April 17, 2018, is the 64th birthday of iconic WWE wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Piper is a classic wrestling character who has captured the hearts of many fans around the world with his trash talking, in-ring ability, and classic wrestling angles. A pioneer of the “Heel”(bad guy) in wrestling Piper had taken his villain persona to a new level that has left a mark on the industry with how eccentric a character can be. Piper was the first Heel to get his talk show, which is a wrestling segment that is used up to this very day.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper is a WWE Hall of Famer, and for a good reason, Piper had revolutionized wrestling promo’s from being cheesy and scripted to absolute virement and uncomfortably aggressive. Roddy Piper was a fantastic and convincing talker on the microphone in which he oozed personality and confidence. What made Roddy Piper stand out from many other wrestlers was his quick wit and off the cuff remarks which gathered hatred from the wrestling fans who, in the 1980’s took wrestling very seriously and believe that many of what they saw was real. Piper took his character to a whole new level when he was gifted with his talk show that would air during the WWF television show. The name of the show was called “Pipers Pit” where Piper would have a different guest on every episode. The premise was that he would berate them constantly until they could not take the embarrassment anymore, or Piper himself would be frustrated and attack them. The show was a huge tool in making Roddy Piper a massive star which leads him to feud with the biggest names in the wrestling industry at the time like Andre “The Giant,” Hulk Hogan, and Jimmy Snuka.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka
Roddy Piper has had classic wrestling feud that is referenced to this day. His most famous feud is with fellow wrestler Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. This feud began when Roddy Piper invited Snuka onto his show. Immediately Piper started to insult him, calling him stupid, and that he cannot understand what he was saying. Piper ripped into Snuka so much it became uncomfortable to watch. The segment came to a climax when Piper smashed a coconut over Snuka’s head which sent him into the set behind him, knocking it down. Piper continued to beat down on Snuka and even at one point shoving and smearing a banana into his face. The segment ended with Jimmy Snuka chasing Roddy around the backstage area until Piper finally got away.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Andre “The Giant”
Piper was known for insulting almost every wrestler that he comes in contact. This was also evident when he came face to face with “The Eight wonder of the world Andre “The Giant.” The segment started like most, Piper beginning with interview questions that quickly turned into him making fun of Andre, calling him dumb and slow. This segment was significant because it not only helped Piper get over as a heel but also help gain sympathy for Andre. Piper was angry because Andre told him that no one would be able to pick him up and slam him. Piper continued berating him until he had enough. Andre picked him up off the ground by his shirt and threw him down. This segment was influential because it set the notion forth that Andre was not able to be slammed, which was a big moment used in the future at Wrestlemania 3.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Goldust
Piper was known to be wild and crazy. There was no better moment to showcase that when he has a “Hollywood Backlot Brawl” against new WWF star Goldust. That was a wild segment as Piper battled Goldust in an outrageous streetfight behind an alleyway where there were garbage cans, baseball bats, and cars being used as weapons. Roddy Piper at one point used a baseball bat to destroy an all golden car from Goldust, which was eventually used to hit Piper. They battled onto the highway at one point and eventually into the area where the fight concluded in the ring as Piper beat Goldust to submission. This was a ridiculous fight that should be seen by all wrestling fans.
“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey
The “Rowdy” name lives on in 2018 as former UFC Champion Ronda Rousey now uses that nickname, formally UFC career as well as now in current WWE career. She had stated that she was a huge wrestling fan when she was young and was a big fan of him. She had asked permission to use the nickname which she got the okay for and had run with it ever since. The day after Piper died Ronda had dedicated her fight that night to him. In her WWE career, she has adopted the same lettering in her name as well as the signature kilt. At Wrestlemania 34 she also wore his jacket to the ring, which was given to her before by his son. It is great to see a modern star continue Piper’s legacy in a way that pays tribute to his greatness.