an opponent with just a glance. He rarely raised his voice, but again, he rarely had to. Jake had to unique ability to leave everybody — fans, opponents, referees, etc. — spellbound without so much as moving a muscle.
Though his career has had several well-publicized peaks and valleys, no one can dispute that Jake was one of the greatest competitors to ever step foot in a ring. A complicated man outside the ring, his success inside of it was easy to explain. His genius beat opponents before the bell even rang, and left fans spellbound.