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 - Steve Petersen

The Northwest always had solid booking.  The most consistent thread running through the storylines was the Playboy dumping a member of his entourage, thus turning them into a mega face.  The first one I remembered was Rose turning Bull Ramos into a face, a thought, which and Mark from Wa. will back me up, was unthinkable in this area.  The Ramos turn was followed by a Jesse Ventura turn, an Adrian Adonis turn,  and a Ron Starr turn.  the hottest, best-drawing, most intense turn was still to come.

Around mid 1979 Rose had a pretty good army backing him.  Watching his back were Killer Tim Brooks and a skinny, cocky, arrogant, yapping human adrenal gland named Roddy Piper.  As a team Piper and Brooks were pure violence. They wore dog collars to the ring, and usually beat their opponents, either during the match or in a post match beat-down, half to death. Piper, according to legend, I have no proof to back this up but I have heard it enough from a variety of sources I am confident that it has some merit, had been blackballed by several promoters, and at a skinny 200 pounds he was probably never given a second thought.  Don Owen and Dutch Savage took a chance on him and teamed him with Rose and Brooks.  Piper back in these days even could cut a promo like no one else.  He even played up his slight build, saying he was a lean, mean, fighting machine man, he also played up his youthful appearance and the fact that he still had bouts with acne, mulling them all together, and in the end like a Seinfeld episode his promos made sense.  By and by, Rose turned on Piper, I think it was during a six man tag with the Kiwis in Seattle when Piper lost a fall although after 20 odd years I am fuzzy on the details.  The greatest face in my era of Portland wrestling was born.

I say the greatest face of my era grudgingly, because to do so I have to put aside my personal favorites like Lonnie Mayne, Dutch Savage, and the great Jimmy Snuka.  This face I saw built from the ground up, and my, how far up it went.  When Piper turned face he was teamed with the French Rocket Ricky Martel.  Martel, as many of you know, was one of the great wrestlers of his era, his promos though were a little, well,  to get to being just bland, he would have to go about three steps up. 

These two complemented each other greatly as a team, what Piper lacked in the ring, Martel made up for, and what Martel was missing Piper added.  It was Buddy and the Kiwis that these two faced, every week, every night for what seemed like forever, some form of this group battled.  If it is the heel who puts the butts in the seats, Buddy and the Kiwis did so here, even if there was a clean finish, Piper and Martel would take a post match whipping.  Piper beat all three of the army in hair matches, Rose sent Martel packing in a loser leaves town, Wiskoski jumped into the fray, once from out of the crowd, and the heat generated in the Sports Arena and throughout the Northwest was palpable, and electric.  To me, this showed the greatness of Rose, he beat Piper in a loser leaves town match, and somehow Piper left a greater, more invincible face, to return over and over again for short periods that always popped the crowds.  More...

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