Believe it or not, the WWE has trained its audience to have a very Pavlovian response to things. When you hear the sound of a Gong, you know the Undertaker is near. When it is the sound of glass shattering, well that means business is about to pick-up because Stone Cold Steve Austin is making his way to the ring. But when you hear that very first note of a bagpipe, one thing and one thing only is happening, Rowdy Roddy Piper is going to add his special brand of crazy to what’s going on.
On July 31, 2015, the sound of Bagpipes will no longer play in WWE arenas across the world, as Piper sadly passed away at the young age of 61. It was a death due to natural causes, as Piper had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but it doesn’t make it any less tragic. Especially on the heels of losing the American Dream Dusty Rhodes.
Now Piper may not have been the best wrestler inside the ring, as a matter of fact he worked rather stiff. But there was nobody better on the mic, and no one could play a heel and get the audience to just hate him quite like the Hot Rod.
Had it not been for Piper, I can honestly say wrestling would have nowhere near the popularity it has today. I know Hulk Hogan is the one guy people point to as the reason for WWE’s skyrocketing popularity, but you can’t have a great face, unless you have an equally amazing Heel. Piper was that Heel.
It was Piper and Hogan that was able to sell WrestleMania as a viable event. It was Piper, along with Mr. T and Cindy Lauper that brought wrestling into the Mainstream. It was Piper, who starred in John Carpenter’s They Live that was one of the first to make the transition to acting.
His moments in Piper’s Pit, may be the thing people remember him for. In what has to be one of the most memorable moments in wrestling history, who could forget Piper smashing a coconut into the head of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s head? Or the fact that he had his bodyguard Cowboy Bob “Ace” Orton, with his ever present cast?
Yes, it was Pipers special brand of crazy that he will be remembered for, but it was his contribution to the world of wrestling that we will never forget.
RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper, the world will be a little less fun without you in it.