Friday, February 23

Roddy Piper’s Wrestling Career In 1980s

Roddy Piper is among the most iconic wrestlers ever to step foot in the ring. Popularly known as ”Rowdy” Roddy Piper, he had amazing promo skills and oozed charisma. He was part of many memorable moments, and is an unforgettable name in the wrestling business.


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Piper made his wrestling debut way back in 1969. It was in the 1980s when he joined WWE, and achieved his peak in his wrestling career. Here are 10 things you should know about Piper’s wrestling career during the 1980s.


10 He Wrestled In National Wrestling Alliance Territories Before Joining WWE

He Wrestled In Companies Like MACW, GCW, MLW, AJPW

roddy-piper-greg-valentine

  • He Wrestled In Multiple Companies Before Coming To WWE
  • He Had Already Made A Name For Himself
  • He Had Plenty Of Success And Won Multiple Titles In The Territories

Roddy Piper had a great WWE career, and is popular among fans, mainly due to his WWE run, where he became a top heel of the Golden Era. However, even before his WWE run, Piper had made quite a name for himself in other promotions.

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Roddy Piper had a lengthy, legendary career. That means there were several versions of his character, some that worked better than others.

Piper started wrestling in National Wrestling Alliance Territories in 1975, and continued into the 1980s. This included Mid-Atlantic & Georgia Championship Wrestling. In the early 80s, Piper won some titles, like the NWA Television Title, NWA United States Heavyweight Title, NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title.

9 He Was Fired By GCW In 1982

He Showed Up Late For A Match

roddy-piper-they-live (1)

  • He Was Fired In 1982 For Showing Up Late For A Match
  • He Went To Puerto Rico For A Month After Getting Fired
  • He Was Back In Georgia In The Following Summer Of 1983

Roddy Piper was among the most respected wrestlers of his time, and was always in demand among wrestling promotions. Thus, it is a very surprising fact, that Piper was actually fired once, by Georgia Championship Wrestling.

He was fired in late 1982, for showing up late to a match. After getting fired, Piper went to Puerto Rico for a month, and was booked by Jim Barnett. He wasn’t away from Georgia for long, as he returned in the summer of 1983.

8 He Was Part Of The First-Ever Starrcade Event In 1983

He Faced Greg Valentine In A Dog Collar Match

Roddy Piper Vs Greg Valentine Dog Collar Match Cropped

  • NWA Starrcade ’83 Was A Historic Wrestling Event
  • Roddy Piper Defeated Greg Valentine
  • Their Match Was Arguably The Best Match Of The Night

NWA Starrcade ’83 was a very historic event in wrestling, as it was the first wrestling event broadcast on closed-circuit, which set the stage for the PPV events later. Roddy Piper was also part of the historic card, as he faced Greg Valentine in a Dog Collar Match.

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The first Starrcade featured Harley Race passing the torch to Ric Flair and an epic Dog Collar Match between Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine.

It was arguably the best match of the night, even better than the main event. It was a classic example of a great bloody old school brawl. Both men tried to completely kill each other, resulting in a very brutal encounter. In the end, it was Piper who won the match by pinning Valentine with the chain wrapped around his legs.

7 He Joined WWE In 1984

He Remained In WWE For The Rest Of The Decade

  • Vince McMahon Wanted Roddy Piper In 1983 Itself
  • Piper Became One Of The Top WWE Stars Of The ’80s
  • He Was Part Of Many Memorable Moments

After working for years in National Wrestling Alliance Territories, Roddy Piper joined WWE in 1984. Vince McMahon contacted Piper in 1983, but Piper wanted to serve out his contract with Jim Crockett, which pushed his WWE run to 1984.

He had already wrestled a few matches in WWE in 1979. After his debut in 1984, Piper quickly established himself as a great heel. Soon, he became a top star in the WWE, headlining shows. Piper stayed in WWE for the rest of the decade, and became a WWE legend.

6 He Was A Manager At The Start Of His WWE Run

He Managed David Schultz & Paul Orndorff

Born to Controversy The Roddy Piper Story.

  • People Forget His Initial Run As A Manager
  • He Was Too Good To Be Just A Manager
  • Soon, He Stopped Managing The Wrestlers And Started Wrestling Full-Time

As mentioned in the previous entry, Piper started his WWE run in 1984. While everyone remembers his in-ring career, and his storylines, people often forget that he started off his WWE run actually as a manager.

He managed ”Dr. D” David Schultz and ”Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. Piper would often team up with Schultz and Orndorff in tag team matches. However, Piper was obviously too talented to just be a manager, and soon he started off his run as a full-time wrestler.

5 He Introduced Piper’s Pit In 1984

It Laid The Foundation For Future Wrestling Talk Show Segments

  • Due To His Great Microphone Skills, Piper Got His Talk Show Segment ”Piper’s Pit” In 1984
  • It Was A Regular Part Of WWE’s Programming Till 1987
  • It Remains The Best Wrestling Talk Show Segment Ever

Over the years, we have seen many wrestling talk show segments, hosted by different wrestlers. They are quite innovative, and responsible for memorable moments. The foundation for such talk shows was set by none other than Roddy Piper, with his talk show ”Piper’s Pit”.

WWE realised that Piper was very good on the microphone, and thus gave him his own segment in 1984. It was always fun watching Piper host Piper’s Pit, and we saw many cool moments as part of it. It was a regular part of WWE programming during the Golden Era, and set the standards for future wrestling talk shows.

4 He Didn’t Win A Championship In WWE During The Decade

Piper Wasn’t Known For Holding Championships

wwe-rowdy-roddy-piper-in-the-ring2

  • Roddy Piper Won Many Titles In The Early ’80s, But Didn’t Win Any In WWE
  • He Challenged For The WWE Title Multiple Times
  • He Would Eventually Win The Intercontinental & Tag Team Titles

Roddy Piper held many championships during his wrestling career in different wrestling promotions. However, when it comes to WWE, he wasn’t very successful in winning titles. In fact, in the 1980s, he failed to win even a single championship in WWE.

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Piper had a feud with Hulk Hogan over the WWE Title, and challenged him multiple times for the title but failed to win it from him. Eventually, he won the Intercontinental Title in 1992, and the World Tag Team Titles in 2006, alongside Ric Flair.

3 He Main Evented The First-Ever WWE WrestleMania In 1985

He Teamed Up With Paul Orndorff To Take On Hulk Hogan & Mr. T

  • WrestleMania I was The Inaugural PPV Event Of WWE
  • WrestleMania Went On To Become The Biggest Wrestling Event
  • Headlining WrestleMania Is A Huge Accomplishment, And Piper Created History By Main Eventing The Inaugural Edition

WrestleMania 1 was WWE’s first-ever PPV event in the year 1985. And, interestingly, Roddy Piper found himself in the main event of this historic show. It was a tag team match, where Piper teamed up with Paul Orndorff, to take on the team of Hulk Hogan & Mr. T.

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In the match, Piper & Orndorff were accompanied by Bob Orton, while Hogan & Mr. T were accompanied by Jimmy Snuka. The match might not have been very good in the ring, but seeing the stars collide was itself a spectacle. Piper’s team lost the match, but main eventing the first-ever ‘Mania was a huge achievement for him.

2 He Had A Long Feud With Hulk Hogan During The Golden Era

Their Feud Would Continue In WCW

Hulk Hogan Vs Roddy Piper

  • Their Feud Started In 1984 Over Hulk Hogan’s WWE Title
  • Hogan Won Pretty Much All WWE Matches Between The Two
  • Their Feud Was Among The Best WWE Title Feuds Of The Golden Era

Roddy Piper had many memorable feuds during the Golden Era, with his most memorable one being against Hulk Hogan. Hulk Hogan was the Face of WWE at the time, and Piper was a top heel, which made for a great feud over Hogan’s WWE Championship.

The two men faced each other a number of times, with Hogan winning all the battles. They had a match at The Wrestling Classic 1985, where Hogan won the match by Disqualification. Their feud wouldn’t be settled in WWE, as they continued their rivalry in WCW in the 1990s.

1 He Took A Hiatus From Wrestling In 1987

He Wanted To Become An Actor

Roddy Piper Movie TV

  • He Wrestled A Retirement Match Against Adrian Adonis At WrestleMania 3
  • His Acting Career Didn’t Take Off
  • His Retirement Didn’t Last Long, And He Was Back In WWE By 1989

Many people forget this, but Roddy Piper had actually taken an early retirement in 1987. At WrestleMania 3, Piper defeated Adrian Adonis in a Hair vs. Hair match, in what was supposed to be his retirement match. After ‘Mania, Piper disappeared from WWE.

The reason behind the retirement was Piper’s desire to pursue acting full-time. Piper acted in some films, and one of his movies – They Live would even become a cult movie. However, his acting career didn’t go as expected. Thus, his retirement didn’t last long, and Piper returned to WWE in 1989, as a full-time wrestler.

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