“Rowdy” Roddy Piper passed away recently. I’ve always been a fan of pro wrestling. I’ve been hooked since the 80’s and generally get a kick out of the bad guys and their larger-than-life personalities. So I have to admit that I was saddened by the passing of one of my favorite childhood bad guys. The above video is from around 2011 when Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. It does a good job of capturing Piper’s career as a beloved “heel”.
Piper was a Golden Gloves boxer, amateur wrestler, and even received a black belt in judo from none other than Gene LeBell. By all accounts Piper was also one hell of a nice guy. From the Eblen Charities blog:
Roddy was born on April 17, 1954 in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Canada. His early hardscrabble life was difficult and found him living on the streets by the age of fifteen. Learning to box, wrestle, and the art of Judo to protect himself, Roddy won the Golden Gloves Boxing Championship and while in Los Angeles was awarded a black belt in judo after training with world champion Gene LaBell (trainer of Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Ronda Rousey).
He had a spirit that I could only call one of gratitude. He seemed to be genuinely grateful for every moment he lived and those in his life.
Of course no tribute to Piper is complete without the line he ad libbed in John Carpenter’s cult classic, “They Live”.
Rest in peace, Roddy.