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Off The Ropes: My Review of The Resurrection of Jake “The Snake” Roberts by Hab Rich

Seeing as that professional wrestling is not a career choice that renders itself to much longevity, we see so many of our favorite superstars pass away seemingly much too early and all too often. Many times we watch as they spiral out of control before ultimately succumbing to whatever demons or addictions they may have been facing. I’ll never forget watching, almost to tears, as Jake “The Snake” Roberts demanded crack cocaine from an independent promoter. I thought to myself, “Won’t be long before we see his picture on the list of deceased wrestlers.” Boy, was I wrong? I’d never felt so good about being wrong before I watched The Resurrection of Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

As to not give away any spoilers, I’ll highlight the segments that stood out to me and tell you why they did. The first such segment was DDP and director Steven Yu picking Jake up from his house. Steven remarked that he thought Jake lived in a much more luxurious house due to his television exposure. I felt it was a great reminder to each of us that just because we see our favorite superstars (or other famous people) on television every week doesn’t mean their living the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

As a subscriber to two “Stone Cold” Steve Austin podcasts, I often hear his reads for DDP Yoga. I listen to the testimonials of folks who’ve tried and gotten great results from it. After watching this film, I can truly say that seeing is believing. I saw Jake go from being barely able to assume certain yoga positions without something cramping up, to pumping those same positions out like he’d being doing it for years. I saw the weight drop. I saw how they tracked his progress. What I saw next really hammered it home.

Scott Hall used a lifeline to reach out to DDP for assistance, and at first sight, I couldn’t believe it was him! The Bad Guy looked bad, guys. But just like Jake, he committed to the program. DDP Yoga didn’t just change these two Hall of Famers lives, it literally saved them! Almost ironic is the fact that I’m talking about how seeing is believing, but in some aspects, I still couldn’t believe what I saw! Then I thought back to WrestleMania 31 and Scott Hall making his way down the ramp for the nWo’s run-in along with Degeneration-X during the Triple H versus Sting match. I marveled at just how far he’d come from arriving in Atlanta with the needed assistance of a wheelchair, to trading blows with DX at WrestleMania.

The major storyline throughout this film for me was Jake overcoming his demons, battling his addictions and ultimately coming out victorious. He had his moments, sure, because he’s an addict and things happen sometimes; but I also saw how much he hated his addict self and how far he was willing to go to change. It was very inspirational.

The Resurrection of Jake “The Snake” Roberts was also a very real reminder that our addictions, if left untreated can get the best of us. An even more real reminder I took from this film was that the very same people who once loved to watch you perform will pull out their cell phones to watch you fall and make a fool of yourself. They will then contact TMZ to sell (or give away, or whatever it is they do there) that footage because there might be something in it for them. Quite honestly, it’s as sad as a Christmas tree with no gifts under it on December 25th. The human condition has deteriorated to the point where we virtually root for the trainwreck just to show up so we can take pictures. You might counter with the fact that we all make choices and must ultimately live with the consequences thereof; to you, I say, you are 100% correct. But at the same time, where’s the compassion? Where are the individuals who will say ‘I don’t want to watch you make a mess of your life, I’ll do whatever I can to help’?

The answer to the last paragraph’s question is none other than Diamond Dallas Page. With this film, I certainly feel strongly about his chances to enter WWE’s Hall of Fame. Even if his in-ring resume left you feeling that he may have been a borderline candidate at best, then watching him reclaim two lives at once should push him firmly into the ‘yes’ side of the meter. He used just the right mix of tough love and encouragement to get through to Jake and Scott as well. More importantly, DDP didn’t just send out well wishes on social media, he saw his brothers desperately needed help and got them that exact help. If you don’t feel that’s enough to get him enshrined soon (and very soon), then your pulse is irregular and I question your heart.

Beyond The Mat and Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows will forever occupy the two top slots on my list of favorite professional wrestling documentaries. After watching The Resurrection of Jake “The Snake” Roberts, I can safely say I have room for a third favorite. I think one or two more viewings could push it to my number one. Why? Simply because before DDP Yoga, we could all bet (and win) on how Jake’s story was going to end. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a redemption story like that any day of the week.

 

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