There are some days where you just want to crawl back into bed, sleep some more, dream good dreams and then wake up and start all over again. Today qualifies as one of those days. I wake up and turn on my laptop only to be hit with the news that ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper has passed away in his sleep from a heart attack at 61. Not only do I lose one of my all-time professional wrestling heroes but at 53 years of age myself I am reminded of my own mortality.
I became a pro wrestling fan in 1972 at the age of ten years. I watched Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling every Saturday and read Inside Wrestling, The Wrestler and Pro Wrestling Illustrated voraciously. It was within those pages that I first heard about the vile and hated and (good God, ya’ll) kilt-wearing Scotsman named Roddy Piper. All that said when Mr. Piper debuted in the Mid-Atlantic area I thought that I was ready for anything he had to say or do to the wrestlers and the fans in the territory. I learned quickly that the only way to get ready for Roddy Piper is to stand in the middle of an inferno for a thousand years and then you might be close. No one-past or present-is ever ready for Roddy Piper. Piper’s dog collar match against Greg Valentine is the stuff of legend; his verbal sparring with Ric Flair was iconic and lest I forget just mention Frank Williams and Jimmy Snuka to anyone who knows wrestling and I guarantee they will loop back to one man and that man is Roddy Piper. Williams was a jobber for his entire career and he would have faded into obscurity had it not been for the beating he suffered for running his mouth to the Rowdy Scot and on Piper’s own segment, Piper’s Pit, no less. As for Jimmy Snuka I guarantee you the man steers clear of coconuts even today. Any true wrestling will know what I’m talking about.
I’m writing this all off the cuff while my feelings can be put into words. If none of it makes sense I do not apologize. I know that I’m forgetting stuff and will kick myself for it later. I will forever be a mark for ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper. No doubt about it when God made this man he broke the mold afterwards. There will never ever be another like him. May he rest in peace.
Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine 1983
Roddy Piper and Frank Williams-Piper’s Pit 1984
Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka-Piper’s Pit 1984
Quotes from the Rowdy One:
“I’m so quick, I could spit in the wind, duck, and let it hit the old lady behind me.”
“Sooner or later everybody pays the Piper!”
“Just when you think you know the answers, I change the questions.”
“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.”-from They Live.
“I walk so fast, I talk so fast, I could turn the light off and be in bed before the rooms dark.”
“Ever notice Hulk Hogan ain’t go no hair on his chest? The only one who’s got hair on their chest on their team is Cyndi Lauper.”