by: S. Scott Stanikmas
“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
Today is a sad day. Roderick Toombs, better known to the world as pro wrestler and movie star “Rowdy” Roddy Piper has passed away today due to an apparent cardiac arrest. The WWE Hall of Famer was 61.
Piper was best known for his quick wit and rugged in-ring style. He was a great babyface (good guy in wrestling terms) but he was an even better heel. The silver-tongued wrestler created a character based on his Scottish heritage and was usually seen sporting a kilt in the ring.
He started wrestling in promotions across the U.S., garnering experience in the AWA in the Midwest, the NWA on the west coast and in Georgia Championship Wrestling and Mid-Atlantic in the southeast during the 70s and 80s.
Soon Piper was lured to Vince McMahon’s WWF in the mid-80s and was an integral part of the Rock and Wrestling movement, which saw pro wrestling move more into the mainstream. Piper was involved in classic feuds with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and many others. He even drew the ire of pop singer Cyndi Lauper.
Roddy Piper soon turned his eye to the acting world, often getting parts in some rather questionable films. A lot of Piper’s work was C-level or worse, but the Rowdy Scot was always entertaining. I’ll never forget his greatest role, as Nada in John Carpenter’s sci-fi classic They Live.
Piper never really left either world for too long. He wrestled well into the 2000s, when he should have been retired and working as a backstage agent. He took various acting jobs too, doing on-offs on TV shows and random movies here and there.
I was a huge fan of the “Hot Rod” and really enjoyed what he did, both in and out of the ring. I’ve barely scratched the surface of what he accomplished in his life in my writings here. Needless to say, I’m just really sad today.
Rest in Peace, Rowdy One. You’ve earned it.
I’m devastated by the passing of my friend Roddy Piper. Great wrestler, underrated actor, dear friend. Rest in peace, Rod.
— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) July 31, 2015
RIP legend. I first met this wrestling icon when I was 12yrs old when he was wrestling my pops the WWE. For weeks and weeks after that meeting I would have my mom set up a video camera in the kitchen as I would “become” Hot Rod and mimmic and emulate his every word, style, swag, heat, cool cockiness and all delivered with his classic smile (and my awful 12yr old afro).He was a huge influence on me as a kid and an even bigger one when I became The Rock in the WWE. Thank you Roddy for all the talks, all the stories (especially the crazy ones about my grandfather and grandmother😂) all the advice and most importantly.. all the memories of you entertaining us fans. You’re missed my friend. Heaven just got a lil’ rowdier… Rest in love ~ DJ #JustWhenTheyThinkTheyHaveAllTheAnswers #HotRodChangesTheQuestions
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on Jul 31, 2015 at 4:36pm PDT