Bret Hart and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper shared many memories in the squared circle throughout the years. When you think of the two and how their paths crossed in the wrestling ring, perhaps no match is more memorable than their WWE Intercontinental Title match in Indianapolis at WrestleMania VIII.
That night in 1992, Roddy Piper dropped the belt to Hart, and it was the last (and only) time Piper held championship singles gold in the WWE (he had an eight-day run with Ric Flair as tag team champions in 2006). However, Piper was always one of those guys that didn’t need a championship belt to prove his main event drawing power. Back in 1985, the inaugural edition of WrestleMania would have almost certainly been a failure if it wasn’t for Piper (and Mr. T) having such an intriguing feud with Hulk Hogan.
Hart and Piper crossed paths many more times throughout the years, both in WCW and WWE. The two also spent a memorable weekend together during the summer of 2008 in Waterloo, Iowa. Piper was inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame that year, and Hart was also in attendance that weekend for his father Stu’s induction (Bret was inducted in 2006). I was present for many of the events that weekend, and it was evident how great of a friendship these two men had, as they were almost inseparable for three days.
This weekend, Bret Hart was on a mini-tour of the United States, making appearances for some small independent wrestling organizations across the Midwest. When the news of Piper’s untimely death broke on Friday afternoon, Hart was in the Chicago suburbs (Villa Grove, IL) for an appearance with American Revolution Wrestling at the Odeum Sports and Expo Center.
At the beginning of the ARW event, Hart joined the entire ARW roster for a 10-bell salute to Piper.
Later in the show, Hart himself came out to give some thoughts on the microphone about his fallen friend and one-time rival. TopRopePress is featuring an exclusive video of the Hart’s speech. A few text highlights from the speech are below, the full video is available at TopRopePress.
“When we first met each other, he (Roddy) told me he thought he was related to me. Roddy came from Sasktaoon, and his last name was Toombs. And then my father, on his side of the family, they had Tombs (sic). And so, I think when they finally compared notes, they realized the two names were not spelled quite the same way and that we weren’t actually cousins. But Roddy always called me ‘cuz’ just about from the beginning.”
“I probably wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for the great match that Roddy gave me at WrestleMania VIII.”
An emotional Hart then went on to tell some funny stories that he had with Roddy over the years, as Bret said he thought that Roddy would want him to do so.
[Image via WWE.com]