It’s time to celebrate the legend who smugly proclaimed he was the man who “made Hulk Hogan lose all his hair.”
The WWE Attitude era existed long before it’s rebranding launch in 1997 thanks to a Canadian with a prideful Scottish heritage,”Rowdy” Roddy Piper. As you know as well as I, Hot Rod imprinted his legacy in the sport with not just his wrestling skills, but also with a mouth that slams Jimmy Hart’s famous shit-talking jaws into the turnbuckle corner of shame.
And with those quick-witted puns and illustrious smack-talk, arose one of the greatest segments from the glory days of the WWF- Piper’s Pit. Those Royal Stewart Plaid thin walls that surrounded a shrine dedicated to an (at the time heel) feisty Piper and a single chair, two if Roddy was feeling generous for his guest, became a highlighted segment for the WWE/WWF program through its 1984-1987 run; (with occasional appearances until his death in 2015). Realistically speaking, any one person who makes it their duty to destroy another’s ego while humiliating the ever-loving shit out of them, would be seen as well, a complete douchebag. But, this was Roddy Piper. And somehow, we loved him for it. Even at the height of his heel days in the WWF, Piper with his hilarious insults hurled at both competitors and comrades alike, had us hanging onto his every word. So, of course, we all watched with anticipation once the spotlight centered on the arched entranceway of the Pit of the Piper as we desperately waited to see what pot of fuckery he was going to stew up for the evening’s shenanigans. It was quite a special thing that with much sorrow, we will never see once again.
The king of witty sarcasm and trash-talk in and out of the ring would have celebrated his 69th birthday this 17th day of April. So let’s break out the bagpipes and shove a banana down someone’s throat in honor of the legend as we look back at in no particular order, the very best of Piper’s Pit.
Frank Williams (04-14-1984)
Just when they think they got the answers, I change the questions!
What a sport that Frankie is, eh? Throughout WWE programming, we would see superstars pit against basically unknown or “jobber” wrestlers as filler matches. Frankie Williams was one of those guys, and Piper made a memorable example out of the poor schmuck. Piper jabbers on about how worthless Williams is in the sport and then just kicks the shit out of the guy. While we mostly never remember these jobber wrestlers whose purpose is just that- to lose to the popular roster, we’ll always remember Frankie the Jobber for his stint on Piper’s Pit, as this was the first brawl in the segment. From there on in, all bets were off when you entered Roddy’s house and you better be prepared for a fight to break loose.
Andre the Giant (03-17-1984)
You do not throw rocks at a man who has got a machine gun!
Only Roddy would have the kind of balls to tell Andre what a teenie-weeny brain he has. Even in the face of a legendary giant who basically manhandles him like a ragdoll towards the end of the segment, Piper salvages his man-pride with another memorable one-liner making this entry too hilarious to ever forget.
Brother Love and Morton Downey Jr. (04-02-1989)
Was there ever a time when Brother Love didn’t look like a mullet-loving lobster in heat?
Piper had been long gone from the arena to focus on his acting career however, he made a glorious return to center stage for Wrestlemania V and another stint for Piper’s Pit. He also spread the word around to anyone else slightly even entertaining the idea that anyone other than the Rowdy One could host Piper’s Pit. After embarrassing Brother Love and forcing him to retreat back to the locker rooms, Piper set his sights on chain-smoking celebrity Morton Downey Jr. Who just couldn’t manage to play nice, and further antagonize Piper with his cigarette smoke. Common knowledge: If you purposely try and fuck with Roddy, you’re gonna have a bad time, mmk?
Hulk Hogan, Andre, and Bobby Heenan (02-07-1987)
Man did Piper know how to sell a story or what?!
The use of Piper’s Pit set the stage for one of the greatest matches and torch passes in Wrestlemania history between the Immortal One and The Giant. Andre debuted his shocking heel turn and alliance with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan during the confrontation with Hogan on Piper’s Pit. This, in turn, leads to Hogan begging and pleading with his old friend as to why on Earth he would sink so low as to garner the services of a “weasel”. Andre’s response? Ripping the shirt and chain crucifix clean off Hogan’s backside adds injury to insult. Piper may have let his guests do most of the talking in this edition, but I gotta give credit to the guy for planting the seeds of one of the most memorable matches in Wrestling history. So, for historical purposes, this had to be included.
Cyndi Lauper and Captain Lou Albano (06-16-1984)
Time after time, this remains a goddamn classic.
The infamous Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Connection all began with the introduction of pop sensation Cyndi Lauper and thus was born a glorious matrimony of wrestling and music. Lauper appeared on Piper’s Pit quite a few times throughout her stint at the WWF, but this segment in particular where she gets super pissed at her buddy Lou and attacks Piper after stirring up some drama remains an essential part of the Roddy-Lauper feud.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin (04-03-05)
For the first time since Wrestlemania V, Piper’s Pit was back to kick some rattlesnake ass with special guest Steve Austin. The two biggest shit-talkers in WWE history were about to come face to face with what basically seemed like, a dick-measuring contest. They slap each other a little and exchange a few insults until they’re rudely interrupted and we get a full dose of a proper Piper’s Pit. Also, gotta love how Roddy questions the crowd like they’re dingbats with that stupid chant. Almost 20 years after the first Pit segment, some things still haven’t changed.
Mr. T (03-17-1985)
The first Wrestlemania should have just been billed, “Starring Roddy Piper and supporting cast Hogan and Mr. T.”
The thing that made this Pit so great, was that Piper and T genuinely HATED each other. The real-life heat and mutual disdain the pair had for one another made for a great pre-game to the road to the very first Wrestlemania event. The little jabs Piper takes at the A-Team star with his remarks about ex-lax, the Mohawk wig, and Piper showing off his artistic skills make for one of the most memorable, and hilarious entries in the Pit roster.
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka (06-26-1984)
One coconut… Two coconuts… Four coconuts… and history made.
Listen, we all knew this was an obvious choice to be made here, and considering the now-known Snuka’s very disturbing past, I’m glad Piper cracked his dome with them coconuts and rammed bananas down his throat. Roddy just demoralizes the shit out of the then-popular superstar in such a way that has never been matched in all the years of the segment. Years later, Piper told the Wrestling Hut that he smacked him so hard with the tree fruit that Snuka’s eyes legit rolled back and he had thought he killed the guy. The coconut incident has become Wrestling lore at its finest, still fondly remembered and spoken of ‘to this day. That just doesn’t make them like this anymore.
And try your damnedest future athletes, but there will never be a legend like Roddy Piper in the squared circle again. Happy Birthday, Roddy wherever you are but if I were to guess, you’re probably slapping around the Warrior and Heenan in the afterlife.