Somehow it’s been nearly 2 weeks already, but I’m still having trouble believing that Rowdy Roddy Piper is really gone. Man, what a shitty couple of months this has been for wrestling and my childhood.
When I first started watching, I had 2 favourite wrestlers. One of them was Hulk Hogan because every kid had a Hogan phase, and the other was Roddy Piper. That second one was weird because at the time, Piper was pretty much Hogan’s most hated enemy. Hell, he was pretty much the most hated enemy of every good guy there was. But even though I started out liking all the good guys which should mean I’d hate him right along with them, there was something about Piper that was…fascinating might be a good word. Mesmerizing might be a better one. Whichever word you choose, I couldn’t take my eyes and ears off of him. Sure he was a dastardly bastard, but he was one hilarious dastardly bastard sometimes. But even when he was being more scary than funny, nobody acted like Piper. Yeah the other bad guys were bad, but Rowdy Roddy Piper was on another level. He was crazy. Like legitimately crazy. Like who the hell takes an honest to god coconut and pastes a guy over the head with it crazy. He was so good at being crazy that to this day I’m still sometimes not sure where Roddy the character ends and Roddy the real life man begins. Even in 86 when he went from dastardly bastard to loveable one, he didn’t really lose a step. Where a lot of guys are never the same when they turn, Roddy just ran with it. I’m still not sure I’ve ever seen somebody go from being so hated to so loved so quickly. Even though he wasn’t always the same sort of crazy after that, he was so good that he could still talk you into thinking that at any moment something could go down. It takes some serious talent to pull that off, and he did it unlike anyone else.
Often I’ll watch today’s wrestling and think about how much more fun it used to be. How the characters were truly characters and the stuff that was supposed to feel real felt so much more real. I’ll sit there and wonder just who’s supposed to be hooking kids on the business now. Sure John Cena might be their Hogan, but who’s their Piper? Who’s their crazy son of a bitch who keeps things interesting while the nice guy is busy being nice all the time? Whenever I ask these questions, I have no answers. I know we’ll never have another Roddy Piper, because that’s impossible. That guy was absolutely one of a kind. But I hope that some day, somebody will at least get close again so that tomorrow’s fans can enjoy the same feelings that Roddy Piper gave me.