Jake “The Snake” Roberts was getting in shape for a Royal Rumble return when he received some conflicting news – he was being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
The legendary wrestler was a big part of the WWE in the 1980s and 1990s, being one of the best wrestlers on the microphone in the entire world. His bone-chilling promos captivated the audience in the era of Hulkamania, with his whispering promos drawing you in and cutting you down with his spiteful words.
His most famous promo is probably the one he cut before his match with Ted DiBiase at Wrestlemania VI. His quiet, deliberate tone forced you to concentrate on every word as he cut through the tension with a goose bump inducing speech that is remembered over three decades later.
“Well, well. The Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase. Here we are at WrestleMania, and it’s the biggest match of your career. Why? Because everything you stand for is on the line, mainly, the Million Dollar Belt. Oh yeah, you see it can be yours once again. All you have to do is go through Damien, and me. But you see, Damien and I don’t forget, we remember all the times you made people grovel for your money. These were people far less fortunate than you, people who could use your money for essentials, and what did you do? You made fun of them. You humbled them and you humiliated them. Well, now it’s my turn. I’m going to make you beg, DiBiase, you are going to get down on your hands and knees. This time, you’ll be the one that’s humbled. This time, you’ll be the one that’s humiliated, and this time, you will be the one that grovels for the money. And how appropriate, that the money you grovel for is your very own. A victim of your own greed, wallowing in the muck of avarice.”Jake “The Snake” Roberts at Wrestlemania IV, before wrestling “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
However, he never won the World Title in the WWE. A rivalry with Hulk Hogan was nixed due to his immense popularity and his personal problems eventually got in the way of his immense talent. He asked for his release after wrestling The Undertaker at Wrestlemania VIII, returning in 1996 only to lose to Steve Austin at King of the Ring and lose his job due to an alcohol and drug relapse.
He struggled for years with drugs and alcohol, almost dying and losing all family connections due to his illness. He was eventually saved by Diamond Dallas Page, who took him into his home, got him fit and helped him to kick his habit. His health improved dramatically and he even made a return to the WWE in 2014 – attacking Dean Ambrose with the help of his pet snake, Damian.
Later that year, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame just before Wrestlemania 30. However, his intention was not to be honoured with a ring and look back at his career. He only wanted one thing and that was to wrestle in one more match, as a surprise challenger in the 2014 Royal Rumble.
He revealed on his Snake Pit podcast that he was waiting for a call from Triple H to tell him he was going to be in that years Royal Rumble. He spoke about how he had been training to appear in the match and was not expecting to be inducted into the Hall of Fame instead.
“I was at DDP’s crib, and I get the phone call from Triple H. I thought he was calling for the Royal Rumble. I had been training hard for it, and I told Dallas, ‘I’m going to get this. I got it. I know I got it.’ I was in the best shape I had been in, in 20 years, easily. Hunter said, ‘Jake, we’d like to induct you into the Hall of Fame,’ which caught me off guard. It took two or three days for it to soak in. “henever I saw Vince (McMahon), I told him I was getting ready for the Rumble. We met backstage after I did my bit (on Old School Raw).”
He was asked about at what point he decided he wanted to take part in the Royal Rumble match and said that it was about a year before he got the call from Triple H. He was losing weight, gaining strength and went through various stretches where he didn’t succumb to his vices. He even had shoulder surgery, which fans clubbed together to pay for and was doing DDP Yoga to help with a variety of ailments.
“Probably a year in. After I started having long stretches of sobriety. That first year, I think I screwed up twice, maybe three times. It was getting better, my head was clear, my workouts were starting to pick up. Not only was I doing DDP Yoga, but after that, I would go to the gym and put in another hour. I was pushing pretty hard for an old fart. It wasn’t easy, but it was something that I really wanted. I always wanted that opportunity to tell the fans goodbye, especially after what they had just done for me. They had paid for my surgery to have my shoulder repaired. It is in good shape now. That blew me away when the fans came through on the IndieGoGo. We asked for a certain amount and within 24 hours it was there. That blew me away.”
Sadly, he did not appear in the 2014 Royal Rumble or any match since for the WWE. He did wrestle a handful of wrestling matches in 2014 and in the years since. Jake Robert’s last match took place in 2018, when he wrestled IamThePROVIDER at BBOW No Limits Pro Wrestling. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014 by his good friend Diamond Dallas Page, and has recently worked as a manager in AEW. He was the manager of Lance Archer in AEW, but has not appeared on TV since early 2022.