Dark Side of the Ring – What We’ve Learned
Last week, Dark Side of the Ring covered the life and career of The ultimate warrior. This week, Dark Side of the Ring dove deep into the Grizzly smith, who wrestled in the late 1950s, through the 1960s and most of the 1970s. He is also the father of wrestlers Sam houston, Rocking robin, and Jake “The Serpent” Roberts. Although he fought for several organizations, including the National Fight Alliance, Smith’s life outside the ring is controversial. This episode, titled In the shadow of Grizzly Smith, was certainly not for the faint of heart. Here’s what viewers learned about Smith, as well as his family, upon the release of this episode.
Grizzly Smith’s family was not close.
Grizzly Smith’s children were raised from a distance. There was no mutual support. For the fans, we didn’t know they were related. Nonetheless, Sam Houston remembered being proud of his father as a child, seeing him as “Superman”. Houston idolized his father until his death. Smith would also know how to play children against each other.
The name Rockin ‘Robin was, to her, a “lazy thing”.
It was a name that had been decided before a game. She said she probably should have tried “Rotten Robin”, saying it would have been fun.
All the children who became wrestlers had their strengths and weaknesses.
Smith’s biological son Richard said he didn’t want to travel, nor did he want the lifestyle. Meanwhile, Jake Roberts was enjoying the lifestyle in question. Sam Houston, according to Jim Cornette, was a solid technical wrestler. Jake Roberts understood the mental aspect of pro wrestling and mastered the verbal aspect. Roberts made fans believe he was “a snake in the grass.” Smith was reluctant for Roberts to enter the fight. Roberts said he entered the fight out of hate for his father.
Grizzly Smith previously worked in the petroleum industry.
Smith met someone who was involved in wrestling, who believed he could be a good wrestler. Smith bet people money to see if they could double him with a punch in the stomach. He made a lot of money doing this by getting into wrestling.
Jake Roberts has seen Grizzly Smith working with his family.
Smith played the extent of his injuries in the ring and his hatred of his opponents at home. Roberts recalled falling asleep for several nights, believing Smith’s feuds with his opponents were real.
Jim Cornette recalled the jokes made about Grizzly Smith in the locker room.
Every joke about Smith was made in terms of being with younger girls, which Cornette considered odd. As a young wrestling man, at that time Cornette was unfamiliar with Smith’s life outside the ring.
Baby Doll has seen strange happenings with Grizzly Smith firsthand.
She was married to Sam Houston from 1986 to 1994. Doll remembers a road trip with Smith, where he picked up a teenage girl who would travel with them on the road. His parents were saying goodbye to him as the car drove away. In time, Baby Doll learned the seedy details of Smith’s life.
Jake Roberts thought back to his traumatic childhood.
Robert said he deleted “Aurelian Smith Jr.” because it would have been too painful otherwise. For him, the person has not grown since the age of 12 or 13. He was more comfortable as “Jake Roberts” and would use it as an escape from his troubled past. Roberts’ mother was 13 when he was born, making Smith a pedophile. When they got divorced, the children were transferred to different homes. Roberts will soon be moving in with his grandmother until her death. At age 11, Roberts moved in with his father and new wife, Marcia.
Smith’s new wife, according to Roberts, was playing “games that weren’t that funny” to him. Roberts confided in her father about it, which she caught. She later beat Roberts with a hanger and a fly swatter. Smith was well aware of this as he was doing the same to Roberts’ sisters.
Robin remembers being sexually assaulted by her father.
It started when she was 8 or 9, according to her. About a month ago, he had completely ignored her, not standing to be in the same room as her. One day her mother was gone and her father was at home. Smith called her from the back to tell her he loved her. It would lead to the first time he put his hands on her, which she couldn’t process. According to her, this stripped him of his innocence. The sexual assault at the hands of her father lasted 8 to 14 years. She told her mother and the two left quickly. Robin even threatened to shoot Smith with his own weapon if it happened again.
Robin’s half-sister JoLynn was also the focus of the episode.
JoLynn asked if Robin felt safe. Robin believed JoLynn had suffered the same abuse from their father. Two weeks later, JoLynn would be kidnapped. While Robin, Richard and Michael (Houston) were at an ice rink, they got a call to come home. When they did, they were made aware of JoLynn’s kidnapping. Richard took it the hardest, because he was the closest to JoLynn. JoLynn was with her toddler son Ted when she was kidnapped by two assailants. When the authorities arrived at the scene, they saw the baby, quite well, in his cradle. They would also find threatening letters, leading them to JoLynn’s husband’s ex-wife.
She would confess to the kidnapping. However, she claimed that JoLynn escaped shortly after the kidnapping. This led to a massive investigation, even including a psychic. JoLynn’s body has never been found, making a murder charge impossible. Former Tatum, Texas Police Chief Carl Gage believed his body had been taken to an incinerator to remove any evidence. The only information Smith’s children received was from him. JoLynn’s husband’s ex-wife was convicted of aggravated kidnapping.
Robin believed her father may have been responsible for JoLynn’s disappearance and death.
Robin thought JoLynn had information about Smith. Such information could have cost him his career. This has never been confirmed to be the case. Richard suggested taking the case to Unsolved mysteries, which Smith was against. According to Richards, he didn’t seem to express much sadness over the loss of JoLynn.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts took the hatred of his real life and built it into his character.
He used the snake bag as a way to distract from himself and create fear. “Look at the snake bag,” said Roberts. ” Do not look at me. However, the snake would appeal, surprisingly enough, to young fans as parents expressed their fear of the snake. Thus, Roberts was initially a fan favorite in the World Wrestling Federation.
Rockin ‘Robin would work for the WWF, although his time with his father was not yet over.
Robin’s work reportedly attracts the attention of WWF promoter Vince mcmahon, who said she threw a punch like a man would. From there Robin will start working for the company, winning the women’s championship. Living alone, Robin received a visit from Smith and a little girl. Robin immediately knew the girl was in trouble. Smith asked Robin to make the girl a daiquiri. When Smith went to bed, Robin stayed with the girl to ask questions, as if he would stop one day to ask her for a kiss. When Smith left, Robin kept the girl behind, saying he wouldn’t take her anymore.
Sam Houston was a “good hand,” which led to a disappointing wrestling career.
As the best worker in the family, according to Cornette, Houston’s size prevented it from being used in a more prominent place. Houston would develop a drinking problem. When the subject of her marriage to Baby Doll appeared to Smith, Houston consumed 32 Crown and Cokes. He would rack up multiple DUI offenses, although he initially avoided a significant prison sentence due to his father’s influence. Smith denied that his father had anything to do with it. Eventually, Houston was sent to jail, with his father’s influence unable to help him. He was told he would be in jail for 30 years. While in prison, Houston attempted suicide.
Jake Roberts would sink further into his own addictions.
The most important thing for him at that time was cocaine. Being in the limelight allowed him to get what he felt he needed, whether it was drugs, time with women, or anything else associated with the party life. Roberts would sadly introduce himself to the Heroes of the fight event in a non-executing state. Subsequent public appearances would see him behave erratically.
As WWF gradually phased out its women’s division, Rockin ‘Robin developed its own addictions.
She will turn to alcohol after leaving the company. She believed it had more to do with her childhood, which had been ruined by her father.
In 2010, Grizzly Smith died of Alzheimer’s disease.
Her biological son, Richard, was her sole keeper until his last days. Smith died while Houston was in jail. Smith has never apologized for his abuse of his children, seeing his behavior as completely normal. Richard was also never excused for being abandoned for adoption. Nonetheless, Richard believed he was lucky for it. All of the children expressed an interest in being closer to each other. Roberts and Robin stressed the importance of asking for help from those who are where they were when they were children. Roberts closed the episode with the “never, never, never give up” advice.
Stay tuned for the final word on pro wrestling to learn more about this story and other stories from the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to keep up to date with major wrestling news, as well as provide you with wrestling analysis, previews, videos, interviews and editorials. Catch the dark side of the ring on VICE, with new episodes airing every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST.
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