WWE wrestling is in a rut nowadays. If it hadn’t been for CM Punk, Brock Lesnar and Sasha Banks I would have quit on WWE. However, there was a time that WWE wrestling used to be cool. That was when it was still called WWF and it was in the 80s.
Hulk Hogan gets the credits for making wrestling mainstream in the 80s, but the truth is he didn’t do it alone. This brings me to the person who was just as important for the wrestling boom in the 80s: Rowdy Roddy Piper.
I can’t believe he passed away yesterday. That was quite sad news to read. He died in his sleep of a heart attack. He was only 61 years old.
To me Piper was one of the greatest heels (bad guys) in wrestling history. I think he influenced a lot of people on how to be a heel. He was funny, he was obnoxious, he was evil, he could talk and he was tough. I don’t know if he was the first to have his own talking segment, but his talking segment Piper’s Pit set the standard for talking segments. He had many Piper’s Pits, but one his Piper’s Pits became legendary, because of a line that is quoted even today. “Just when they think they got the answers, I change the questions.”
Here is that infamous Piper’s Pit.
My favorite Piper’s Pit are the following two.
Piper did all kinds of heelish acts. I didn’t agree with all of them like the coconut incident with Jimmy Snuka, whipping Mr T with a belt while Cowboy Bob Orton was holding Mr T down and shaving Haiti Kid’s hair. But… I guess, that’s why he was the bad guy.
One thing I did like a lot was the MTV award he gave to Captain Lou Albano.
Of course, the most unforgettable thing Piper did was main eventing the first Wrestle Mania in a tag team match. Everybody wanted to see Piper get his comeuppance from Hogan and Mr T.
I can’t imagine that first Wrestle Mania would have been a success had Piper not been there.
And who remembers the feud he had with Adrian Adonis? Piper was not a heel there, but an inbetweener, a.k.a someone you can’t classify as a bad guy or a good guy.
Here is Piper being pissed off after being attacked by Adonis and betrayed by Cowboy Bob Orton.
As mentioned before Piper was an obnoxious heel too. Check out this promo. (Sorry for the bad sound quality).
I could list all kinds of things that were Piper cool. He had a lot of matches and one match I really liked and that was his brawling match against Orndorff during a Saturday Night’s Main Event. Storyline-wise those guys just didn’t like each other and it showed in the match. You don’t see matches like this anymore these days.
In 1987 Piper retired. He was going to Hollywood. In 1988 he starred in the John Carpenter cult classic They Live. I don’t know if the bubblegum line was his creation, but everyone who saw the movie knows the line.
In 1989 Piper returned for a legendary Piper’s Pit at Wrestle Mania V. Morton Downey Jr was the victim. He was a good guy again. From there on he got into a feud with Rick Rude, Bad News Brown and Flair. He also won the Intercontinental championship.
In 1994 he had a feud with Lawler and in 1996 he faced the most controversial wrestler at that time, Goldust. Then he left the company.
Little did I know that I would get a big mark out moment in WCW. The NWO was running roughshod over everyone until Piper was there to confront them. To me that was such a magic moment. It seems as if everything came full circle from Wrestle Mania 1.
Piper remained in WCW until WCW folded. Then he had various appearances in WWE and TNA.
There is so much to mention about what he did, but he will forever be remembered as the guy you loved to hate and the guy who made wrestling in the 80s a lot of fun. And, without Piper, there would not be a Hulkamania.
R.I.P. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Thank you for the great memories. You were one of the greatest, a legend and one of the reasons why I became a wrestling fan.