If you’re like a lot of wrestling fans, you love the infinitely quotable 1999 pro wrestling documentary Beyond the Mat.
One person who doesn’t is WWE Hall of Famer Jake “The Snake” Roberts, one of the film’s subjects. Following the release of his new documentary, The Resurrection of Jake the Snake, Jake sat down with Wrestlezone Radio and spoke candidly about the negative effect the film’s had on him and his family.
“It was something I was scared to death of because I got screwed over so bad with that other crap that was put together. You know, Beyond the Mat. That was a bunch of BS. It was a rip off. I never got a nickel out of that. They lied to me. They lied to my family and then they painted us all in a bad way. I don’t mind telling you I’m a drunk and a junkie, but that damn movie did nothing but rape me and my family. Shame on those people for doing it. Someday, I’m gonna move in next door to them and take their kids to school and be in their backyard helping their wives because I love them.
So when Dallas brought this to me, the first thing I did was scream, ‘No way! No way, man. I’m not going to get hurt again.’ You know? And he talked me in to it and said, ‘You know, brother, we’re trying. We’ve done this.’ So we finally sat down and he said, ‘Jake, we’re going to film all of this. We’re going to put it together. At that point, you watch it. If you don’t like it, it don’t go.’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ We’re investing three years of hard work and filming. He said, ‘If you don’t think it’s a fair toss, then we toss it out the window.’ Well, I couldn’t argue with that.”
If you’ve never seen the film, it follows Jake through an independent wrestling event — “I like his snakes, I like his style!” — and a failed attempt to reconnect with his daughter, and speaks with him at length about his problems with drugs, sex and family. Sixteen years later, some of Jake’s parts are still hard to watch, and not everything’s as instantly wonderful as this scene: