Ray Mullan reporting for 1Wrestling.com. Each week I’ll be bringing you the “Top 10 Of…”, an essential viewing list of the best matches and moments from some of Pro Wrestling’s biggest legends. Join me this week as we take a look at the Top 10 Of…”Rowdy” Roddy Piper!
Back in the “Rock N Wrestling” Era, there simply was no better heel than the Hot Rod. However, i find it odd at times that people tend to underestimate Piper’s contributions when their compiling their “All Time Great” lists. In large part this is due to the fact that he never held the World title, that he was never “The Main Guy” like Hulk Hogan. But people tend to forget that Piper was just as influential as Hogan for the success of Wrestlemania. Fact was Piper didn’t NEED the belt to get over. Roddy was charismatic, had a great work rate and had no peers when it came to talking on the mic.
Compiling a Top 10 list is never easy but this week proves particularly difficult, Roddy Piper has contributed so many great matches and iconic moments to Pro Wrestling in his career, but i think i’ve done a good job here of selecting a nice variety of matches and moments that show the various elements to Roddy Piper and hopefully show any doubters just how good this man was.
1. Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine (Dog Collar Match for the NWA US Championship) - Starrcade: November 24th 1983, Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)
We start with one of the most brutal match-ups of Roddy’s career. Starrcade: A Flair For the Gold, held Thanksgiving night in 1983, two years before Wrestlemania, was the original professional wrestling “supercard.” A sold out Greensboro Coliseum came to see Harley Race pass the torch “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. However, there was another match on this night of equal importance, the first ever dog collar match between Greg Valentine and Roddy Piper. This is a knock-down drag out, bloody affair called by the late great Gordon Solie, enjoy.
2. “Piper’s Pit” with “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka – WWF Tuesday Night Titans, June 1984
How could anyone do a Top 10 list of Roddy Piper and NOT include this iconic moment? In the mid-80′s Piper was given his own interview segement entitled “Piper’s Pit”. This was largely a result of Roddy sustaining an injury at the time and the Pit segments were a way to allow Piper to retain his heat whilst healing. Little did the WWF know they were about to stumble upon television gold. Of all the Piper’s Pit’s however, none are more memorable than this one with that coconut!
3. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Hulk Hogan – The War to settle the Score: February 18th 1985, Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)
They say every great Babyface needs a great Heel to work with to be successful. Well, Piper was the Yang to Hogan’s Ying, check out this great match between Hogan and Piper at their heights in front of a delirious MSG crowd.
4. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper confronts Mr. T – Wrestlemania I Buildup, 1985
Roddy Piper’s goading of Mr. T arguably sold more tickets for Wrestlemania than anything else. Roddy’s promos cut to the core, contained elements of reality and if the rumours are to be believed, caused a legitimate beef between Piper and the A-Team star.
5. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper & “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T – Wrestlemania I: March 31st 1985, Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)
I don’t think I even have to hype this one. The biggest match at what the time was the biggest Wrestling show ever, and Piper was an integral part of it. If you haven’t seen this before, do yourself a favour, get yourself a drink and a snack and watch this one, you’ll not regret it.
6. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T (Boxing Match) – Wrestlemania II: April 7th 1986, Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, NY)
The Piper-Mr. T war escalated, culminating in a now infamous boxing match between the two at Wrestlemania, supporters of Queensberry rules look away now!
7. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart – Wrestlemania VIII: April 5th 1992, Hoosier Dome (Indianapolis, IN)
This one is my personal favourite, largely due to the fact that I was a huge Bret Hart fan when I was younger and have fond memories of watching this one with my father. This match is an emotional rollercoaster, has all the elements and proves to everyone that a riveting story can be told in the ring when you have two masters of their craft in there together, and what about that finish? WOW!
9. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Goldust – WWF Wrestlemania XII: March 31st, 1996, Arrowhead Pond (Anaheim, CA)
Fast forward four years and any doubts about age stopping Roddy from being the abraisive hell-raiser are out the window in this weird, wacky and downright dangerous “Hollywood Backlot Brawl”. For those asking the in-ring ending has been cut, we are a PG website, and besides what kind of sick individual wants to see Dustin Rhodes in lingerie?
9. Roddy Piper gives ”Hollywood” Hulk Hogan a reality check – WCW Halloween Havoc: October 27, 1996, MGM Grand Garden Arena (Las Vegas, NV)
In late 1997, Piper made his surprising WCW debut by entering the promotion and immediately renewing his classic feud with arch enemy Hulk Hogan, who by this time had turned his back on the fans and was now heading up the New World Order. Piper cut a scathing promo on Hogan reminding him they he alone was not responsible for Wrestling’s success, posing the question ”Do you think the fans would’ve loved you so much, if they hadn’t hated me?”
10. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan – WCW Starrcade: December 29, 1996, Nashville Municipal Auditorium (Nashville, NV)
I’ll close this edition with the Piper’s last big money match with the Hulkster at Starrcade 1996. Whilst the matches between these two in WCW were certainly not as exciting as their wars had been a decade earlier, the Hogan-Piper feud featured some great moments and garnered some large Pay-Per View buyrates and was certainly a financial success, if not an artistic one.
Well that’s about it for this week folks. Before you go though I’d like to remind you that the “Hot Rod” himself will be making a rare appearance this August in Atlanta as part of the NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest Weekend!
Piper will be appearing on both Friday, August 5 and Saturday, August 6. Among other things, the WWE Hall-of-Famer will be taking part in a couple very special, rare photo opportunities as well as inducting his former broadcast partner Gordon Solie into the Hall of Heroes on Friday night, August 5, and Roddy will also perform a special late-night version of his comedy club standup — “All My Rowdy Friends!” — on Saturday, August 6, featuring several of the NWA legends in attendance! For more information checkout NWALegends.com.
As ever, any questions or comments you have relating to the Top 10, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, thanks for reading!