Roderick George Toombs (April 17, 1954 – July 31, 2015), better known by his ring name "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, was a Canadian professional wrestler and film actor. In professional wrestling, he is best known for his work with WWE. Although he is Canadian, due to his Scottish heritage, he was billed as coming from Glasgow in Scotland and was known for his signature kilt and bagpipe entrance music. He earned the nickname "Rowdy" by displaying his trademark "Scottish" rage, spontaneity and quick wit, and despite being a crowd favorite for his rockstar-like persona, often played the villain; he was also nicknamed "Hot Rod". He was never a world champion, but he accumulated thirty-four championships in various promotions during his career. Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
Toombs was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He attended Windsor Park Collegiate. His father was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police while they lived in The Pas, Manitoba. After being expelled from junior high and having a falling out with his father, Piper hit the road and stayed in youth hostels wherever he could find them.
Professional wrestling career
By the age of 15, he made his pro debut in Winnipeg, against Larry Hennig. Piper lost the match in ten seconds. He was a boxer and an amateur wrestler before he started to become a pro wrestler. He won the Golden Gloves boxing championship. He was awarded a Black Belt in Judo from Gene LeBell, American Judo champion, instructor, stuntman, and professional wrestler.
American Wrestling Association (1973–1975)
From 1973 to 1975, Piper was a jobber in the AWA, Kansas City, the Maritimes, and Texas working for Paul Boesch's NWA Houston Wrestling promotion and in Dallas working for Fritz Von Erich's Big Time Rasslin. What was supposed to be a brief run in California, however, turned out to be a long term stint as booker Leo Garibaldi and publicist Jeff Walton were impressed with Piper and saw the money making possibilities he had as a villain.
National Wrestling Alliance (1975–1980)
By late 1975 and early 1976, Piper was a top villain for Mike and Gene LeBell's NWA Hollywood Wrestling. In 1977–78, he also started to work for Roy Shire's NWA San Francisco Wrestling in addition to remaining with the L.A. office. Los Angeles was where Piper developed his Rowdy character and became one of the most hated villains in Los Angeles since the days of Classy Freddy Blassie. During this time, he made continuous insults directed at the area's Mexican community; he later promised to amend by playing the Mexican national anthem on his bagpipes only to anger the fans further by playing "La Cucaracha" instead. Piper also served as manager for several villains in Los Angeles and worked as a referee from time to time. Piper feuded with all the fan favorites in the area and had a long feud with Chavo Guerrero, Sr..
As part of the L.A. storyline, Roddy Piper feuded with Chavo and the whole Guerrero family for about three years in the L.A. territory going so far as to routinely wear a T-shirt to the ring reading "Conqueror of the Guerreros". The feud started during a TV bout in early 1976 where Chavo was defending the Jules Strongbow Memorial Scientific Trophy against Piper. Late in this match, Gory Guerrero (who had been in Chavo's corner giving him advice throughout the match) was slapped by Piper. Chavo "lost his cool" and starting punching Piper, getting DQ'ed and losing the Scientific Trophy for "breaking the rules". A short time later, Piper then defeated Chavo for the Americas Heavyweight Title; the two competed in the top feud in Los Angeles for the better part of three years. They main evented against each other often during this era (1976 through 1978). The hair match gimmick was one of the top stipulations between these two, resulting in Piper getting his head shaved. Another top stipulation was when Chavo beat Piper in a loser leave town match and Piper immediately reappeared as The Masked Canadian. In his first televised match as The Masked Canadian, Piper actually teamed with Chavo to battle the Americas Tag Team Champions (Gordman and Goliath) and Piper turned on Chavo late in the match, causing Chavo to get pinned. Piper wrestled as The Masked Canadian for several months until he was unmasked by Hector Guerrero.
By late 1978-early 1979, Buddy Rose talked Piper into leaving the California promotions for even more fame in Don Owen’s Pacific Northwest Territory where he teamed with Killer Tim Brooks, Rick Martel, and Mike Popovich to win the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship. Piper also won the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship with victories over both Lord Jonathan Boyd and "Playboy" Buddy Rose.
In late 1970s, Piper ventured to the Mid-Atlantic territory. He beat Jack Brisco for the Mid-Atlantic title and Ric Flair for the US belt which turned into a huge feud. In 1981, Piper started with the Georgia territory as an antagonistic villainous commentator. In 1982, due to showing up late for a match, he was fired and reportedly blackballed. Piper maintains this in his book, but others dispute this. He did receive an offer from Gary Hart to go to World Class Championship Wrestling but the money was not good enough. Instead, he went to Puerto Rico for a month or so and was able to get booked by Jim Barnett shortly thereafter. It was in Barnett's promotion Georgia Championship Wrestling that Piper became a fan favorite to save broadcast partner Gordon Solie from an attack. In Wrestling to Rasslin', Gerald W. Morton and George M. O'Brien described the transformation: "the drama finally played itself out on television when one of his [Piper's] hired assassins, Don Muraco, suddenly attacked the commentator Gordon Solie. Seeing Solie hurt, Piper unleashed his Scottish fury on Muraco. In the week that followed, like Achilles avenging Patroklas, he slaughtered villain after villain.... In the arenas fans chanted his name throughout his matches." Eventually, Piper moved back to Jim Crockett Promotions. As a fan favorite, Piper feuded with Sgt. Slaughter, Ric Flair, and Greg Valentine. Piper's feud with Valentine culminated in a dog collar match at the first Starrcade. Valentine broke Piper's left eardrum during the match with the collar's chain, causing Piper to permanently lose fifty percent of his hearing.
World Wrestling Federation
Around this time World Wrestling Federation (WWF) owner Vince McMahon contacted Piper, who insisted on serving out his contract with Jim Crockett. Piper started in the WWF in late 1983 and at the same time fulfilled dates with Crockett. On his way out of Crockett's promotion he became a heel, which set the stage for his WWF run in 1984. He started as a manager at first, due to the injuries he sustained during his dog collar match with Greg Valentine, but soon started wrestling full-time. Piper came in as the manager for "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, and soon began to wrestle with Orndorff as well.
Later that year, he was given his own interview segment called Piper's Pit, in which he talked to other superstars and which frequently ended in a fight between Piper and his guest. The Piper's Pit segments helped create the feuds Piper had with other wrestlers. According to Piper's autobiography, Piper's Pit was completely unscripted and was in fact so popular that it was taken on the road. In addition to pleasing many of his fans who wanted to see the Pit in person, it accomplished other things: it gave Piper the opportunity to heal some nagging injuries while still retaining his heat with the fans. An early guest on Piper's Pit was his Mid-Atlantic nemesis Valentine, who also arrived to the WWF. In a rare occurrence for WWF programming at the time, the two made reference to their history in the rival organization and hinted at rekindling it, but as the two were now top villains, they both agreed that they had mutual respect for each other, and it was left at that. In one Piper's Pit, Piper had an interview with Jimmy Snuka. Piper started insulting Snuka's Polynesian heritage by bringing out pineapples, bananas, and dropping coconuts onto the table; this was to make Snuka "feel at home" in an act of "remorse" after Snuka was not given much time to speak the previous times he was on Piper's Pit. Snuka took offense to this and Piper then attacked Snuka by smashing him over the head with a coconut and shoving a banana in his face. He followed this up by whipping Snuka with his belt. Snuka was legitimately knocked woozy allowing Piper to leave before Snuka, now seriously enraged, could fight back. This incident led to a long feud between the two. Piper also insulted Bruno Sammartino during a Piper's Pit which led to a feud between the two, ending in a steel cage match which Piper lost.
Another feud, this time between Piper and Hulk Hogan erupted soon after and became what was at the time the highest-profile feud in wrestling history, thanks to the involvement of pop singer Cyndi Lauper, where Piper kicked Lauper in the head—and even attacked Captain Lou Albano—with Hogan seeking revenge as a result. In 1985, MTV broadcast The War to Settle the Score, featuring a main-event matchup between Piper and Hogan, who was accompanied to the ring by Albano, Lauper, and Mr. T. This event set up the very first WrestleMania, which pitted Piper and Paul Orndorff against Hogan and Mr. T. Orndorff was pinned by Hogan when Piper's bodyguard "Cowboy" Bob Orton interfered and mistakenly struck Orndorff instead of Hogan with his trademark "injured" arm covered in a plaster cast. In Born to Controversy, Piper recalled how he had to keep Mr. T busy with tie-ups and other shoot wrestling moves to keep Mr. T's lack of wrestling ability from being seen by the fans, thus ruining the match. From this situation, Piper and Mr. T's real-life relationship became hostile, leading to the inevitable conclusion that they be put into a feud with one another. It was on Right After Wrestling in March 2011, hosted by Arda Ocal and Jimmy Korderas, that Piper explained why WrestleMania didn't feature a 1-on-1 main event. He said it was because that match happened at the War to Settle the Score, before the WrestleMania event actually happened. Piper once again faced Mr. T, this time alone, in a boxing match at WrestleMania 2 in 1986. Piper lost the match by disqualification after bodyslamming Mr. T.
Following a leave of absence from the WWF, Piper returned during a TV taping on WWF Superstars in 1986 against jobber A.J. Petrucci and received a thunderous ovation from the audience, turning him face. After being slapped in the face by Petrucci twice, Piper placed one hand behind his back and beat his opponent to a pulp. One of the more memorable "Piper's Pit" sequences during this time came when he had Hulk Hogan on the show to present him with a trophy for being the WWF Champion for 3 years. Shortly after presenting Hogan with the trophy, Hogan's long-time friend, André The Giant, came out to congratulate Hogan, but closed the segment by simply stating: "Three years to be world champion....it's a long time." After saying this, Andre went to shake Hogan's hand, apparently placing a little too much pressure causing Hogan to wince in pain. The following week, Hogan attempted to return the favor by presenting Andre with a trophy for being undefeated for 15 years, and unwittingly took over the interview. Although the attempt was sincere, Andre couldn't help but notice that the trophy was noticeably smaller than the one Hogan received the week before, and grew irritated when Hogan became the focal point of the spotlight once again. As Hogan was attempting to congratulate Andre, the Frenchman abruptly stormed off the Pit set. The following week, Piper attempted to get some answers and Jesse "The Body" Ventura interrupted the segment only to tell Piper that something was amiss in the Hogan/Andre situation, and that he needed to have Hogan on the set next week and he would produce Andre so they could have the situation resolved. Piper stayed true to his word and brought Hogan out the following week, only to be stunned when Andre appeared with his long-time nemesis, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, at his side. Hogan pleaded with Andre to explain why he was with Heenan and Andre simply replied with "I'm here for one reason, to challenge you to a championship match at Wrestlemania." Hogan attempted to keep the peace, only to have Heenan order Andre to attack Hogan to show how serious he was in his challenge. Andre ripped off Hogan's shirt and gold crucifix necklace, leaving Hogan in hurt and shock and with Piper of all people trying to console his former enemy. Piper then brought Hogan back the following week to get Hogan to respond to Andre's challenge. When Hogan sidestepped the issue for several minutes, Piper put it to him bluntly: "Yes or no? Are you or are you not going to face Andre the Giant for the WWF championship at Wrestlemania? YES OR NO?!!" Hogan paused for a brief second only to respond with a thunderous "YES!" Piper was distressed to find his Piper's Pit segment replaced by The Flower Shop, a segment hosted by the then effeminate wrestler Adrian Adonis. Piper spent weeks crashing Adonis' show and trading insults, leading to a "showdown" between the two segments that ended with Piper being assaulted and humiliated by Adonis, Piper's former bodyguard Orton (now in Adonis' employ), and Don Muraco. The trio left Piper with his face covered in red lipstick lying in the middle of the remnants of the Piper's Pit set, which had been destroyed. In response, Piper stormed the set of Adonis' show and destroyed it with a baseball bat. This led to their Hair vs Hair match at WrestleMania III, which was billed as Piper's retirement match from wrestling before he left to become an actor full-time. Piper won the match with the assistance of Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, who had been sheared by Adonis shortly before the match.
Piper returned from a hiatus with a live Piper's Pit at WrestleMania V, where he hosed down a smoking Morton Downey, Jr. with a fire extinguisher after causing Brother Love to run off when he removed his kilt. Three to four months after this, Piper began co-hosting Prime Time Wrestling with Gorilla Monsoon, providing a much needed change of pace from the constant bickering that was caused between Monsoon and Bobby Heenan during Heenan's tenure. Heenan insisted on having his own show opposite Prime Time called "The Bobby Heenan Show", which was basically used as a catalyst to insult Piper and Monsoon after leaving "Prime Time" on bad terms. Eventually, Heenan's comments began to irritate Piper and Piper finally told Heenan to either "put up or shut up." Shortly after this, Heenan brought "Ravishing" Rick Rude into the mix by inviting him to his show to further insult Piper. Piper responding by mooning Rude at Summerslam distracting him and causing him to lose the Intercontinental title to the Ultimate Warrior. The feud reached the physical level when Piper made an appearance on "The Brother Love Show" to address his position on the matter. Brother Love provoked Piper for several minutes by questioning his masculinity and insulting his appearance. Piper finally had enough and told Love he had bad hygiene. When Love questioned Piper for bringing this up, Piper pulled out a small bag of toiletries and began dousing Love with shampoo, toothpaste. When Heenan appeared and began bad mouthing Piper, Piper accused him of having bad breath that's when Rude made his move attacked Piper from behind, eventually spewing mouthwash into his eyes rendering him temporarily blind. Rude vowed revenge for both the title loss and the abuse of Love, and the two engaged in a very lengthy and violent feud involving cage matches and lumberjack matches that lasted into the spring of 1990. Although Piper won the majority of the matches, their feud never really came to an end on screen, but Piper's war of words with Bobby Heenan would seemingly end after a bet over a wrestling trivia contest stated that if Piper won, Heenan would have to dress as Santa Claus for an episode of "Prime Time". Piper was victorious, and Heenan was forced to dress as Claus the following week. Initially, Heenan seemed pleased with portraying Santa and even went so far as to imitate Claus and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. However, as the show progressed, Heenan's true motives were revealed as he began to call Christmas "a sham", and that the children of the world had been "scammed" by their parents. Piper snapped and attacked Heenan, ignoring pleas from Monsoon to stop the attack due to Piper's agreement to abstain from physicality on the "Prime Time" set. Piper refused, and in turn, was fired from "Prime Time." Piper also wrestled Bad News Brown at WrestleMania VI in 1990 after the two men eliminated each other at the Royal Rumble. The match ended with both men being counted out of the ring, but the real highlight of the match was Piper's choice of ring attire. In true 'Rowdy' fashion, Piper cut a promo and came to the ring with half his body painted black in a strange attempt to play head games with Bad News.
In 1991, he supported Virgil in his feud against "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and was present at their matches at WrestleMania VII and SummerSlam. He also renewed his feud with Ric Flair and at the 1992 Royal Rumble defeated The Mountie for his first, and only, Intercontinental Championship. He lost it soon after to Bret Hart at WrestleMania VIII. After playing the bagpipes at SummerSlam, he disappeared from the WWF.
He reemerged in 1994 at WrestleMania X as guest referee for the WWF Championship match between Bret Hart and Yokozuna. During the match, commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler remarked that he hated Piper and continued to taunt Piper on his King's Court segment on Monday Night Raw, eventually culminating with Lawler bringing out a skinny teenager in a Piper T-shirt and kilt and forcing him to kiss his feet. Enraged, Piper agreed to wrestle Lawler at the King of the Ring, where Piper emerged victorious. Piper wrestled as a fan favorite, saying he had "made a mess of most of his career as a heel", and adding to the face attitude by donating part of his purse from the fight with Lawler to a children's hospital in Ontario.
Leaving the WWF again, he soon returned in 1995 at WrestleMania XI, once again in a referee capacity, for the submission-only match between Hart and Bob Backlund. In 1996, Piper was named as interim WWF President, following Vader's malicious assault on Gorilla Monsoon, following the Royal Rumble. As president, Piper had become the object of affection for Goldust. Enraged, Piper claimed he would "make a man" out of Goldust at WrestleMania XII, in a "Hollywood Backlot Brawl." While the contest began in an alleyway behind the Arrowhead Pond, Goldust jumped into his gold Cadillac and ran Piper over, ultimately escaping (allegedly) onto the highways of Anaheim. Piper pursued in his white Ford Bronco, which when viewed from aerial footage looked similar to the O. J. Simpson "low-speed" chase from two years prior (the WWF had attempted to be humorous and recycle the footage with Vince McMahon quipping on commentary, "This footage looks awfully familiar"). The two eventually returned to the arena, where Piper disrobed Goldust in the ring, effectively ending the confrontation. With Gorilla Monsoon back in control of the WWF by the end of the night, Piper once again left the Federation.
World Championship Wrestling (1996–2000)
Later in 1996, Piper joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He appeared at Halloween Havoc to "break Hogan's monotony." In his first appearance, Piper asked Hogan, "Do you think [the fans] would've loved you so much, if they hadn't hated me?" Piper and Hogan wrestled in a non-title match in the main event of Starrcade, WCW's biggest pay-per-view event of the year. Piper defeated Hogan with a sleeper hold. Piper faced Hogan in a title match at SuperBrawl VII. This time, Hogan beat Piper when Randy Savage interfered and joined the New World Order (nWo). Promos showed Piper locking himself in the Alcatraz prison and vigorously exercising in order to prepare for the highly anticipated match. During the spring of 1997, Piper joined forces with Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen in their battle with the nWo. Shortly thereafter, Piper and Flair feuded before Piper disappeared from the scene. Piper briefly returned in October 1997 to face Hogan once again in a steel cage match, which Piper did win.
In early 1998, Piper once again returned to feud with Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Bret Hart. In early 1999, Piper had a short run as United States Champion, became WCW Commissioner, and resumed his feud with Flair over control of WCW. Piper also had a short feud with Buff Bagwell in the summer of 1999, where he was defeated by Bagwell, whose mother got involved. In late 1999, Piper was featured on WCW Television, in an angle with Vince Russo, who was now portraying himself as the "Powers That Be" (an unseen power that was controlling WCW). At Starrcade, Piper was the special referee in the WCW title match featuring Goldberg and Bret Hart. This match was otherwise notorious for Goldberg legitimately injuring Bret Hart, giving him the concussion that would eventually lead to his retirement. Forced by Russo, Piper called for the bell when Hart locked in the Sharpshooter on Goldberg, when it was apparent that Goldberg had not submitted. Piper apologized for this incident the next night on Nitro and attempted to make the save for Goldberg when Bret Hart and the nWo beat him down, but the nWo also attacked Piper. Piper's last appearance was at SuperBrawl in 2000 where he was a surprise referee in the title match between Sid Vicious, Jeff Jarrett And Scott Hall. The feud between Piper and the Powers That Be ended shortly after and Piper disappeared, never to be seen on WCW TV again. In the fall of 2000, WCW terminated Piper's contract, and the organization ceased to exist after being sold to WWF several months later.
Before going to the WWE in 2003 Piper was the figurehead and commissioner of the now defunct XWF promotion featured in its earliest live events. (Indiana, Milwaukee, Green Bay)
World Wrestling Entertainment (2003)
In November 2002, Piper's autobiography, In the Pit with Piper: Roddy Gets Rowdy, was released. At WrestleMania XIX in Seattle, Washington, Piper ran in during the Hulk Hogan-Vince McMahon match and made his second WWE run as a villain by attacking Hogan with a steel pipe. He brought back Piper's Pit on the April 10 edition of SmackDown!, and after aligning with Sean O'Haire, Piper smashed a coconut over the head of Rikishi, a relative of Snuka. At Backlash that month, Rikishi returned the favor to Piper. Piper was then put in a program against "Mr. America". The storyline was Hulk Hogan had been bought off WWE television forever by McMahon. Hulk Hogan returned "incognito" although the joke was that everybody knew who he really was, which infuriated McMahon. At this point, Piper and O'Haire were portrayed as McMahon's lackeys attempting to unmask Mr. America. Despite Piper being a heel he still got cheered due to being a legend.
Around the same time on Raw, Chris Jericho started The Highlight Reel—a show similar to 'Piper's Pit'. The two even verbally sparred on TV, with Jericho calling Piper fat and telling him to call him "when he lost some weight"; Piper's retorted, "I have seen Chris Jericho wrestle. I have heard Chris Jericho talk. I have even heard Chris Jericho sing. So I'll make you a deal: I promise you that when I lose some weight, I'll call you. And when you get some talent, you call me." At Judgment Day, the two met again, with Jericho telling Piper he made a wrong turn and missed the senior's home and alluding to the incident where Piper ripped off a fan's (later revealed to be Zach Gowen) leg and used it as a weapon, mentioning there were some midgets and lepers he could thrash, and while patting Piper's stomach, asked if he ate the leg. Piper responded by blasting him for ripping off the Piper's Pit idea and drilling it into the ground and called Jericho's birth an "accident". In June 2003, WWE decided to stop using Piper (who was working without a contract at the time) after a controversial interview with HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in which Piper discussed the darker side of the wrestling business. On his 2006 DVD, Piper claimed that HBO took parts of his interviews out of context to make wrestling look worse.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2004–2005)
In 2004, Piper appeared for the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) promotion, hosting several In the Pit with Piper interview segments. He interviewed former rival Jimmy Snuka at the company's first three-hour pay-per-view, Victory Road, where he dared Snuka to get revenge by hitting him with a coconut. Instead, TNA wrestler Kid Kash eventually used the coconut on Sonjay Dutt. Piper also served as a member of the National Wrestling Alliance Championship Committee, culminating in refereeing a match at Final Resolution between Scott Hall and Jeff Hardy.
The Vince Russo/TNA Controversy
One of Piper's more controversial TNA moments came during one of its weekly pay-per-view shows. Vince Russo at the time was at the center of a massive power struggle (kayfabe) between the TNA roster and Russo's stable of young wrestlers called Sports Entertainment Xtreme. Piper had requested a segment to plug his new book, but instead, used the time to basically shoot on Russo and his effect on the world of professional wrestling. Piper touched on subjects from the death of Piper's real-life cousin, Owen Hart, for which Piper held Russo to blame, to the downfall of WCW amongst other touchy subjects. Russo came to the ring basically "in character" to confront Piper. But, when Piper got in Russo's face, Russo made the comment that Piper was "a moron". Piper not only took offense to the remark, but delivered a "potato shot" to the side of Russo's head. Russo immediately realized that Piper's heat with him was legitimate, and quickly backed off unsure of what Piper might do next. When The Harris Brothers hit the ring to try and cool the situation down, Russo became visibly upset as Piper continued to vehemently shoot on him. Russo got so upset that at one point in time it took both the Harris' to restrain him. Piper later said in a shoot interview that everything he had to say to Russo was real and that he was willing to get physical if Russo had taken it that far. Russo retaliated later by saying that he and Owen were very close and that Piper wasn't even with the company the night Owen died so he had no way of knowing how upset he was with Owen's death.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2005–2015)
Hall of Fame (2005)
On February 21, 2005, it was announced that Piper was to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Piper held an edition of Piper's Pit at WrestleMania 21 where he interviewed Stone Cold Steve Austin. The interview was interrupted by Carlito, who was promptly beaten up by both Piper and Austin.
On the July 11, 2005 episode of Raw, Piper returned as a face to host Piper's Pit with guest Shawn Michaels, who superkicked Piper at the end of the show. This was during Michaels' feud with Hulk Hogan. Piper once again appeared on Raw on October 3, 2005 for Raw Homecoming. He hosted Piper's Pit with guest Mick Foley; later in the segment, Randy Orton and "Cowboy" Bob Orton appeared and attacked both Foley and Piper.
SmackDown!; Feud with The Ortons (2005)
This event sparked a mini-feud between Piper and The Ortons. On the next SmackDown! after Homecoming, Piper took on the Ortons in a handicap match. Piper won with a roll-up on Bob Orton after a distraction by The Undertaker. On October 28, Piper teamed with Batista and Eddie Guerrero to take on Randy Orton, Bob Orton, and Mr. Kennedy. Piper won after applying the sleeper hold to Bob Orton. Piper's feud with The Ortons came to an end on the November 4, 2005 episode of SmackDown! with a DQ victory over Bob Orton.
World Tag Team Champion (2006)
Piper returned to Raw on September 11, 2006 for a six-man tag team match win with The Highlanders against the Spirit Squad. He also appeared on the Raw Family Reunion, along with Money Inc. and Arn Anderson to accompany Ric Flair ringside for a match against Mitch of the Spirit Squad. On November 5, Piper won the World Tag Team Championship with Ric Flair from The Spirit Squad at Cyber Sunday, after being chosen to be Flair's partner by voters at WWE.com over Sgt. Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes. On the November 13, 2006 edition of Raw, Piper and Flair lost the title to Rated-RKO. Piper never made it to the ring, as he was attacked by Edge with a con-chair-to before the match. On November 17, 2006, WWE announced on their website that Piper was flown from the UK to his home state of Oregon and had surgery for what was originally believed to be kidney stones, but was speculated to be a disc problem in his back. It was later determined to be cancer. As a result of the procedure, it was announced that he was withdrawing from the Survivor Series match which would have pitted himself (as a co-captain), along with Flair, Anderson, Sgt. Slaughter, and Dusty Rhodes against the Spirit Squad. He was replaced with Ron Simmons.
Various storylines (2007–2015)
He made a return to Raw on an episode taped February 12, 2007, during which he announced that his friend Dusty Rhodes was to be the first person inducted into the 2007 class of the WWE Hall of Fame. During his appearance Umaga, with manager Armando Alejandro Estrada, entered the ring and laid out both men. He then returned on the June 11, 2007 edition of Raw as part of "Mr. McMahon Appreciation Night", where he introduced a video of some of McMahon's most embarrassing moments. In 2008, after finishing his therapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma, he made a brief appearance in the Royal Rumble, primarily focusing on "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. Both men were eliminated by Kane shortly after they entered the ring.
Piper returned to Raw on April 28, 2008. He was a backstage visitor, and was confronted by Santino Marella. Marella poked fun at Piper's weight, which resulted in Santino getting slapped by Piper. The next week, Piper was a guest on Carlito's Cabana and Carlito and Santino were about to double team Piper when they were chased off by Cody Rhodes and Cryme Tyme. On May 12, Piper's interference stopped Santino and Carlito from beating Rhodes and Hardcore Holly for the World Tag Team Championship. Santino then threatened Piper with retaliation, culminating in a confrontation with Piper during the May 16 edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He wrestled his presumed last match on April 18, 2008 one day after his 54th birthday at Newburgh Free Academy’s Spring Slam. On October 26, 2008, however, Piper appeared on WWE's Cyber Sunday as one of the three choices fans could choose to face Marella for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. The other choices were Goldust and The Honky Tonk Man. Honky Tonk Man was chosen and won via a disqualification due to interference by Beth Phoenix and therefore did not win the title. Goldust then entered the ring, followed by Piper. The three candidates then fought Santino, afterwards celebrating together in the ring. Piper appeared on the October 27, edition of Raw as a special guest commentator, along with both Goldust and Honky Tonk Man, for Marella's match against Charlie Haas.
On February 16, 2009 Piper returned to Raw to confront Chris Jericho after Jericho continued to act disrespectfully towards the Hall of Famers. After the segment, Jericho attacked Piper. One month later, on the March 16 edition of Raw, Piper would get his revenge when he, along with Ric Flair, Jimmy Snuka, and Ricky Steamboat, attacked Jericho. For the first time since Wrestlemania XII in 1996, Piper wrestled at WrestleMania XXV along with Snuka and Steamboat with Flair in their corner to go against Jericho in a three on one handicap match. Jericho won the match; Piper was the second of the three to be eliminated. Piper later guest hosted WWE Raw on November 16, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Piper challenged Vince McMahon to a street fight later in the evening only to have Randy Orton come out to fight against, then shortly after Kofi Kingston came out to stop Randy's assault on Piper. He inducted Wendy Richter to the 2010 WWE Hall of Fame on March 27, 2010. He also appeared the next night on Raw as one of the Legend Lumberjacks in a match that involved Christian and Ted Dibiase. Two months later, Piper turned heel for one night only by hiring DiBiase to capture guest host Quinton Jackson so he could "gain revenge on BA", but was unsuccessful.
On the July 12, 2010 edition of Raw, it was hinted that Piper could possibly be the Anonymous General Manager as on an e-mail sent to Michael Cole, the GM said "Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions." The idea was abandoned on the July 24 edition of Raw when Cole said " And if you're not down with that I got two words for you" which was Triple H and Shawn Michaels trademark line as D-Generation X, but again this idea was dropped. On the November 15, 2010 edition of Raw, Piper quickly turned face during a return of Piper's Pit telling John Cena to do the right thing by calling the WWE Championship match at Survivor Series between Wade Barrett and Randy Orton down the middle. He went on to point out that legends such as Ricky Steamboat, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, Jimmy Snuka, and himself had never won a World Championship in WWE.
On January 29, 2011, Piper made his debut for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) during the WrestleReunion 5 weekend, defeating nineteen other men, last eliminating Terry Funk, to win the Legends Battle Royal. He appeared in a backstage segment at WrestleMania XXVII where he hit Zack Ryder in the back of the head with a coconut, reminiscing of what he did to Jimmy Snuka. Piper made an appearance on the June 13, 2011 edition of Monday Night Raw, hosting Piper's Pit once again. His guests were The Miz and Alex Riley, which led to a match with The Miz with Riley as the special guest referee. He went on to win the match, and won $5,000 out of The Miz's money per the pre-match stipulation. Roddy Piper noted that he was paid $5,000 for his appearance on the June 13th RAW for Piper's Pit with The Miz and Alex Riley. He made a television appearance in WWE and hosted a Piper's Pit segment featuring John Cena on the November 28, 2011 episode of Monday Night Raw. He also appeared on November 29, 2011 special holiday edition of SmackDown.
Piper returned on the April 10, 2012 special edition of Smackdown: Blast from the Past, in which he hosted Piper's Pit featuring Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee. Piper made an appearance on June 18, 2012 and made a segment with Cyndi Lauper and Heath Slater. He then reappeared on the 1,000 episode of Raw on July 23, 2012, where he and various other WWE Legends helped Lita take down Heath Slater. On the August 13 episode of Raw, Piper hosted another edition of Piper's Pit with Chris Jericho, which was interrupted by Dolph Ziggler.
On the January 6, 2014 Old School Raw, Piper hosted Piper's Pit with The Shield as his guests and was about to get beat down when he was saved by CM Punk and the New Age Outlaws. Piper and Paul Orndorff appeared in a backstage segment, and shook hands with Hulk Hogan and Mr. T during WrestleMania XXX, making amends around 30 years after competing at the very first WrestleMania.
On August 11, 2014 Piper made an appearance at Hulk Hogan's Birthday celebration on Monday Night Raw, celebrating in the ring with many other WWE legends.
On July 8, 2015 Ric Flair said that Piper was no longer under contract with the WWE.
Piper featured in the wrestling documentary Bloodstained Memoirs. Piper was a guest on a 1985 Saturday Night Live episode, tormenting hosts Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, and has appeared as a special guest on MADtv along with Bret Hart. In 1991, the pilot episode for "Tag Team", a television program about two ex-professional wrestlers turned police officers, starred Piper and Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Piper appeared as a wrestler loosely based on himself in an episode called "Crusader" from Walker, Texas Ranger where his name was Cody "The Crusader" Conway. Piper appeared as a prison antagonist in an episode of The Outer Limits TV series. Piper was the host of ITV's Celebrity Wrestling in the UK. Piper appeared as a character named Commander Cash on RoboCop: The Series. Piper appeared as a choice in the "Wheel of Destiny" segment of The Man Show. Piper also starred in the 1988 John Carpenter cult classic, They Live. Piper played a drifter turned saviour of the human race after discovering a pair of sunglasses that allow him to see the world's elite for what they truly are, money hungry aliens with a new-world-order-like agenda. That same year, he starred in the cult classic Hell Comes to Frogtown. He also starred in an episode in the second season of the Highlander TV series, and appeared in the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "The Gang Wrestles For the Troops" as "The Maniac", a parody of Mickey Rourke's role in the film The Wrestler.
In 2007, Piper became the second pro-wrestler, the other being Sgt. Slaughter, to have their likeness crafted in a G.I. Joe figure. According to his filecard, he is a trainer for Destro's Iron Grenadiers.
In April 2005, Piper co-presented Celebrity Wrestling in the United Kingdom on ITV1. This Saturday evening reality show saw celebrities learn wrestling and compete in challenge matches. After a few weeks the program was to be canceled, due to a huge drop in TV ratings but instead was moved to Sunday mornings to finish its final episodes.
In the 1980s, Piper also appeared in singer Cyndi Lauper's music video for the song "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough." He also appeared as a guest VJ on MTV in 1988.
Wizard's list of the 100 Greatest Villains of All Time ranked Roddy Piper as #35.
On October 29, 2009, Piper appeared as pro-wrestler named "Da' Maniac" on season 5 episode 9 ("The Gang Wrestles for the Troops") of the sitcom It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
In UGK'S "International Players Anthem" DJ Paul pokes fun at Andre 3000 asking him why is he dressed as Roddy Piper.
On March 14, 2010, Piper appeared in an episode in CBS's 'Cold Case' playing a wrestler named Sweet Sil. The episode was titled 'One Fall'. The team reopens the case of a dock worker who was moonlighting as an indy-circuit wrestler until he was shot dead in 1986.
In September 2010, Piper appeared in a FunnyorDie.com video, fighting against childhood obesity in a PSA parody. The clip included him using wrestling moves on children eating junk food and the parents who feed junk food to their kids.
In 2010 Piper was expected to appear in a reality series from Red Line Films the producers of Dhani Tackles the Glode and the Ocho de Cinco Reality Series.
In 2013, Piper appeared as himself in the video game Saints Row IV, appearing as an NPC that can be called by the player to assist in combat. He first appears in a brawl with actor Keith David, and has unique dialogue with other NPC characters.
On September 13, 2013, Piper appeared in an advertisement video for Klondike Bars, in which he responded to a fan's request that he "chew bubble gum and try to kick my @ss". He then proceeded to wrestle the man in his living room, no-selling a coconut and stopping short of bashing him over the head with an urn containing his dog's ashes.
Piper and his wife Kitty live in Hillsboro, Oregon, and have four children: daughters Anastacia Shea, Ariel Teal, and Falon Danika and son Colton Baird. Anastacia has a child, making Piper a grandfather. His son Colt Toombs is also an aspiring professional mixed martial arts fighter. His daughter Ariel Teal Toombs is following her dad's lead in Hollywood as an actress. Throughout his career, Piper consistently refused to remove his wedding band while performing in the ring. Piper is also a cousin of the Hart wrestling family.
On April 4, 2006 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Piper was issued an award by the Mayor, Sam Katz. On July 27, 2006, he had the honor of throwing out the first pitch of a St. Louis Cardinals/Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
On November 27, 2006, it was announced on WWE.com that Piper has Hodgkin's lymphoma, and he finished radiation therapy on January 15, 2007. This was also confirmed on Piper's official web site where he posted messages of thanks to all his fans and stated that had the fans not chosen him as Ric Flair's partner at Cyber Sunday he would not have been taken to the hospital and diagnosed with his disease as early as he was.
In November 2008 a video spread around the internet showing Piper smoking pot and taking a hit from a bong in front of a crowd cheering him on, although he later acknowledged his use of medicinal marijuana "to alleviate the symptoms associated with cancer." This was reiterated on a blog from Jim Ross.
On July 2, 2009, TMZ.com reported that Piper was arrested on suspicion of DUI in the early morning hours in Hollywood, California. Piper was stopped by police at around 1:00 a.m. and given field sobriety tests. He was then arrested. His bond was set at $5,000.
On July 31, 2015, Piper died in his sleep at the age of 61 at his home in Hollywood, California. His death certificate attributes this to cardiopulmonary arrest caused by hypertension, listing a pulmonary embolism as a contributing factor; TMZ reported this as a heart attack caused by the embolism. Piper is survived by his wife, Kitty, their four children, and four grandchildren.
News of his death broke minutes before the Hall of Heroes dinner to cap off the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends FanFest in Charlotte, North Carolina, where about 600 current and former wrestling personalities and fans had gathered. He received a ten-bell salute after the planned salute to fellow former professional wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, who had died on June 11, 2015 in Florida. Another ten-bell salute was given at the beginning of the August 3, 2015, episode of Raw.
Vince McMahon, the CEO of WWE, said, "Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family." Film director John Carpenter said, "Devastated to hear the news of my friend Roddy Piper's passing today. He was a great wrestler, a masterful entertainer and a good friend."
In an HBO Real Sports interview conducted by Piper in 2003, he had predicted that he was "not going to make 65" because of his poor health, and that he made his 2003 return to WWE because he could not access his pension fund until reaching the age of 65.
Piper is considered one of the greatest heels in wrestling history. Piper's Pit interview segments were considered innovative, especially in an atmosphere where only the people like the World champion got to talk, and the wrestlers were the interviewees - never the interviewers. Many of the people on Piper's Pit never got to be World champion, but were main eventers. According to Bobby "the Brain" Heenan, he could just leave Piper in a room and return twenty minutes later with Piper having done a class-A promo.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- "The Rowdy One"
- "Hot Rod"
- "Hot Scot"
- "The Original Trash-Talker"
- Entrance themes
- Tag Teams
Championships and accomplishments
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling / World Championship Wrestling
- NWA All-Star Wrestling
- NWA Hollywood Wrestling
- NWA San Francisco
- Pacific Northwest Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (1982)
- PWI Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (1984, 1985)
- PWI Match of the Year (1985) with Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T at WrestleMania
- PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (1986)
- PWI ranked him # 17 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- World Class Championship Wrestling
- World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Best Interviews (1981) tied with Lou Albano
- Best Interviews (1982, 1983)
- Best Heel (1984, 1985)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)
- Worst Worked Match of the Year (1986) vs. Mr. T in a boxing match at WrestleMania
- Worst Worked Match of the Year (1997) vs. Hulk Hogan at SuperBrawl
1The NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship is no longer recognized or sanctioned by the National Wrestling Alliance.
Lucha de Apuesta record
|Hair||Roddy Piper||Adrian Adonis||Pontiac, Michigan||March 29, 1987|
|$5,000||Roddy Piper||The Miz||Long Island, New York||June 13, 2011||Special Referee: Alex Riley|
In 2006, Roddy Piper ventured into the realm of voice acting, appearing on Cartoon Network's animated series Robot Chicken (as himself), as well as providing the voice of The Pyro Messiah in the Night Traveler multimedia adventure series produced by Lunar Moth Entertainment. He will also be doing voice for Green Lantern:Emerald Knights