Jake "The Snake" Roberts was interviewed recently the the UK Sun's By SIMON ROTHSTEIN
WHEN you’ve been through as much in your life as wrestling legend Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, you certainly have something to say for yourself.
And Jake didn’t disappoint when The Sun caught up with him – covering everything from why wrestling isn’t as good as it used to be, to his struggles with addiction, to having sex with midgets.
In this exclusive chat, the master of grappling psychology says you won’t see him in WWE or TNA any time soon as he speaks his mind too much.
To prove the point Jake called the WWE’s writers a bunch of “stupid f***s” and says much of the “cookie-cutter” talent will be forgotten in 15 minutes.
But he also credits Vince McMahon with saving his life and the lives of his family, by paying for him to have the rehab he badly needed.
Hi Jake, I think the one thing all your long time fans want to know is what is your current status in the wrestling business. Are you still taking bookings to physically wrestle?
Yes, I’m still physically wrestling.
I’m not as physical as I used to be though, no doubt!
After a hip replacement, injuries and 34 years in this ring it does eliminate some of the high-flying moves I never did!
I never was a flyer, as it didn’t fit my character.
But there are a lot of things now that I can’t do, and a lot of damn things I’m glad I can’t do.
Your character was very psychological in his approach, it must be easier to still work than someone whose act was based on flashy moves?
Yes. I do a few moves but I do them right and at the right time.
My theory has always been “less is more”.
The moment you destroy your credibility in the ring it’s all over.
And to destroy your credibility is easy. It doesn’t matter if you get 99 things right, if that 100th is a little bit off they’ll say: “He’s an old piece of c**p.”
The way I describe it is like you’ve been married for 20 years and you’ve never messed around or stepped outside the marriage.
Then one day you say to your wife: “I went out with Jake last night, got drunk and slept with a midget. But I’ve never messed around before last night.”
Do you think she’ll believe you?
Does she think you screwed around before that and you’ll do it again?
So you’ve destroyed 20 years of credibility with one bad moment.
How do you avoid that?
Don’t go out with me and sleep with a midget!
In the ring it’s pretty simple, you just make sure what you do is absolutely spot on.
You’ve appeared on both WWE and TNA TV in recent times? Would you like to go and work for either company?
I would but I don’t know if my attitude would permit it
I’ve got a bad habit of speaking my mind – because I know I’m right.
When I’m right, I’m right and when I’m wrong, I’m right. It doesn’t matter.
But when you speak your mind in companies like WWE and TNA it doesn’t go down well.
It seems that you just can’t tell some people these days that they’re stupid f***s and to shut up.
You get these TV executives who’ve never been in a damn fight in their lives and they think they know more about it than we do.
Like Vince McMahon told me: “The perception is that you’re angry, you think these people are ignorant.”
I replied: “Well that’s exactly what I was trying to get out there.”
What’s your current relationship like with Vince McMahon?
I don’t call him very often!
I do get asked to come and do stuff occasionally, like the Legends Of WrestleMania game.
Vince is a businessman.
Don’t mistake that for having a healthy relationship with anybody, as far as he’s concerned it’s a product and he will do whatever is needed to make a buck out there.
If he hired Eric Bischoff after the stuff he pulled in WCW, then anything is possible.
A lot of legends like Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka have appeared on Raw in recent weeks for showdowns with Chris Jericho. Have you been asked?
No I haven’t.
I saw the Piper thing and he was great. He doesn’t look too healthy though.
Can you tell us a bit about your excellent new DVD?
It’s called Jake Bytes Back. Fans submitted 42 questions to me online about different moments in my career, employers and talent.
Then they put the camera on me and just let me go.
You can buy it from http://www.jakebytesback.com/
What do you think of the WWE product and how does it compare to the days of you, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase and the rest?
I think the WWE today is excellent for what it is.
It’s a fast-paced 2009 product with all these explosions, music and special effects.
But sometimes I feel it is too much.
I compare it to movies.
You can watch Die Hard 27, where dogs are killing humans, the world is exploding and all sorts of crazy stuff is happening.
Or you can watch John Wayne threatening to pick the gun up. Because my god, you freak out when John reaches out for that gun.
For me, John Wayne knew what the hell he was doing. He connected with you emotionally, not visually.
I feel the current product is visually exciting, but unfortunately it doesn’t hook people emotionally like we did in what I call the 'heyday'.
Because when you hook somebody emotionally you’ve got them hooked for life.What about the current talent roster? How do you rate that?
There are too many cookie cutter wrestlers out there, the talent needs to go and learn to hone their skills and make their stamp like we did.
The proof of the pudding is I competed in my last WrestleMania 17 years ago and they’re still selling my stuff like hot cakes.
Some of these guys won’t be remembered in 15 minutes, let alone 17 years.
There are some good guys out there too though.
I love to watch Kurt Angle in TNA and I’ve learned to really respect Triple H. He’s raised his level. Of course, Shawn Michaels is great and we had one of his first matches ever in WWE.
I also love Santino Marella for some reason, what a lucky man to have what he’s got going on with the Glamazon and the pet. It’s a dream come true!
Victoria is great, so it’s a shame she’s retired, and so are Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton.
Randy is someone I’d love to work with. I wrestled his dad and my father wrestled his father.
He has raised his level and has his eyes on the prize. He is certainly doing the right thing.
How often do you watch the shows?
I watch Raw and ECW every week and I usually write a report on http://www.myspace.com/officialjakeroberts
I dissect the shows, rate the matches and give awards for things like worst use of a piece of talent or worst abuse of television time.
It’s pretty sharp at times and gets me in trouble.
But I’m doing it in the right way to help people.
If I can get you to improve by either p***ing you off or saying you’re good looking then I’ve done what I wanted to do – which is improve the product.
Despite your disagreement with some aspects of the product and the way Vince McMahon works, I read an interview where you credited the WWE for saving your life by paying for rehab. I guess you must have a lot of respect for Vince?
I certainly do.
Rehab ain’t cheap bro!
Regardless of the reasons they did it – whether it was for love or because of the pressure Vine was being put under by the government over steroids and drugs – I don’t care.
If you save the life of one human being you should be sainted for it.
You don’t just save one life, you save everybody around that person from suffering. Their family, their children.
It made a huge difference in my life I’m so thankful because right now I need to be a stronger man than I’ve ever been.
My father has Althzheimers and his weight is down to 165 pounds – whereas he always used to be 400 pounds – my mother has had a heart attack and my oldest daughter has come down with MS.
And it sucks because now I have to deal with my emotions and I have to suffer through it, which isn’t much fun.
The way I used to do it was by medicating and getting comfortably numb.
My oldest daughter is a psychologist and we spoke the other night and she said: “Dad, it’s so good you call me now when you’re upset because before you never did so I know you’re OK.”
She’s just got a great job as the Chief of Addictionology at the largest rehab centre in the world.
I told her: “I did all that s*** so you could learn!”
My twins are doing really well too. One works as an actuary for an insurance company and the other is in nuclear managing.
I know what I went through wasn’t a pretty sight to watch for my family. God surely had a hand on me, otherwise I wouldn’t still be here.
But I also know after my children have seen the things that I’ve done, there ain’t much of a chance that they’ll do the same s***. They’ve seen what it can do to people.
Now I can enjoy life and enjoy being a father and a grandfather.
I feel fortunate to be alive.
But I had to go through all those things I went through to become the man that I am.