Remembering “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

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[via http://www.ign.com] Wrestling hall of famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper passed away today at the age of 61. Born Roderick George Toombs, Piper was one of wrestling’s all-time great personalities and talkers. Known worldwide for his signature bagpipe music and kilt, The Rowdy One was beloved for his antics as both a dastardly villain and as a fan favorite icon.

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.

 

 

State of the WWE – Post WM30

It’s been a hellacious of a couple weeks in the WWE. Now that we are two weeks removed from Wrestlemania (in the Silverdome, brother! lol), enough time has passed to gather my thoughts and see what the programming may/may not have in store for us. Here are some key thoughts I had:

First, let us reflect on the passing of the Ultmate Warrior. He is perhaps the most enigmatic superstar of all time. Just as it seems he buried the hatchet with Vince McMahon… His chilling RAW speech the Monday after which was most intriguing. Warrior almost certainly foretold the end of his own legend and told the fans how to maintain his legacy. My heart goes out to his family, especially his young daughters. He is an icon for all the ages. We’ll always have your cryptic promos.

Was there ever any doubt about Daniel Bryan? No. That’s all. He’s a great worker and they built up to this so well (and almost for too long). Evolution is back and they will have their hands full against The Shield. All that left is to turn Hulk Hogan “Hollywood” again and bring back the nWo to partake in this stable feud.

21-1: The Streak is over. Oh yeah, spoiler alert. Brock Lesnar beat the Undertaker into a severe concussion on the greatest stage of them all. If there is anyone worthy of it, it is the former NCAA and UFC champ Lesnar. What interests me most is how the WWE capitalizes on it. Who will Lesnar face next? Batista has already become a victim of bad booking. Maybe Lesnar takes a break until next Wrestlemania because Cesaro is also a Paul Heyman guy and may finally receive his more than well-deserved push (eh negatron3000?).

Let’s face it, with the world watching, CM Punk was (and still is) a no-show. Maybe we have seen the last of Phil Brooks. It would have been the perfect time for him to surface, even for an instant. Alas, Stone Cold mentioned on his podcast that he’d regret not being there and time will tell if that’s true. However, Rob Van Dam is back and stars from NXT like Paige, EmmaRusev, Adam Rose and Bo Dallas have bigger parts on the main roster. Triple H, you did well by revamping the developmental system. Now if only they’d let Big E Langston do the five count… The world keeps turning and the WWE doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

P.S. Bray Wyatt and John Cena. Best promos ever.

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Video clips taken from WWE YouTube channel. Articles from Bleacher Report WWE and eWrestlingNews. WWE wrestler images were taken from WWE.com and screencapped from WWE programming.

CM Punk: Best in the World…at Walking Out?

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WWE /  via http://cmpunk.com/

On Monday, January 28th CM Punk took his ball and went home.  The longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era is no longer with the company he wanted to make “cool” again just 3 years prior. While there has be no official confirmation as to why Punk quit, the main reasons making the dirtsheet rounds have been the injuries he’s been dealing with , that he’s burnt out from the road, and his placement on the upcoming Wrestlemania 30 card where he would have squared off against Triple H. TMZ is going as far as reporting that Punk is specifically upset with the fact Batista (who just returned to the WWE two weeks ago after a four year hiatus) won the Royal Rumble and is already going on to main event Wrestlemania despite not being in wrestling shape.

Below is an excerpt from a 2011 interview CM Punk gave to WWE Magazine just a few short months after he almost left the company the first time:

This anger with your job has been festering for a while. Was there one moment backstage when you felt you’d had enough?

“I can name one off the top of my head. How about main-eventing a pay-per-view as the World Heavyweight Champion against Undertaker and then, a few months later, being in a dark match against R-Truth at WWE TLC? That’s pretty ignorant in my mind. This is the problem. We do this too many times to too many Superstars. It’s a startstop kind of thing. The company likes to spotlight certain people. Like, “This week, Kofi’s cool,” and then, the next week, “We changed our minds we like Dolph this week.” It flip-flops back and forth ad nauseam, and the next thing you know, the people couldn’t give a crap about either guy.”

Given the current state of WWE where the company refuses to push its biggest organically made superstar Daniel Bryan; where the “starstop kind of thing” mentioned above still has not changed; and where the man who was WWE Champion for 434 days was passed over in consecutive years so we could see the twice in a lifetime match-up between The Rock and John Cena, it’s difficult to argue against Punk choosing to part ways with his employer.

In fact this situation bares some similarities to the infamous incident in 2002 when Stone Cold Steve Austin walked out on WWE due to creative differences. Specifically, Austin was opposed to the idea of losing cleanly to then newcomer Brock Lesnar on a free and unadvertised edition of Monday Night Raw. Austin felt that after all he had given to the company and his main event status at the time that it was a bad business decision. And so Austin told Vince McMahon on the telephone that if that was the plan he would not be showing up to Raw. When McMahon didn’t budge Austin flew back home to San Antonio.

12 years later, however, Austin stated on Chris Jericho’s podcast that that incident remains his biggest regret in his Hall of Fame career. In retrospect, Austin says that he would have flown to Raw that night and spoken to McMahon face to face to deal with the issues at hand. Furthermore Austin stated, “It was stupid, Chris, because you have to own up to some responsibility and accountability and show up. Honor your deal. You’re packed with the boys and your job. So I should have showed up like a man, come up with a solution. Could have been a different solution, could have been just don’t even do the match, but show up and talk to Vince face to face, solve the problem in some way or fashion, and get through it like a grown man.”

This brings us back to the current situation with CM Punk. Whether you agree with what Punk did or not, the man is contractually obligated to remain in WWE until July of this year. Instead he told his boss he was “going home” just 2 months before the biggest show of the year.  He is disappointing his peers and, more importantly, his fans with this decision. Personally speaking, I was genuinely looking forward to seeing WWE live in 2 weeks because it was my first chance to see him wrestle since the Match of the Year contest he had against Brock Lesnar last year at Summerslam.

Overall, I too am frustrated with the current WWE product. And I’ve certainly been frustrated with Punk’s placement on the card since losing the WWE Championship to The Rock one year ago. And while he hasn’t necessarily been “buried”, I don’t believe he’s been given the main event opportunities he deserves. I truly feel no one in wrestling is as good as Punk as he is collectively on the mic and in the ring.

However, unless there’s a legitimate health reason for walking out, the fact of the matter is that Punk quit on his employer, he quit on the men and women in the locker room, and he quit on the WWE Universe. Nonetheless, here’s hoping that the “Best in the World” returns sooner rather than later to do his job and to prove why he’s earned that moniker.