The Rowdy One
Roderick Toombs aka Rowdy Roddy Piper is without a doubt the most controversial wrestler ever to climb into the squared circle. Hulk Hogan set the standard for heroes in the ring and conversely Roddy Piper set the standard for the anti hero.
Born in Canada and living on his own since the age of fifteen, Rowdy Piper began an amateur boxing and amateur wrestling career and soon became a Golden Gloves boxing champion. He had also won the 167-pound Amateur Wrestling Championship of Manitoba at 15. When he spoke about his wrestling career to a newspaper, he said that the very first professional wrestling match he ever saw, he was in it. He wrestled against Larry “The Axe” Hennig. He also commented on how he lost the match in ten seconds. He wrestled as a jobber in Winnipeg for awhile before going to Los Angeles and beginning a feud with Chavo Guerrero Sr. Piper would also win his first championship from Chavo when he won the NWA Americas title on March 12, 1976. That would be his first of thirty-eight wrestling championships that he would go on to hold in his illustrious career.
In 1983, he defeated Greg Valentine for the United States Championship and that feud would lead to a dog collar match. Valentine mercilessly pounded on one of Piper’s ears. Piper would lose more than eighty percent of his hearing and his equilibrium would never be the same again either. He was told that he would never wrestle again but Piper begged to differ. As it was stated, he had won thirty-eight wrestling championship belts and had won more than seven thousand professional matches.
He would enter the WWF shortly after that and feud with Hulk Hogan for the next few years and that feud put professional wrestling on the map. Piper was also the first to have a talk segment on television known as “Piper’s Pit” and will be remembered most for that show when he broke a coconut over the head of Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka and then rubbing a banana in his face. He then began whipping the Super Fly with his belt and left the set before Snuka could retaliate and this led to a long feud with the two men.
In 2005, Rowdy Roddy Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Ric Flair and in 2006 he began the fight of his life. He has battled Hodgkin’s disease and is winning the battle so far. He is truly a fighter in the very sense of the word.
Very few wrestlers’ names are actually synonymous with professional wrestling. There is Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and the Rowdy One, Rowdy Roddy Piper. Love him or hate him but you should at the very least, respect him.