He’s the subject of an A&E biography that drops tonight. To help prepare you for a night devoted to the Hot Rod, here are 10 facts about Rowdy Roddy Piper that you may have forgotten.
His career spanned an incredible six decades
Piper’s last match was August 12, 2011 for JCW. This means his in-ring career lasted from 1969-2011, and spanned six decades.
He was Canadian, but had a Scottish heritage
You probably already know that Roderick George Toombs — also known as Roddy Piper — was born in Canada despite his character being a Scotsman for the entirety of his career, but the character was based on his Scottish roots and was a tribute to his heritage.
He was kicked out of junior high
Piper was kicked out of his junior high school for having a switchblade. This, of course, led a young Roderick Toombs into doing odd jobs wherever he could find work.
Some of that work took him to local gyms where he would run errands for professional wrestlers, which helped break him into the wrestling business. It is likely that if young Roddy hadn’t brought a switchblade to school, the world would not have known the wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Of course, this also shows that Roddy was always Rowdy.
A ring announcer gave him his moniker
So how did Roddy Toombs become Roddy Piper? We owe that to an AWA ring announcer.
During his first match for the AWA, he was heralded to the ring by a group of people playing bagpipes. The ring announcer knew his name was Roddy, but didn’t know what else to call him. Seeing the bagpipes, he announced the newcomer as “Roddy The Piper.” And thus, a legend got his name. “Roddy The Piper” eventually became “Roddy Piper.”
Got a legendary champion? Piper probably fought them
Piper’s career was just long enough that he feuded with a large chunk of WWE’s Hall of Fame.
While we often pair Piper and Hogan, that isn’t the only champion he feuded with. Piper took on Bruno Samartino, whom he lost to in a steal cage match just prior to a feud with Hulk Hogan, whom he fought at The War to Settle The Score and WrestleMania I. Piper also had several feuds with Ric Flair, one of which was for the Mid-Atlantic U.S. Title. Piper won, beating Flair before either man achieved legendary status.
In later years, he went on to face The Legend Killer himself, Randy Orton.
His 1987 “retirement” match wasn’t typical
There is a time honored tradition in professional wrestling that retiring wrestlers go out “on their backs” by putting their opponent over and taking a loss.
This was not the case when Roddy Piper left pro wrestling in 1987 to become an actor. Piper’s match against Adrian Adonis at WrestleMania III was billed as Piper’s “retirement” match, but Piper didn’t lose.
Though he didn’t put Adonis over, he did launch Brutus Beefcake’s “Barber” gimmick, as the match was a hair match, and “The Barber” did the cutting on Adonis. Piper managed to get the win, and then put another wrestler who wasn’t even in the match over.
He returned earlier than you remember
After a two year absence, Piper made his triumphant return to the WWF at WrestleMania V, where he roasted Brother Love and Morton Downey Jr. on a special episode of Piper’s Pit.
But he actually returned just before that. He returned at a house show in Denver and hosted a Piper’s Pit segment where he interviewed Brother Love.
He briefly ran the show
He was kayfabe WWF president in 1996 after Vader attacked Gorilla Monsoon.
In his capacity as president he reinstated the Ultimate Warrior and booked the iron man match between Brett Hart and Shawn Michaels that main evented WrestleMania 12. His return as president also set up his Hollywood Backlot Brawl with Goldust.
Piper’s Pit became a podcast
He had a podcast called the Piper’s Pit Podcast in 2014. The podcast ended in 2015 due to a public feud with Steve Austin.
Fortunately, Piper did apologize to Austin just 3 weeks before he died.
He and Ric Flair were WWE Tag Team Champions
If you blinked, or weren’t watching wrestling for a couple of weeks, you missed it, but e and Ric Flair held the tag team titles in WWE after defeating The Spirit Squad Nov. 5, 2006. They would lose the titles Nov. 13 to Randy Orton and Edge.