Back in 1979 before his prominence in the WWF Roddy Piper wrestled 5 matches for Vince McMahon Senior at Madison Square Garden. If this was the only appearances that Piper ever made in the WWE then the title of this article would be absurd. But in 1984 ‘Hot Rod’ Roddy Piper would take the WWF and world by storm.
Most wrestlers have larger than life personalities, especially when in the spotlight. Some have personalities so large that they literally jump out of the screen and speak to you, Piper was one of those men. While his ring-work was nothing to bat an eye at, where Piper really separated himself was on the microphone. The sheer energy and charisma that Piper possessed was probably only rivaled by Macho Man Randy Savage at the time. But, Piper had a certain polish to him that made even the Macho Man look like a bumbling fool.
Between 1984 and 1987 Piper was regularly featured in promitent fueds by the WWF. Some of his more notable opponents during this time were Bruno Samartino, Jimmy Snuka and Adrian Adonis. Piper even played a prominent role in Wrestlemania 1 when he team up with Paul Orndorf to face Hulk Hogan and Mr.T.
Piper then stepped away in late 1987 to focus on a film career. During this time Piper starred in the cult classic ‘They Live’
Im 1989 Piper was ready to return to the ring and the WWE again featured the Hot Rod prominently. Over the next two and a half years he would have memorable fueds with Ravishing Rick Flair, Bobby Heenan and The Million Dollar man. One of Piper’s more notable moments came when he interrupted Rude’s intercontinental championship match with the Ultimate Warrior, costing Rude the title.
1992 Royal Rumble
At the 1992 Royal Rumble, Piper was finally given somewhat of a ceremonial intercontinental championship run when he defeated The Mountie. Piper’s Championship run would only last, he went on to lose the championship to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania.
Why wasn’t Piper champ more?
Piper was a unique personality in that the microphone served as his belt, and nobody was beating him on it. So in a sense he didn’t need hardware to be a believable badass. Piper also played the heel quite a bit in a time when Championships seldom left the waists (see Hogan, Hulk) of the company’s baby-faces.
Piper was also involved in a motorcycle accident during the heart of his run with the WWF which postponed his career inbthe ring and forced Vince McMahon to feature Piper on more segments like the famous ‘Piper’s Pit’.
In the end it’s a shame to think that one of the most memorable wrestling personalities of all time, wasn’t properly recognized by the WWF. But Piper didn’t need titles and accolades to be remembered or stay relevant. He created his own buzz, his own unique style and his own unforgettable legacy.