#WF009 – Rowdy Roddy Piper
Arnold Furious: I am a self confessed mark for Roddy Piper. Not the fat guy who went to WCW and talked the crowd into a coma, but the Roddy Piper who features on this very videotape. Mean-spirited, aggressive, repulsive, hostile, a great orator and one of the finest brawlers and trouble-makers the WWF has ever seen. At his peak Piper was arguably the greatest heel in the history of the WWF if not all of wrestling. This is the third wrestler feature tape following Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, which shows you how high up he was on the food chain. Considering the WWF hardly did any tapes about their heels, to see Piper get his own tape right after the two biggest faces in the company shows his standing.
Piper’s Pit: Andre the Giant
Piper’s first piece of baiting is to make fun of Andre’s lack of intelligence and his questionable English. Piper eventually goes too far by implying he could slam Andre if he felt inclined to do so. Andre tears his shirt off. Piper’s tirade directly into camera to end the segment is indicative of his talent; “you don’t throw rocks at a man with a machine gun” he screams.
Roddy Piper & David Schultz vs. Andre the Giant & Jimmy Snuka
A rare Dr D sighting on home video release. They normally ignore his existence after he slapped reporter John Stossel around. Schultz was a competent wrestler and a decent personality. He’d surely have been one of Hogan’s challengers during the Rock N’ Wrestling era had he not gotten fired. Piper heels it up by totally avoiding contact with Andre until Schultz gets him into trouble. They’re buddies from when Piper used to manage him but Piper remains the brains of the outfit and throws Schultz to the wolves at every opportunity. Piper senses the match doesn’t have enough heat and smashes Andre in the head with brass knucks busting him wide open. It’s the crimson mask! Piper provokes the crowd with his devious assaults and gives Andre such a severe beating, that medics come down to stop the match and remove Andre’s corpse, leaving Snuka to go solo. Piper knows when to start selling like a madman and that time is when Snuka mounts a momentous comeback that sends the MSG crowd over the edge. And just when Snuka looks like Superman, Piper pokes him in the eye. To be an effective heel you have to know when to cut off the comeback and when to sell for the faces. Piper was superb at judging those moments. Andre the Zombified Mummy ambles back down for the real comeback. The bandages hanging off his head makes for an epic visual. The faces blow a spot where Snuka is supposed to get slingshotted over the top and the heels take a powder for the count out. If the finish came off this would have been incredible. As it is, its still solid because of the blood from Andre. In another bizarre piece of officiating the actual result is Piper & Schultz winning on DQ, presumably for double teaming. Again, that would have made more sense if they hadn’t blown the finish.
Final Rating: **¾
Piper’s Pit: Frank Williams
Piper claims he’s never, ever lost and claims Williams lacks that “oomph” and “guts” to win, which is why he’s a jobber. Piper keeps rubbing it in and calls Frank a coward and a lousy wrestler, eventually provoking Williams into attacking him. The result is a beatdown because Frank Williams is a gutless coward, a lousy wrestler and a jobber. Also, he lacks “oomph”. Piper’s signoff into camera; “just when they think they got the answers, I change the questions”.
Piper visits the set of the A-Team TV show to make fun of Mr. T. Piper blames T for ruining a generation of children with his terrible haircut.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Roddy Piper
This was the match broadcast live on MTV as part of the War To Settle The Score, so Piper smashes an electric guitar pre-match. This is so long ago that Bob Orton’s arm injury is a new thing. Hogan has a pop music entourage consisting of Cyndi Lauper, her manager David Wolfe and Lou Albano. He also buddies up to Mr. T at ringside. Hogan and Piper had loads of matches during this era where they’d brawl for ages and no one would ever lose. Hogan blows an early chance to win by dropping an elbow instead of his patented legdrop. I never understood that. If an opponent is lying there set for your finish, why would you do anything else? Its like Savage going up top and hitting a splash with his opponent down. This being a big match, on live TV, Piper gets the sleeper and puts Hogan down for a while before the inevitable comeback. Bob Orton tries to stop Hulkamania early only for Hogan to run his arm into the ring post. He’s an injured man, that’s an outrage! Paul Orndorff runs down to show his indignation and replace ‘Ace’. Ref gets bumped and Orndorff jumps in there to double team. Cyndi Lauper threatens to make the save only for Mr T to jump the rail and help out. Piper jumps him from behind too and Orndorff puts the boots in. But all these shenanigans have given Hogan recovery time. The faces clear the ring out and a hoard of New York’s finest run down to break it all up. ITS PANDELIRIUM! Technically the match was dreadful but it was one hell of an event. If Piper had punched Cyndi off the apron I’d have gone at least three stars.
Final Rating: **½
As a Coliseum exclusive, for the tape release, Piper decides to interview his intellectual equal… himself. I thought he’d switch chairs but they pull a splitscreen with Piper in a suit on one side and in a kilt on the other. He makes several outrageous claims but the most spectacular is claiming no one is better than him, at anything. The cutest bit is Piper reading out a letter from Hulk Hogan’s Mom asking for him to stop beating Hulk up. He goes on to describe himself as “the cat’s ass” who attains women with a bullwhip. “I’m fast and furious… the first time, but the second time I’m long and lean. The third time I’m wonderful”. How on Earth did they get this past Vince McMahon? He goes on: “when I shoot a gun, someone gets pregnant. I got a pregnant horse at home”. He eventually turns on the entire video audience by saying they disgust him and if their wives need help getting pregnant, give him a call. This was madness with Piper on such a bizarre tear with a strong connection to his own material that it felt like he’d cloned himself and there were actually two of him in the room.
Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff Train for WrestleMania
Piper has no time for Gene Okerlund and instead of doing an interview about their training methods they throw him out. And beat up an innocent bystander for good measure. This leads right into Bob Orton getting checked out by a doctor. This is hosted by Vince McMahon in his pink jacket. Dr Stevens talks about Orton’s broken arm and how its healing nicely, thus ruining Orton’s cast angle. So Piper claims he’s got the wrong X-ray. Stevens is a thoroughly boring actor to the point where Piper almost falls asleep. As the doctor tries to explain the injury Piper starts loudly quacking at him. Fantastic finish to a long segment.
Piper’s Pit: Jimmy Snuka
This is a famous one. Piper throws assorted fruit at Snuka and even refers to him as a monkey. That concludes the interview and Piper adds injury to insult by smashing a coconut over his head. I love the way Snuka falls, charging, through the Piper’s Pit set. For such a short segment this has gone down in history as one of the defining moments in both men’s careers and set the bar for interview segments. Snuka’s primal reaction almost justifies Piper’s initial racism.
Tuesday Night Titans
Piper won’t even let Vince talk and he’s interviewing him. Piper says Snuka deserved the coconut, calls himself a “destroyer of legends” and rants loudly before BITCHSLAPPING THE TASTE out of Alfred Hayes’ mouth. I like to think he did that for everyone who’s had to listen to Hayes’ idiotic commentary.
Roddy Piper vs. Jimmy Snuka
In a rare WWF home video appearance; the referee is Lou Thesz. Piper’s approach is a combination of brawling, mockery and cheating much to Thesz’s chagrin. It’s a wild brawl with Piper throwing caution to the wind throughout. Questionable low blows and chair shots included. Snuka gets receipts for everything until Piper throws Thesz in the way of a Snuka forearm. Piper begs off to Lou before stealing his belt and whipping Snuka with it. Thesz decides that’s enough so Piper punches him in the ear. I think this match is no DQ but Thesz resorts to counting Piper out after he runs away anyway. Crazy brawl but as with all Piper matches there’s no finish.
Final Rating: **¾
Piper’s Pit: Roddy Reads a Letter
Piper reads out a letter from Jimmy Snuka’s son, which is really heartfelt and not the total mockery you’d expect. But then he spits on it and throws it away to show how he feels about the situation.
Piper’s Pit: The Tonga Kid
These guys were co-stars in the Dirk Benedict wrestling comedy Body Slam. Which isn’t a bad movie. Certainly no worse than No Holds Barred. Piper acts surprised that the Tonga Kid can speak English but still makes fun of his skirt. In a rare show of sportsmanship Piper gets pissed off and leaves instead of attacking his guest when provoked. It’s not one of the better Piper’s Pit segments as there was no heat and Roddy wasn’t feeling it.
Roddy Piper vs. Tonga Kid
This is an extension of the Snuka feud with Jimmy cornering Tonga Kid and them hoping to get Tonga over by association. He certainly seemed like he had all the tools to be a star. He was fast and exciting in the ring with a similar moveset to an established star like Snuka. Most faces got a tonne of support for just getting in the ring with Piper though and that’s where most of the love comes from in this match. The big clue for the WWF is the fans don’t rally behind Tonga when he’s in trouble. But then he is just a kid. Generally the WWF don’t go for kids because their inexperience looks bad on the company. So most guys only get their WWF push around 30 or so. Tonga Kid is maybe 20 years old here and a 3 year pro at the very most. So he can do bits and pieces. His most obvious crutch is doing dance moves after an early moonwalk gets popped. Piper gets into it with Snuka at ringside and Jimmy can’t contain himself, jumping in the ring for the DQ. Piper and Tonga Kid seemed friendly compared to Piper’s usual feuds and you can see why Tonga Kid never caught on as a face. The Snuka feud was far more heated.
Final Rating: **
Roddy Piper & Bob Orton vs. Jimmy Snuka & Tonga Kid
The heels are game for making Tonga look a threat and selling Snuka as death in Fijian form. Piper struggles against Tonga and is heavily reluctant to face Snuka. Although he doesn’t give Orton the same shitty treatment that Schultz got back in the opening match. The deal with Piper is he never showed any fear when he was wrestling his nemesis’ but he’d tend to avoid fighting them unless he was assured a decent outcome. The heels pick off Tonga for formula but he’s too inexperienced for it to work. His timing on comebacks isn’t right and Piper has to walk him through the process. But he doesn’t even see Piper’s spots coming sometimes and leaves Roddy high and dry. Piper saves Orton from getting pinned and everyone spills in for a melee. Orton needs rescuing again and we get another melee ending in a DQ. That is a long way to go for that finish. Unfortunately that’s how the tape concludes. Hardly fitting considering the mayhem from Piper that had preceded it.
Final Rating: *¾
Summary: Most wrestlers did their talking in the ring but Piper was good enough that he didn’t even need to wrestle to be the most hated man in the WWF. But when he did compete he had the skills to back it up. Certainly the best brawler of his era. The tape doesn’t cover as much ground as you’d hope for, like most of the Coliseum wrestler profiles, but it’s a better tape than a lot of the other releases because of how Piper carries it. He treats his segment on the tape as something special and we, the viewers, benefit.