Wrestling: Roddy Piper

"No retreat, and no surrender!"

Roderick George "Roddy" Toombs (April 17, 1954 – July 31, 2015), better known by his ring name "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, was a Canadian professional wrestler and occasional actor best known for his kayfabe rivalry with Hulk Hogan and starring roles in cult films such as Hell Comes to Frogtown and They Live!. He also parodied himself in two episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Piper was a big reason why the WWF (now the WWE) got so huge in the '80s and was one of its most popular villains. Hulk Hogan was considered a good guy back then and was one of Piper’s biggest rivals. Known for his kilt, deafening bagpipe music, and big mouth, Piper feuded with nearly everyone in the business, along with some celebrity talents like Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T. He was also the host of 'All-Star Rock 'N' Wrestling Saturday Spectacular, a preview lineup of CBS kid's shows with bumper segments of Piper lording it over a studio audience.

Among his in-ring achievements, he was a former WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, a former WWE World Tag Team Champion with Ric Flair, and a former 3x NWA (Mid-Atlantic)/WCW United States Heavyweight Champion.

Along with WWE and, later, WCW, he also competed in various National Wrestling Alliance territories, particularly in the Mid-Atlantic (the Carolinas), San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest territory in Portland, Oregon.

Piper pressed pause on his wrestling career in the early '90s to act in movies full time. He returned to the WWE several times and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2005.

On July 31, 2015, Piper was found dead in his home from cardiac arrest. He was 61.

The Other Wiki has the basics about his career.


"Just when you think you have the tropes, I change the indexes!":

  • '80s Hair: His "business in the front, party in the back" hair was supreme.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Many, starting with his first, after WrestleMania III in 1987. Every time you'd thought he's gone for good, there go the bagpipes.
  • Adam Westing: In Saints Row IV, where he showed up in his iconic "Hot Rod" shirt and kilt, fistfights Keith David to snap him out of a Lotus-Eater Machine, and becomes a recruitable party member who uses wrestling moves to battle alien invaders.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Greg Valentine, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Snuka. He'd have other feuds over his career, but these were easily his biggest.
    • He was the Joker to Hogan's Batman. When you're THE Rival to the biggest name in wrestling history, and can boast that Hogan (technically) never pinned you cleanly, you're definitely in slim company. Piper himself said as much when he came to WCW. "Do you think they would've loved you so much if they hadn't hated me so much?"
    • Piper passed away the same week a scandal broke over Hogan's racist rants. In true Hot Rod fashion, he once again stole the spotlight away from Hogan (but not before actually coming to Hogan's defense).
  • Autobiography: In the Pit with Piper.
  • Awesome McCoolname: "Roderick Toombs" sounds even tougher than Rowdy Roddy Piper.
  • Ax-Crazy
  • Badass Creed: "I'm trying to find a place with peace. And if not, then let's fill it with mayhem."
  • Bash Brothers: "Cowboy" Bob Orton, Jr., Ric Flair, Rick Martel,note  Greg Valentine.
  • Berserk Button: Basically everything, as he was Crazy Awesome, but if you really wanted to tick off Hot Rod, you'd say that the kilt was a skirt.
  • Bowdlerize: His contribution to The Wrestling Album was originally called "Fuck Everybody." Due to the WWF's family-oriented direction, he had to change it to "For Everybody." The word "ass" was also replaced with "trash" on two occasions.
  • Canada, Eh?: From Saskatchewan in Real Life. Was known early in his career as the Masked Canadian.
  • Catch Phrase:
  • Charlie Brown from Outta Town: The Piper Machine.
  • Chew Bubblegum: He's the one who said the immortal line. He actually ad-libbed it.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • He's been referred to as the Robin Williams of wrestling. Watch him train people on Lance Storm's show, or really, listen to any of his promos.
    • Blindsiding Jimmy Snuka... with a coconut to the head.
    • That "Speaking of feet, Tony Atlas is an asshole" line from Legends House. The show was mostly forgettable, but Piper was peak Piper in the last two episodes.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Even as a face, one of his trademark attacks was an eye poke.
  • Cool Mask: As Piper Machine.
  • Cool Old Guy: His gimmick in his last years was the awesome old-school guy that came in to teach the young punks a lesson. Some examples:
    • Teamed with Ric Flair to defeat the Spirit Squad (represented by Kenny and Mikey) for the WWE World Tag Team Championship at Cyber Sunday on November 5, 2006.
    • Teamed with the Highlanders (Rory and Robbie) in a six-man-tag to defeat 3/5 of the Spirit Squad (Johnny, Kenny and Mikey) on the November 6, 2006 Raw.
    • Defeated The Miz with a rollup and a fast three-count courtesy of special referee Alex Riley in 1:08 on the June 13, 2011 Raw.
  • Crossover: His feud with Carlito Colón started in WWE but was settled in WWC with Piper pinning Colon. If you only watched WWE you might not know they had a feud in the first place, since their promotion of the fact two of their contract workers go to another company, continuing a storyline started on WWE television, was bare minimal.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: On Lance Storm's World of Hurt.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Hogan seems to get all of the credit for the Rock n' Wrestling era. He was the one that gets his birthday celebrated and a banner raised at MSG. Piper seemed to be treated as nothing more than a footnote — an also-ran who dressed in a kilt and cracked corny jokes. Hot Rod always felt disrespected, like he wasn't getting the recognition he deserved. Ironically, Hogan's scandals along with Piper's passing could change the public perception of their legacies.
    • In his autobiography, Piper said that Hulk Hogan and the other face headliners went to a swanky afterparty after Wrestlemania. Piper and Cowboy Bob Orton were not invited, nor even given a ride back to the hotel.
    • Rowdy had to pay his dues the hard way, and he openly resented bodybuilders and celebrities taking the spots of hard workers. See "Sitcom Archnemesis" below.
  • Everything's Louder With Bagpipes:
    • Not only did his entrance theme feature bagpipes, he also occasionally played them himself, and was quite good.
    • It's actually how he got his ring name. He was walking to the ring for his first match while playing the bagpipes and was announced as "Roddy the Piper."
  • Finishing Move: A good old-fashioned sleeper was Piper's finisher of choice.
  • Genre Savvy: This in spades. Even as a face he remembered every dirty trick in the book and exploited them at every chance.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Stay the heck away from drugs, kids! Yes he actually said "heck."
  • The Grinch: Inverted: he becomes a crusader for Christmas by beating the crap out of Bobby Heenan, who was dressed as Santa Claus.
  • Guttural Growler: A wrestler from The '80s with a speech impediment? It would be more shocking if he spoke normally.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • Lost hearing in his right ear due to a burst eardrum after an unusually brutal Dog Collar Match with Greg Valentine in 1983.
    • His knee/hip injuries came into play in several matches.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: He turned many times over his career.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Piper and Flair on Celebrity Wife Swap. Wendi keeps maxing out Ric's credit cards, Kitty is completely at sea, and at the center of it all it Rod — the only person in the house who really 'gets' Naitch.
    • Ric Flair once said that Piper was the only guy who could fill any building, any time, anywhere just by being on the card. It was always a sellout. Keep in mind Naitch is not exactly known for his humility.
  • Hidden Depths: Found a piano in World of Hurt's gym, and demonstrated he could actually play.
  • Hot-Blooded: See Berserk Button.
  • I'll Kill You!: After Sting had made the save for Piper and Diamond Dallas Page from the nWo at the end of the October 13, 1997 WCW Monday Nitro, Piper actually said these exact words.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: He didn't need to know how tough he was, to know how tough he was. And just when you thought you had the answers, he went and changed all the questions.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Has there been any time when somebody wasn't beefing with Piper? That guy had pissing people off down to a fine art.
  • Kick the Dog: Piper was the kind of heel who did this every chance he got. The coconut incident on Piper's Pit with Jimmy Snuka is a particularly infamous example.
  • Large Ham: Even by wrestling standards!
  • Motor Mouth: In his prime, the man was a walking "rant machine" on wheels. He'd mellow down considerably as he got older, however.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The Hollywood Backlot Brawl with Goldust at WrestleMania XII.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: He was supposed to be Scottish after all, whilst speaking with a recognizable Canadian accent.
  • Nothing Personal: During the Monday Night War, he didn't get the whole WWF vs. WCW thing and just saw them as two more territories.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Rowdy" Roddy Piper or "Hot Rod".
  • Power Stable:
  • Precision F-Strike: Got away with saying "bullshit!" at WrestleMania 21; appropriately enough, it was in an interview segment with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
  • Rags to Riches: Piper was homeless and lived on the street as a teenager. At one point, he owned nothing but his car and his bagpipes. Piper's net worth after he died was estimated to be around 4 million dollars.
    • He used to wander hotels, in order to eat scraps on flatware left outside the door for room service to carry away.
  • Retired Badass
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: On the September 27 (taped September 16), 1986, WWF Superstars, Piper's Dragon "Cowboy" Bob Orton, Jr. and "Magnificent" Don Muraco turned on Piper, siding with "Adorable" Adrian Adonis's "The Flower Shop," tore down the "Piper's Pit" set, and injured Piper's leg in the process. On the October 4th show (taped the same night), Piper came out with a crutch and destroyed the set of "The Flower Shop." This ultimately led to the hair vs. hair match between Piper and Adonis at WrestleMania III.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: He made Mr. T look like the fool on the microphone and in the ring. He also shoot-wrestled Mr. T to the mat at WrestleMania, and didn't let him get in any of his spots.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • Piper passed the nickname "Rowdy" to Ronda Rousey.
    • Most "Rock n' Wrestling" WWF personalities have a WWE equivalent, and Piper is no exception: Dean Ambrose.
  • Talk Show with Fists: Piper's Pit is the originator.
  • Wild Card: See his Catch Phrase and Genre Savvy above. No one knew what Piper would do at any given time.
  • Would Hit a Girl: By his last years, it was very much averted. He'd gone onto the WWE's programs to host special Piper's Pits specifically to scold heel wrestlers who hurt women the previous week. But this was not always the case, of course. In 1984-1985, during the height of his highly volatile, crazy heel persona, and when the "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection" era was in full swing, Piper (in kayfabe) hated rock music diva Cyndi Lauper so much he tried to attack her, without provocation, many times. He actually did assault her and her then-boyfriend David Wolfe during an infamous in-ring promo at New York City's Madison Square Garden (the setup being American Bandstand's Dick Clark presenting an award to Lauper and "Captain" Lou Albano for their (real life) work with the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation). The incident brought Piper's feud with Hulk Hogan (an avowed friend of Lauper's) to a new level, and set up "The War to Settle the Score," aired nationally via MTV, where Piper's allies — "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff and "Cowboy" Bob Orton — threatened to seriously hurt Lauper, if not worse.
  • Wrote the Book:
    • When Jake Roberts says you're the best promo, you're the best promo.
    • The Rock has said that Rowdy was a big influence on him and his character. When all the best talkers put one man on top, you definitely know who the trailblazer was in that regard.
  • Wrestling Family: He was a cousin of the Harts.

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