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Roddy Piper

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Roddy Piper

Roddy Piper
Piper in 2009
Birth name Roderick George Toombs
Born (1954-04-17)April 17, 1954
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died July 31, 2015(2015-07-31) (aged 61)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Cause of death Cardiopulmonary arrest
Spouse(s) Kitty Toombs (m. 1982; until his death in 2015)
Children 4
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Roddy Piper[1]
The Canadian
The Masked Canadian[2][3]
Piper Machine
Billed height 6 ft 2 in[1]
Billed weight 230 lb (104 kg)[1]
Billed from Glasgow, Scotland[1]
Trained by Gene LeBell
Leo Garibaldi
Tony Condello
Joe Fiorino
Debut 1969[4]

Roderick George "Roddy" Toombs (April 17, 1954 – July 31, 2015),[5] better known by his ring name "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, was a Canadian professional wrestler, actor, and podcast host.

In professional wrestling, Piper is best known to international audiences for his work with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, later WWE) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) between 1984 and 2000. Although he was Canadian, because of his Scottish heritage he was billed as coming from Glasgow and was known for his signature kilt and bagpipe entrance music. He earned the nicknames "Rowdy" and "Hot Rod" by displaying his trademark "Scottish" rage, spontaneity, and quick wit. Industry veteran Ric Flair hailed Piper as "the most gifted entertainer in the history of professional wrestling".[6]

One of the most recognizable pro wrestling stars worldwide,[7] Piper headlined numerous pay-per-view cards, including the WWF and WCW's respective premier annual events, WrestleMania and Starrcade. He accumulated 34 championships in various promotions during an in-ring career spanning 42 years. Piper's most notable rivals included Greg Valentine, Adrian Adonis, and Hulk Hogan, with the feud against Hogan also involving "Captain" Lou Albano and singer Cyndi Lauper, considered the beginning of Rock 'n' Wrestling.[8] He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 and was named as the top villain in wrestling history by WWE.[9][10][11]

Outside of pro wrestling, Piper acted in dozens of films and TV shows, including the lead role of John Nada in the 1988 cult classic, They Live.[12]


  • Early life 1
  • Professional wrestling career 2
    • Early career and training 2.1
    • National Wrestling Alliance (1975–1980) 2.2
    • Georgia Championship Wrestling and Mid-Atlantic (1980–1983) 2.3
    • World Wrestling Federation 2.4
      • Piper's Pit (1984–1987) 2.4.1
      • Intercontinental Champion (1989–1992) 2.4.2
      • Various appearances (1994–1996) 2.4.3
    • World Championship Wrestling (1996–2000) 2.5
    • Return to WWE (2003) 2.6
    • Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2003–2005) 2.7
    • Second return to WWE (2005–2015) 2.8
    • Independent circuit (2005–2015) 2.9
    • Legacy 2.10
  • Other media 3
    • Music videos 3.1
    • Acting and hosting 3.2
    • Voice acting 3.3
  • Personal life 4
  • Death 5
  • In wrestling 6
  • Championships and accomplishments 7
    • Luchas de Apuestas record 7.1
  • Filmography 8
    • Film 8.1
    • Television 8.2
    • Online streaming 8.3
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Early life

Toombs was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on April 17, 1954,[2][13] and was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He attended Windsor Park Collegiate. His father was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police while they lived in The Pas, Manitoba.[14] After being expelled from junior high for having a switchblade in school,[15] and having a falling out with his father, Piper hit the road and stayed in youth hostels.[13] He picked up odd jobs at local gyms running errands for several professional wrestlers. As a young man he became proficient in playing the bagpipes, though he repeatedly stated that he was unsure exactly where he picked them up.[16] His childhood (and lifelong) best friend is ex-NHL player and Stanley Cup winner Cam Connor.[17]

Professional wrestling career

Early career and training

Piper was a boxer and an amateur wrestler before he started to become a professional wrestler. He won the Golden Gloves boxing championship. He was awarded a Black Belt in Judo from Gene LeBell, American Judo champion, instructor, stuntman, and professional wrestler.[16]

Roddy started wrestling under the care of promoter Al Tomko in Canada, his first match involving 'midget wrestlers' in front of a lumberjack audience in Larry Hennig in the American Wrestling Association.[16] Friends of his played the bag-pipes during his entrance while he was handing out dandelions and then the ring-announcer introduced him as "Roddy, uh, the, uh, Piper", thus giving birth to "Roddy Piper" and the name stuck.[16] From 1973 to 1975, Piper was a jobber in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), NWA Central States territory surrounding Kansas City, and in the Maritimes.[18] He also worked in Texas for Paul Boesch's NWA Houston Wrestling promotion,[18] and in Dallas for Fritz Von Erich's Big Time Rasslin.[13]

National Wrestling Alliance (1975–1980)

By late 1975 and early 1976, Piper was a top villain for Mike and Gene LeBell's NWA Hollywood Wrestling. In 1977–78, he also started to work for Roy Shire's NWA San Francisco Wrestling in addition to remaining with the Los Angeles office, where Piper developed his Rowdy character. During this time, he made continuous insults directed at the area's Mexican community; he later promised to amend by playing the Mexican national anthem on his bagpipes only to anger the fans further by playing "La Cucaracha" instead.[19] Piper also managed a stable of wrestlers in California.[20]

In the Los Angeles area, Piper feuded with Chavo Guerrero Sr.,[21] and his father Gory Guerrero. Piper and Chavo Guerrero faced each other in several matches for the Jules Strongbow Memorial Scientific Trophy. Piper also defeated Chavo for the Americas Heavyweight Title.[21] During the feud, Piper lost a hair match and had his head shaved.[22] Piper appeared in several loser leave town matches and was forced to leave the territory.[22][23] He also appeared in the territory as The Masked Canadian. In his first televised match as The Masked Canadian, Piper teamed with Chavo in a match against Black Gordman and Goliath for the Americas Tag Team Championship. Piper and Guerrero lost the match and faced each other two days later, with Piper defeating Guerrero for the Americas Heavyweight Championship.[22] Piper wrestled as The Masked Canadian for several months until he was unmasked by Hector Guerrero.[22]

By late 1978-early 1979, Piper left the California promotions for even more fame in Don Owen’s Pacific Northwest Territory.[21] He teamed with Killer Tim Brooks and Rick Martel to win the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship.[21] Piper also won the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship with victories over both Lord Jonathan Boyd and "Playboy" Buddy Rose.[21]

Georgia Championship Wrestling and Mid-Atlantic (1980–1983)

In the late 1970s, Piper ventured to the [24]

In 1982, Piper was fired because of showing up late for a match.[13] He went to Puerto Rico for a month and was booked by Jim Crockett Promotions. As a fan favorite, Piper feuded with Sgt. Slaughter, Ric Flair, and Greg Valentine. Piper's feud with Valentine culminated in a dog collar match at the first Starrcade.[21] Valentine broke Piper's left eardrum during the match with the collar's chain, causing Piper to permanently lose 50–75% percent of his hearing.[21][25][26]

World Wrestling Federation

Before entering the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) full-time in 1984, Piper had a match with the WWF under Vince McMahon, Sr. in the mid-1970s at Madison Square Garden. Freddie Blassie stuffed Piper's bagpipes with toilet paper, so they would not play in front of the Garden crowd.[16]

Piper's Pit (1984–1987)

In 1983, WWF owner Vince McMahon contacted Piper, who insisted on serving out his contract with Jim Crockett. On his way out of Crockett's promotion his character became a villain, which set the stage for his WWF run in 1984. Piper debuted in the WWF as a manager because of injuries he suffered during dog collar match at Starrcade, he managed "Dr. D" David Schultz and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, eventually Piper's run as a manager quietly ended and Piper started wrestling full time. Later that year, he was given his own interview segment called Piper's Pit. During one Piper's Pit, Piper insulted Jimmy Snuka's Polynesian heritage and attacked Snuka by smashing him over the head with a coconut.[21][27] Piper also insulted Bruno Sammartino during a Piper's Pit segment,[27] which led to a feud that ended in a steel cage match which Piper lost.[28][29]

Piper's next major storyline was with Hulk Hogan and also involved pop singer Cyndi Lauper.[21] In 1985, MTV broadcast The War to Settle the Score, which featured a main-event match between Piper and Hogan, who was accompanied to the ring by Lauper, Captain Lou Albano, and Mr. T.[21] This event set up the very first WrestleMania, which pitted Paul Orndorff and his former manager Piper against Hogan and Mr. T.[21] Orndorff was pinned by Hogan when Piper's bodyguard "Cowboy" Bob Orton interfered and mistakenly struck Orndorff instead of Hogan. In Born to Controversy, Piper recalled how during the match he had to keep Mr. T busy to cover Mr. T's lack of wrestling ability from being seen by the fans. From this situation, Piper and Mr. T's real-life relationship became hostile, leading to the inevitable conclusion that they be put into a feud with one another on-screen. Piper faced Mr. T in a boxing match at WrestleMania 2 in 1986, which Piper lost by disqualification after bodyslamming Mr. T.[3]

Following a leave of absence from the WWF, Piper returned during a TV taping of WWF Superstars on August 23, 1986 against A.J. Petrucci. As part of the storyline, the returning Piper was distressed to find his Piper's Pit segment replaced by The Flower Shop, a segment hosted by Adrian Adonis, who had also hired Piper's former bodyguard Orton.[21] Piper spent weeks crashing Adonis' show and trading insults, leading to a "showdown" between the two segments that ended with Piper being assaulted and humiliated by Adonis, Orton, and Don Muraco, resulting in Pipers face turn. In response, Piper stormed the set of Adonis' show and destroyed it with a baseball bat. This led to their Hair vs. Hair match at WrestleMania III, which was billed as Piper's retirement match from wrestling before he left to become an actor full-time.[21] Piper won the match with the assistance of Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake.[21]

Intercontinental Champion (1989–1992)

In 1989, Piper returned from a two-year hiatus with a live Piper's Pit at WrestleMania V, where he hosed down a smoking Morton Downey, Jr. with a fire extinguisher.[27] After this, Piper began co-hosting Prime Time Wrestling with Gorilla Monsoon, feuding with Bobby Heenan, "Ravishing" Rick Rude, and Brother Love.[21] Piper returned to the ring when he interfered in Rude's Intercontinental Championship defense against The Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam, costing Rude the title. The feud finally came to an end when Piper defeated Rude in a match where the stipulation stated that if Piper won, Heenan would have to dress as Santa Claus for an episode of Prime Time. Piper also wrestled Bad News Brown at WrestleMania VI in 1990, which was famous for Piper cutting a promo before the match with half his face and body painted black.[27][30]

In 1991, he supported Virgil in his feud against "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and was present at their matches at WrestleMania VII and SummerSlam. He also renewed his feud with Ric Flair and at the 1992 Royal Rumble defeated The Mountie for his first, and only, Intercontinental Championship.[21] He lost it soon after to Bret Hart at WrestleMania VIII.[31] Following his title loss to Hart, Piper disappeared from the WWF. He made his return playing the bagpipes at SummerSlam.[32]

Various appearances (1994–1996)

He reemerged in 1994 at WrestleMania X as guest referee for the WWF Championship match between Bret Hart and Yokozuna.[33] During the match, commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler remarked that he hated Piper and continued to taunt Piper on his King's Court segment on Monday Night Raw, eventually culminating with Lawler bringing out a young, skinny impersonator in a Piper T-shirt and kilt and forcing him to kiss his feet.[34] Enraged, Piper agreed to wrestle Lawler at the King of the Ring, where Piper emerged victorious. Piper wrestled as a fan favorite, and adding to the face attitude by donating part of his purse from the fight with Lawler to a children's hospital in Ontario.[34] In spring 1994, Piper began hosting a segment on All-American Wrestling called "The Bottom Line" where he commented on various happenings in the WWF.[35]

Leaving the WWF again, he soon returned in 1995 at WrestleMania XI, once again in a referee capacity, for the submission-only match between Hart and Bob Backlund.[36] In 1996, Piper was named as interim WWF President.[37] As president, Piper had become the object of affection for Goldust. Enraged, Piper claimed he would "make a man" out of Goldust at WrestleMania XII.[38] The match, dubbed a "Hollywood Backlot Brawl", began in an alleyway behind the Arrowhead Pond, but Goldust jumped into his gold Cadillac and ran Piper over, ultimately escaping (allegedly) onto the highways of Anaheim. Piper pursued in his white Ford Bronco, which when viewed from aerial footage looked similar to the O. J. Simpson "low-speed" chase from two years prior. The two eventually returned to the arena, where Piper disrobed Goldust in the ring, effectively ending the confrontation. With Gorilla Monsoon back in control of the WWF by the end of the night, Piper once again left the company.[39]

World Championship Wrestling (1996–2000)

Later in 1996, Piper joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He appeared at Halloween Havoc to insult Hollywood Hogan. Piper and Hogan wrestled in a non-title match in the main event of Starrcade, WCW's biggest pay-per-view event of the year.[21] Piper defeated Hogan with a sleeper hold.[39] Piper faced Hogan in a title match at SuperBrawl VII, but was defeated.[21] During the spring of 1997, Piper joined forces with Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen in their battle with the nWo.[21] Shortly thereafter, Piper and Flair feuded before Piper disappeared from the scene. Piper briefly returned in October 1997 to defeat Hogan once again in a steel cage match at Halloween Havoc.[40]

In early 1998, Piper returned to feud with Hogan, Savage, and Bret Hart. In early 1999, Piper had a short run as United States Champion, became WCW Commissioner, and resumed his feud with Flair over control of WCW. In late 1999, Piper was featured on WCW television, in an angle with Vince Russo, who was now portraying himself as the "Powers That Be" (an unseen power that was controlling WCW). At Starrcade, Piper was the special referee in the WCW title match featuring Goldberg and Hart. Forced by Russo, Piper called for the bell when Hart locked in the Sharpshooter on Goldberg, when it was apparent that Goldberg had not submitted.[41] The feud between Piper and the Powers That Be ended shortly after. Piper's last appearance in WCW was at SuperBrawl in February 2000 where he was a surprise referee in the title match between Sid Vicious, Jeff Jarrett and Scott Hall. In July 2000, WCW terminated Piper's contract.[42]

Before going to the WWE in 2003, Piper served as the commissioner of the Xcitement Wrestling Federation (XWF).[21][43] In November 2002, Piper's autobiography, In the Pit with Piper: Roddy Gets Rowdy, was released.[44]

Return to WWE (2003)

Piper returned to WWE on March 30, 2003, by conducting a surprise run in during the Hulk Hogan-Vince McMahon match at WrestleMania XIX in Seattle, Washington, where he attacked Hogan with a steel pipe to cement his heel status; Hogan nevertheless eventually won the match.[45][46] Piper went on to align with Sean O'Haire; at Backlash in April, Rikishi hit Piper with Piper's own coconut, but this led to O'Haire defeating Rikishi.[47]

In May, as Hulk Hogan had been banned in storyline from television by Vince McMahon, Hogan returned under a mask as Mr. America, and continued his feud with Piper, O'Haire and McMahon, who tried to reveal Mr. America's true identity. This storyline also saw Piper tear off the fake leg of one-legged wrestler Zach Gowen, who was playing a Hogan fan. At Judgment Day, Piper argued with Chris Jericho if Piper's Pit was better than Jericho's talk show The Highlight Reel. Later at the event, Piper lost to Mr. America.[48]

Piper and O'Haire then moved on to challenge Tajiri and Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but in June 2003, WWE stopped employing Piper after a controversial interview with HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in which Piper discussed the darker side of the wrestling industry.[49] WWE cited that "Piper stated that he used drugs for many years while working in professional wrestling and that he does not like the person that he becomes when he actively performs as a professional wrestler", and dismissed Piper because of "inability to reach agreement on a contract and to assist Piper from engaging in any self-destructive behavior".[48][50] On his 2006 DVD, Piper claimed that HBO took parts of his interviews out of context to make wrestling look worse.[51]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2003–2005)

Piper debuted for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) promotion on September 17, 2003, at an NWA-TNA pay-per-view, where he questioned whether he was really a drug addict (despite having admitted so on television) and started a feud with Vince Russo.[52] In November 2004 at Victory Road, he hosted In the Pit with Piper and interviewed Jimmy Snuka, who refused to accede to Piper's demands of hitting Piper with a coconut.[53] On the December 24, 2004 episode of Impact, Piper hosted another In The Pit with Piper and interviewed Hector Garza but was interrupted by Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. At Final Resolution in January 2005, Piper refereed a match between Jeff Hardy and Scott Hall, helping Hardy win.[54]

Second return to WWE (2005–2015)

On February 21, 2005, it was announced that Piper was to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.[55] Piper held an episode of Piper's Pit at WrestleMania 21 where he interviewed Stone Cold Steve Austin.[21] On the July 11, 2005 episode of Raw, Piper received a superkick from Shawn Michaels, the guest for Piper's Pit.[55] In October and November 2005, Piper feuded with Cowboy Bob Orton and Randy Orton, after they attacked him during a session of Piper's Pit with Mick Foley. While Piper defeated both Ortons in a handicap match and submitted Bob in a six-man tag match, the feud ended with Randy interfering in a singles match between Piper and Bob, disqualifying Bob, but beating down Piper.[55][56][57]

Piper in 2006.

Piper returned to Raw on September 11, 2006 for a six-man tag team match win with The Highlanders against the Spirit Squad. He also appeared on the Raw Family Reunion, along with Money Inc. and Arn Anderson to accompany Ric Flair ringside for a match against Mitch of the Spirit Squad. On November 5, Piper won the World Tag Team Championship with Flair from The Spirit Squad at Cyber Sunday.[58] On the November 13, 2006 episode of Raw, Piper and Flair lost the title to Rated-RKO.[59]

In 2007, Piper appeared in February to announce Dusty Rhodes for the WWE Hall of Fame, and also in June for Vince McMahon Appreciation Night.[60] In 2008, Piper made a surprise appearance in the Royal Rumble match by attacking Jimmy Snuka, but was eliminated by Kane.[61] Piper then had a series of confrontations with Santino Marella in 2008, including on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[62][63]

Piper with Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka before their match with Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXV in 2009.

On the February 16, 2009 episode of Raw, after Chris Jericho insulted WWE legends, Piper interrupted him and was attacked by Jericho for it.[64] The feud culminated in Jericho defeating Piper, Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania XXV in a handicap match.[65]

At WrestleMania XXVII, Piper made a cameo by hitting Zack Ryder with a coconut.[66] On the June 13, 2011 episode of Raw, The Miz and later Alex Riley were guests on Piper's Pit; this led to Piper defeating Miz in a match (to win $5000) because of help from Riley, the guest referee; this was Piper's last documented WWE match.[67] John Cena was a guest for Piper's Pit on the November 28, 2011 episode of Raw.[68]

On the April 10, 2012 episode of SmackDown, Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee were guest of Piper's Pit.[69] On the June 18 episode of Raw, Piper reunited with Cyndi Lauper.[70] At Raw 1000, Piper and various other veterans helped Lita defeat Heath Slater.[71] On the August 13, 2012 episode of Raw, Chris Jericho was the guest for Piper's Pit, but Dolph Ziggler and the Miz interrupted.[72]

On the January 6, 2014 episode of Raw, The Shield were guests for Piper's Pit.[73] On the March 31, 2014 episode of Raw, Piper hosted Piper's Pit with superstars who would compete in the André the Giant 31-man memorial battle royal, which ended in a brawl with Big Show clearing the ring and Piper raising his hand. At WrestleMania XXX, the four men who wrestled in the main event of WrestleMania I—Piper, Paul Orndorff, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T—buried the hatchet in a backstage segment.[74] On the December 22, 2014 episode of Raw, Rusev and Lana were guests for Piper's Pit.[75]

In early July 2015, Ric Flair said Piper lost his WWE Legends contract with the company because of a public feud with Steve Austin[76] which resulted in Piper leaving PodcastOne. Piper later apologized to Austin.[77]

Independent circuit (2005–2015)

In February 2005 at WrestleReunion, Piper teamed with Jimmy Valiant and Jimmy Snuka against Colonel DeBeers, "Cowboy" Bob Orton, and "Playboy" Buddy Rose. On January 29, 2011, Piper made his debut for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) during the WrestleReunion 5 weekend, defeating nineteen other men, last eliminating Terry Funk, to win the Legends Battle Royal.[78][79]

Piper's last documented match occurred on August 12, 2011, at the JCW Legends and Icons event. What was originally a match for Piper against Terry Funk was altered mid-match to a tag match between Piper and Cowboy Bob Orton against Funk and Mick Foley, which Piper's team won.[80]

In 2012, Piper, along with Don Coss,[81] created Portland Wrestling Uncut, a revival of the original Portland Wrestling, with new and old wrestlers combined.[82] Playing prominently in the show are Piper and Coss as announcers, The Grappler (Len Denton) as a manager,[83] guest appearances by the like of Matt Borne (among others), rewind segments that show partial matches from the original Portland Wrestling (owned by Don and Barry Owen),[84] and Piper's son, Colt Toombs.[83]


Piper is considered one of the greatest talkers and heels in wrestling history. Piper's Pit interview segments were considered innovative, especially in an atmosphere where only the people like the world champion got to talk, and the wrestlers were the interviewees—never the interviewers. Many of the people on Piper's Pit never got to be world champion, but were main eventers. According to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, he could just leave Piper in a room and return twenty minutes later with Piper having done a class-A promo.[85] WWE named him the greatest villain in wrestling history.[9][10][11]

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter described Piper as "one of the key figures in the growth of WWF. In particular, he helped power the success of the first WrestleMania: the most important show in company history".[86]

Mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey was nicknamed "Rowdy" by her friends, however she initially rejected using it professionally feeling it would be disrespectful to Piper. After being introduced to him through Gene LeBell, Piper gave her his approval to use the nickname. On the day of his death, she dedicated her next day's UFC 190 title match with Bethe Correia to him. After quickly winning it, she noted him first in her post-fight interview.[87]

Other media

Music videos

In the 1980s, Piper also appeared in singer Cyndi Lauper's music video for the song "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough".[88] He also appeared as a guest VJ on MTV in 1988.[89]

In 1992, he also released a UK only single and music video for his song, "I'm Your Man".[89] The single came with the B-side, "Judy Come Back".[90]

Acting and hosting wrote, "During and after his wrestling days, Piper racked up dozens of film and TV credits, starring in numerous action B-movies and later doing voice work".[91] The most famous of Piper's acting exploits was in the 1988 science fiction film They Live, directed by John Carpenter,[92] which spawned the catchphrase Piper came up with—"I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubble gum."[93]—as well as the long fight scene over sunglasses against Keith David which took three weeks to rehearse. The line and the fight scene have since been parodied in Duke Nukem, South Park and Adventure Time.[91][94][95] Entertainment Weekly wrote that Piper's role in They Live made him a "cult icon" and "some kind of legend".[94] Rolling Stone wrote that Piper "had a memorable career as an cult actor", citing They Live and the 1987 film Hell Comes to Frogtown.[27][94]

Piper was a guest on a 1985 Saturday Night Live episode, tormenting hosts Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, and appeared as a special guest on MADtv along with Bret Hart. In the early 1990s, Piper made guest-star appearances on two episodes of The New Zorro on The Family Channel. In 1991, Tag Team, a television film about two ex-professional wrestlers turned police officers, starred Piper and Jesse "The Body" Ventura.[27] Piper appeared as a wrestler loosely based on himself in an episode called "Crusader" from Walker, Texas Ranger. Piper also appeared in an episode of The Outer Limits series.[96]

Piper was the host of ITV's Celebrity Wrestling in the United Kingdom.[97] Piper also appeared on RoboCop: The Series.[98]

Piper appeared in It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia,[27] as professional wrestler named "Da' Maniac" during season 5 and this role in season 9. Although the character was a parody of Mickey Rourke's role in The Wrestler, Piper had previously endorsed The Wrestler and Rourke's performance during an appearance with Rourke on Jimmy Kimmel Live.[99]

He appeared as Mr. Thurgood in the low-budget film The Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens in 2008 and its sequel Billy Owens and the Secret of the Runes in 2010. On March 14, 2010, Piper appeared in "One Fall", an episode in CBS's Cold Case, playing a wrestler named Sweet Sil. In September 2010, Piper appeared in a video, fighting against childhood obesity in a PSA parody. The clip included him using wrestling moves on children eating junk food and the parents who feed junk food to their kids.[100]

In 2012, Piper appeared on a Season 4 episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories, in which he conveyed a story of being visited by the ghost of Adrian Adonis. In May 2013, Piper appeared in "Barry's Angels"—episode 12 of the fourth season of the A&E reality show, Storage Warsin which he appraised a set of Scottish kilts purchased by Barry Weiss. In June 2013, Piper appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap, where he swapped wives with Ric Flair.[101]

Piper appeared as himself in the video game Saints Row IV.[102] He also played himself as the protagonist in the 2013 film Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies.[103] In April 2014, Piper appeared as a regular cast member on the WWE Network original reality show Legends' House. He also started a podcast; Piper's Pit with Roddy Piper, in association with PodcastOne.[104][105] In 2015, Piper starred in the independent film Portal to Hell.[106]

Voice acting

In 2006, Roddy Piper ventured into the realm of voice acting, providing the voice of himself in "Metal Militia"[107]—an episode of Cartoon Network's animated series Robot Chicken[108]—and the voice of The Pyro Messiah in the Night Traveler multimedia adventure series produced by Lunar Moth Entertainment.[109] He also did the voice of Bolphunga in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.[110]

Personal life

Piper and his wife Kitty, who he had been married to since 1982, lived in Portland, Oregon.[111]

On November 27, 2006, it was announced on that Piper had Hodgkin's lymphoma; he finished radiation therapy on January 15, 2007.[112] This was also confirmed on Piper's official website, where he posted messages of thanks to all his fans and stated that, had the fans not chosen him as Ric Flair's partner at Cyber Sunday, he would not have been taken to the hospital and diagnosed as having his disease in time.[49]

In November 2008, a video spread around the internet showing Piper smoking cannabis and taking a hit from a bong in front of a crowd cheering him on, although he later acknowledged his use of medicinal marijuana "to alleviate the symptoms associated with cancer".[113] This was reiterated on a blog from Jim Ross.[114]

His great-great grandfather was Robert Toombs, the first Confederate States Secretary of State.[115]


On July 31, 2015, Piper died in his sleep at the age of 61, in his home in Hollywood, California. His death certificate attributes this to cardiopulmonary arrest caused by hypertension, listing a pulmonary embolism as a contributing factor; TMZ reported this as a heart attack caused by the embolism.[8][116][117] Piper is survived by his wife, Kitty, their four children and four grandchildren.[8]

News of his death broke minutes before the Hall of Heroes dinner to cap off the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends FanFest in Charlotte, North Carolina, where about 600 current and former wrestling personalities and fans had gathered. He received a ten-bell salute after the planned salute to fellow former professional wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, who had died in June 2015.[118] Another ten-bell salute was given at the beginning of the August 3, 2015, episode of Raw.[119]

Vince McMahon, the CEO of WWE, also made a statement, commenting that: "Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family."[116] Hollywood director John Carpenter also said: "Devastated to hear the news of my friend Roddy Piper’s passing today. He was a great wrestler, a masterful entertainer and a good friend."[116]

In an HBO Real Sports interview conducted by Piper in 2003, he had predicted that he was "not going to make 65" because of his poor health, and that he made his 2003 return to WWE because he could not access his pension fund until reaching the age of 65.[120]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

Luchas de Apuestas record

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
Roddy Piper (hair) Adrian Adonis (hair) Pontiac, Michigan WrestleMania III March 29, 1987
Roddy Piper ($5,000) The Miz ($5,000) Long Island, New York Raw June 13, 2011 Special referee: Alex Riley



Year Title Role Notes ref
1978 The One and Only Leatherneck Joe Grady Uncredited
1986 Body Slam Quick Rick Roberts First lead role [142]
1988 Hell Comes to Frogtown Sam Hell Lead role [142]
They Live John Nada Lead role [142]
1989 Buy & Cell Cowboy Supporting role
1991 Tagteam Rick McDonald Lead role
1992 Immortal Combat John Keller Lead role
1993 Back In Action Frank Rossi Lead role
1994 No Contest Ice Supporting role [142]
Tough & Deadly Elmo Freech Lead role
1995 Jungleground Lt. Jacob 'Jake' Cornell Lead role [142]
1996 Terminal Rush Bartel Lead role [142]
Marked Man Frank Gibson Lead role
Sci-Fighters Det. Cameron Grayson Lead role [142]
1997 First Encounter Unknown Lead role
Dead Tides Mick Leddy Lead role [142]
The Bad Pack Dash Simms Lead role
1998 Hard Time Randy Supporting role
Last To Surrender Nick Ford Lead role
1999 Legless Larry & the Lipstick Lady Legless Larry Lead role
Shepherd Miles
2000 Jack of Hearts Detective Deeks Supporting role
2005 Three Wise Guys Pastor Roberts Supporting role
Honor LT Tyrell 3rd lead [142]
2006 Domestic Import Bronco Bill Also known as Nanny Insanity [142]
Costa Chica: Confession of an Exorcist Lucas McMurter Also known as Legion: The Final Exorcism [142]
Shut Up and Shoot! Yokum The Bartender Supporting role
Night Traveler The Pyro Messiah (voice) Supporting role
Blind Eye Fred Mears Lead role [142]
2007 Urban Legends: The Ghosts of Goldfield Jackson Smith Fourth film in the Urban Legend (film) franchise. [142]
Super Sweet 16: The Movie Mitch
2008 Legion: The Final Exorcism Unknown [142]
2009 The Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens William Thurgood Lead role [142]
A Gothic Tale Narrator
2010 The Portal Homeless George
Lights Out Detective Callahan Lead role
Billy Owens and the Secret of the Runes William Thurgood [142]
Alien Opponent Father Melluzzo Lead role
2011 Clear Lake Wayne Lead role
Pizza Man Roderick
Fancypants Smiley Lead role
2013 Black Dynamite Teaches a Hard Way! Himself Guest role
Pro Wrestlers vs Zombies Himself Lead role [143][144]
2014 Don't Look Back Grandfather Eddie Starks [145][146]
Forthcoming Medusa Det. Mulligan


Year Title Role Notes ref
1987 The Highwayman Preacher Episode: "Pilot" (S 1:Ep 1) [147][148]
1989 The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! Himself Guest Appearance [149]
1990 The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage Maurice Steiger TV Reunion Movie [150]
1998 Walker Texas Ranger The Crusader Episode: Crusader
1999 The Outer Limits Marlon Episode: "Small Friends" (S 5:Ep 3 [151]
Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends Himself Episode: "Wrestling" (S 2:Ep 6) [142]
1993 Highlander Immortal Anthony Gallen Episode: "Epitaph for Tommy" (S 2:Ep 10) [152]
2006 Robot Chicken Himself Episode: "Metal Militia" (S 2:Ep 9)
2009 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Da' Maniac Episode: "The Gang Wrestles for the Troops" (S 5:Ep 7) [27][153][154]
2010 Cold Case "Sweet" Sil Tavern Episode: "One Fall" (S 7:Ep 16) [142]
2012 Breaking In Mr. Weller Episode: "The Contra Club" (S 2:Ep 1) [155]
2013 Storage Wars Himself Episode: "Barry's Angels" (S 4:Ep 11) [142]
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Da' Maniac Episode: "Mac and Dennis Buy a Timeshare" (S 9:Ep 4) [142]
2014 Adventure Time Don John (voice) Episode: "The Red Throne" (S 5:Ep 47)

Online streaming

Year Title Role Notes ref
2014–2015 Piper's Pit Himself Podcast, with PodcastOne from April 2014 to July 2015, two last episodes on SoundCloud. [156]
2015 Table For 3 Himself
  • Three WWE personalities share stories over dinner.
  • Last appearance in WWE.
  • Aired posthumously on August 6, 2015.


  1. ^ The NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship is no longer recognized or sanctioned by the National Wrestling Alliance.[22]
  2. ^ Martel vacated the title after losing a loser-leaves-town match, and Piper chose Popovich as a replacement partner.[22][132]


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External links

  • Official website
  • Roddy Piper at the Internet Movie Database
  • WWE Hall of Fame Profile of Roddy Piper
  • Roddy Piper in Slam! Canadian Wrestling Hall of Fame
  • Roddy Piper Slam! Wrestling Career Archive
  • Roddy Piper (Aveleyman)
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