Jake “The Snake” Roberts woke up every morning praying it would be his last.
The former WWE superstar made famous for dropping opponents on their heads with his blistering DDT, had seen decades of drug and alcohol abuse take a toll on his body to the point where the once-mighty wrestler had given up hope of a better day or way of life.
“I was a person who was beat up, gave up, and didn’t want to live,” Roberts told ESPN Playbook. “I was so disgusted with myself. I had ballooned up to over 300 pounds and was doing drugs and alcohol every single day. First thing I did every day was get my dope and get my alcohol set up for the day. That’s what I was living for, and that’s the only thing I was living on.”
But then one of Roberts’ former wrestling protégés, Diamond Dallas Page, reached out, asking about his deteriorating health, while offering to help introduce “The Snake” to a new workout Page had developed called DDP Yoga, a program that combines the poses and flexibility of yoga with the muscle building ways of calisthenics.
“I can never thank the man enough,” Roberts said. “He started telling me about this yoga thing, and I was like bull—-. Yeah, right. But the bottom line was, I told him I’d do anything he said just to get him off the phone so I could get what I need. Next thing I know, he sent me a package, and I was like, ‘OK, I’ll try this crap,’ and it snuck up on me. Seven days later I had lost six pounds and that’s all I needed start believing that there were possibilities in my life again.
“I was ashamed of where I was living and how I looked. To go from the penthouse to the outhouse really sucks, but it’s where I was. Dallas came down to see me and he told me if I lost 25 pounds, he’d let me move into his house and we’d get serious about this. It was humiliating for him to show up and see where I was living and what I had become, but there was just enough pride left that I got angry, and that’s exactly what I needed. I needed to get angry to get me off my ass. I am so grateful for that moment. The first time I tried his workout, I lasted about two minutes before I was winded. I was stuck in a chair before this. I couldn’t open up my hands before, they were like claws, and my toes were the same thing, but now I can straighten all that stuff out. Through DDP Yoga, I got my hands working, I got my feet working, and I got my mind working and my heart pumping. I’m in the best shape of my life, even if I still have a long way to go.
“If it wasn’t for DDP, if I wouldn’t be dead right now, I’d be asking to die.”
Few people believed in Diamond Dallas Page when, at the age of 35, the nightclub owner-turned-pro wrestling manager decided to try his hand in the ring.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts, at that time one of the biggest names in the business, was one of the believers.
Insiders considered Page too old to begin a career as an in-ring performer. But Roberts ignored the skeptics and trained the New Jersey native. Within 10 years DDP (short for Diamond Dallas Page) was a three-time WCW world heavyweight champion and living his dream.
SMYRNA, Ga. – Self-proclaimed “firebug” Jake “The Snake” Roberts burns yet another pile of brush outside a palatial suburban Atlanta home that doesn’t seem to fit in with the more modest houses nearby.
“A couple of them look like crack houses — that’s why I’ve already been over there twice,” Roberts jokes.
A few minutes before, his “new alcohol” — coffee — was delivered to him by 25-year-old perennial foil Louie Benson, and Roberts is quick to “thank” him for his efforts.