Jake “The Snake” Roberts: Resurrected by DDPYoga?
Jake “The Snake” Roberts: Resurrected by DDPYoga?
In the late 1980s and early 90s Jake “The Snake” Roberts was a household name. Rising to prominence in the, then, World Wrestling Federation (WWF), utilising a unique combination of in ring ability, eerie, compelling interview technique and, of course, owning a variety of venomous snakes, Roberts forever established himself as one of the all-time greats.
Outside the ring however, all was far from well with “The Snake”.
“You’re body gets broken down” Jake recalled in a recent interview with Brood Sugar’s Simon Cassidy. “I had two discs removed from my neck, a hip replacement, part of my left foot removed, compound fracture in my right arm, wrist reconstruction, broken sternum splice. Other than that, I was in horrible shape. I had a well-publicised, by my own admissions, a career with alcohol and drugs which did not help my situation.
“I had become so depressed that, not that I would have ever done it…I may have tried a couple of times…but suicide was something that I thought about a lot. So depressed that I had blown my career, I could have been so much more than I was.
“Gone through three marriages, fathered eight children but wasn’t a dad to any of them. You start looking at yourself at that point and you hate yourself. I had a lot of shame, a lot of anger. I didn’t want to live. I had no hope. I had no dreams. I hope nobody out there gets to that point, but when you quit dreaming, when you quit having hope, it’s a pretty god dam horrible place to be. You don’t care if you breathe. You don’t care about anything.”
At 57 years old, retired from the world of professional wrestling, Jake weighed 300lbs and could barely walk and claimed to have “given up”. It was at this point he received a phone call from long-time friend Dallas Page.
Following his retirement from the ring in 2005, the three time World Championship Wrestling (WCW) World Champion and former WWE Superstar, “Diamond” Dallas Page, better known as DDP, gradually reinvented himself as the guru behind DDPYoga.
“I was the guy who wouldn’t have been caught dead doing yoga for the first 42 years of my life.” Revealed Page in an exclusive interview “Then I ruptured my L4 and L5 [in my back], at the end of 1998 going into ‘99, and had three doctors tell me my career was over. I didn’t start wrestling till I was 35 and my career didn’t kick off till I was 40. So for me to be on top of the world at 41 and 42 and literally blow my back out and have three different doctors tell me it’s over; I’d try anything.”
DDPYoga differs from traditional yoga systems in that it consists of three unique elements. Specifically utilising a mixture of rehabilitation techniques, “old school calisthenics”, a form of acrobatics that focuses on repeating rhythmic motions to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, along with overall agility and flexibility before developing his own workout element he calls “Dynamic Resistance”.
“Dynamic Resistance is the engaging of muscles. Every time you move, you flex a muscle; whether it’s your quads, glutes, forearms, biceps, triceps. As you engage a muscle, your heart’s got to beat faster to get the blood to the muscle. Hence, DDPYoga: it ain’t your mama’s yoga! Zero impact, kickass cardio, increased flexibility and core strength conditioning. At 42, I had three doctors tell me my career was over. At 43, I was the Heavyweight Champion of the World.”
The programme has enjoyed remarkable success, making headline news in 2008 following the astonishing recovery of disabled Desert Storm veteran Arthur Boorman. Before using DDPYoga, Boorman weighed 345lbs, had virtually no use of his legs and could walk only short distances with the assistance of a wrap-around cane, heavy knee and neck braces. Fast forward to today, he is 161lbs and a yoga instructor. The story of Arthur is just one of many which can be found on TeamDDPYoga.com; a success Jake hopes can transfer from the purely physical injuries of a life in the ring and finally put his “inner demons” to rest.
“Dallas called me, asked how I was doing, I bullsh*ted and I lied, said I was getting through it. He said ‘man…you don’t sound right?’ He said he wanted come see me and to send me some yoga stuff and I was like ‘are you f*cking kidding me? Right, Jake ‘The Snake’ is doing yoga!
“He said, if you’ll try and you start losing weight there might be something I can do for you, and it would be long term and would be an opportunity to try something different since the bullsh*t I was doing obviously wasn’t working. So I did the food thing for like ten 11 days, didn’t really think a whole lot about it, then one day I got on the scale and was like ‘holy sh*t I’ve lost 14lbs, what the hell’s wrong with me? I must be dying!’ That was the first time I thought this might actually work. A couple weeks later he came down and was like, ok ‘keep doing the good work, when you get down to 30lbs, we’ll move you down to Atlanta, and we’ll get serious on this sh*t’”
Having followed through on his promise to follow the dietary program, DDP relocated Jake to live with him in his new home in Atlanta, candidly referred to as his “Accountability Crib” to take personal control of Jake’s “resurrection”.
“The whole point of the Resurrection of Jake is to go out on his terms…we say it all the time, his history is not his destiny and…he knows that he messed up. He knows he dropped the ball numerous times. He knows he’s a junkie and an alcoholic, so we provide here at my house that we call the ‘accountability crib’, you’re accountable for everything! He has really come light years in a very short time, he still has a long way to go. The goal is to not have it end the way it ended, you know, on TMZ. Where he was all sh*tfaced in the ring and couldn’t do anything. The guy was one of the greatest performers of all time, he wants to go out with some dignity. So we want to get him ready for either one last tour or one last match, we’ll see how that works out.”
From reading this account, it would be all too easy to believe that it has been plain sailing and that the wrestling legend has put the past behind him: this is far from the truth.
Shortly after moving into “the Accountability Crib”, scheduled for a public autograph appearance in Rhode Island, Jake made the headlines by appearing intoxicated and allegedly abusive to those in attendance.
“I spoke to a lot of people and they were just patting me on the back, saying how much better I looked with all the weight I had lost, saying ‘damn Jake you haven’t looked this good in years, keep up the good work’…well, you shouldn’t tell a drunk or an addict these things. Like everything else in life, I use whatever situation I am in to get drunk or get high. In this instance it was ‘man you deserve a reward’. Man, I’m not a god damn dog that did a trick, but that’s the way I treated myself. The next thing I know, I’m getting off a plane in Atlanta…and Dallas is there, I don’t know why Dallas is there. We get back to the house and I find out I had been pretty stupid and ridiculous, and basically had gone through a four hour blackout. Blacked out. Didn’t know what I had done, what I had said, who I had offended…thank god I wasn’t in jail. I think if Dallas hadn’t been at the airport I would have ended up in there.
“Next morning, we get up and Dallas is saying ‘last week you did really well, then you go out this week and totally screw up…so here’s the new deal. Absolutely no alcohol. And at that point I’m like, you are absolutely right…because the sh*t isn’t doing you any good. Then he was like ‘you should go back to A.A…so two days later I went back…but then I went to Dallas and was like ‘I agree with the no drinking thing, but you’re gonna have to help me’…so we went to a doctor and got set up with something called anti-buse. Brother, if you drink alcohol with that stuff it will drop you like a gunshot. It will make you so violently ill, that you will not think about drinking. But it’s a crutch for me. It’s a safety line, and being here with Dallas, he’s making me change my way of thinking about things.”
With various projects currently in the pipeline (including a cooking show with the two retired wrestlers), DDPYoga seems set for a period of expansion: with the Resurrection of Jake “The Snake” Roberts at its core.
“I’ve got a life man. I’m dreaming again…” Jake said “it might take more than 24 hours to fix this sh*t, so I just need to shut up, get in the car and go for the ride with [Dallas]…I have unlimited dreams. I’m thinking about building furniture again, because I loved to build furniture. For the first time I got on a computer…here I am 57 years old and I don’t even know how to turn a computer on. But now I want to do it, I want to accomplish these goals. Before I never wanted to do it…my mind is clicking again man.
“I’m happy, I feel good about myself. Yeah I’ve got a long way, but brother, I’ve already been a long way…I’ve already been a long way man. I never thought I would be in the shape I’m in now, much less where I’m going. I’m calling my children, I’m developing relationships, I’m calling my mother again…
“I’m gonna do this. I want to do this, I need to do this, because I know I’m a good human being, I’ve always been a good human being, I’ve just been a disturbed human being. I’m not letting the demons beat my ass anymore. Those demons have not got a chance.
“There is nobody that could hang with me in the ring in my heyday, can you imagine if I hadn’t been screwed up? I would have left them so far behind, but that’s OK man. You know, I retired from the ring two years ago. But you know what, I’m going to go back in…for a short run. Just a few matches. That way, I can say goodbye the way I wanted to. Not 310lbs, couldn’t hardly get in the ring and look like Sh*t. I deserve more than that! I wanna get in there and stand with my head held high and say ‘I am the f*cking man’ and I’m a good man. That’s how I want to say goodbye to my fans.”
For more information head over to www.DDPYoga.com
The full interviews with DDP and Jake Roberts can also be heard at www.WrestleShark.podbean.com
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