Saturday, August 1, 2015

My Thoughts on Hot Rod

I’m writing this and I don’t know exactly where to stay or go with it.
I think I’m just going to talk about Roddy Piper. No real direction
behind it or anything like that. Just simply Roddy. Now I have to get
something off my chest before this goes any further. I have never
considered myself a big Roddy Piper fan. Growing up, I only saw most
of Roddy’s WCW run, which honestly wasn’t very good. However, as I’ve
gotten older, I’ve gone back and educated myself on the man and in
doing so, I discovered some of his greatness.

Despite seeing him mostly in WCW, my oldest memory of him was in the
WWF. You see, as a kid, I used to rent Royal Rumble 1992 all the time.
It just so happens to be a historic show in the career of Piper. For
someone who played a pivotal role in the wrestling boom of the 1980’s,
it wasn’t until 1992 that Piper won gold. He defeated the Mountie to
win the Intercontinental Championship after one of my favorite promos
of his. In response to Mountie saying he was going to take his
manhood, “I come here to fight, I don't know what you come here to do.
I came here to win two titles, I can't do that til I win the first
one. I think you've been dreaming, I think it's been all wet, too.”
Classic. I’ve seen this title win too many times to count, but it’s
always fun. My favorite memory of Piper also comes from 1992. At
WrestleMania VIII, Piper defended that Intercontinental Title against
Bret Hart. Bret was my favorite growing up and this is my favorite
Piper match. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest that you do. I won’t go
into detail, since that’s not what this is about, but it’s a classic.

A lot of people get called legends and don’t really deserve the
accolade, but Roddy Piper certainly does. Hot Rod has no qualms with
playing the villain, relishing in it even. He loved being the bad guy
because he was so damn good at it. Part of the reason that Hulkamania
and WrestleMania were the successes that they were was because Piper
was the perfect foil. He wasn’t some campy cartoon like character. He
was real. There was something about him that was different. He was
intense, he was in your face and he seemed like he was legitimately
out of his mind. He set the tone for a lot of future heels in the
business. Piper was a major star and trailblazer. He set an incredibly
high bar that honestly, hasn’t been reached often.

Even when he returned in his later years, Roddy Piper was
entertaining. Whether it was winning the Tag Team Titles with Ric
Flair for a short while in 2006, competing at WrestleMania 25 or
helping Cyndi Lauper on the road to Raw 1000, Piper was must see TV. I
mean, he was even one of the most entertaining guys I saw on TV all of
last year on Legends House. Watching his friendship with Jim Duggan
blossom was an absolute joy. It’s the only thing my girlfriend
remembers from catching bits of Legends House in the background while
I watched it. He had a charisma that made you stop and see what he was
doing. No matter how you slice it, this is one of the biggest losses
in an industry full of them. I don’t know exactly what to say here or
if this even makes for a good read. I just know that I’ll miss Roddy