Pro wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper has passed away on late last night in his sleep due to heart attack. He was 61 years old. Born Roderick George Toombs in Saskatchewan, Canada and raised in Winnepeg, he was trained as a pro wrestler since the age of 15 and won the Golden Glove award in boxing before entering pro wrestling. He competed in many promotions before going to the National Wrestling Alliance in the late 70’s where he feuded with Ric Flair, Greg Valentine, Bob Orton and Dick Slater. It was in the NWA where he had a couple of famous angles – one of them was brawling with Dick Slater and the other was getting his face rubbed on the floor by Ric Flair and Greg Valentine. This resulted in Piper facing Valentine in the first-ever Starrcade in the Dog Collar Match before heading to the then World Wrestling Federation in 1984.
Whereas Hulk Hogan was built up as the premiere good guy, Rowdy Roddy Piper was built up as the main bad guy and this helped the World Wrestling Federation go national and into mainstream. They had several feuds in house shows and that MTV special called the War To Settle The Score before Piper teamed up with Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff against Hogan and Mr. T in the first WrestleMania in 1985. Piper continued his feud with Mr. T while he feuded with Orndorff. He had a non-wrestling segment called the Piper’s Pit where he talks to guest wrestlers whether they were good guys or bad guys. Later Bob Orton turns on Piper with the help of Adrian Adonis and the two feud at WrestleMania 3 where Piper won and shaved Adonis’ hair. During this time he was involved in the movies and the most notable movie was called They Live by John Carpenter. Piper would go WWE’s rival, World Championship Wrestling aka WCW.
In WCW, he would feud with Hulk Hogan who was turning heel and leading the NWO. Piper won against him in Starrcade 1996. Piper stayed with WCW until it was out of business in 2001. In 2003 and 2004, he would have brief stints in Total Nonstop Action aka TNA, where he would do a worked shoot promo with Vince Russo over Owen Hart’s death and his contributions to wrestling. In 2005, Piper returns to the WWE and gets inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, along with Hogan and Orndorff and was under a Legends Deal. He also did standup comedy and recently produced a podcast. Piper mentored many of the WWE’s current young stars with his Piper’s Pit segments as well as return matches such as teaming up with Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka against Chris Jericho.
Piper’s contributions to the pro wrestling business is cemented and helped make the WWE and pro wrestling what it is today. He was one of the best talkers and great wrestlers who never won a World title. Rowdy Roddy Piper will be missed by his family and the pro wrestling community worldwide.