Wrestling Legend ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper Dead at 61

1 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper Dead at 61.

Born Roderick George Toombs, he made his wrestling debut in Canada at the age of 15, where he made his way to the ring playing bagpipes, and, as a result, was given the nickname “Roddy Piper.” The moniker stuck, and when coupled with his background as an amateur boxer, he quickly developed a reputation as a man not to be messed with – a trait that made him a natural heel. During the 1970s, he’d work as a villain in several territories, including the AWA and NWA, had memorable feuds with the likes of Chavo Guerrero Sr. and Ric Flair and had a tremendous impact on a wrestling fan named Rick Rubin, who’d later credit Piper’s smack-talking bad guy character as a major influence on the Beastie Boys. In the mid-Eighties, his notoriety earned him a spot in WWE, where he donned a kilt and quickly became one of the promotion’s top villains, feuding with face of the franchise Hulk Hogan and working the mic as the host of “Piper’s Pit,” a warped talk show that saw him smash a coconut into the head of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, insult the legendary Bruno Sammartino and blast acerbic loudmouth Morton Downey Jr. with a fire extinguisher. He also became a key figure during WWE’s “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” era, appearing in music videos for Cyndi Lauper and as an animated character on Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling.

As an actor, Piper is perhaps best known for playing Nada — a drifter who discovers through the use of sunglasses that the entire human race is being manipulated by aliens — in John Carpenter’s They Live (1988). Hulk Hogan, the man recently fired by WWE for making racist remarks, called Piper “my best friend” and “a legend.” The Iron Sheik, Kevin Nash, Bill Goldberg and wrestling announcer Jim Ross also shared memories of working with Piper. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again.

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