To say that Roddy Piper’s passing is a shock to me is an understatement. If it wasn’t for Piper and Hulk Hogan then I wouldn’t be doing this today. I would have never been a wrestling fan in the 1980s. My first memory of Roddy Piper was the “Piper’s Pit” segment where André The Giant turned on Hulk Hogan and ripped the cross of Hogan’s neck. Piper was great on the microphone and was always great with coming up with things to say on the spot. At the end of the angle Piper said to Hogan, “you’re bleeding.” It was so simple but it added so much to that segment.
Piper left in 1987 to pursue a career as an actor in Hollywood. I was so happy when he made the decision to return in 1989. I didn’t care that he was no longer a full-time wrestler because it was a huge deal to just see him on WWF TV gain. Piper was larger than life. There were a handful of guys in the 1980s that were bigger than wrestling and Piper was one of them. Make no mistake, there would have not been a WrestleMania 1 without Piper, Hogan, and Mr. T. If that show did not succeed then the WWF would have likely gone out of business. WrestleMania 1 was make or break for Vince McMahon.
Piper would wrestle Bret Hart in 1992 at WrestleMania 8. I always thought that was an underrated feud and was one of the rare times when they would pit a babyface vs. babyface. Piper was showing some heel tendencies in the feud but he was still a babyface and I was rooting for him in the match with Bret.
Piper would leave the company and make sporadic appearances in the WWF up until he left to go to WCW in 1996. Every time he appeared on the screen it was a big deal. He always felt special and the moment when he appeared on WCW TV during the Halloween Havoc pay-per-view in 1996 was one of the most jaw dropping things I had seen to that point. I never thought I’d see Piper wrestling for the competition but there he was and he was instantly put in a feud with Hulk Hogan.
Piper was known to speak his mind and never kissed ass. I always loved that about Roddy. He got fired in 2003 by Vince when he went on “HBO Real Sports” and talked about wrestlers dying too early. Vince didn’t stay mad at him for long though because he was back with WWE about a year or two later for his Hall of Fame induction.
This is a huge loss for the wrestling industry. I hope everyone takes some time to go on YouTube to check out some Roddy Piper promos. He was one of a kind and there will never be another heel like him. RIP Roddy Piper.
“Just when they think they got the answers, I change the questions” – Roddy Piper