Jake “The Snake” Roberts couldn’t have been happier to feel “the charge” from fans as he made his return to television for AEW now that his health has improved.
The 67-year-old wrestling legend said he spent around 18 months on oxygen after getting COVID-19 three times since the pandemic started and dealing with lung issues that include hereditary chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. It kept him off AEW television for some time, but he was back by Lance Archer’s side for “Rampage” from Phoenix on Friday night. Archer quickly dominated Bryce Saturn and Roberts got a warm welcome back from the fans.
“It’s doesn’t get any better, it really doesn’t,” Roberts said. “You can’t imagine how it feels to walk out and all of sudden they’re chanting your name in unison. It’s overwhelming.”
Currently, he said he only needs the added oxygen when he’s on an airplane and sleeping at night.
“This last year my lungs got in pretty rough shape,” Roberts said. “I had to go on oxygen. I went on oxygen for nearly a year and a half. Now I’m off of it. The only time I use it is at night whenever I hook it up to my CPAP machine which is a good thing. It helps me heal at night.”
When Roberts first signed with AEW in 2020, he was used as manager for Archer, but his health issues have kept him from that on-screen role for some time now. He is also working with AEW talent on improving their promos and was hoping for at least one more meaningful go-around on television.
The WWE Hall of Famer is one of pro wrestling’s most respected and influential performers and is the subject of this Sunday’s “Biography: WWE Legends” series on A&E at 8 p.m. ET. He is hoping to add a little more to his legend as he and Archer — whose opportunities on AEW TV were limited in 2022 while also competing for New Japan — are ready to seize any chance given. Archer, sporting a new look, was “chompin’ at the bit” to get back out with Roberts as he tries to get his career in AEW rolling again.
“If they give us the opportunity, I know we’re ready,” Roberts said. “Opportunity knocks, we’re ready because the guy’s a real beast. He really is. I’m so glad I’m not having to wrestle him.
Roberts, who has been sober for 10 years after decades of drug and alcohol addiction, said a number of his health issues stem from smoking, a habit he is still trying to ween himself off. He is, however, doing the best he can to stay in shape after his recent health battle.
“I feel pretty good,” Roberts said. “I’m going to the gym five, six days a week. I’m stretching, I’m riding the bike for 45 minutes a day. So I’m getting things going man, I’m keeping this moving. Chasing my lovely ex-wife. That helps. One of these days she’s gonna stop and I’m gonna run into her. I don’t know what we’ll do then. Right now I’m still chasing her.”
He called AEW a lovely place to be and said president Tony Khan is someone he has utmost respect and love for. Roberts had to clear medical protocol in order to be allowed back on TV because the last thing AEW wants is “somebody to be out there that shouldn’t be out there.” The company is “triple sure” about him now, he said.
“When you’re my age, going through protocol is never something you’re completely sure about because I got bits and pieces that have taken a lot of beatings and parts of me that just don’t work the way they used to,” Roberts said. “So being cleared by AEW is a pat on the back that all’s well.”
Roberts also remains focused on the job he has behind the scenes working with AEW’s talent after being one of pro wrestling’s best promo guys during his career.
“Right now my job is to try to help some of these guys do interviews, to improve them,” Roberts said. “That’s something I know a little something about.”