My love of professional wrestling started when I was young, and growing up I had three favorites that stood above the rest: Bret “The Hitman” Hart, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
Piper had a charisma that was unlike anything else at the time or since. Whether it be in the ring or during his perhaps even more incredible promos, he always brought an energy that was captivating and made him fascinating to watch. It was impossible to look away when Piper came on, and his words often echoed long after. He made everything seem real no matter how ridiculous, by virtue of totally committing to his role and the moment and a personality and style that just worked perfectly in pro-wrestling and always seemed genuine.
Piper’s matches weren’t always the technical exhibitions Hart’s and Perfect’s were, but he certainly could hang with the best of them when called for. To this day one of my favorite matches of all time is his Intercontinental title defense against Hart at Wrestlemania VIII. I remember being beyond excited for it in the weeks prior, and hanging on every move and counter for the entirety of the bout. The years since and subsequent viewings have done nothing to diminish my appreciation or enjoyment. From the pre-match interview that no one but Piper ever could have given to his one pinfall loss over an amazing career Piper was on fire that night, and with Hart more than capable of keeping up they created magic.
Roddy Piper is one of the main reasons pro-wrestling became such a big part of my life. He will be missed greatly.
Rest in peace Hot Rod.