US Scene Wrestler Profiles

Rowdy Roddy Piper Profile

Without a doubt, Roddy Piper was one of the biggest wrestling stars of the 1980’s, and well into the 1990’s. He was a pioneering force in the WWF’s “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” connection, and along with Hulk Hogan was a key factor in the success of the inaugural Wrestlemania, and in the successful years the WWF experienced during the 80’s. As a “heel” Piper was detested by the fans, as a “face”, the fans loved Piper, and with his now legendary interview segments “Piper’s Pit“, he proved that he was one of the greatest characters of all time in the wrestling business…

Real Name: Roderick Toombs

Date of Birth: April 17th 1954

Hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Debut Year: 1978

Trademark Moves: Sleeper Hold, “Finger Poke of Doom”

Titles Held: NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion, NWA U.S. Champion (Mid-Atlantic), NWA Mid-Atlantic TV champion, NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Champion, NWA Pacific Northwest Champion, WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion.

Recommended Matches:

  • Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (Wrestlemania)
  • Roddy Piper vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart ( Wrestlemania VIII)
  • Roddy Piper vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine “Dog Collar match” (NWA Starrcade ‘83)

Without a doubt, Roddy Piper was one of the biggest wrestling stars of the 1980’s, and well into the 1990’s. He was a pioneering force in the WWF’s “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” connection, and along with Hulk Hogan was a key factor in the success of the inaugural Wrestlemania, and in the successful years the WWF experienced during the 80’s. As a “heel” Piper was detested by the fans, as a “face”, the fans loved Piper, and with his now legendary interview segments “Piper’s Pit“, he proved that he was one of the greatest characters of all time in the wrestling business.

Roderick Toombs was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and was the son of a Canadian Mounted Police Officer. At an early age Piper was involved in physical sport, having some considerable success as an amateur boxer, and partaking into some amateur wrestling. Piper grew up in a strict family environment , and with his rebellious attitude, conflict occurred within his family, and in his early teens Piper left home and “hit the road” fending for himself and trying to survive by living in hostels all over Canada.

At the age of 15, Piper experienced his first pro wrestling match. His travels had took him to the Winnipeg area, where a wrestling promoter knew of Piper’s boxing credentials and offered him $25 to take part in a wrestling match, Piper took the opportunity, and thus had his first taste of Professional Wrestling. Piper’s opponent was Larry “The Axe” Henning, a huge wrestling star of the time, and father of the late Curt “Mr. Perfect” Henning. As a rookie, Piper lost the match after a not so impressive10 seconds, but it didn’t matter, this was the start of Piper’s wrestling career.

Piper’s travels took him to the Los Angeles area, where promoters Gene LeBell and Mike LeBell operated, and it was here when Piper first perfected his craft. The Los Angeles area used a lot of Mexican wrestling talent, and it was in 1977 when Piper won the World Light Heavyweight Title from Chavo Guerrero, although this title reign only lasted a short while, Piper began to make a name for himself. While in Los Angeles Piper was able to start developing his character introducing new aspects to his persona. While wrestling for Gene & Mike LeBell, Piper also started to wrestle in Japan, teaming with Stan Hansen on occasions. Los Angeles was the first wrestling territory where his character developed, and it could be argued that it was in Los Angeles where Piper first became a “superstar”.

In the late 1970’s Piper’s next big move was to the Portland wrestling territory, run by Don Owens. Piper spent a year or so in the Portland territory where he was becoming more of a “main event” attraction. It was in Portland, where Piper won the territories Tag Team Championship belts with Rick Martel. While in Portland, Piper was able to further more develop his microphone skills, as he was given more time for his interviews so he could develop his character. Piper’s time in the Portland area was relatively short in terms of his career, but while he was in Portland, he formed a long standing bond, for the promoter, and the territory, something which still exists today.

By 1980 Piper left Portland and headed down to Charlotte, North Carolina, after being put in touch with the booker, George Scott. At the time, the North Carolina promotions had some of the biggest names in wrestling, names like Harley Race, Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes. Piper had a huge amount of success working in Charlotte, as well as winning many singles titles. Piper won the NWA Mid Atlantic Heavyweight Championship belt, a belt which he held on multiple occasions. In 1980, Piper went one on one with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship belt, successfully winning the belt from Flair, another championship he held on multiple occasions. Piper also worked for Jim Barnett’s Georgia Championship Wrestling at this time, where again he garnered a considerable amount of success. Another highlight of Piper’s career in NWA, occurred when he took part in the first ever NWA Starrcade Event, in which he took on Greg “The Hammer” Valentine in a now legendary “Dog Collar Match”

In 1984 Piper moved to New York, to join the World Wrestling Federation, his skills on the microphone, as well as in the ring caught the attention of the McMahon family, and they wanted Piper to join the company as it made the transition from a regional wrestling promotion, to a national Sports Entertainment federation. Initially Piper was brought in to the company in a managerial type role to assist “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff in his feud with top WWF Superstar and World Champion, Hulk Hogan.

Eventually, Piper would go back to the ring, and he was thrown into a bitter rivalry with Hogan. However, Piper didn’t just have Hogan to deal with, as the WWF was expanding into the mainstream audience, more and more mainstream celebrities were getting involved, some of whom became victims of Piper. At a wrestling event at Madison Square Garden , Piper attacked pop singer Cindi Lauper and her manager Dave Wolff. The attack was part of an elaborate storyline in which Piper would eventually face Hulk Hogan , who was a friend of Lauper and Wolff, at a special WWF event called “The War to Settle the Score” which aired on MTV. Piper lost the WWF Championship match against Hogan via DQ, after he refused to “job” for the Hulkster.

But that wasn’t the end of the Piper / Hogan feud. On March 31st 1985, Roddy Piper along with “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff took on Hulk Hogan and Mr. T in the main event of inaugural Wrestlemania. Piper and Orndorff lost the match, but it was this event which changed the wrestling world forever, and the World Wrestling Federation began its domination of the wrestling world, and gave the wrestling world the first real taste of “Sports Entertainment”.

Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper were two of the WWF biggest stars in its “boom” period during the mid to late 80’s, Hogan being the top “baby face” and Piper being the top “heel”. Over the period from the first Wrestlemania, through to 1986, Piper was one of the most hated men in the WWF, he even turned his back on his partner Paul Orndorff, which resulted in many encounters between Piper and Orndorff. Piper’s interview segment “Piper’s Pit” allowed him to go on TV each week and become the company’s top heel, Piper was certainly one of the best talkers in the WWF, and “Piper’s Pit” created some very memorable moments in WWF history, including when Piper attacked Jimmy Snuka, and smashed a coconut over Snuka’s head, one of the most memorable moments of Piper’s career.

Another memorable moment of Piper’s career occurred at Wrestlemania II, when Piper took on old rival Mr. T in a boxing match, the match soon broke down into a all out brawl as Piper and Mr. T went at it, Piper lost the match via DQ, but once again proved that he wasn’t to be messed with.

By 1987, the WWF’s number one “heel”, would become one of the company’s number one good guys. At Wrestlemania III, Piper had a match against Adrian Adonis, the match was billed as Piper’s retirement match, and was also a “Hair vs. Hair” match. Piper won the match, and thus began winding down his active wrestling career, so he could peruse other endeavours, including his movie career. Piper’s movies have included “Hell come to Frogtown” in which Piper plays Sam Hell, who is one of the last remaining fertile men on earth after World War 3, and he has to fertilize as many women as he can, however an evil leader takes these women captive, and Sam Hell has to rescue them, however there is one snag, the city is populated by half human, half frog mutants, and Piper must rescue the women from these beings. I hope The Rock doesn’t get handed a movie script like this one!

However, not all of Piper’s movie had plots like this, “The Live” a Science Fiction action film, which was directed by John Carpenter, saw Piper battle a race of aliens who posed as human’s trying to take over the world. “They Live” was probably the most successful film in Piper’s movie career.

Although Piper had retired from wrestling, he never really left the business at all. From 1987 – to the early 90’s Piper made wrestling appearances within the WWF as one of the company’s top “babyfaces”. During the early 90’s Piper also joined the WWF announce team to do colour commentary. As well as doing commentary, he also engaged in feuds with long time friend Ric Flair, as well as Ted Dibiase and The Mountie, who he won the WWF’s Intercontinental Championship from at the 1992 Royal Rumble. This was the first and only championship belt Piper ever held while working for the World Wrestling Federation, he held the belt for a matter of months, and lost it to Bret “Hitman” Hart and Wrestlemania VIII in an epic match.

For the rest of the 90’s Piper spent a lot of time away from the WWF, however he did occasionally come back, one of the more notable occasions occurred when he was announced as the interim WWF President after Gorilla Monsoon was injured, Piper was involved in a storyline with Goldust, who had an apparent obsession with Piper, this lead to a “Hollywood Backlot Brawl” between the two a Wrestlemania XII, a fight which saw Piper and Goldust in a car chase which controversially resembled the O J Simpson car chase which appeared on news reports across the world. Piper won the match against Goldust, this was to be Piper’s last Wrestlemania match.

Later that year, Roddy Piper left the WWF, and joined Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling, instantly engaging in a feud with long time rival Hulk Hogan, and the New World Order. Piper had numerous matches with Hogan during his time in WCW, often winning the matches, but surprisingly not the WCW Championship gold, as the belt more often than not was not on the line due to backstage political issues between Piper and Hogan, as Piper often refused to “job” to Hogan.

Piper also had feuds with Ric Flair and The Outsiders to name a few. Like much of Piper’s WWF career, Piper didn’t wrestle a full schedule while with WCW, and often appeared in non wrestling roles. Towards the end of his WCW career, Piper won the United States Championship once again in 1999, however he lost the belt not long after to Scott Hall. By 2000, Piper was released from WCW and seemingly left the wrestling world for good.

By 2001 Vince McMahon had bought WCW, and the WWF became the only global wrestling promotion in the wrestling world. However in late 2001, long time wrestling manager, Jimmy Hart set up the Xtreme Wrestling Federation (XWF) operating out of Universal Studios in Florida, Hart got stars like Hogan, the late Curt Henning, and many more former WCW and WWF stars to join the company, one of them was Piper. He worked the few shows the company did at Universal studios in a commissioner type role, but the XWF soon folded after Vince McMahon offered Hogan and Henning contracts to the WWF, and after Jimmy Hart failed to get TV deals for the XWF.

For much of 2002 Piper again wasn’t involved in the wrestling world , however during late 2002 he made his return to wrestling with NWA TNA. Piper debuted with the company making an appearance confronting Vince Russo in a controversial interview segment. Piper made appearances for the company on a number of occasions during this time.

At Wrestlemania XIX, Roddy Piper made a shocking return to World Wrestling Entertainment, interfering in the Vince McMahon vs. Hulk Hogan match , as Piper attacked Hogan and renewed the Piper/Hogan feud. Piper joined the Smackdown brand of the WWE, and “Piper’s Pit” interview segment returned to the WWE, allowing Piper to go back to his roots. While back with the WWE, Piper was teamed up with Sean O’Haire and the pair had feuds with Rikishi, and the legendary Jimmy Snuka, as well as Mr. America, a.k.a. Hulk Hogan. While back with the WWE, Piper was not in a great physical state, and was criticised heavily about his conditioning and ring work. After a few months of working with the WWE, Piper appeared on a documentary show on the HBO network in American discussing his past drug addictions, and how drugs play apart in the wrestling world. Soon after, Piper was fired from the WWE, for not having permission to appear on the show.

Once again, Piper left the wrestling world. Since leaving the WWE for a second time, he has returned to NWA TNA, and occasionally appeared on the shows in non wrestling roles, and in recent months Piper returned to the ring to wrestle a show in Portland, a territory which is close to Piper’s heart. Its currently thought that Piper will be involved with NWA TNA’s first 3 hour PPV called “Victory Road” as he makes his return to the company on an edition on Total Non Stop Action : IMPACT!

Throughout Piper’s wrestling career he has been one of the most controversial people in the wrestling world, but the controversy has added to the charismatic persona of Piper. He is unquestionably one of the greatest talkers in the wrestling business , his “Piper’s Pit” segments revolutionised the wrestling business , and have created some of the wrestling worlds greatest moments.

During the 1984 – 1986 period, the WWF changed from a wrestling company , to a “Sports Entertainment” franchise. Many people have credited Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon to the “Rock ‘n‘ Wrestling“ phenomenon , but as much as Hogan was a great “babyface” , Roddy Piper was the great “heel” in the duo, and had as much influence as Hogan did in my opinion, and in fact it may be fair to say, that if it wasn’t for Piper, Wrestlemania may not have been as much of a success as it was.

Over his career Piper’s relationship with Vince McMahon has been very interesting to say the least, as Piper often refused to “job” to wrestlers while working for McMahon, many say the relationship is based on respect, rather than a fondness for each other. Its unclear whether Piper will ever return to the WWE, but reports indicate that Piper has shown an interest in returning, and as the old saying goes “Anything can happen in the World of Wrestling!”.

Piper’s in ring work has always been very unique, never noted for his great technical skill, but his brawling and street fighting. In the mid 90’s Piper had a hip replacement, which took him out of the business for sometime and also affected his in ring work. Also during 2002, Piper reportedly suffered a serious car accident in which he was admitted into intensive care for a number of days, and thus caused some problems.

All in all Piper’s career has been very controversial, but for any fan, it has been very entertaining. I believe that Piper is one of the most important wrestling figures in the last 20 years, and he is one person that should have held the WWF Championship belt in the 1980’s, but never got the chance to.