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[WNS Column] “Memories, Before They’re A Memory”

Posted By: Richard Hughes on Oct 10, 2014

[WNS Column] “Memories, Before They’re A Memory”

“Memories, Before They’re A Memory”

By Jason Hyde

Over the years we have lost many greats of wrestling, many before their time, others living a long life after they left the squared circle. After they pass we reminisce about them as wrestlers. We discuss their greatest moments, their greatest matches, and what legacy they have left upon us. Most times many of us wishing there was a way to let the deceased wrestler know what they meant to us, but knowing we would never be able to. So I got to wondering why wait, why do we wait to acknowledge how great a wrestler was? Why wait to acknowledge the legacy they left behind? Why not give them a chance to hear the great things we have to say about them while they are still with us.  Well I have decided to do just that, to tell a wrestler what I thought.

It has been well documented the health issues Jake the Snake Roberts has had in the past few months, his struggles with demons have also been well documented. I realized while I was thinking about all of these issues he has had just how much he brought to the wrestling ring, and to the lives of many fans. I could never take one match or moment and say it was his greatest, instead I will talk about the moments that stuck with me, and the moments that made me smile and become a fan of the Snake.

First think about the greats he has faced in the ring Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Sting, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, The Undertaker, The Von Erichs, Rick Rude, Ricky the Dragon Steamboat, and so many more. If they were a big name in the 80’s or early 90’s then he was most likely in the ring with them.

Jake was a great worker, there is no better example of this than the six man tag matches he had in WCCW. He was energetic and worked very hard to please the crowd. Jake did some of his best work as a heel, and as a heel in WCCW. He teamed with Gino Hernandez and Chris Adams at this time, these three youngsters with the Von Erichs really tore things up. But to me Jake always stood out as the one that was going to be the star, which isn’t really fair for me to say because I know the outcome. But of these six, today only two are still with us Jake Roberts and Kevin Von Erich. If you have never seen any of these matches then you should YouTube them. This is one time the WWE Network can’t help you, or at least not as of right now.

For me of all Jakes feuds the one I enjoyed the most, and the one I can always go back to and smile, is the one he started in 1986 with Ricky the Dragon Steamboat.  The feud itself lasted for 6 months, which in today’s times is a very long feud. The matches were great, but it was the story telling by Roberts that made this feud amazing.  He had such a ring presence, and his ring psychology was above all others. The feud ended but not before both had found real mutual respect for the other as a worker and a wrestler. Two legends had been born. I think this feud cemented both in top of the business for the years to come.

I have heard many say Jake would not have been a star if he had not had the WWF marketing machine behind him, whoever says this clearly did not watch Jake Roberts as the Snake.  He was un-selfish constantly putting over younger wrestlers, here is two great examples of that.

In 1991 they teamed Jake Roberts with The Undertake; at this time the undertaker was still young in the world of wrestling and still up and coming. Putting The Undertaker with a ring veteran was a good idea, putting him with Jake was an act of genius. To this day you can watch an Undertaker match or interview and still see some Jake Roberts in the Deadman.

In 1992 Jake was getting older, his demons were coming out and he was not as conditioned as he once was, but one thing Jake always had was his in ring psychology and his ability to talk.  I think these are the reasons he landed in WCW at this time.  He had a feud with a young Sting, they wrestled a match at Halloween Havoc 1992; the match was a “Coal Miners Glove Match”. It was a gimmick match but the match itself was very good with Jake being his old self. He was winded quickly and didn’t move as fast a Sting, but Jake knew how to control the match and helped Sting get over even more with his fans. When the match was over you truly felt that Jake had been the teacher that night and Sting had been the student, no matter who the official winner was the fans were the true winners, and yes you can find this one on the WWE Network.

I could never discuss all of his great moments just the ones that stick out to me. To me Jake was more than the guy that wrestled Steve Austin the night “Austin 3:16” was born. He was much more than a man whose demons became too much to handle. Jake was more than the man shown in the documentary “Beyond the Mat”. Jake is a survivor, he survived the life of wrestling; he has survived cancer and most of all he has survived himself.

Jake Roberts put his life on the line, he lived a lifestyle not many could and why? He did this to entertain us as fans, so Jake while you are still here with us, and still able to hear what I have to say. Thank you Jake Roberts for all you did, all you lived through, and mostly for becoming the only snake this little boy ever cheered for.

Tags: #columns #jaysun927 #jakeroberts
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