Jake “The Snake” Roberts has been announced as the second inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame 2014.
The announcement was made live during WWE Monday Night RAW on January 27.
The Snake (born Aurelian Smith, Jr.) is the some of wrestling journeyman Grizzly Smith and began wrestling in 1975. He took the Jake Roberts moniker early on in his career to step away from his father’s name. In his early years Roberts cut his teeth in all the major territories of the day, including Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling and Mid-South Wrestling.
In 1986, he joined the World Wrestling Federation and really amped up “The Snake” part of his character by bringing a real life python named Damian to him to the ring for each match.
He started out as a villain and had a wild feud with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, but eventually his charisma and ability won fans over and he became one of the company’s biggest stars. By 1989 and into 1990, Roberts had become arguably the third or fourth most popular good guy on the WWF roster. At a time when the company was running three shows a day, Roberts could be counted on to headline the “B” or “C” in smaller markets.
Roberts left the WWF in 1992 after a falling out with management and had a brief stay in World Championship Wrestling but again problems with management caused Roberts’ stay to be short. He also did a lot of work in Mexico for the AAA promotion following his time in WCW.
He returned to the WWF in early in 1996 as a born-again Christian, with a new albino python named Revelations. It was art imitating life as Roberts had become born-again in real life and had tried to rid himself alcohol, drug and infidelity problems that had plagued him since the late ‘80s. He was fired again in 1997.
From that point, he became better known for out-of-the-ring lifestyle than his wrestling exploits. He dipped back into his addictions, which were chronicled in the 1999 film Beyond the Mat, and became somewhat of punch line in wrestling circles.
He finally truly turned his life around in October 2012 when he moved into a home by Diamond Dallas Page in Atlanta, Georgia, and underwent a rehabilitation program of DDP Yoga, healthy eating, clean living and no drugs or alcohol. His recovery has been a true inspiration and sight to behold for long-time pro wrestling fans who have watched Roberts ebb and flow over his career.
Roberts indicated himself during interviews throughout 2013 that he would’ve like a spot in the 2014 Royal Rumble match. He didn’t get that honor, but he got a show closing, standing ovation at the end the recent Old School RAW and now this induction into the Hall of Fame.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts is a true living, breathing testament of being able to turn one’s life around through hard work and determination after years of bad decisions. To long-time pro wrestling fans, Jake “The Snake” Roberts is an icon in the wrestling ring. He is one of the larger-than-life characters that help make the WWF famous in the 1980s. He is a name that fans that have long since stopped watching wrestling still remember fondly.
To say he is worthy of this induction would be a vast understatement. It was long overdue and simply a case of “about time.” His in-ring career was prolific and his real life transformation into a brand new person is a story that movies are made of.
No inductor has been announced for Roberts yet, but it seems logical that Diamond Dallas Page, the man who arguably saved Roberts’ life, would do the honors.
This year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on April 5, in New Orleans, Louisiana inside the New Orleans Arena the night before WrestleMania XXX.