Monday, March 5, 2007

WWF - Jake "The Snake" Roberts

WWF - Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Ring name(s) Jake Roberts
Billed height 6 ft 5 in (196 cm)
Billed weight 260 lb (118 kg)
Born May 30, 1955,Gainesville, Texas
Resides Pompano Beach, Florida
Billed from Stone Mountain, Georgia
Debut May 13, 1975

Aurelian Jake Smith, Jr. (born on May 30, 1955), better known by his ring name of Jake "The Snake" Roberts, is a second-generation American professional wrestler, the son of former wrestler Grizzly Smith. Roberts is best known for his stint in the World Wrestling Federation throughout the 1980s.

Roberts was known for his promos and his dark charisma, his extensive use of psychology in his matches and for inventing the DDT finishing maneuver. He is considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers to never hold a major championship title.[citation needed]

Jake Roberts is credited with training Diamond Dallas Page and Raven, as well as teaching much about wrestling psychology to Steve Austin and The Undertaker. Roberts and fellow wrestler Vader appeared on the ABC sitcom Boy Meets World for one episode.

Roberts started his career in 1975 in the Georgia area and made his name in the NWA as part of Paul Ellering's heel stable The Legion of Doom. He feuded with Ron Garvin in the 1980s over the NWA World Television Championship.

During a match when he had his opponent in a front facelock, he slipped and fell down and his opponent fell on his head, legitimately knocking him out. From that match, he incorporated the move as his finisher, naming it the DDT. For a long time, many fans had tried to figure out what DDT had stood for, with some even believing it stood for Damien's Dinner Time, as to the fact that Jake routinely placed his pet python Damien on top of unconscious wrestlers following the (usually match-ending) DDT. Most people believe the move referenced the pesticide DDT, which was perceived by the public to be a poison during the 1980s. When at last asked what the DDT stood for, Jake famously replied, "The End".

Roberts derived his nickname from being thin and snake-like. Roberts also said that he got his nickname from Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken "The Snake" Stabler. To accentuate this, he often would slide ("slither") into and out of the ring on his belly under the bottom rope. Once he reached the WWF, Roberts would bring a huge, live python (though various snakes were used over the years, most were named "Damien", and for safety purposes, most were heavily sedated) to ringside in a canvas bag. After executing a DDT, Roberts would coil the constrictor around the opponent's neck, and the snake would slither around on top of the fallen wrestler, sometimes appearing to strangle him. It was a masterful show of kayfabe (besides the fact that numerous fellow wrestlers and commentators were legitimately ophidiophobic), as the wrestler lay twitching and sometimes foaming at the mouth with the monstrous snake appearing to squeeze the life out of him. This display of theatricality got over with professional wrestling fans when George Wells, former Canadian Football League player turned wrestler, played "victim" to Damien at WrestleMania 2. His frothing at the mouth sold the gimmick as being something lethal.

WWF - Jake "The Snake" Roberts

Roberts' first major feud was against Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. Few WWF fans knew that the two were former tag team partners in the National Wrestling Alliance, as it was never acknowledged on camera. The feud began when, on a nationally televised episode of Saturday Night's Main Event in May 1986, Roberts DDT'ed Steamboat on the floor right in front of his wife, Bonnie, whom Roberts had pointed to just before delivering the blow. He later stated that he was initially against doing the angle for fear that he might seriously injure or kill Steamboat. While Vince McMahon and booker George Scott were adamant about wanting the DDT to take place on the floor, he refused until Steamboat told him that he would be able to adequately protect himself from injury. However, Roberts' fears were not unfounded: Steamboat was rendered unconscious and sustained a concussion from the force of the blow.

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