On-Demand Now: The Resurrection of Jake the Snake

Andrew reviews wrestling legend Jake the Snake Roberts' second chance at life.

Ride the snake. He's long. 
When we last saw the troubled yet legendary wrestler Jake the Snake Roberts in the biased yet fascinating documentary Beyond the Mat, he was smoking crack cocaine and barely acknowledged the existence of one of his many estranged out of wedlock daughters.  Once a former WWE headliner, now he's stuck doing smaller venues for meager pay as he saunters from gig to gig even worse off than he was before.  To imagine Mr. Roberts falling even further from grace than he already had in the documentary which he declared 'raped him and his family' seems incomprehensible.  But in the opening five minutes of the new sort of Celebrity Rehab for Wrestlers documentary The Resurrection of Jake the Snake, we are treated to images of the once great professional wrestler piss drunk in an independent venue, unable to wrestle before stooping so low as to exposing himself publicly.  That he wasn't arrested for the indecent exposure is astonishing as it reached TMZ headlines almost immediately.  Trumping anything and everything we saw of him in Beyond the Mat, it's clear Jake the Snake at this stage of his life is a sad and sick man who desperately needs outside help.  Thankfully for his sake (and arguably ours), former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page reached out to the troubled performer with an offer to come live with him and undergo what became known as the DDP Yoga program.  At long last, Jake the Snake finally may see light at the end of a long and dark tunnel, if only he can remain on this side of the tracks.

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As previously mentioned, The Resurrection of Jake the Snake functions as a sort of Celebrity Rehab for troubled wrestlers and later in the program Diamond Dallas Page and Jake reach out to Scott Hall (aka, Razor Ramon) who himself has spent more time wrestling with his own alcohol driven demons than in the ring.  Because cameras are fixed on Jake the Snake at all times, including moments when he comes dangerously close to going off the rails, we are witnessing a tragic and deeply disturbed man uncork all of his inner turmoil before the camera.  Those who recall Jake's uncomfortable encounters with his daughter will no doubt see how much it inspired Randy the Ram (Mickey Rourke) in Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, with much of the dialogue lifted straight from Jake's mouth.  For those who thought Randy was in dire straits, that honestly pales in comparison to the rock bottom Jake strikes like an anvil dropped from a skyscraper.  Some detractors have argued the piece is just as exploitative of Jake's sickness as Beyond the Mat but where that film merely stood from afar and looked on at the man's suffering, the figures in The Resurrection of Jake the Snake actively lend a helping hand at any given moment.  In between the focus on Jake's recovery are comments from other wrestlers and former commentators who are torn between contempt for Jake's sad state and realizing the man needs help irrespective of his transgressions. 

It would seem like there's a happy ending for the troubled yet still enormously talented and gifted performer, but even after he gets clean, he relapses at least two to three more times thereafter.  Yes Jake the Snake clearly wants to heal the wounds he irresponsibly wrought, but you never know what's going on in his head and how long he'll stay on the straight and narrow. 

Fetch me a sammich and
a cold one. 
In the end however, whether or not The Resurrection of Jake the Snake keeps Jake clean, what it does manage to do however is shed light on many wrestlers whose bodies have long given out on them and the only medication for a physical performer without the aid of health care is to drink or abuse drugs.  Moreover, it manages to make you care for Jake's plight and sympathize with many others just like him who are as responsible for themselves as the industry which rose them to stardom only to kick them out the back exit door and leave them for dead.  Why see a film about a once great entertainer's complete and utter downfall with all the emotional and psychological baggage in full naked view?  Well, if nothing else, The Resurrection of Jake the Snake reminds viewers, fans and newcomers alike, that if you can fall flat on your face as hard as Jake the Snake has, you can just as easily work to stand up tall on your own two feet again.


- Andrew Kotwicki