Cleat Geeks

Losing a Legend #RIPHotRod


Last night, around 8:00pm, I heard my husband’s voice call up from the 1st floor of our town home:

“Hey, babe?  Roddy Piper died.”

I was upstairs reading and checking on a few things online, and those three words, “Roddy Piper died” didn’t quite stick.  That can’t be right.  He’s too busy feuding with Stone Cold’s podcast and making controversial statements about the world of wrestling to have died.  He’s too damn stubborn for anything that serious, something like dying.

When I learned of Dusty Rhodes’ passing, my heart instantly fell and tears filled my eyes.  I couldn’t even listen to his “American Dream” theme song without becoming emotional.  I thought it would help, bring a smile to my face.  What a wreck I was.  Total embarrassment.  But the loss was instantaneous.  We had lost a legend in a world where that term is tossed around far too flimsily.  Very few people have actually earned that title, but Dusty was one of them; Roddy another.

So what is the difference between losing HotRod versus Dusty Rhodes?  Was it because we could see the physical deterioration of one and only hear the years of living life hard from another?  Dusty had become one of WWE’s sweethearts, and you could hear it in the memories shared by his colleagues, friends, and family.  Rowdy Roddy Piper was a heel up until the end, spreading controversy and agitation everywhere he went.

Just look at his appearance on the WWE Legends House original programming from the Network:  the very first episode he was meandering through the weeds at midnight and starting fights with every man in the house.  Yet despite his controversial personality, he has been himself throughout his entire career, both in and outside of the ring.  I have to be honest, I only followed him as a WWE superstar, but his name brings vivid images of Hollywood fame.  Other reporters and wrestling news sources have claimed that Roddy was even more responsible for the WWF (at the time) getting off the ground after Vince McMahon’s major gamble of Wrestlemania.  Without the HotRod and his magnetic personality, there is no way that a star of Mr. T’s stature teamed up with a relatively young and new Hulk Hogan could have been enough to jumpstart the epic run that the World Wrestling Federation would end up on.  And for that, we thank you HotRod.

Being a fan in their mid 30s, my Roddy Piper highlights come from the early 90s, and my favorite match was when HotRod defended his IC title against Bret “The Hitman” Hart at Wrestlemania 8.  I watched and retwatched their backstage promo and match so many times, I swear that the tape in my VHS cassette was worn thin.

He ribbed Bret about growing up in the Hart house, potty pants, typing shoes and bologna sandwiches with only one piece of bologna, BUT THAT DIDN’T MATTER!  It may not have been the best of Roddy’s career, but it was my favorite.

At the end of the day, the reason why it’s so difficult to say goodbye to Roddy Piper is that he’s the third in a series of major WWE losses to many of the fans’ childhoods.  First was Dusty Rhodes, the second is Hulk Hogan in the deflation of the hero he was to so many, and now this.  The WWE Universe needs a win, and now with the passing of Rowdy Roddy Piper, we are set back yet again.  The good news is that we can celebrate our love for the plaid-clad, bagpipe-playing, spitfire.  We can look back at his most memorable and controversial moments and thank him, feel the appreciation for all he has done for the industry and ourselves.  For that Roddy, we love you, we’ll miss you.  #RIPHotRod



One Comment

  1. Muhammed

    August 5, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Great Stuff. Roddy Piper will be missed. Hands down one of the greatest villains in Professional Wrestling!

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