Jake "The Snake" Roberts (real name Aurelian Jake Smith Jr., born May 30, 1955) is a second-generation professional wrestler best known for his years with the WWE in the late eighties and early nineties when he feuded with their top tier talent, including "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, André the Giant, Randy Savage, The Undertaker, and Sid Justice. He is lauded for his mic work, cutting dark and cerebral promos, bringing his live pet snakes into the ring, and for inventing the dreaded DDT maneuver.
Unfortunately, years of family troubles and drug abuse (and his resulting in-ring behavior) made him more famous for DWIs than DDTs, marking him as poison (or venom, if you will) in the eyes of the big companies. As a result, he has had trouble maintaining steady employment, though he has worked consistently on the road as an independent agent.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who was on the cusp of breaking out and just needed a really good catchphrase, defeated Jake to win the King of the Ring Tournament in 1996. In Austin's victory promo, in where the supposed born-again Christian Jake referenced John 3:16, Austin struck gold with the following:
- "You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says "I just whipped your ass!""
Among his in-ring achievements, he is a former Stampede North American Heavyweight Champion, a former SMW Heavyweight Champion and a former 2x Mid-South North American Heavyweight Champion, And a member of the WWE Hall Of Fame Class of 2014.
You can read more extensively on his career at The Other Wiki.
You may also drop by for a visit on Twitter.
Damned Delicious Tropes
- Aborted Arc: Jake's 1988 feud with Rick Rude never got a proper blowoff.
- Abusive Parents: His father, Aurelian "Grizzly" Smith, who, if Roberts's accounts are true, was an outright monster. Smith died from Alzheimers in 2010, and his accounts of Roberts's stories are unknown.
- Animal Motif: Go on, guess.
- Arch-Enemy: Dusty Rhodes, Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat, the Honky Tonk Man, Rick Rude, André the Giant, Ted DiBiase, Rick Martel, the Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, The Undertaker, and Jerry Lawler.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Both his stage name and his real name, Aurelian Smith, Jr. Really
- Ax-Crazy: Not as obvious as other examples, but he is a very sadistic and psychotic fighter.
- Badass Boast: "You wanna play 21? I've got 22." Remind us to never bring you to Vegas, Jake.
- "Even a fool knows that a man only has five senses. But a snake? He has six. We always do it better in the dark."
- Badass Grandpa: He is now, anyway. He frequently talks about his grandchildren on his Twitter page.
- Badass Mustache: Wore this throughout his career.
- Bad Samaritan: Was one to the Ultimate Warrior, who looked for his help against The Undertaker.
- Bad Santa: Dressed up as one to help Kevin Sullivan defeat Dusty Rhodes in Florida 1982, as Sullivan, as the masked "Bonebuster", had paid off Jake for injuring Barry Windham.
- Bash Brothers: With Kevin Sullivan, Nord the Barbarian, and The Undertaker.
- Big Bad: In his time.
- The Cameo: His As Himself appearance on the Boy Meets World episode "Sixteen Candles and Four-Hundred-Pound Men."
- Card-Carrying Villain: As a heel.
- Catch-Phrase: "Trust me." (Bad idea.)
- The Chessmaster
- Chronic Pet Killer: Jake would typically go through multiple snakes a month back in the day. He once accidentally left one in the car overnight in the depth of winter, went out in the morning to find it frozen solid, and called the office to request a new snake.
- Cool Old Guy: He's now this during his return on 1/6/14.
- Darkest Hour: His appearance on the infamous Heroes of Wrestling pay per view, drunk off his ass, more out of shape than ever, and his hair having gone almost entirely grey.
- This incident that occurred at an indie show in Ohio in 2008 is perhaps even worse. Jake is even more intoxicated than he was at Heroes of Wrestling (he'd apparently drank 20 miniature bottles of vodka before going out), is overweight and nowhere near in good enough condition to be wrestling. To make matters worse, he started ranting at the crowd once he got a microphone in his hand and when it came time to actually wrestle, he no sold everything that was being thrown at him and eventually dissolved into him exposing himself and getting into an altercation with one of the other wrestlers outside after the show.
- Digital Bikini: Inversion—Roberts was feuding with lady-killer "Ravishing" Rick Rude and Rude began to wear tights with a portrait of Roberts's wife on them, claiming they had been together. Roberts made good on his promise to rip the tights off Rude if he ever wore them again, leaving Rude running from the arena trying to cover his blurred crotch, despite the fact that he was actually wearing flesh-colored underwear.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Randy Savage didn't invite Roberts to his bachelor party because Roberts was obsessing over him. Roberts's response: sending Miss Elizabeth a snake in a box.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: He loved to menace the women by pulling out his, um, snake and taunting them with it. He even managed to get himself in trouble one time by putting the snake bag and legs and stroking it back and forth in front of a female audience member...
- Early Installment Weirdness: Early in his career Jake had a babyface cowboy gimmick.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: As of 2015, Jake is back in shape, clean, and is once again close with his family thanks to the help of Diamond Dallas Page.
- The Farmer and the Viper: When a heel, this was frequently a subject of his image.
- Feather Boa Constrictor: Just look at the image.
- Finishing Move: The DDT, which he innovated, which has since become a standard move in every wrestler's repertoire. It is unknown whether the name refers to the illegal pesticide or some now-forgotten acronym.
- Five Moves of Doom: Jab, jab, jab, haymaker/clothesline, short-arm clothesline, DDT.
- Freudian Excuse: It's likely a lot of his alcohol and drug problems stem from his abusive upbringing.
- Fun with Acronyms: Depending on who you ask, the "DDT" stands for "Drop Dead Twice", "Demonic Death Trap", "Drop Down Town", "Death Drop Technique", or "Damien's Death Touch" and "Damien's Dinner Time" (perhaps because anybody on the receiving end of it would be in no condition to stop
Voldermort'sJake's pet python Damien from eating him). Even Roberts seemed to have no clue which it was, and preferred to hear fans pick words at random. He also sometimes said that rather than an acronym it stands for "The End".
- Gimmick Matches: During his Stampede days, he and Big Daddy Ritter (JYD) had the first ever ladder match.
- Grandfather Clause: Though the DDT is now a common move, Roberts (who invented it) and a few others (Tommy Dreamer, Raven) still use it as a finisher, since they were doing it before it was cool.
- He's Back: His return to the WWE in 2012 after decades of substance abuse. You can tell his rehab efforts with Diamond Dallas Page has been paying off, as he looks years younger than he did in his last few public appearances.
- He Cleans Up Nicely: This is what Jake looked like before Diamond Dallas Page intervened; here's what he looks like after. Aside from his rather terrible haircut, he's looks to be in great shape for his age, now.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Jake was prone to unzipping his, er, snake bag in front of the Divas and laughing as they cowered in fear; even slapping them across the face if he wasn't getting enough heat. And (according to Sherri Martel) Roberts delighted in frightening the girls with Damien in real life, too.
- Immune to Drugs: He's not exactly in a good place in terms of health, finances, or professional standing, but the fact that he should by rights be dead by now might count.
- Instrument of Murder: Honky Tonk Man once hit Jake with a real guitar instead of a breakaway prop, legitimately injuring him and leading to a serious painkiller addiction.
- Irony: Did you know Jake "the Snake" Roberts is actually a self-confessed real-life ophidiophobe? Yeah, he was legitimately terrified of snakes. This despite the fact that he actually had to take care of his various Damiens himself while on the road.
- Kick the Dog: Jake's attempt to take a steel chair to Miss Elizabeth, Savage's valet
- Knight of Cerebus: As a heel. Especially in the early 90's, where he committed some of the most evil acts a heel had ever done at that point. He even proved to be Eviler Than Thou to The Undertaker, himself a Knight of Cerebus, causing Taker to end their Villain Team-Up and pull a HeelFace Turn.
- Lean and Mean: While rehabbing from neck surgery, Jake started using steroids and working out like crazy to build muscle. At his first meeting with Vince McMahon, Vince told him to stop bodybuilding and slim back down, as he believed that Jakes skinny and sensuous physique was a major part of the character.
- Loophole Abuse: WWF President Jack Tunney banned Jake's poisonous snake from ringside... so Jake hid his snake bag UNDER the ring instead.
- Loyal Animal Companion: In Kayfabe, Damien. In reality, this was subverted, as Jake was terrified of the various pythons he was forced to carry around and had absolutely zero control over them.
- Morality Pet: The kayfabe death of his favorite snake, Damien, after Earthquake squashed it, prefigured a very serious FaceHeel Turn, and though it wasn't stated outright as the reason for the change, it makes for a logical Start of Darkness.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Damien, who was so famous WWF made a toy out of him and cleverly avoided paying Jake any royalties by simply dubbing it SNAKE! He also had the obscure-but-not-forgotten Lucifer, who gnawed on Randy Savages arm.
- Power Stable:
- Secret Identity Identity:
- Snakes Are Sexy: His "Pleasure and Pain" promo at SummerSlam '88, with his then-wife, the Nancy Benoit lookalike Cheryl.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Most of his contemporaries screamed promos at the top of their lungs. Jake got his point across by hardly ever raising his voice, and was all the more frightening for it; as Mick Foley put it, "Without ever raising his voice, he was able to spellbind an audience." One legendary bit had him simply moving his mouth without making sounds, causing the audience to wonder if his microphone had gone out. After a few seconds, Jake said "I just got everyone in this arena to pay attention to me and I wasn't saying a word."
- Superior Successor: His driving motivation was to achieve this, becoming so famous and successful in the ring that he totally eclipsed his fathers legacy. A fitting revenge on a man who told him to his face that hed never amount to anything.
- Talk Show with Fists: "The Snake Pit"
- Temporary Blindness: Lasting several months, after 'The Model' Rick Martel sprayed him in the face with cologne—eventually leading to a 'blindfold match'.
- Trickster Mentor: He was originally played up to be one to the Ultimate Warrior, but in the end, the Warrior was taught no valuable lesson (aside from "snake bites can kill").note
- Unrelated Brothers: Inverted. Jake's brother was wrestler Sam Houston, and their sister was Women's Champion Rockin' Robin. Neither relationship was ever acknowledged.
- Wedding Smashers: Jake and his ally the Undertaker destroyed not a wedding but Savage and Elizabeth's wedding reception.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: A psych-out technique he used on many wrestlers, most notably Andre the Giant and Kamala.
I hated the sons of bitches. Im terrified of them.
- Ironically, he was actually afraid of snakes himself in real life.
- Wild Card: A Chaotic Evil version who could still be good for as long as he needed to.
- Would Hit a Girl: Slapped Elizabeth hard across the face and later tried to attack her with a steel chair.
- Wrestling Psychology: Jake is widely considered to be one of the finest practitioners of wrestling psychology, to the point where younger wrestlers are often sent to him for an education in the art. Despite having a pot belly, skinny legs, and a quite limited moveset, Jake was always massively over with the fans due to a combination of his classic promos and uncanny knack to always do the right thing in the ring when it was the right time to do it. Even modern day stars like Randy Orton have been schooled by Jake in the art of Psychology.
- Wrestling Family: He is the son of wrestler Grizzly Smith, the sibling of Sam Houston and Rockin' Robin, and the uncle of Samantha Starr.