Jake Roberts And The Gospel

Jake Roberts

Jake Roberts

An article by Mike Mooneyham

(1997)

To believe the Gospel is to proclaim it.

And that’s exactly what some of pro wrestling’s top stars are doing. In the pro wrestling business, where storylines and angles are all part of the show, spreading the “Good News” may seem to be as foreign as a competent referee.

For some, however, it’s not a con, deception or “work.” It’s a “real-life” truth that has implications far beyond the wrestling ring, and there is an urgency to break character and speak out. As pro wrestling has evolved into a more open business in recent years, its performers have been allowed to display a human side to their character that their following can relate to.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who quit the business more than a year ago to devote his full-time efforts to the ministry, returned to the World Wrestling Federation several months ago. But his return wasn’t purely for financial gain. It was a way to reach a vast audience with a simple message.

Roberts broke character during a recent edition of the WWF’s nationally televised Action Zone. In an interview with announcer Todd Pettingill, he proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ before an audience typically conditioned for a wrestling angle or storyline. But no angles were delivered – just a candid revelation that Roberts, who fought an out-of-the-ring battle with alcohol and drug addiction for nearly 20 years and had even attempted suicide, had become a changed man.

“I guess I could come out here and hit you with a bunch of bull, but I’m going to have to shoot straight from the hip,” Roberts told a stunned audience.

“Jake `The Snake’ Roberts traveled through life like a rocket ship going to hell. Jake `The Snake’ Roberts was a troubled man in troubled times. Jake `The Snake’ Roberts was very successful in the squared circle, and I did a lot of things that may have shocked a few. But you have to understand that I was very troubled.

“By my own choice, I made the wrong decisions in life. I was a hopeless alcoholic, I became addicted to cocaine. It was not something that I was proud of
it was something I suffered through every day. Sometimes people ask me what was the toughest fight in my life. Was it Andre The Giant, was it Rick Rude, what was it? The toughest fight in Jake Roberts’ life was looking in the mirror and knowing that I hated myself. It’s hard to walk through life living a lie, and I lived a lie for 30 something years. But the past three years have been long, and they’ve been glorious. I found out Jake `The Snake’ Roberts was not the most important thing in life. The most important thing to Jake Roberts today is giving glory to God, because without the blood of the Lamb that was put on me by a gift from Jesus
a victory so many years ago
I would not be standing here today.

“I wear a ring on my finger to proclaim the love for my wife, but I wear a light over me from the angels from heaven to proclaim my love for Jesus Christ. Now you might say what are you doing back in the WWF? Because it’s time. The snake’s not named Damien anymore. I don’t know if you’ve read the Book
it’s spelled B-I-B-L-E
but the last chapter in that book is called Revelations. This (new snake) is called Revelations. This is the truth, and I will use this serpent to fight the many serpents that are in the WWF to expose the darkness to the true light.”

Roberts, responding to Pettingill’s question concerning his goals in the WWF, replied: “To glorify what He’s done in my life, and if the titles come, the titles are his choice, not mine. All I can do is worship Him and love Him and try to reach and try to touch somebody else. And know this: if God can save Jake `The Snake’ Roberts, he can do a lot for each and every one of you.”

Pettingill concluded the revealing interview by saying: “When the talk about Jake `The Snake’ Roberts, you gotta respect the man and his courage to get up in front of people and share the story. And obviously he did that in hopes of helping other people who may be experiencing the same problems. Our hats are off to Jake `The Snake’ Roberts.”

Echoed Action Zone co-host Doc Hendrix (formerly Michael Hayes of The Fabulous Freebirds): “Jake’s definitely getting help from the best place you can.”

Some insiders expressed surprise that the promotion would air such a candid interview, devoid of any wrestling angle or storyline.

No problem, said WWF owner Vince McMahon, who for years has been widely regarded as the most influential and powerful individual in the business.

“It’s fine with me, as long as he (Roberts) is who he says he is,” McMahon told The Post and Courier. “We welcome all walks of life here as long as they’re professional. And whatever they did before they came to the WWF is their business, but once they’re here then part of their business becomes our business. And if he wants to incorporate his Christian beliefs in his characterizations, that’s fine with me. I don’t have a problem with that.

“Part of my upbringing was in North Carolina as a Southern Baptist. I don’t have a problem with him expressing his religious views as long as it is one of a general nature. Especially when you consider all the great religions of the world, they all pretty much preach the same thing and have different views of God. They all basically speak to goodness and what’s good about mankind and life, and as long as he keeps it in this general parameter, I’m in favor of it.”


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