Piper began his wrestling career at the age of 15 after running away from home a few years prior. Throughout the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Piper made a name for himself wrestling for the various wrestling territories of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Following his classic dog collar match with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine at the first Starrcade event in 1983, Piper joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
In 1984, Piper’s ever popular interview segment Piper’s Pit debuted. On one infamous incident, Piper interview Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. After insulting Snuka’s Polynesian heritage, Piper smashed a coconut over Snuka’s head leading to long feud between the two.
Another infamous feud would involve 80’s pop star Cyndi Lauper, WWF manager “Captain” Lou Albano, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, Hulk Hogan, and Mr. T. Dubbed the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection”, this period would mark a turning point in WWF’s mainstream popularity and lead to the company’s unprecedented success for years to come. On December 28, 1984 Lauper presented Albano with an award that angered Piper. In turn, Piper attacked Albano which led to Hogan coming in defense of Albano and Lauper. This would lead to a WWF World Title championship match between Hogan and Piper on February 18, 1985 at an event called “The War to Settle The Score”. This match up would be broadcasted on MTV and would show Hogan defeating Piper via disqualification after Orndorff interfered. With the odds uneven, Mr. T would enter the ring in defense of Hogan. This all culminated in a tag team match up at the very first Wrestlemania between Piper and Orndorff vs. Hogan and Mr. T. A year later, Piper would have another high profile match with Mr. T at the 2nd Wrestlemania, but this time in a boxing fight.
Following, Wrestlemania 2, Piper would go on to become a fan favorite, won the WWF Intercontinental Championship, and even served as interim WWF President. In 1996, after a memorable “Hollywood Backlot Brawl” at Wrestlemania XII, Piper would leave the WWF and make a surprise debut at WCW’s Halloween Havoc to challenge Hogan. In a non-title main event match at Starrcade 1996, Piper would go on to defeat Hogan. Piper would go on to make several more appearances in WCW until 2000.
Throughout the early 2000’s Piper would make sporadic appearance in both the now WWE and Total Nonstop Action (TNA). Then finally, in 2005, Piper was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame. Since his induction, Piper made several on and off appearances on WWE TV, including numerous Piper’s Pit segments. And each time Piper would demonstrate time and time again that he still had it on the mic. Roddy Piper is survived by his wife and four children.
On a personal note, Roddy Piper was to me a true icon in the wrestling business. He was one of the first wrestlers I saw to really grab my attention at a young age. Every time I heard this man speak, I would stop whatever it was what I was doing and paid attention. The man truly had a gift to entertain as a villain and as a fan favorite. Watching him on old WWF Coliseum Home videos or on WCW Monday Nitro during the Monday Night Wars are some of my favorite wrestling memories. One of biggest regrets is not taking advantage of the two opportunities I had to meet the man. Fortunately, last year I was able to watch him do a live recording of his podcast. Roddy, we will miss. Thank you for all of the classic moments and memories. I’m going to close this with my favorite Roddy Piper match.