Roddy Pipper Talks to Steve Austin About Pulling a Knife on His Teacher, Working w/ Gene LeBell, Constructing His First Promos

Mike Killam

file_186665_4_rowdy roddy piper​Roddy Piper joins WWE Hall of Famer "Stone Cold" Steve Austin on The Steve Austin Show this week. Check out for the entire interview. 

Roddy tells a funny story about his struggles in school, getting kicked out of junior high, pulling a knife on a teacher, breaking-and-entering and more. 

It was in Toronto and I'm trying to go to school. It's gym class and they've got a swimming pool, and they insist that you swim naked. The YMCA at the time insists that you swim naked, and I had a hard time with that. I had started amateur wrestling, and the coach was really getting on my case. I said a few words and all the sudden they were cornering me. I had a knife – I was just really confused; I got really scared. I've never tried to hurt anybody – I'm a bagpipe player. I just didn't understand … I've got about a grade-8 education. I scammed my way through. There was a high school I went to, and I broke into it at night and stole the test. I broke a window and ran through the school, went to where I knew the tests where, ran out and stood in a snow bank. So I take the test home, fill out the test – I come in the next day, and I have the test under my shirt … I came back the next day and the teacher handed out the tests, and it said, 'sorry Rod, wrong test.' 

Piper got his start from a young age, and has a lot of stories in this interview about his first days in the pro wrestling circuit, including training under Leo Garibaldi, Gene LeBell and more. 

The Olympic Auditorium in LA is predominantly Hispanics. So I come in and [Leo Garibaldi] looks at me, and what's going through his head is, "I got a skinny white kid, playing the bagpipes as a babyface. What am I going to do with this kid?" He comes to me and says, "I'm going to give you a big break." I'm in. The guy's name is Java Ruuk. He says, "I want you to in there and don't lay a glove on him. Just let him beat you up," and then he walks away. I got in the ring, got with the program, and he just beat the dog out of me. The next Wednesday TV there was this big campaign for cigarettes – I'm not sure if it was Camel or whatever – and there was a cowboy with a black eye, and it said "I'd rather fight than switch." Leo Garibaldi had a t-shirt for me that said "I'd rather switch than fight" and he made me Java Ruuk's manager. And from there they put a mic in my hand, and I saw an opening. Then a guy named Judo Gene LeBell – I was about 17 – he saw how bad I was getting beat up, and he took me under his wing. 

Steve Austin also asked Piper was the genesis of the classic "Roddy Piper Promo" was: 

At that time I was harboring so much humiliation and anger and rejection. I'd been beat up so many times – one time to the point where I was taken to the hospital and they couldn't figure out who I was. And when I got that mic I just let it out, and it was like therapy. As I went along I started to change the structure of interviews. The Crusher, Billy Graham, Dusty Rhodes – all great – but they'd so "I'm going to rip your rib cage out; tear your eye out" but that never happens. So I started a system where, if I said I was going to do it, I had to try and do it. Otherwise you lose all your credibility.

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