Simply put - along with Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper helped round out the holy trinity of wrestling in the eighties. The late great Hot Rod could mix it up with anyone in the ring, being both an amateur boxer and extended member of the Hart Family. But he was of course known a lot more for being the mouth that roared. He is also one of few men that can say they had marquee matches at both the first Starrcade and first WrestleMania (Something Hogan, Savage, or Flair are not able to claim).
Piper’s Pit and all of the wild antics that happened on the show, not to mention his exploits both in and out of the ring, helped to make Roddy one of the most idolized figures in all of wrestling. One of the most controversial, too - here are 10 Most Controversial Things Roddy Piper Has Done In Wrestling.
10 Assaulted Rock Stars
During the Hogan Expansion Era, the WWE also ushered in the Rock And Wrestling connection. Piper was Hogan’s biggest foil at this point, and the WWE’s biggest heel. One night in Madison Square Garden, Cyndi Lauper, her manager Dave Wolff, and Captain Lou all felt the wrath of the Hot Scot as they were all patting themselves on the back for their contributions to making wrestling popular. Lauper and Wolff gave Albano a plaque that Piper smashed over his head. He proceeded to kick Lauper in her head and body slam Dave Wolff before Hulk rushed back to the ring for the save.
9 Assaulted Mr. T
Thankfully, Piper is a professional, otherwise he might have really hurt Mr. T. A lot of the wrestlers were legitimately annoyed that T was getting the prime spot at the inaugural WrestleMania.
Piper also was none too keen on the idea either but was able to maintain his composure. However, their feud carried over to WrestleMania 2, in a boxing match that Piper lost by DQ and for another thirty years until they finally buried the hatchet at the “Silverdome,” at WrestleMania XXX.
8 Half Black
At WrestleMania VI, Piper was set to battle with Bad News Brown. There was some anticipation for the proverbial pier six brawl, since both men were known for their street fighting skills. But that anticipation went right out of the window when Piper showed up with his face half painted in Black Face. Piper decided that wasn’t good enough and covered half of his whole body in black paint. It got a rise out of Bad News, so to that extent it was a success. But this moment is memorable for all of the wrong reasons. Until you also learn that André the Giant switched out the removal liquid with plain water, leaving Piper having to leave Toronto and board an airplane half black.
7 Put The Snuka In The Coconut
Roddy Piper smashing a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s cranium is probably the most iconic moment of either man’s career. It’s one of the most memorable moments in all of WWE for all time. You would never be able to get away with anything like this today. Piper invited the Superfly to come onto Piper’s Pit and did nothing but insult the island boy and assume he was just a savage who wanted to act like a monkey. The bit is so mythic that at the 2008 Royal Rumble when both men entered the fray, the rest of the competition stopped in their tracks to watch the legends collide.
6 Beat Up “Santa”
On the old Prime Time Wrestling show, Gorilla Monsoon and the Hot Rod were celebrating Christmas, along with “Santa,” who was Bobby Heenan to the adult eyes, but to young kids, the Weasel looked like Santa and neither Gino or the Roddy were acknowledging it. Until Piper got completely fed up with “Santa’s” antics and threatened to beat the heck out of him! According to Bruce Prichard, Bobby was supposed to reveal himself before Piper throttled him. He jumped the gun, and on TV it looked like Piper had lost it.
5 Going To WCW
While everyone else was jumping ship to WCW, it seemed like Piper was locked into staying with the WWE. He had a decent position as the Interim President and still worked programs and angles.
According to Piper in his book, on the night before he debuted at Halloween Havoc 1996, Vince McMahon had even asked him to induct the Superfly into the Hall Of Fame. His arrival meant that the Eighties WWE Trinity had all been signed and were now part of WCW.
4 Blamed Russo For Owen
In the early days of TNA, Roddy Piper appeared on the show. As always, he cut an impassioned off the cuff promo on Vince Russo, who many old timers view as the scourge of the industry. Piper not only considered him the “Bin Laden of wrestling,” he accused him of killing his cousin, the late great Owen Hart. Years later, according to Roddy’s good friend and current wrestling podcast king, Bruce Prichard, the promo wasn’t scripted. Nor did anyone know what Piper was going to do, his intention was going to be to beat the tar out of him before the Harris brothers showed up.
3 Real Sports Interview
Roddy returned to the WWE in 2003 as part of the Hogan / Vince match at WrestleMania XIX and stuck around to try and get Sean O’Haire over. But he also started talking more and more about the deaths of his wrestling brothers over the years. Piper also was surmising that he too wouldn’t be making it to 65, which is true since he died at 61. He did all of this on the HBO series, Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel. Vince let him go over this appearance.
2 Piper With A Mic
CM Punk once referred to his mic as a pipe bomb. Piper referred to it as a machine gun, and you don’t throw rocks at a man whose shot a machine gun.
In the Rowdy One’s heyday, nothing was scripted, and everything was off the cuff allowing Hot Rod to do and say whatever he wanted - like shaving a little person’s head to look like Mr. T’s. What he would do and say on the microphone was almost always something controversial.
1 Piper Vs. Morton Downey Jr.
After a two-year hiatus, Piper returned to the WWE for Piper’s Pit at WrestleMania V. While he was making verbal mincemeat out of “Blubber Love,” Piper’s other guest, Shock TV talk show host, Morton Downey Jr just couldn’t help but flick cigarettes at the Hot Rod. Once Brother Love was sent running in his red bloomers, Downey and Roddy traded barbs back and forth, fans in attendance oohed and ahhed at the proceedings. Both men were so good at what they did, it was hard to determine if any of these insults were actually planned or not.