This past week we lost another legend. Sadly, Rowdy Roddy Piper passed away at the age of 61. Roddy Piper was notoriously known as one of the best heels to ever grace the wrestling business but most of all he was a family man.
I was lucky enough to see this first hand in New Orleans. Some of you may remember from my WrestleMania 30 editorial that I was on the same flight as Roddy Piper from Philadelphia to New Orleans. The flight was a terrible one, turbulent from taking off to landing. My one saving grace at that time was noticing the Hot Rod was sat up at the front of the plane. It made me feel safe that someone of such stature was on the same plane as me as it felt like we were being thrown through the air.
Upon landing, he was greeted by friends, family and fans at the baggage claim and was such a gentleman to fans who wanted an autograph and a picture. I always remember him embracing his family and friends with heartfelt hugs and strong handshakes which was lovely to see. He looked thankful to be able to spend time with these people and was a far cry from the almost crazy character he portrayed in years gone past.
It was nice to see and in those moments, it makes you realise that these people that we look up to are just the same as us. They can be held in such high regard but in the end they have friends and families as well. Piper’s attitude and presence was that of anybody else and it made it all the more endearing to see him happy. I feel torn that I never approached him, I would have loved to have shaken his hand, but I also didn’t want to interfere in what looked to be a private moment.
Roddy Piper wasn’t someone I grew up idolising in Professional Wrestling purely because it was before my time but he was always someone who you couldn’t help but admire and respect. The way he carried himself on the microphone, you couldn’t take your eyes off him. Someone tweeted a ‘Rowdy’ quote and I think it sums him up perfectly:
“I can’t make you believe what I do is real, but I can sure as hell make you believe I’m real!”
That he certainly did! Roddy Piper was someone who could be the person you wanted to hate, he could be the person you wanted to cheer for but he was never someone in the background. He was simply, the man.
Thank you Rowdy Roddy Piper for all your sacrifices in this crazy world of Professional Wrestling and for inspiring future generations to follow in your footsteps. Gone, but never forgotten.
Did you ever get the chance to meet Rowdy? Let me know on Twitter @BeansOnToastUK, email me at [email protected] or comment below. As some of you may know, I host IWC Radio where this week, we discussed Roddy Piper at length. You can follow the show on Twitter @TheIWCRadio and if you have any questions for the show, please do get in touch.