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Rowdy Roddy Piper

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2002 autobiography



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"Rowdy" Roddy Piper

Real name: Roderick Toombs

From Saskatoon and Toronto and Winnipeg -- and other towns in Canada as he moved around a lot as a kid. The lead heel in a few NWA territories who jumped to the WWF and became its second biggest star behind only Hulk Hogan during its expansion into a national promotion.

Interviews were what made him a star, although he initially used a very irritating high-pitched squeal to cover up the fact that he didn't have even a hint of a Scottish accent (he really can play the bagpipes, though). Never a technical wrestler of any note, Piper usually relied on punches and brawling during matches.

Started wrestling prelims in Winnipeg in 1973. He has always claimed to have been a teenager at the time of his first match, but he may have been shaving some years off his real age. First big push was in Los Angeles in 1975, where Piper also wrestled as the Masked Canadian after losing a loser-leaves-town match. For a while, had a gimmick where he would hypnotize opponents in the ring.

Went to Portland in 1979 and formed a lasting bond with the area and with promoter Don Owen. Made one appearance at Madison Square Garden in July 1979. In 1980, Piper won the main tag belts in both Portland and Vancouver (then co-owned by Don Owen) with Rick Martel.

Moved to the Carolinas in 1980 and started to become a major star. Made his Maple Leaf Gardens debut in November 1980. Became known nationally in the U.S. through his appearances on Atlanta's WTBS superstation -- from which he was fired for being high-maintenance outside the ring, despite helping to deliver a big increase in ratings. Jumped to the WWF in January 1984. Hosted the "Piper's Pit" interview segment on WWF TV until his 1987 retirement. Never held a title in the WWF until getting the Intercontinental belt in a 1992 comeback -- winning it from The Mountie (Jacques Rougeau Jr.) and losing it to Bret Hart during a long run of Canadian champions.

Was interim president of the WWF in 1996 after Jack Tunney left the company and Gorilla Monsoon was injured. Wrestled at WrestleMania that year. Jumped to WCW shortly after. Defeated Hart for the U.S. title in February 1999. Was let go in July 2000 and filed a lawsuit claiming age discrimination. His autobiography, "In the Pit with Piper: Roddy Gets Rowdy" was published in 2002. Briefly returned to WWE in 2003 and revived Piper's Pit, but he was let go after making negative comments about the wrestling business.

Prominent Titles:

  • NWA Americas champion (Los Angeles), 1976-77
  • Many-times NWA Americas tag champion (Los Angeles), 1976-78
  • NWA U.S. champion (San Francisco), 1978
  • 4-time NWA Pacific Northwest tag champion, 1978-80
  • 2-time NWA Pacific Northwest champion, 1979-80
  • Canadian tag champion (Vancouver), with Rick Martel, 1980
  • 2-time NWA Mid-Atlantic TV champion, 1980, 83
  • 2-time NWA U.S. champion (Mid-Atlantic), 1981, 83
  • NWA Mid-Atlantic champion, 1981-82
  • WWF Intercontinental champion, 1992
  • WCW U.S. champion, 1999


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