10:30 a.m. August 11. I woke up to pay my respects to Rowdy Roddy Piper who passed away last week on July 31. His family invited fans to take part of a moment of silence so we could feel as if we took part of the private funeral service at that moment. It was an endearing and loving gesture; one I have no doubt Roddy would have loved.
I know many will write of their favorite Roddy Piper moment and matches. I read some great articles on the impact he made on this business. I’ve seen wonderful pictures fans shared, especially those who were privileged to meet him and get pictures with him. (I was lucky to see him wrestle live at Madison Square Garden, but the closest I stood to him was after a match where I saw him in a van with Hulk Hogan. He briefly came out but he didn’t stick around for pictures)
A few favorite moments come to mind for me sure. The first Pipers Pit, his feuds with Andre and Snuka, the first WrestleMania. There was the feud with Adonis, the retirement video (My Way) the WrestleMania 3 match, I can go on and on there are endless memories. Perhaps my most recent favorite has to be the Pipers Pit during the 1000th episode of Raw where he was confronted by Randy Orton and his daddy (as Jim Ross put it that night) while he was interviewing Mick Foley.
These are only a few memories out of so many. Some may even view this as another wrestling passing one among many. Another wrestler or former wrestler to die young. I’ve seen at least one article covering this question of the endless deaths of wrestlers to die young. Even the tribute given to him by WWE while nice and heartfelt, I couldn’t help see it as just another tribute in a way. A moment of silence, a video, yes nice things, but I couldn’t help feel that Piper deserved more than this much more in fact. After all this was their main heel of that first WrestleMania. This was one of the main people to help this company with their national expansion. I can’t put into words how influential this man was overall. The impact he’s had.
Of course we know this is not just any wrestling death. Far from it. I think we know that, but I have struggled in coming to terms with this death. Most wrestling deaths have shocked me (The Ultimate Warrior’s, was one indeed, the sudden senseless death of Owen Hart) but I can’t explain why this death has affected me the way it has. There has been that sense of loss I haven’t been able to shake off. That feeling of losing more than an entertainer.
Perhaps it’s because I have been watching WWE/WWF since 1983. Roddy Piper has been part of many of my favorite moments as a wrestling fan. Whether I booed him or cheered him he’s been there. Even when he first showed up I already knew of his famous NWA feud with Greg Valentine (the dog collar match) a feud the company briefly acknowledged when Piper and Valentine would confront each other for the first time in Pipers Pit.
In going back to the retirement video, one that made me cry, and then going to watch his movie “They Live” when it was first released in theaters. I watched “Hell comes to Frog town,” on VHS. His last Pipers Pit with Rusev which was so recent.
What a heartbreaking loss. In many ways my most heartbreaking loss as a wrestling fan. Still in disbelief I cannot picture him not being around anymore. There doesn’t seem to be a time for me that Roddy Piper hasn’t been in a wrestling ring in some capacity. He was the original rebel, the original legend killer, the first charismatic enigma, he was the original in many of these wrestling names used over the years. There will never be another him. There will never be another show like Pipers pit.