Friday, July 31, 2015
Why We Love "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
My heart broke when hearing about the passing of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Undoubtedly one of the best talkers in pro wrestling history (and quite possibly THE best), Roddy Piper made quite a lasting impression, not just on me, but on our whole generation. The fact that he managed to accomplish such a thing without ever being a massive mega star like Hulk Hogan, "Mach Man" Randy Savage, or The Ultimate Warrior, isn't just impressive, it's fucking astonishing.
His amazing shit-talking on the mic combined with his legitimate in-ring skill made Piper a surprising fan favorite...considering he was a heel (AKA, a villain for those unfamiliar with pro wrestling terminology). In fact, Piper was recently voted the best heel in WWE history if I'm not mistaken. How did he manage to accomplish such a feat? Because even though we were supposed to hate this guy, we pretty much couldn't. And if we did, we loved to hate him. His magnetic personality and natural charisma made him one of the absolute greatest character wrestlers of his era.
Not to mention the fact that, for me personally, Piper starred in one of my all time favorite horror films: John Carpenter's "They Live". Piper would go on to star in other sci-fi and action fare; most of which were direct to video trash, but despite that, Piper always came off as likeable and never turned in a shit performance that I can recall off the top of my head.
In my early teens I met Piper (very briefly) at a WCW show during the nWo era of the Monday Night Wars. He was warm with a big 'ol shit-eating grin on his face. Years later, I came across him several more times at various horror conventions, and his magnetic personality shined through in the midst of a surprising amount of people begging him for autographs. I say surprising because I always thought that people that were/are wrestling fans would think it a bit weird if I'd tell them my favorite wrestler from that 80s golden age was Piper...but the true surprise came at a number of those cons when I realized just how much he meant to so many people.
That was "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. The masterful shit-talker. The man that could put on a five-star match with no problem no matter who he was put up against. The man who went from wrestler into acting and back again without losing a beat. The man who had natural born attitude that was always more than just a "character".
Rest in peace Roddy. We miss you already.