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Jake "The Snake" Roberts

WWE Legends
by yo go re

In wrestling terms, "psychology" refers to the ability of the performer to convincably sell his character and the events of the match - ie, making it look like a fight, rather than a choreographed series of moves that both participants agreed upon in advance. The undisputed master of ring psychology is Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

In 1991, Jake "The Snake" Roberts became a mentor to Ultimate Warrior during the Warrior's bitter rivalry against Undertaker. Roberts claimed that the answer to defeating the "Deadman" could be found inside a chest amidst a room of snakes. After braving the serpents to retrieve the chest, Warrior opened it only to be stricken in the face by a King Cobra! Shortly afterward, it was revealed that "The Snake" and Undertaker had been working together the whole time. As Roberts said himself, "Never trust a snake."

Wow, I actually remember that! Can't say the same about a lot of these "memorable" moments. But still, you notice how many of these revolve around the Undertaker? This one, Jimmy Snuka, Kamala... not everything memorable that ever happened involved Undertaker, guys. How about the time Roberts got blinded by "The Model" Rick Martel, and their feud ended with a double-blinfold match at Wrestlemania VII? That's just two guys with their head in a bag flailing around wildly, but it's still a hell of a match due to good psychology.

We'll start with the good: the likeness. Some of these WWE Legends figures only have so-so faces, but this one is really good. What's more, they even managed to accurately depict his thinning hair! basically, they sculpted him bald, then did all the hair (except for his temples) as an add-on piece, so they were able to control the thickness well. Good work!

The body is slim - definitely more slender than Roberts was in his prime. Don't misunderstand us: he wasn't a fat guy back then, but he didn't have a narrow waist, either; the build is right, he just needs to be a little wider. He does have the right muscle tone, though, and that counts for a lot. The reason he could look like this and still be so popular with the fans? Again, it's psychology! Roberts didn't have a huge repetoire of moves or the body of a Greek god, but he cut mad promos and always did the right thing at the right time.

The paint is executed well, but that doesn't mean it's without problems. He's got painted chesthair, which always takes a steady control to get right, so good for them. The diamond snakeskin pattern on his boots is simply painted on, but that makes sense - it would be ridiculous to mold new boots that only one guy would be able to use. His tights are black with red, orange and yellow flames that turn into white snakes as they rise. It looks nice and it's painted well, but it's certainly not the classic look. Jake the Snake usually wore plain green tights with a snake motif on the hip, but in order to get that look, you have to buy a two-pack. What the heck, guys?

Another odd choice is his accessory. He comes with a snake, naturally, but it's not his trademark python, Damien - instead, it's a cobra. And yes, that goes with the quote/unquote "memorable" moment on the back of the card, but like his pants, it's just not what you expect from a line called WWE Legends. He's a Legend! He should be represented in his legendary incarnation! The cobra is sculpted well and is coiled to rest around his arm, but there's no escaping the fact that it's not Damien.

Jake moves like all the other WWE Legends: neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, boots and ankles. Every joint in his legs was stuck fast when I took him out of the tray. The knee hinges barely bent, the swivels at the top of the thighs might as well have been solid plastic, and the swivel/hinge joints hidden deep inside the hips were so tough to move that I was afraid they were going to break before they moved. It took some time and effort to get them working, but it did eventually happen. Just be careful, and soon The Snake will be performing the move he invented, the DDT.

When you talk memorable moments with Jake "The Snake" Roberts, the most memorable moment is one that most people forget he was even a part of. Say whuh? Like a lot of wrestlers, Roberts found religion in later years, but he went so far as to incorporate preaching into his gimmick: during a feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Austin taunted Roberts by saying "Talk about your Psalms, talk about your John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!" So yeah, that's where the whole "Austin 3:16' came from. That may be more memorable for Stone Cold than for Roberts, but at least he was taking part in the event, which is more than we can say about a fight between Undertaker and the Ultimate Warrior.

-- 02/22/12


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