Special Tribute: ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Man Behind WWE’s Rise To Prominence

Special Tribute: ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Man Behind WWE’s Rise To Prominence
Photo Credit: xanderhieken via Compfight cc

The beautiful blonde and tanned youngster Michael Hayes was at the verge of beating seasoned campaigner Bill White in Georgia during the 1981 championship wrestling studio show. Bald-headed White was potato sack-shaped. Roddy Piper was the commentator, and he praised White at Hayes’ expense.


He approached the rings, and praised White, as it appeared. In the eventual moves which followed on the mat, Piper subtly helped the “old war-horse,” and he came out victorious.

“He doesn’t know who Bill White is. He doesn’t appreciate how Bill White can wrestle. Hayes made a mistake that you and I don’t make — he underestimated you,” Piper later explained Hayes’ defeat.

Understanding Piper, The Sporting Character: 1954-2015

Piper spoke from experience, and he was to the point. Everyone witnessing the show saw Hayes’ under-estimation of his veteran opponent, and was convinced to do the same. But with Piper involved, one couldn’t speculate anything.

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The White-Hayes duel has been wiped out from popular memory. But it reflects quintessential Piper, the character he was and his place in WWE.

He wasn’t able to escape the shadow of Hulk Hogan, the champion Piper helped turn into a legend. He himself was quite a mainstream star. Hated yet beloved.

What makes Piper memorable?

The persistent feeling that Roddy Piper was a deprived fellow who never got what he actually deserved was a fuel for the persona, which makes him a memorable character.

The fans connected to him even when he did rotten things. He consistently provided the feeling of that “everyman” who hates his own stuff out of self-awareness.

He became unique during 1980’s WWE, when everything was classified into black or white; all good or bad. He played the role of a misfit, which sparked the new generations of anti-hero wrestlers. It also makes Roddy Piper, a hero behind WWE’s national prominence and a memorable wrestler.