He hailed from Glasgow, Scotland and spent most of his early years in Canada. Roddy Piper brought to the Ring a toughness and ability to irritate his opponents and the fans that have set a standard by which others are compared.
Roderick Toombs was the son of a tough Canadian policeman and this toughness passed down to him. After repeated disagreements with his father, young Roderick left his family's house at age 12 living wherever he could for the next three years. Having become a noted young boxer and amateur wrestler, he was offered $25.00 by a Canadian promoter to appear in a match and he accepted. The 15 year old was defeated by former world champion Larry "the Axe" Hennig in ten seconds. Rather than be discouraged by the defeat, he foresaw his future - and it was in wrestling.
As Roddy Piper he moved to the Pacific Northwest promotion and then moved down to Los Angeles where he won the NWA Americas title and the Los Angeles Battle Royal in 1976. He next held one half of the NWA Americas tag team title and the NWA US title in 1978. In 1981 Piper took on Ric Flair and defeated him for the NWA US title and then defeated Ricky Steamboat for the NWA Mid-Atlantic belt later in the year. In 1983 he regained the NWA US title in a legendary dog-collar match against Greg "the Hammer" Valentine. Having found success throughout the NWA regions, Piper moved to the Northeast in 1984 to join the WWF. He became an immediate success as the top heel in the promotion. While many credit Hulk Hogan for bRinging about the huge resurgence in popularity of professional wrestling (and rightly so) it is important to remember that without the villainry brought to the Ring by Piper, Hogan would never had been in a position to be the conqueRing hero. Pipers challenge to Hogan and actor Mr. T. would bRing about the most important event in WWF history to that point - Wrestlemania I. Although the match ended in a disqualification, it brought mainstream attention to professional wrestling and allowed the WWF to flex its muscle and become the major contender to the NWA.
Piper was quite capable as a ring performer but where he excelled (and exceeded) was in front of a microphone. Piper was the most obnoxious, irritating and offensive heel ever to set foot in the WWF and through his Piper's Fit interview segment could be counted on to the into motion most of the major storylines for the WWF. His speaking ability gave him the impetus to move in another direction - that of a movie star. Piper obtained numerous roles in movies, the most well-known of which was "They Live." Piper gained wide praise for his role and would gain on to play in more than 15 other movies, one of those rare wrestlers who were able to crossover to the "real" acting world.
Rowdy Roddy Piper has become a standard-bearer for heel wrestlers, transformation boring interview and promo segments into an artform and in doing so has gained the love and respect of even those he spent so long insulting.
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He takes readers back to his life as a teenage runaway and his first match, when he stepped into the ring for $25. He recalls his triumph as the youngest World Light Heavyweight Champion, and how he helped make the World Wrestling Federation the phenomenon it is today with little more than a microphone stand and a bow tie.
From a man who
joined the game long before it emerged as big-time entertainment comes
a story that tells it like it is-and that's filled with as much excitement
as the jam-packed arenas where he fought his fiercest foes.