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 - Steve Petersen  

In 1979 a yapping adrenal gland of a wrestler debuted in the PNW. Not only was he loud, brash, belligerent and arrogant, the guy wore a dog collar and a kilt. On first impression, there was a lot to hate about Roddy Piper, odds that he would become one of the most loved wrestlers in the area would have been very long indeed.

Roddy Piper bowed as a member, with Bad News (Killer) Brooks as a member of the Buddy Rose army. My memory is fuzzy and strained but this may have been the first incarnation of the army. Roddy was the first heel I remember ever rooting for. I still hated Rose and Brooks but there was something about Roddy that made you like him. Roddy was a great interview. Roddy pointed out all the flaws of the babyfaces that I noticed, and for whatever reason I really got a big charge out of that. Not to mention Roddy was so cocky. At the time Roddy was kind of skinny, he also was chalk white and had pimples, to hear him call himself a lean mean machine was very funny, but it also worked for him because in the ring as a brawler, he could give and take a great beating.

The Rowdy one had his greatest moments in the PNW as a face. When Piper first turned it was a little odd because at the beginning of the turn he was still cutting heel promos, although he was cutting them against Rose, which made him a face. The microphone was of course Roddy's bread and butter and he used it to talk people into the arenas. Roddy was very over but what put him over the top was the teaming of him with Rick Martel. Martel was a GREAT wrestler, young girls screamed and swooned like he was a rock star but on the stick he was just not very good, or very spontaneous. Roddy, while more then passable in the ring, was no Rick Martel so they both really complimented each other as they waged war against Buddy Rose and the Kiwi Sheepherders, Luke Williams and Butch Miller variety. This feud built slowly at first, each and every week Rose and the Sheepherders would jump Piper or Martel until Rick and Roddy decided to team up. Then for weeks they would jump both of them in a three on two situation always challenging the faces to a hair match. By the end of the program which ended up with the Sheepherders turning face, all three heels had lost their hair. Piper and Martel were over like rock stars. When Piper would leave the locker room the arena would literally shake the camera and one could barely hear the announcer over the commotion.

What was unique was that even though Piper LOST a loser leaves town he continued to stay over whenever he decided to return. One of the reasons, IMO why Piper stayed over was that it was obvious he had a great affection for the area, and it was where he chose to live. Piper also maintained a close relationship with promoter Don Owen. In fact whenever someone, be it a reporter, the TV station, another wrestler, a promotion, did Owen wrong Piper would show up on TV and give them a piece of his mind. It was always obvious that Piper was sincere when he did so, and sincere in his love for the PNW which makes him to this day a top draw in the area, supposedly the rumor of him at a bookstore and 1,000 people showed up, so the man has still got it. Roddy, thanks for the memories, and may you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows you're dead,

NEXT MONTH

The Trials of Billy Jack

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