Yu and Page decided to take Roberts back to Page's house for an immersive, around-the-clock intervention that became the documentary "The Resurrection of Jake the Snake" — an entry in this year's Slamdance Film Festival, the indie-alternative event to the bigger Sundance Film Festival that runs Jan. 23-29 at the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City.
Page would teach Roberts his "DDP Yoga" system while a team of friends and supporters would rally around him to keep him sober.
A three-time World Heavyweight Champion himself and protégé of Roberts' when he was younger, Page was skeptical "The Snake" could be brought back after the first few minutes of a workout left Roberts gasping for air and screaming in pain.
"When you were a super god at one point, you just think different. I didn't know how it would work," Page said.
The documentary follows Roberts' story, from a childhood full of trauma to Wrestlemania triumph to Page's living room, where he struggles to dry out from decades of substance abuse.
"Dallas and I didn't go into this thinking, 'We're going to help this alcoholic and drug addict,' " Yu said.
"We knew that Jake had kind of lost hope in his life and that he needed some help with his health. It turned into something we didn't expect it to."
Roberts, born Aurelian Smith Sr., struggles on screen with demons common to once-famous athletes: relying on a character and artificial bravado found in the ring to mask the need for real, substantial help.
"He made up this guy named Jake 'The Snake' Roberts. Aurelian Smith is scared to death of snakes," Page said. "Jake Roberts will get out there and play with cobras in front of 22,000 people."
The world premiere of the film will kick off the festival on Friday. It will screen once more on Jan. 27.
Roberts' journey is a long one, filled with slip-ups and triumphs captured through the raw emotions of Yu's film. At the end of the documentary, "The Snake" doesn't hoist a championship belt over his head or bury an opponent with a patented DDT.
But with a lot of help from Page and Yu, he manages to pin a few demons for the three count, hopefully, for good.
"A lot of people give up hope," Page said. "No matter how negative life gets, there's always a way to turn it around."