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The Passing of a Legend: RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper

To four-year-old Tyler there were five wrestlers: Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. The last two stuck out because they weren't like the others, they were straight bad guys. They could talk and they could talk a lot, being heralded as some of the greatest promo men of all time. Unfortunately Jake fell into drugs hard and it got to the point where obituaries everywhere were already written for him, just waiting for the time to go to print. So it is with great surprise and sorrow that today marks the passing of the other loose canon, Roddy Piper.

Piper was around during a time in my wrestling life where renting videos from Mammoth Video became my only way of watching. I'd see him in random segments and knew of his legend, but wasn't an active participant in his glory years. Still, I played with his action figure and would use his character in whatever SNES WWF game that was out. He was a legend.

He showed up years later on one of my favorite TV shows, "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" as what was essentially his interpretation of the main character from The Wrestler. He did awesome, by the way, so much so that he showed up again on Sunny later. It feels like a treat every time I see him pop up as The Manic because it feels like a little nod to wrestling fans. And he provided pop culture one of the greatest lines in the history of cinema via They Live, "I'm here to kick ass and chew bubble gum... Looks like I'm all outta bubblegum."

Recently he even came under fire for a negative impersonation of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin which resulted in the cancellation of his PodcastOne show and the termination of his WWE Legends contract. I'm not sure how this will affect WWE doing tributes to him, but I certainly hope it doesn't at all. He deserves every bit as much praise as Dusty got during his passing. There are few wrestlers that were as big as Piper, and without him playing a fantastic heel, who's to say if the first Wrestlemania would have been the success it was. He deserves every bit of praise going his way.

But let's not pretend like he wasn't crazy. He was. He was absolutely insane in all the best of ways, providing for so many off the cuff moments where you were never quite sure where he'd go next. It made him one of the more intriguing personalities around. Even look at his last appearance on the Rich Eisen show, where Piper rambles on to the point that Eisen has to ask him what his point is. Anyone else and they would have been accused of being drunk or drugged but not Piper. He was just always crazy.

And that's how I'll remember him. A crazy, enigmatic personality who was one of the last living legends of wrestling. Just how big of a legend was he? Who else but Roddy Piper put Hogan over one more time. I'm sure he appreciates it, brother.


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