It takes a strong personality to stand out in a sport full of them, but Roderick George Toombs, also known as “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (1954-2015), has managed to build a career as one of the most colorful characters in the history of maintain professional wrestling. Read on to learn more about Hot Rod, including its martial arts background and its unlikely twist as a hero on a big screen.
1. Roddy Piper was a very accomplished bagpiper.
The future “rowdy” Roddy Piper was born on April 17, 1954 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and earned his nickname early on. According to Piper, he was “too much”
It was the bagpipes that led to Piper’s career in wrestling. When Piper was playing with a band at Winnipeg Arena one night when he was a teenager, he volunteered for a wrestler who didn’t appear on a planned fight against Larry Henning. Piper came to the ring with a kilt and was announced as “Roddy the Piper”. Although the fight lasted only 10 seconds, he had found his calling.
2. Roddy Piper wrestled with a bear once.
Before Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation (later World Wrestling Entertainment) organized pro wrestling in the United States, various regional organizations did everything possible to attract attention and fans. During a gig in Fresno, California, a young Piper got an offer to wrestle with “The Bear”. Piper believed this was one of the wrestling’s nicknames. It was not. The promoter, Roy Scheiers, wanted Piper to deal with a real Kodiak bear that had been scratched off. Although Piper was expected to attempt to pin the bear down, the animal remained in a dominant position until its handler used a sedative to end the match. Piper later discovered that a friend had smeared honey into his trunks to make the bear more aggressive.
3. Roddy Piper was a black belt in judo.
When Piper moved to California in 1973, he often wrestled in the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. The territory’s sponsor was Mike LeBell, who had a half brother, Gene LeBell, a well-known martial artist who practiced judo. Piper and Gene LeBell became friends. LeBell taught him judo and eventually gave Piper a black belt in art.
4. Roddy Piper suffered permanent hearing loss from wrestling.
While wrestling is sometimes dismissed as a fake, injuries are a very real and common occurrence for its athletes. In 1983, Piper agreed to play a “dog collar match” with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. In battle, the men would be connected by a chain attached to their respective collars. When a wrestler had enough play on the chain, he used it to attack his opponent. Having broken the chain into his head, Piper broke the left eardrum and cost him a 50 percent hearing loss in that ear. Because of the nature of the wrestling tours, Piper and Valentine have wrestled the same dog collar match dozens of times over the next two months.
5. Roddy Piper didn’t get along with Mr. T.
When McMahon consolidated a number of wrestling territories in the 1980s, his next step was to create a major event with a lot of hype. WrestleMania made his debut in 1985, showing Hulk Hogan and Mr. T playing Paul Orndorff and Piper in the main event. Mr. T. was a celebrity thanks to his performance as Clubber Lang in the 1982s Rocky III as well as the NBC television series The A team. But Piper was careful about losing a fight against someone who was only temporarily in the wrestling world and told McMahon that he would not allow Mr. T to defeat him in battle. It was Orndorff who was stuck. To the WrestleMania 2 the following year, Piper and Mr. T faced each other again, this time in a simulated boxing match. Piper lost a clear violation of the rules through disqualification after hitting Mr. T on the body.
6. John Carpenter threw in Roddy Piper you live because the wrestler went funny.
In the 1988s you liveA drifter with the enigmatic name John Nada (Piper) discovers a subversive alien conspiracy to control people over subliminal messages. Director John Carpenter cast Piper after he met the wrestler after his match in the 1987s WrestleMania III. “Unlike most Hollywood actors, Roddy wrote all of his life about himself,” said Carpenter Starlog 1988. “He was hit so often that he really broke. He even goes funny because his pelvis was broken and his back was torn. He is definitely not a handsome boy. He’s the toughest guy I’ve ever met. You could drive a truck against Roddy and he would still be standing. “
Piper’s worn physicality earned him the role. you live became a cult classic, in part due to a ridiculously long fight scene between Piper and actor Keith David.
7. Roddy Piper became a member of GI Joe.
In 2007, Hasbro unveiled a limited edition Piper GI Joe figure as the Iron Grenadier Trainer of the Scottish Army for their annual international GI Joe Convention. He joined fellow wrestler Sergeant Slaughter, who made his debut as Joe in the 1980s. Piper also appeared at the convention to sign autographs.
8. Roddy Piper released a pop song in 1992.
Together with Hulk Hogan and other wrestlers, Piper helped publicize the WWE in the 1980s by appearing in music videos and on MTV with singer Cyndi Lauper. Occasionally, Lauper even got into the ring. In 1992, Piper left his own comfort zone by recording a single called “I’m Your Man” that was released in the UK by Epic Records. You can see Piper Croon in the video above.