Jake the Snake’s Hall of Fame entry involves the DDT, cool promos, and Damien

This year’s WWE Hall of Fame announcements have already served as a strong nod to the 1980s wrestling scene, and as such, I’ve been thinking a lot about Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ nomination.

Roberts is one of the most memorable stars to come out of that period for anyone who grew up watching WWF wrestling at the time — those memories are despite him never holding a title in the federation or even being a great worker in the ring.

But Jake had a lot of things going for him:

  • A killer finishing move with the DDT. I’m not sure anyone in the WWF had ever used that finisher before Roberts’ arrived, and I can tell you that it was a move that made the crowd erupt when he hit it.
  • Creepy interviews. His delivery and facial expressions made Roberts stand out during promos, and he could portray evil particularly well through his words. Even as a babyface, his promos had a sense of dread about them. One of my all-time favorite interviews from any wrestler was Mean Gene Okerlund talking to the Snake just before his WrestleMania VI match with Ted DiBiase.

 

  • Damien. Roberts’ pet snake, which he brought to the ring in a burlap sack draped over his shoulder, was a scary gimmick in the days of cartoonish characters. Damien crawling over fallen opponents, flicking his tongue at the them, and occasionally going into some poor guy’s mouth were all images that we as fans could relate to — none of us could really imagine what it was like to get a DDT, but we could all relate to how freaked out we’d be if a big-ass snake was crawling over us.
  • Awesome feuds. Whether it was giving Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat a DDT on the concrete floor during Saturday Night’s Main Event, ripping Ravishing Rick Rude’s tights off during a period when Rude was flirting with Jake’s wife, or Damien biting Randy “Macho Man” Savage’s arm, Jake’s conflicts often got taken up a notch.

Roberts never had a main event run in the WWF (Hulk Hogan nixed that idea, as noted in an earlier post). However, I think along with Roddy Piper, he was one of those characters who did not need a title because the fans loved him even as a heel.

Jake the Snake was a drug addict and boozer who has had some hard times since his wrestling heyday, and he’s also had some inspiring moments in recent years as he’s tried to stay clean and get back in shape. It’s hard to imagine Roberts will get anything short of a standing ovation when he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame, not only for his time in the WWF, but also for his personal efforts to stay straight.

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5 comments

  1. Pingback: Mr. T — the newest member of the Hall of Fame — worked because fans believed he was a tough guy | Boston Garden Balcony
  2. Joe Lowry

    I noticed you did not mention Jake “The Snake” Roberts feud with Andre The Giant. Although it was a short lived feud, mainly due toe Andre’s failing health, none the less they did headline a few cards. I actually read a interview last year courtesy of Wrestlinginc.com. Jake talks about his first match with Andre and how Andre basicaly “squashed” him. This obviously pissed Jake off and endied up in a screaming match backstage with Andre. Jake had the nerve to tell Andre that if they kept up lousy matches like that there would be no money made. Andre then lets Jake know that he did it intentionally and wanted to see if Jake had the balls to tell him backstage. The matches from there on were alot better. You can read the article here: http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2012/0814/555268/jake-the-snake-roberts-interview/

  3. Joe Lowry

    Jake “the Snake” Roberts was another non main eventer who did not need a title to prove his talents both in and out of the ring. No doubt another 80’s pioneer being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. It does seem somewhat the WWE is finally honoring the guys who got them to where the company is today. With the debut of the WWE Network right around the corner its only fitting that some of the 80’s grapplers are getting there due nod. Jake Roberts was very entertaining during the 80’s and his promos were top notch almost right up there with the likes of Piper, Hogan and Flair. He knew how to sell a match before and after with the microphone. He may not have possessed the phyisique of the men of the steroids era but he made up for it with his in ring tactics. Congrats to the man from Stone Mountain, GA!!

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