Next to Mick Foley, Rowdy Roddy Piper is easily my favorite overall wrestler of all time.
As I was growing up, he went from the ultimate heel to the ultimate fan favorite (no small task) and on either side of the fence, the reactions he received were among the loudest anywhere.
Really, apart from Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and The Road Warriors, I can’t recall too many who have received pops as big, every single time they’ve come to the ring. Look no further than the crowd reaction after Piper scrapped with Cyndi Lauper in Madison Square Garden – it’s insane!
Like most WWE-produced biographies, they go all-out in telling as complete a biography as possible. True, if you’ve read Piper’s book, you know the basic story about he rose to prominence and the major events of his career.
Yet, with a nice montage of AWA, Portland, NWA, WWF and WCW clips and a far-reaching group of people commenting on him (in addition to the standard Jim Ross, Ric Flair, Jerry Lawler and Bobby Heenan DVD interviews, you have Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, Jack Brisco, Bob Orton, Paul Orndorff, Hulk Hogan, Greg Valentine, director John Carpenter and others), it provides for a much more balanced account.
The major difference between this version of Piper’s history, besides it being WWE-ized, is that Piper seems a little less senile than he did a few years ago. They even get into his 2003 firing (after he appeared on an HBO interview and talked about drug use and deaths in wrestling), kind of a rarity for WWE to acknowledge when it happened so recently.
A large part of Piper’s appeal was that his character was so cartoonish and over-the-top in interviews that it was amazing he actually could back up his actions in the ring, so to speak. If you look at the dozen or so matches featured here after the main program, none of them could be considered boring. As Piper says himself in the DVD: “When you came to see me, you always got your money’s worth”.
Yet the highlight for me wasn’t the main program or the matches (even though I really dug both): it was the entire DVD full of old Piper’s Pits.
Sure, you’ve probably seen the Jimmy Snuka coconut one and the Frankie Williams incident, but many of these are rarities. You have in-ring confrontations with people like Junkyard Dog, Mr. T and Salvatore Bellomo that have been largely forgotten. Yet all of them remain hilarious and great storytelling at the same time.
Try as I might, I can’t find any fault with this one. I could watch this DVD over and over again, particularly the Piper’s Pit disc. Whether you’re a new fan and don’t understand why Piper was such a big deal, or someone who longs for a decent WWF nostalgia fix, I couldn’t recommend this one enough.
Born to Controversy
the Roddy Piper Story