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You don’t get a hero without a villain. There’s no Batman without the Joker, there’s no Superman without Lex Luthor. And, in the WWF, you wouldn’t have had Hulk Hogan if not for Rowdy Roddy Piper. Unfortunately, it was reported on July 31, 2015 that Roddy Piper passed away. Needless to say, we here at Three Man Booth are pretty devastated.
Personally, the love (or hate) of Roddy Piper extends through generations in our family. During the Rock and Wrestling Era, when Piper was his most villainous, he was our uncle’s favorite wrestler. He knew Piper was a bad guy not just by the words he said but also by the entrance theme he chose: “Owner of a Lonely Heart” by Yes which, according to our uncle, “nobody liked that song!” But this was during a time when you couldn’t admit your appreciation for Piper (or Yes for that matter). At school, our uncle had to deny being a Piper fan; at home, he had to do the same thing. Our grandmother hated Piper! We saw this first-hand. On a recent visit, we showed her the WWE Network. There was a random episode of Tuesday Night Titans playing and Piper appeared. Almost instantly, our grandmother was transported back 30 years, and started explaining why she hates the Hot Rod. It was pretty funny, actually.
But this wasn’t the Piper that my brother and I were introduced to. Our introduction to Roddy Piper was in 1992, was less “smash you in the head with a coconut” and more “wear a shock proof vest to out trick the Mountie.”
He was a reformed villain, using his underhanded tactics to prevent other underhanded tactics. At the same time, he was the Intercontinental Champion, one of the few titles he won in his WWE career. This was before Wrestlemania 8 (and you know how much we love Wrestlemania 8 here) where he was to face Bret the Hitman Hart. I’ve written on another site about how much I love Hart versus Piper at Wrestlemania 8 but here’s the tl;dr version: this is my favorite Wrestlemania match. It’s Piper’s best wrestling match. And the promo before the match, Roddy Piper is so funny that my brother and I used to recite his lines endlessly. Without this match, Bret Hart (my favorite wrestler of all time) would have not been launched to the next level in the WWE, and that’s all thanks to Piper.
If you have the WWE Network you can watch the promo and the match. Or, there are, um, other ways to watch the promo and the match.
Villain or Hero, there are countless Roddy Piper moments, not just in wrestling but in pop culture as well. Roddy Piper chewed bubblegum; Roddy Piper kicked ass. Roddy Piper will be missed.
Thank you Hot Rod! You will be missed.
R.I.P. Rowdy Roddy Piper
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