Friday, April 17, 2015

STASHED IN THE CLOSET - Jake "The Snake" Roberts

I got an e-mail the other day from a friend of mine asking if I'd be interested in checking out a documentary playing at one of the local film festivals this weekend.

Being a sucker for documentaries, I was quickly on board.

Partially because I have no life on a Saturday night (ha ha ha) but maily because of the subject of the doc.

When I was a kid, I was into wrestling.  But my first exposure to the squared circle wasn't from the company dominating the airwaves these days.  No, it was the local product - Stampede Wrestling.

Saturday mornings consisted of three things...sugary cereal, Superfriends and Stampede Wrestling.  I loved the characters, the simplicity (only one camera was used) and the host, Ed Whalen.

(not the best montage, but the intro sucks me in every single time).

Definitely a "Ring-a-ding-dong dandy!!!"

Well, that introduction into wrestling expanded to include the WWF when I got a little older.  I remember getting really excited when I heard that Saturday Night Live was not airing so that they could air Saturday Night's Main Event.

It was all the talk in the hockey dressing room Sunday morning.

So when the 13-year-old me heard that the biggest wrestling spectacle was available to view at the local hockey rink....I jumped on board.

Wrestlemania III was taking place at the Pontiac Silverdome in March of 1987.  And it was being carried via closed circuit around the world.  Remember, this was before home pay-per-view ability.

The place was pretty packed and I couldn't wait to see a number of huge matches.  Especially the main event - Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant.

No surprise that they donned the cover of the official program - one that I still have in my possession.

I flipped through the mag and the memories flowed back.

Lots of great matches, lots of great stars.

Look at that lineup.  Sure, there were some stinkers on the card, but a bunch of all-time great feuds came to a head that day.

And one of my faves is what got me to dig and find this program.

Ha ha....Jake "The Snake" Roberts.  He was easily the most intimidating guy on the microphone.  And he had a cool was that?

And joined by Alice Cooper.....sold.

The match was a dud, but that photo is spectacular.

So why did I pull this 30 year old program out of the closet?

Well, as I mentioned off the top, there's a documentary playing this weekend.

WARNING: This is the Red Band trailer - there's some profanity.

Wow.  You hear stories of wrestlers dying at an early age, struggling with life after their career is over, but to see it slapped up on the screen, raw and very real, definitely takes a world that many feel is "fake" and puts an authentic face to it.

I haven't followed wrestling for years and years, but I still find a dose of the vintage bouts a fun flashback.  This documentary, while probably not "fun" for the most part, has be intrigued.  A good story is a good story.

And as a bonus, Jake "The Snake" is going to be in attendance and doing a Q&A afterwards.  Me thinks I'll be bringing this program along....and a sharpie.

For my friend who invited me.....and is also a huge Alice Cooper fan, it'd be a cool gift to give him.  Can you image if one day that page gets signed by both Jake and Alice?

Yeah.......reliving my youth is fun.


  1. Man, WWF wrestling from that era is right up my alley. Love all those `superstars`. Jake The Snake could cut a promo like no other.

  2. It's sad to see so many of these wrestling legends struggle. I just watched a movie documenting the Iron Sheik's struggle with drugs... as well as an ESPN documentary on Scott Hall. Both were hard to watch at times.

    On a positive note... Wrestlemania III was awesome.

  3. Haha! Damn! I missed out on getting that autographed pic??? If I had known we could have waited outside and stalked him back to his hotel! Jake's handshake will have to do for a memory. FYI everybody...the movie was great!

    1. One day.

      If at first you don't succeed........

      Thanks again for the invite.

  4. Fuji...I was just reminded today about those two docs. I'll have to check them out this weekend.