In the Golden Age of professional wrestling, wrestlers were either good guys or bad guys. This was a time when polarizing figures of good and evil did battle while millions of fans cheered and booed for their favorites and their rivals.
It was this world that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was able to exist in as a pure bad guy. He was the cocky, arrogant wrestler who went toe to toe with the consummate good guy Hulk Hogan.
Piper portrayed an arrogant Scotsman who wasn’t afraid to tell others exactly how he felt while wearing his trademark argyle kilt. Every time Piper touched the mic, he had the ability to turn a crowd in his favor, or in many cases, against him.
He had the persona of a rock star and the fans loved him or loved to hate him. He was truly a legend who went up against many of the all-time greats in their heyday.
At a time when wrestling was a sport for large bodied, slow men, Roddy worked a style that had a little more to it then that. He was quick in the ring but it was his ability to talk that set him apart.
Piper died on July 31st due to cardiac arrest in his sleep at the age of 61. He will be missed, as he was an absolute game changer in terms of professional wrestling.
He laid the foundation for the smart-mouthed cocky wrestler that has continued to this day. The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, CM Punk, and Dean Ambrose have taken tactics that were pioneered by Piper to new heights.
Without “Hot Rod”, wrestling might still be dominated by large men who were exciting but unable to connect with fans through their own voice. Piper showed that it doesn’t take championship belts or flashy in-ring moves to get the audience on your side, it takes charisma.
Charisma was what he had, even until the end. It was only a year ago that the WWE invited him to step inside the ring to do what he did best and talk.
Even in his sixties, Piper was able to go toe to toe with three current superstars on the mic and put them in their place.
Roddy’s reach was large in the wrestling world with many superstars coming out to send their condolences and talk about the impact the man had on their careers. Even UFC star Ronda Rousey was hit hard by the news.
After receiving the go ahead from Piper a few years ago to use the nickname “Rowdy”, Rousey said she would dedicate her fight against Bethe Correia to the memory of Roddy.
In what has already been a tough year for wrestling fans, this death comes as another shocking blow.
The deaths of beloved figures Piper and Dusty Rhodes, and the excommunication of Hulk Hogan has hit the nostalgia of wrestling fans hard. It’s hard to see heroes, who appear to be immortal and infallible come to their inevitable end.
Roddy will always be remembered as one of the best bad guys and talkers in the history of wrestling.