21 May 2007 | JoeyBombs
Survival of the Snake
The Jake Roberts documentary is a truly compelling watch. Beginning with his shocking childhood, Jake tells of his troubled start in life which spawned his well documented drug problems during his pro wrestling career. The documentary leads onto his triumphs and his tragedies but carries an undertone of a man seeking redemption. Someone with a good heart, shrouded by demons.
Without going into too much fine detail on Jake's story, The DVD captures the tragedy he has endured but also highlights the undisputed talent he had - on the microphone and in the ring. There are many references to Jakes understanding of 'wrestling psychology' regarding that of baby-faces, heels(good and bad guys)and in-ring story telling (the workings of a match). Examples appear in the forms of classic promos, matches and coverage of timeless feuds with the Honky Tonk Man, Rick Rude, Ricky Steamboat etc.
As far as the way the DVD has been put together I feel certain things could have been included and elaborated on and certain things were needlessly re-visited. Jake's stint in ECW got very little coverage, as well as much of his earlier career which was just used as build up to his joining the WWF (It is a WWE DVD after all). The other thing that was irritating was the number of officials, announcers and wrestlers re-wording the same comment that 'Jake was his own worst enemy'. The fact is Jake admits that all his problems were his own doing and he is brutally honest about his personal issues, which is refreshing and admirable, was enough. We didn't need everyone else to back this up over a number of segments.
I found the sections regarding the snake itself and the 'Beyond the Mat' documentary particularly interesting. Jake feels he was tricked with 'BTM' and states his parts were heavily edited to portray him as the 'loser character' the anti-wrestling documentary wanted. He claims that Terry Funk was the so-called friends who knowingly got him involved with it. The snake section is comical with Macho Man getting a chunk bitten out of him and Ted Dibiase, who comes over really well, telling stories of the snake running free in hotels and the locker room.
DVD extras include some solid matches (Steamboat and Rude encounters especially) and further comments from Jake (the LOD and King Kong Bundy ones are worth a listen). WWE has, again, packed a lot in for a double-disc DVD you can now pick up at a reasonable price.
Overall, I'd say 'Pick Your poison' is certainly worth a watch. Jake is truly a master of words and almost sounds like an evil preacher at times. He is honest in his regret of his self-abuse and some of the bad decisions he's made but he is in search of salvation and hopefully he's now found that. His finishing quote is not a spoiler but maybe the best way to summarise Jake's story...
"I'm not happy about where I've been but I'm excited about where I'm going"