LaBar: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts reportedly hospitalized
Justin LaBar Videos
If there were ever a professional wrestler who had nine lives, it was Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
His wrestling fame and name recognition is equal to the stories of his unfortunate battle with demons. Documentaries and stories have told the tales, some hard to believe but proven accurate.
As notable as Roberts' problems are is his willingness to talk about them. He's never denied or put blame on anyone else but himself for the mistakes he's made. He's never been shy about using his experiences to try to help someone avoid making the same mistakes.
In the past year it's been a feel good story. Roberts improved his appearance and lifestyle. He was inducted into WWE's Hall of Fame in April. Things seemed to be on the right path.
Thursday it was reported by TMZ and others that Roberts was in critical condition in a hospital due to double pneumonia.
The wrestling world seems to be gathering on social media, remaining positive and hoping the man who has beat so much in life can beat this battle.
As a wrestling analyst, I always get asked who my favorite wrestler of all time is. I answer with Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
He was in the main event of the first WWE show I ever went to as a fan. I was, and still am, terrified of snakes, but somehow that made him that much more appealing to me as a larger-than-life character. As I learned more about the performance of the business, I came to appreciate a guy who wasn't the high school quarterback but could outperform anyone with his intelligence.
There has never been a better in-ring psychologist than Roberts.
Last fall I finally got the privilege of working on a wrestling show with Roberts. We shared the same locker room, enjoyed catering together and he was even generous enough to watch me perform and give me advice. He lived up to his expectations. His advice was unprecedented but brilliant. His personality and health was great.
I remember the most fascinating thing he told me was when I asked him about what his favorite promo was. He's so known for his verbal abilities, has done hundreds over the years, but it didn't take him long to answer.
He told me it was a promo only a few thousand people in a small town in the Midwest ever saw.
He was doing regional promos for WWF in the late 1980s. This is where guys would record various speeches in character to different television markets to help sell WWF coming to town in the future.
This particular promo was a favorite of his. The camera started recording, and he began to move his lips as if he was speaking but didn't actually make any noise. He kept on for about 10 seconds before someone behind the scenes told him to stop and they weren't getting any audio.
Roberts responded in frustration, explaining he was doing this on purpose. They began recording again. Roberts started over doing the same thing. He did this for about 20 seconds.
Finally, he stopped, smirked and really began to talk to the camera. Fully audible now, he said, “I bet you got up out of your seat and were all concerned your television sound was broken. It's not broken. It's just me playing games. Imagine if I have that much control of you now, how much control I could have over you when I come to (insert town).”
I was blown away. He told me and reenacted this. After he finished, he let out a big laugh as if he told me the greatest joke ever. The beauty and brilliance of Jake “The Snake” Roberts was all gathered in that moment with me. It was one of the proudest and fortunate moments I've ever had in my career.
I am booked on a show down south with him this fall. I was just talking to someone about him and my hopes to spend more time with him. Not as a wrestling columnist but as a fan and friend. I wish and pray Roberts continues to be a fighter and overcomes his latest battle.
Justin LaBar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ Harrison eyes stretch run
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
- Warrants issued for women accused of prostitution in New Stanton sting
- NFL notebook: Gifford had CTE, family says
- Pirates sign free agent 1B-OF Goebbert, RHP Webster
- Russia’s crackdown in predominantly Muslim region fuels exodus to ISIS
- Starkey: Artie Rowell’s incredible odyssey
- Obama signs $607B Defense bill but blasts GOP limits for Gitmo
- Pizza delivery woman robbed in Greensburg
- ‘Crisis mode’ near at U.S.-Mexico line as nearly 5,000 children try to cross border in October