6. Jake “The Snake” Roberts (No, REALLY)

Now, don’t get me wrong, when I say ‘Winner’, I mean overall — he’s going to erase the current narrative he carries in the Wrestling World with a great showing at the Rumble. Mr. Perfect, Curt Hennig had some of the same problems Jake had, being from that generation of WWE Superstar — the hard drivin’, hard partyin’, hard drinkin’ road dog who performed at top conditioning every night.

In 2002, Curt appeared and the roof blew off of the place — right at the hour mark. When people are waning, watching the fight, you need a big pop to re-energize them. Jake’s story was a sad one, documented on film in ‘Beyond the Mat’, and his own WWE Produced feature documentary — “Pick Your Poison” — but even after that, he fell off the radar, and most people who’d seen him thought he was at death’s door.

Enter: Diamond Dallas Page. DDP, who felt he owed his mentor help in his time of need, came to Jake and brought him to his home. Even as the WWE’s Wellness Program started offering addiction recovery assistance to their Superstars past and present, DDP came along and brought him to his home. Was it a perfect detox?

Actually, no. If you check out DDP’s YouTube channel, you can follow Jake’s story from DDP finding him, then bringing him back from the brink, to making dates and appearances. I’m fortunate to have been able to shake DDP’s hand for that, as Jake is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time. I met the pair of them at an independent show in Illinois in 2013, and I told Jake I’d be rooting for him if he makes the Rumble.

And I am.

But, what I’m rooting for is actually a great showing at the Rumble for Jake. I want him to hang tough, last, go far enough to show everyone in that arena that Jake Roberts is a LEGEND, so that there’s never a question about whether or not the man was a true hero of Wrestling.

So, Roberts wins his narrative back, wins his life back, and gets back into the pantheon of WWE Superstars. Actually winning the Rumble, however? I put the odds at 100  to 1.

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This article was first posted on January 16, 2014