On Friday afternoon, the wrestling universe and the world lost a great one as Rowdy Roddy Piper died of cardiac arrest at the age of 61. A true legend in the sport of wrestling and for most of his career, in the world of WWF and WWE, he passed away far too young, shocking wrestling fans everywhere. To celebrate his life and work, it’s time to look back on 10 of the most memorable moments and matches of Hot Rod’s career.
The man known as “Hot Rod” had a career that spanned four decades and stretched into six, and there are far too many moments and matches to recall. Fans loved Rowdy Roddy Piper for his skills, talents, antics, promos, and so much more.
Let’s check out 10 of the best moments and matches of his career, in no particular order.
1. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan and Mr. T – WrestleMania I
It was the event that signaled a true turn in the wrestling world, and Rowdy Roddy Piper was in the main event of it. The match wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, but it’s an iconic moment and one that will always go down in history.
2. Roddy Piper vs. Goldust: Hollywood Backlot Brawl – WrestleMania 12
Both men destroyed one another for almost half the show and took the match from the ring down the aisle to backstage to the parking lot to the high way and back again. This is one of the most entertaining matches to ever happen at a wrestling event.
3. IC Title Match: Roddy Piper vs. The Mountie – Royal Rumble 1992
Nothing more needs to be said than this was the very first time that Rowdy Roddy Piper had won championship gold in WWF/WWE. It was long overdue and well deserved. He ended up with a World Tag Team Title run with Ric Flair as well.
4. Piper’s Pit with Morton Downey Jr. – WrestleMania V
Two of the biggest mouths in the world meeting in Piper’s house, a WWE ring. Not only was Downey disrespectful to Piper, but he blew smoke in his face, too. That resulted in Piper spraying him down viciously with a fire extinguisher.
5. Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, Ricky Steamboat vs. Chris Jericho – WrestleMania XXV
The team of legends were accompanied to the ring by Ric Flair, and this match came about due to Jericho taunting the old-timers for weeks. Snuka and Piper may have been pinned and eliminated by Jericho, but the legends together and in the ring for one more match was amazing.
6. IC Title Match: Roddy Piper vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart – WrestleMania VIII
This will go down in wrestling history as probably the best match of Rowdy Piper’s career. Some say that Hart brought out the best in him, but others believe that Piper brought out the best in Hart. It didn’t matter who won (Hart) as it was the winners were and are anyone that watches it.
7. Rowdy Roddy Piper inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Induction in 2005
Another well-deserved achievement, and one that luckily happened before his death at the age of 61.
8. Dog Collar Match: Roddy Piper vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine – Starrcade 1983
If you’re looking for a brutal wrestling match, then find a copy of this one to watch. It is full of blood and two men just beating the life out of one another for around half an hour. Piper took the win, and he goes into great detail about it on his DVD called WWE Born to Controversy.
9. Rowdy Roddy Piper paints himself half black to fight Bad News Brown – WrestleMania 6
There is no doubt that Hot Rod was controversial, but the world wasn’t quite sure what to do when he entered the arena at WrestleMania VI. His feud with Bad News Brown had been taken to new lengths, and it’s doubtful that this would have been accepted at all today.
10. Rowdy Roddy Piper smashing a coconut across Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s head/face on Piper’s Pit in 1984
Once again, Piper took things to another level that was way ahead of its time in wrestling and for television in general. Piper and Snuka had a huge feud going, and it came to a boiling point on Piper’s Pit when Hot Rod violently smashed the coconut across Snuka’s face.
Rowdy Roddy Piper‘s death took an icon and a legend of the wrestling world, and also a great man at that. Fans will forever remember him for these 10 memorable moments and matches throughout his career, but for so many more as well. Rest in peace, Hot Rod.
[Images via WWE]