Wrestling 102: Rowdy Roddy Piper
As I previously mentioned in my Raw Recap this week, Rowdy Roddy Piper is one of my top two favorite wrestlers of all time, and last week was a rough week to be a fan of wrestling. Hot Rod's passing was sudden, which made it even more upsetting. He gone but not forgotten, having left an indelible effect on the wrestling world. So, this edition of Wrestling 102 is all about the Rowdy One, and what made him so great.
Hot Rod Destroys Superfly Snuka
There is little that needs to be said about the Piper's Pit featuring Jimmy Snuka. It's one of the all time great promos, and that's primarily due to Piper's aggressiveness. He was always known for his ability to get under his opponent's skin with ease, and this was no different. He called Snuka, who was billed from Fiji, an island savage, and tempted him with pineapples and coconuts. He then slammed a coconut over Snuka's head, and proceeded to beat him senseless. It's Piper at his finest.
Piper vs Goldust at WMXII
Piper made Goldust. There is so much to be gained from a rookie facing a legend at Wrestlemania, especially when its done right. This is one such occasion. Not only would Piper and Goldust have an epic backlot brawl, they would then have a "recreation" of the infamous OJ Simpson Bronco chase over the highways of LA. It would end in the ring, with Piper and Goldust facing off in the ring, with Piper getting the best of Goldust, but not before giving him a massive rub. It's a standout match from Wrestlemania XII, and one of Piper's best.
Hot Rod Takes on Morton Downey Jr.
What happens when you get two of the biggest loudmouths of the 80's in a ring together? Pure magic. Morton Downey Jr. was the progenitor to Jerry Springer, with his Morton Downey Jr. Show, riling up his guests with pointed barbs and outlandish questions. He would be Hot Rod's guest of honor at Wrestlemania V for a special Piper's Pit. Downey disrespected Hot Rod by continuing to blow cigarette smoke in his face, even after Hot Rod asked him to stop. Piper would put out said cigarette with well placed blasts from a fire extinguisher. It's a memorable moment that further solidifies Piper's brash attitude.
Piper vs Bret Hart at WM VIII
This is widely considered to be Piper's greatest match, and I agree 100%. Piper would go head to head with another outspoken legend, Bret Hart, to defend his Intercontinental championship. This was also the only title that Piper would ever hold in the WWE unfortunately, but he put on a hell of a match defending it. The match was a fantastic back and forth between the two, with Hart getting the better of Piper in the end. Most don't remember Piper's in-ring work, but this match is a great example of just how awesome he was.
Piper vs Pop Music
This is the segment that put Piper on the map, and it would kick off his most well known rivalry with Hulk Hogan. Piper would interrupt Dick Clark awarding Cyndi Lauper and Captain Lou Albano, flanked by Hulk Hogan, with a gold record. Piper would saunter into the ring and feign interest in the ceremony before smashing the gold records over Albano's head. He would also then kick a distraught Lauper, further inciting the rage of Hulk Hogan. This encounter would lead to their match at the original Wrestlemania, and officially put Piper, Hogan, and the WWE on the map.
It's a dimmer world without Hot Rod in it. He was one of the most influential wrestlers of all time, and he will continue to influence wrestlers for as long as there are searing promos to be cut, records to be smashed, and coconuts to be slammed over people's heads.