RF Video Shoot Interview with Jake Roberts

This interview was filmed in 2000 and conducted by Rob Feinstein.
It runs for one hour and twenty-nine minutes.

Jake starts of by stating that he starts every day off miserable so that way, no one else gets to screw it up.

He is asked how close he was to the business growing up. At first, Jake thought it was a shoot. He said he was never close to his dad as he was wrestling on the road constantly.
When asked if he always wanted to get into the business, Jake said no because he hated it as it robbed him of his family as a kid. Rob brings up how in the documentary “Beyond the Mat,” Jake said that he got into wrestling to spite his father. Jake starts by stating that he was the first in his family to graduate high school and go to college. He then said that he wanted to be an architect, believe it or not. He then said all he basically wanted from his dad as a kid was a pat on the back.
Jake is asked if his dad helped him get into the business. He said he tried to help him out of the business and would run him down and insult him constantly. He wanted to prove him wrong though.
He said that his first territory was Mid-South, where he started out as a referee. He said it is a very important role that helps you learn as a wrestler. He then said that it takes three people to have a match and that a bad referee can really hurt the flow.
His first territory that he wrestled in was Florida Championship Wrestling under Eddie Graham. When asked who helped train him, Jake said that he stupidly used the “trial and error” method, which led him to bounce around and pick up from guys like Bob Sweetan, Hiro Matsuda, and Bob Roop.
Jake puts over Eddie Graham for having the greatest mind ever in the business. He then, like many others have stated, puts him over for being the greatest “finish” guy of all-time. Rob brings up how Jake once dressed up as Santa at a show on Christmas night and the crowd went nuts, yelling “fuck santa.” Jake said that he had to stay in the locker room a few hours after the show in order to be kept safe from the angry crowd waiting outside.
When asked about who he worked with in Florida, he makes a joke about some girls he worked, stating one of them could pull “chrome off of a bumper.” Jake then says that whenever he walked into the show, he would soak it up and all of the guys were great as they knew what they were doing.
Jake loved working with Barry Windham, stating they were both really young and thin and would go out and work fast-paced matches. He wishes that he spent more time with Dusty to pick his brain.
He then talks about helping train Magnum TA. This leads Jake to say that Magnum and Brian Blair were the easiest guys to pull ribs on, stating that Jimmy Garvin and himself would pull some horrendous ribs of them. He then said that if you pull a rib on Magnum, you better be ready to go because he is a serious guy who was extremely strong.
When talking about the travel in Florida, Jake said it was rough, usually 500-600 miles a day.
After Florida, Jake went to World Class Championship Wrestling, which he said was a mistake. Jake said that he was a loner and not into cliques so he did not fit in at all. Jake also said the pay wasn’t much either.
Jake said that Fritz Von Erich was a really rough guy. He would see him with his kids and said that the problems were due to his dad. Jake said that the kids were pushed into something they did not want to do, especially Mike Von Erich who never wanted to be a wrestler. Jake said that Mike had no business out there and Kerry was just a “dumb kid” and needed to be loved like a child by his dad. He recalls that when Kevin was playing football, they would helicopter him to the Sportatrium to get to the show. Jake said that when Kevin had knee problems due to football, Fritz would yell at him about needing to be tough and reminding him that he was a Von Erich.
When asked about his memories of Gino Hernandez, Jake said that they did a lot of cocaine together. Jake is asked about his death and Tully Blanchard’s comment about Gino being murdered by gamblers and drug dealers, Jake thinks that might have been the case.
Jake left World Class and went back to the Mid-Atlantic region. Jake loved it there. He worked with the Anderson’s and the Road Warriors. One day, the Brisco Brothers asked Jake if he wanted to book. He said he always wanted to do that. They suggested to Jake that he go down to Atlanta, which was on national television.
Jake recalls working in Atlanta and he was wrestling Jerry Brisco. During the match, Jake was asked if he still wanted to book and he said yes so they told him to use a DDT and he and won the match. After that, Jake was told the job was his and to never take no for an answer. At the time, there was a power struggle between the Brisco’s and the Anderson’s and he got the job because he was the happy medium between everyone else who was feuding.
He said that he came up with the original “Legion of Doom,” that featured the Road Warriors, The Spoiler, and himself. Ronnie Garvin’s “Hands of Stone” gimmick was his idea too. Jake got the idea during a time when he was on the receiving end of Ronnie’s comeback and his knuckles felt like concrete. He has a lot of respect for Garvin as a man and a worker. He also turned King Kong Bundy babyface.
Jake did not care for Buzz Sawyer, calling him a cheap-shot artist. He said that he has a problem with people who take advantage of others in the ring. He then said that he chose to be rough on kids who couldn’t take care of themselves. Jake said that if you want to be a tough guy, be one all the time and not just pick and choose when to act like that. When asked about the toughest guy in wrestling, he said it was easier Andre the Giant or Haku.
After Georgia, he went back to Mid-South. He said that 80-90% of wrestlers today would be completely lost trying to carry a feud for a few months and wrestling a different match weekly, stating everyone else wrestles the same match today. He then says how many guys now are just mechanics, in that they could do the moves but they don’t have any meaning behind them.
When asked about the business ever returning to what it once was, Jake said that it might go back that way if new promotions go back to promoting actual wrestling.
Next, he is asked about Bill Watts. He calls him a bully and obnoxious. He then brings up when Muhammed Ali was at the Superdome in Louisiana. Jake was told to fly across the ring when selling his punches but after 3-4 of them, Jake was begging Ali to hit him again. He said that John Nord took a punch and sold it how Watts wanted them too but he didn’t and Watts was pissed .Jake told him that he was going to be here next week, not Ali.
Jake said that Watts was a thief in all aspects, claiming he would steal from your mind, pockets, and family. He tells Rob to even ask his children. Jake also claims that he can recall instances of Watts even sexually harassing people. Jake also said that Watts would always fine people and that money always went into his back pocket. He said that he would piss on his grave. He mentions that his own children will be in line behind him for that. Jake then mocks Watts for having his company go under, despite thinking he was great.
He is asked about a few more guys. Jake thinks Terry Taylor is okay and talented but that he was a brown-nose, which is what he said is led to him getting the Red Rooster gimmick in the WWF. Jake said it was a rib on Taylor. Jake said that Dusty was trying to get rid of Taylor in Charlotte for his ass-kissing and did so by telling Watts that he had someone who could help him run his company. He loved working with Jim Duggan and calls him a friend. He liked the angle with Dick Slater and Dark Journey, making mention that Watts sexually harassed Dark Journey. Jake talks about a problem he had with Dick Slater over a woman. Jake said he fell in love with a girl while in Charlotte and he was about to ask for her hand in marriage then found out the girl was the ex-wife of Slater. Jake didn’t understand why Slater was pissed about someone going out with his ex-wife, noting that they split-up and went their separate ways. He then said that Slater became a lot stranger after his car accident. Jake said that Ric Flair was repetitious in the ring and did whatever he wanted to do.
When asked how he came up with the DDT, Jake said that he was wrestling against the Grappler in New Orleans. He worked a front facelock for a long time and he got backed into the corner. At that time, Jake’s finisher was a kneelift. So, they kept working the hold for a while and Jake tripped over him and fell. He was originally embarrassed because he fell and tripped but looked down and saw that his opponent was out cold. Jake then claims that no one knows how to correctly perform the move today as they haven’t learned the mechanics of how to make it snap and everyone else jumps to perform the move. He knew the move would get over as he never would let anyone else get up from that.
Now, Jake is asked about how he came up with his interview style. He said that his thought was when he was a kid and heard yelling, he wouldn’t listen but would if someone whispered. He recalls his favorite interview was when he started just moving his lips and said that he made people at home feel foolish because they would get up and turn the volume, even thinking that it was broken. He said he liked having that control over the audience. About his material, Jake jokes that a wise man once told him to get his material from people who are successful and would take stuff from Ozzy Osborne and the Rolling Stones along with other bands and singers he listened to and his thinking for this was that the crowd would agree with him subconsciously because they had heard it before. In regards to today’s interviews, he said that they are not getting their points across and just yelling on top of each other. He said that this ties into the fact that no one knows how to work the crowd, mentioning that the companies today do not expect that from their talent.
Jake always thought the UWF wouldn’t work, citing Bill Watts as the reason. He said that Watts wouldn’t pay anyone and that he mind was not wide enough to compete on a national level.
He speaks negatively about Watts again, stating that he would always over-work the boys and would hold the fact that he could fire you at any time over his head.
Next is how Jake wound up in the WWF. He said it was thanks to Terry Taylor. Jake said that he asked where he fit in the company, stating that he was the hottest act on the card, citing his matches drew the most money and crowd response. He said one night, he went to Watts but Taylor stepped in and told Bill that this was something a GM takes care off. Taylor took Roberts into the locker room, where Jake asked him where he fit in the company? Terry told him that he was the number #5 babyface, which Jake laughed at, as Jim Duggan, Steve Williams, Ted DiBiase, and Terry Taylor were ahead of him. At that point, Jake gave noticed and Taylor went to Watts. The next morning, Jake called Vince, who was aaway for a few days. Jake said he was shitting his pants as he quit his job and was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get something better. Vince called back twenty minutes later and told him to fly up and meet him ASAP.
Jake said that he was initially blown away by Vince. He said the first time he went to his office, he looked around and saw books about psychology all over the place. Jake said that Vince is the best, putting him over for working around the clock and staying sharp and intelligent.
When discussing Hulk Hogan, Jake said that he had to be alone, because everyone else was gunning for his spot. He said that they only wrestled twice because when he gave Hogan the DDT, the crowd started chanting for the move instead of Hogan.
He said that he came up with the idea for the snake by himself. Jake said that he originally tried to do it in Mid-South but Watts shot it down and said that it was wrestling, not a carnival. Jake sarcastically said that it was a good call by Watts.
He said a lot of guys were petrified of the snake. Kamala was particularly afraid and said that one night, he was putting his face paint on and Jake dangled the snake over the ledge and Kamala saw it in the mirror and freaked out, knocking stuff around in the process. Jake then said that the snake loved to bite and he received 24 stitches in his hand. He also said that snake shit smells much worse than any other type of shit.
He loved working with Ricky Steamboat, calling him a great worker and an even better person. Jake said that if he ever told Steamboat how much he looked up to him, he would probably be embarrassed. He said his matches with King Kong Bundy were pure misery because he didn’t like to move around in the ring. He said he loves Hercules but he can be really stiff in the ring. He said he was lucky that he only worked a few matches with JYD, as he is really hard to work with. He did say he had a few okay matches against JYD while wrestling in Stampede, which leads to Jake discussing that for a minute. He tells a funny story when he hurt his knee and sat on a couch when Stu Hart came in and told him that there were several ways to make someone pass out from a sleeper hold. Jake does a pretty funny Stu impression by the way. Anyway, Jake said that if he could get up he would prove him wrong but Bret walked in and Stu put him in 3-4 holds, with blood pouring from his ears and eyes. Jake put over Stu for sharing the wealth.
Jake is asked about the drug scene in the 80’s WWF locker room. Jake said it was a large scene and says with their insane travel schedule, your body would break down and to keep going, you would dabble around with things just to keep up with the schedule. He said that it was mostly that and not recreational. Jake said that he took steroids by his own choice and that he was never pressured. He did it after neck surgery, when told he might never wrestle again, and came back three months later.
He enjoyed working with Randy Savage. He does call him insecure. Jake recalls during their match on “Saturday Night’s Main Event,” Dick Ebersol told them both that this was the first time Hogan wasn’t going to open things up and they were getting thirty minutes and if they failed to sustain a good rating, they would be back in Poughkeepsie doing local television. Jake said he liked Ebersol and recalls the first time he met him, someone gave him a script which Jake said was horseshit and waded up the paper and told someone that he was going to stick it up their ass. He cooled off by going outside and smoked a joint while Jesse Ventura was outside with him (Jake is pretty funny in hinting that Jesse smoked with him) and Jesse told him that it was Dick Ebersol. He went up to Dick, who asked him what to do and Jake suggested that he shower with the snake. Jake then said that he was the only wrestler to be invited to his 40th birthday party, where the yacht broke down.
When asked about working babyface, Jake said that he didn’t mind it at all. He said that if you keep following through on what you say, that you will eventually turn babyface as it is easier to fear someone while you are on their side. He said that he worked the same style as both. Jake then says that you kill a character when he is the same exact way as a face than he was as a heel, citing Lex Luger as an example. Jake said that he himself was a prick as a heel but it worked as a face because he was an honest prick.
Jake said there was and still is a lot of politicking in the locker room. He said that was his weakness as he is terrible at politics. This leads Jake to speak about how people in charge encourage politicking in order to keep criticism off of themselves.
He liked working with the Honky Tonk Man then makes fun of his small hands. He liked the angle with Rick Rude that involved his wife. He calls Ted DiBiase a great mechanic in the ring. Jake said that the stuff with the Undertaker involving the cemetery and his hand being slammed in his casket was all his own idea. The story started to get popular but ended when the Ultimate Warrior got fired, which led Jake to talk about how Vince always told him that he had the worst luck. Jake said he was going to get a big run out of that.
He said his blindfold match with Rick Martel was the easiest match he has ever worked. Jake said Martel was scared to death out there. He said that he told Martel before the match in the locker room that he would have made the most money doing the least amount of work. Jake said they didn’t even break a sweat during the match.
Jake left the WWF after his match with the Undertaker after he was promised a position to help book, which had always been his dream. When Pat Patterson and Terry Garvin got fired and he wasn’t given the job, he felt lied to and decided to leave.
He wound up in WCW after the WWF, which was easy for him because he lived in Atlanta. He then said that Watts tore up the contract in his face before he signed it, pointing out the fact that Watts knew he left the WWF, but said that he was thankful it didn’t last as he would have been miserable. He did wish that he could have worked a program with Sting. When asked if he ever would go back to WCW, he didn’t think so and would only go back to a major company if he could help book too.
After WCW, he went to Smoky Mountain. He said it was short-lived but fun. Jake said there was an issue over payment so he left.
He is now asked about DDP, who Jake likes a lot. Jake puts over DDP for working hard all the time. He said that he helped DDP because guys like Ric Flair treated DDP like his father treated himself when he first started in the business. Jake adds that he likes Flair about as much as his dad.
Jake jokes that he wound up wrestling in Mexico for AAA because he is a “whore.” Jake said they pay and he wins. He said he had to sit in the arena for five hours after a show because the fans wanted to kill him. Rob references the shoot that he filmed with Konnan an month prior when he mentioned that Jake was “full of surprises,” which had Jake joke that he still is to this day.
Jake said he came back to the WWF for the Royal Rumble due to money and was shocked at the fan response.
He hated his feud with Jerry Lawler, stating that they went to a place they didn’t need to go. Jake talks about his addiction back then and said he was taunted and chastised and his own weakness that led him to go back. He said that he hadn’t used today but wouldn’t be surprised if he did. He then adds he would be thankful if he didn’t use. He says that god is there for addicts and talks how hard it is to get clean. He then said that he doesn’t even know if he wants to be completely clean, which leads to him talking about how his substance abuse issues have been overblown. He said he had some Scnhapps yesterday and did some cocaine last week but never endangered someone else’s life or tried to rape someone but because he was the first wrestler to openly discuss his problems. He then offers a warning to those by saying if you do not want to become addicted, don’t use because there is a good chance that you will like the effects.
Jake is asked about “Beyond the Mat” and if he still uses crack-cocaine. He said he does from time-to-time. Jake says that the movie was a rip-off and that Barry Blaustein lied. He then said that he was the only one who told the truth in the documentary because it made him look like he was the only person in the business who had a substance abuse problem. Jake then says that originally, the deal for the documentary had multiple wresters involved but he was conned into believing it would be able to help show kids the difference between right and wrong then says he feels sick over what that “asshole” Blaustein did to him. He doesn’t believe that the film will hinder his chances to get back in a major wrestling company because he had talent.
He talks about the Kliq for a minute. Jake said Shawn was an alright guy at first but once he won the belt, he became impossible to deal with. Jake said the “Shawn has left the building” idea was his. Jake said he helped Shawn start and is glad that he had success though. He is not surprised by his success because he was hungry and a tremendous athlete and once he got the break, there was no stopping him.
When asked about King of the Ring 1996 and Steve Austin saying that Jake gave him his first break, Jake said that he liked Austin a lot and thought he wasn’t getting a fair deal at the time. He said he worked hard and was honest so he pushed for him hard behind the scenes.
Other behind the scene duties in the WWF included booking, developing talent, and storylines. He said he was not a road agent and joked that smoking crack was not part of his job either.
Jake said he fell off the wagon once he was sent on the road. He said it is not a good place for him. He then said he might have been able to stay sober if he stayed in the office.
Jake then said he wants people to remember him as an “honest prick.” He then thinks that talent will always allow you to have a chance to go somewhere, even if you have burned bridges in the past.

He talks about Watts for the last time, stating that he can not judge the man and that all he is doing his providing examples of his behaviors.

He would like to work with Raven in ECW. He also wants to work with Paul Heyman.
When asked what he would say to the young guys in the business, Jake said they have to learn the art. He then said that they do not know how to work and they do not care either.
Jake said that he has no clue where he will be in ten years but hopes to be working for a wrestling company that he just started. He hopes that the business will be in better shape in ten years. Jake plugs his site, JakeTheSnakeDDT.com, and how he gives really candid recaps on Nitro and RAW.
He then goes off on Barry Blaustein when asked about his relationship with his daughter. Jake said that the portrayal of them in the film was a “crock of shit” and used by Blaustein to make a profit.
Jake closes by stating that he didn’t need a title to make a name for himself and when asked about what he wants to say to his fans, he jokes “to blow me is to know me.”
Final Thoughts: Jake certainly said a lot here. There was never a dull moment. Overall, this was an excellent shoot. Although he admitted he was still using, Jake was cohehrent during the interview. He seemed really relaxed unless he was talking about Bill Watts or Barry Blaustein. Yes, there was some bitterness and the constant mentions of no one being able to work today got old, even if he did state that it was due to everyone just trying to be athletic instead of working the crowd, but he was generally pleasant throughout.

One major thing I took away was how great of a mind he had for the business. The ideas and stories he came up were usually brilliant. He added a lot of little details that helped them seem more special and memorable too. It was interesting to hear how Jake got involved in the business that he hated as a child because of the negative impact it left on his family.
The other major thing I took away from this is how it seemed that all he wanted to do by entering the business was to get praised by his dad, who seemingly didn’t give a fuck. Jake ended up becoming a bigger than him but it still appears that he still hasn’t gave Jake that pat on the back that he has wanted. After watching the interview its clear that this still bothers him deeply and likely plays a big part of his substance abuse issues.
I do recommend this interview a lot, actually. The length is perfect too. Seeing that it took place fourteen years ago, I think that a follow-up shoot would be great to see. RF Video did conduct an “On the Road”  with Jake from either 2005 or 2006 that followed him from the airport to an indy show, with Jake being asked questions in the car ride to the show and at an IHOP. If he agrees, Jake would be a fantastic subject for a “Breaking Kayfabe” release. He would also be great for a “Timeline” too (either 1990 or 1991 WWF).