Roddy Piper Dead at 61: A Look Back at 'Hot Rod's' Best Moments
A look back at the career of the ultimate wrestling villain who died this week.
By ANTHONY CASTELLANO
August 1, 2015, 4:08 PM
• 8 min read
-- Wrestling legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, who died Thursday at age 61, according to his rep and World Wrestling Entertainment, was one of the brightest stars for the then-WWF during the 1980s with his signature kilt and bagpipe entrance music. He was nicknamed "Rowdy" because of his rage and bad attitude, which was on display in many of his memorable feuds with Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.
Piper left a legacy as being one of the best wrestlers to ever perform in the ring and had tremendous ability to work the crowd with his skills on the microphone. He was widely considered one of the top villains in the business. Piper had crossover appeal, appearing in films and on television throughout his long wrestling career.
But "Hot Rod" was known for being in the epicenter of some of the most memorable moments in WWE history. Here’s a look back at some of his very best work.
The War to Settle the Score
The main event featured Hogan defending the WWE Championship against Roddy Piper at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1985. The match was televised on MTV and while "Hot Rod" lost because Paul Orndorff and Bob Orton Jr. interfered on Piper's behalf, the match will forever be remembered for pop singer Cyndi Lauper being attacked by Piper and his crew. "The War to Settle the Score" event would eventually spill over to the first ever Wrestlemania. As for Lauper and Piper, there were no hard feelings and behind the curtain, they remained friends.
The first main event at Wrestlemania in 1985 featured a tag team match of Hogan and Mr. T vs. Piper and Paul Orndorff. The match ended with Hogan and Mr. T as the victors, but the hype leading up to the match helped put Wrestlemania on the map. Muhammad Ali was the special guest referee of the match and Yankees manager Billy Martin was the special guest ring announcer. The match set the tone for Wrestlemania, which has become the Super Bowl of wrestling and is still going strong today.
"Piper’s Pit" -– a first of its kind talk show segment that usually ended in fisticuffs -- featured the best of Piper's quick wit and fiery temper. The most legendary "Piper's Pit" occurred in 1984 and saw wrestling legend Jimmy "Superfly" Sunka getting nailed in the head with a coconut thanks to Piper.
"Classic Match vs. Bret Hart
While Piper was primarily known for his charisma, one of his most acclaimed matches occurred at Wrestlemania VIII in 1992. Piper entered the event as the Intercontinental Champion against Bret "The Hitman" Hart. Hart was on the rise in the WWE, and beating Piper in what many considered the best match of the night was a huge stepping stone for him.
Hall of Fame
Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. And in true Piper fashion, he gave one heck of an induction speech.