Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: RIP

WILPW

So when Dusty Rhodes died I was reading his autobiography and I wanted to pay tribute to the guy. While I was agonizing on how to do that, Roddy Piper died and I realized I was overthinking things and I should just pay tribute to both of them. Both of them died young and left a huge mark on the business. Sports entertainment owes both of them a lot of gratitude.

“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes

I think I’ve said before that I was never really a WCW fan because the WWF got its talons into me first. So because of this I never really watched Dusty Rhodes when I was growing up. I was too young to have seen heyday but I heard all about him all the time. Dusty Rhodes brought a truckload of charisma to the business. He wasn’t the best looking performer and he didn’t have a lot of athletic prowess. He was a talker and sometimes a brawler and ended up being a legend on pure heart. I’ve since seen a lot of footage of him and it seems he was never a ring technician but he was dynamite on the mic. Dusty Rhodes embodied the American dream as he was a chubby guy with a significant lisp who became more than a star. He became a legend.

Unlike a lot of aging wrestlers, Dusty knew when to hang up his boots and took a backseat as an on-air authority figure in TNA and later in NXT. He proved himself to be a pretty good judge of talent as he was booker during the rise of many great talents we still respect today. He is also the father of two great performers. Dustin Runnels (aka Goldust) just seems to get faster and stronger as he gets older like some weird pro-wrestling Benjamin Button. His younger son Cody Rhodes has already been discussed at length on this blog.

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper

Unfortunately, Piper was another guy I never got to follow really well. The only match I can remember seeing him in as a kid was the Backlot Brawl with Goldust. I have a hell of a lot of respect for Piper because of how well he marketed himself. He was a heel’s heel because he unleashed his big mouth and temper on anybody foolish enough to get close to him. He stood toe to toe with Hulk Hogan without the impressive physique. He and Hogan (and others) headlined the first Wrestlemania and he fought Mr. T in a boxing match at Wrestlemania 2. He helped to invent the concept of a wrestler having a regular interview segment when he starred in the regular Piper’s Pit segment.

Piper also had a career as an actor. While I can’t say too many good things about his acting career, I can say he was a much better actor than Hogan ever was. He had killer charisma and even when he was a jerk you wanted to hang out with him. He shined the most in They Live, a sci-fi action movie that pitted Piper and Keith David against a secret alien conspiracy. Looking at his IMDB page, he was extremely prolific even if I’ve never heard of most of them. In fact, he’s appearing in seven movies that have yet to be released. Everybody posted clips of They Live to honor Roddy’s passing so I’m sure you’ve seen that. I’ll instead post a trailer of what may have been Piper’s weirdest film role and also the last Piper’s Pit from my homestate.

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