WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts joined UFC commentator Joe Rogan in studio for this week’s episode of the Joe Rogan Experience.
“Do you still have all your teeth?” Roberts asked Joe Rogan.
“Uh yea, I have them all.” responded Rogan.
“How many root canals?” asked Roberts.
“One.” replied the long time UFC commentator.
“Really?” Roberts said in disbelief. “How long did you fight?”
“Not that long,” said Joe Rogan. “I wore a mouthpiece.”
“What for fifteen or twenty minutes?” Roberts said with a laugh.
“No,” Rogan said grinning. “I move a lot.”
After everyone got in a laugh, Joe Rogan continued by conceding that there is a “big difference” between the punishment an athlete receives pro-wrestling when compared to sparring or fighting.
“There is a big difference between the amount of punishment you would take pro wrestling when compared to amount of punishment you take sparring or fighting.” said Rogan.
“I had like sixteen or seventeen root canals,” stated Jake Roberts.
“Jesus Christ man.” replied Joe Rogan.
“Taking shots to the mouth. You know to the teeth.” explained the WWE Hall of Famer. “Well as you get older, the teeth deteriorate and those root canals… that tooth just turns out turning into dust basically. They start breaking off into pieces and stuff. That probably contributed to my eventual spiral down.”
“Back in my day, we wrestled seven days a week, except for Saturdays and Sundays. We wrestled twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday. You might do the L.A. Coliseum at two and then get in the rental car and drive to San Diego so you can do a show at seven. The next day, you might be in Omaha at two and then in Des Moines at seven. There’s no off time, man. I wrestled [Ricky] Steamboat 93 days straight and about 60 days in, I had to call my wife and get her to take me around because I had gotten dumbed out. I was to the point that I couldn’t think, so I’d get to the airport and I’d know that they wanted tickets, but I had no idea where they were at and I couldn’t read anymore. I’d look at stuff to read. It just wouldn’t work [from] exhaustion. You just get beat up. Your body’s hurting so bad. People say steroids. We were taking steroids just to try to get healthy, to heal.”
Jake Roberts made his World Wrestling Federation (WWF) debut way back in 1986 and captured the promotions coveted intercontinental title shortly thereafter.
Despite his success and incredible popularity, the hard life of being a wrestler on the road quickly caught up with “The Snake” who turned to drug and alcohol abuse to numb his pain.
As the injuries from in-ring competition mounted, so did the demons of Roberts past.
Jake explained to Joe Rogan that his struggles with substance abuse began at a very early age in-part due to his upbringing.
“Alcohol was always there. I started drinking when I was eleven or twelve. I was doing the coke and stuff. I’m hating myself the whole time I’m doing it. I’m not getting high anymore and I can’t put it down. I can’t turn away from it because there’s hope in that. What’s the hope for? No more pain. No more shame. That’s what it numbed me from, the shame. Shame is something you put on yourself. You can’t shame me; I have to do it myself. It was there and because I went through some ugly sh*t as a kid, being molested. My sister was molested too and then my sister was kidnapped and murdered. We got all these things thrown in there and I was hating myself because I didn’t protect my sister better. Life happens. It’s what you do with it.”
Thankfully, Jake “The Snake” Roberts was able to overcome his battle with addiction thanks to his good friend Diamond Dallas Page.