February 25, 2023 | 9:36 am
Jake “The Snake” Roberts couldn’t have been happier to feel “the onslaught” of fans as he returned to television for AEW now that his health has improved.
The 67-year-old wrestling legend said he spent about 18 months on oxygen after contracting COVID-19 three times since the start of the pandemic and suffering lung problems, including hereditary chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. It kept him off AEW television for a while, but he was back at Lance Archer’s side for Phoenix’s “Rampage” on Friday night. Archer quickly dominated Bryce Saturn and Roberts received a warm welcome back from the fans.
“It’s not getting any better, it really isn’t,” Roberts said. “You can’t imagine what it feels like to walk out and all of a sudden they’re singing your name in unison. It’s overwhelming.”
Currently, he said he only needs the added oxygen when he’s on a plane and sleeping at night.
“Over the past year, my lungs have gotten pretty rough,” Roberts said. “I had to be on oxygen. I was on oxygen for almost a year and a half. Now I’m off it. The only time I use it is at night when I connect it 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 brought in as a manager for Archer, but his health issues have kept him from that on-screen role for some time. He’s also working with AEW talent to improve their promos and was hoping for at least another meaningful reboot on television.
The WWE Hall of Famer is one of professional 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 hopes to add a little more to his legend as he and Archer – whose chances on AEW TV in 2022 were limited while also competing for New Japan – are ready to take any chance. Dressed in a new look, Archer was eager to rejoin Roberts as he tries to get his career back on track with AEW.
“If they give us the chance, I know we’re ready,” said Roberts. “The opportunity is right, we are ready, because that man is a real beast. He really is. I’m so glad I don’t have to struggle with him.
Roberts, who has been sober for a decade after decades of drug and alcohol addiction, said some of his health problems stem from smoking, a habit he’s still trying to break. However, he is doing his best to stay in shape after his recent health struggles.
“I feel pretty good,” said Roberts. “I go to the gym five or six days a week. I am stretching, I cycle 45 minutes a day. So I get things going man, I keep this moving. Pursuing my lovely ex-wife. That helps. One of these days she will stop and I will run into her. I don’t know what we’re going to do then. At this point, I’m still pursuing her.
He called AEW a wonderful place to be and said that President Tony Khan is someone he has the utmost respect and love for. Roberts had to clear medical protocol to get back on TV because the last thing AEW wants is “someone out there who shouldn’t be there”. The company is now “thrice sure” of him, he said.
“When you’re my age, going through a protocol is never something you’re completely sure about because I have bits and pieces that have taken a lot of beating and parts of me that just don’t work the way they used to,” Roberts said. “So getting approved by AEW is a pat on the back that everything is fine.”
Roberts also stays focused on the job he has behind the scenes, working with AEW’s talent after being one of professional wrestling’s top 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 about.”