In Part 1 of our exclusive interview with Roddy Piper, the legendary Hot Rod talked about the secret behind Piper’s Pit, his status as a cult film star, his son Colt’s wrestling and MMA career, and inciting riots around the world.
In Part 2, Piper answers more questions from the WrestleNewz readers, talking about his tumultuous relationship with Vince McMahon, his short stint in TNA Wrestling, and how he believes he could contribute to a Rock-Cena rematch.
Sara, from Delaware: What is the status of your “WWE Legends” deal? Who calls the shots?
Roddy Piper: I’m very grateful for that Legends contract, nostalgia contract, whatever you call it. We can kind of go and say hi when we want to. At the same time, you know, I think you can overdo yourself, and there’s a time when you need to step aside and pass the torch a little bit. So I don’t know that making continuous appearances is necessary. As long as I can handle it, it’s cool, but I have to be the first one to speak up and say that if my performance isn’t good enough, then I shouldn’t be there. But it’s pretty darn cool.
Roddy Piper: I love Vince! Vince and I are very much alike, and we fight all the time. But that’s a healthy relationship. At the very first WrestleMania, I crossed a lot of boundaries. Vince had everything on the line. He put his house up, and I wasn’t going to back off from Mr. T or anybody else. And that mentality still carries over a little bit today. It’s pretty cool.
WrestleNewz: So when you fight with Vince, who wins?
Roddy Piper: Oh, man. Let’s see. Sometimes I clobber him! We get mad at each other, and man, I’m the first to admit I’ve been wrong many times. You know what? When we fight I don’t think anybody wins, because the fans get cheated.
WrestleNewz: How so?
Roddy Piper: Look at The Rock and Cena before last WrestleMania. I was the first wrestler ever to star in a major motion picture that became the number-one box office hit the weekend it came out, They Live. It’s competition was U2 Rattle & Hum. The WWE didn’t like me doing that film. That’s what started the rift. And Hollywood didn’t like me coming either because they thought ‘Oh, here comes another jock who thinks he can act.’ Now, bring it back to the last WrestleMania. The WWE has produced The Rock, John Cena, and Roddy Piper — all made from wrestling, all have done major motion pictures. They took a road that I had chopped down for them, which was really difficult. To not put all three of them in a Piper’s Pit together — to not have a Piper’s Pit with those guys going into WrestleMania — it’s cheating the fans. It’s not about my ego, it’s not about Vince’s ego, it’s about the people. You’re cheating them if you don’t give them that package. It’s not about money, it’s about taking care of the fans. I don’t know who wouldn’t want to see that piece of business. Baby Jesus!
If they do a rematch between John Cena and The Rock this year, and you don’t put it in Piper’s Pit at some point on Raw, man. I was told that for the last Piper’s Pit on Raw, just for that segment, a half-million more people tuned in. And I don’t think it was even announced who was going to be on the Pit. But if you announced that there was going to be a Piper’s Pit with The Rock and John Cena, I mean, Baby Jesus! It would be a great piece of business all around. This is the first time I’ve said anything about it. And don’t script nothing — just let it roll! It would get a number, wouldn’t it champ?
Marshall Ward, Canada: On a 1989 Wrestling Challenge, you wrestled a very quick match against Barry Horowitz, then kissed an attractive woman in the ring who wasn’t impressed with the kiss she got from Rick Rude. Rather than your usual blue trunks you wore bright red bicycle shorts. What was the deal with that?
Roddy Piper: Yeah, I do remember that! (laughs). Real simple: I lost my trunks! I think it was Mr. Perfect I got them from. I was like, ‘gimme those red trunks, I’m gonna kiss that girl.’ (cellphone breaks up: “I live on a mountain!”). Rick Rude used to wear these spandex trunks with a girl painted on the back of them. I guess at the last second I saw these red trunks and said ‘Give me those godawful things.’ I figured, hey, kiss the girls and make them cry. I don’t think I knew who the girl was. I think I was just coming back from filming They Live. I think Rick Rude was being featured, and that was just my way of making fun of Rick Rude and, at the same time, kissing one of his girls. I was like: “She’s mine now! She’s coming home with the Hot Rod!”
Will Barkley, From Minnesota: You’ve worked for TNA in the past. What are your memories of working there, and how did it compare to working for WWE?
Roddy Piper: This might be an interesting one. I went to TNA after I got fired. I did Real Sports with Bryant Gumble on HBO, and because I did that I got fired. I did an interview in TNA that people were confused by. What people don’t realize is that I don’t always do interviews that are about that period of time. Sometimes I’ll do interviews about the future. After I had just got fired for sticking up for the boys on HBO Sports, I went to TNA and they were expecting me to rattle McMahon and the WWF, WWE whatever it was. What I said was “I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell right now, hope you can’t tell, stick around a while and you’ll see a whole different side of me.” Well, that interview was done for the future — it wasn’t done for that moment. People were going, ‘what’s he talking about?’ I got a lot of criticism from people saying “He’s just rambling” and “he doesn’t know what he’s talking about anymore.” But sometimes I like that, because it was for the future, and what I was planning for the future. It wasn’t for that moment. The TNA people in that moment, of course, wanted me to come with a vengeful attack. But to be quite frank, I’m smarter than that.
When you have a career as long as mine, you have to keep evolving. So it was a statement of evolution. I knew they didn’t understand that, and I knew even before I said it that they wouldn’t. Maybe now they’ll look back at it and understand it now. See, I was sick around that time. It was something that was never really figured out. But my tummy, within just 20 or 30 seconds, would get really bloated. It happened the whole time I was in WCW. I was sick every morning, throwing up, and I was having a hard time. In essence, I was kind of fighting for my life around that time. When you do as many interviews as I have, sometimes you don’t do them for the present — you do them for the future.
Justin, South Carolina: You’ve had so many great catch phrases. Which ones do you think were the best, and how did you come up with them?
Roddy Piper: Oh man, holy smokes. I improv just about everything I do. How do I come up with them? Those phrases usually match exactly what’s going on in that moment. I did one with Frankie Williams in the Pit. I said some things you weren’t supposed to say. And I really laid into him, and said “Every time you think you’ve got all the answers, I change the questions.” I think Frankie Williams was, like, the first guest on Piper’s Pit. I literally didn’t know what I’d say until my first question to him was: “Where are you from?” And Frankie Williams, who was the only Puerto Rican I ever knew who had freckles, said in the thickest Puerto Rican accent: “I’m-a from-a Columbus, Ohiooo.” I thought well, we’re off and running. Then I had to go to a place that I shouldn’t have, which was: “Well, you’re a lousy wrestler and you haven’t won a match.” That was wrong to say in that period. But I had changed the rules in that moment. So that’s when I said “Everytime you think you’ve got all the answers, I change the questions.” It’s a good line. It works!
Marshall Ward, Canada: I once saw a wild brawl between you and Invader I in Puerto Rico around 1984, that ended with the outdoor crowd going absolutely nuts with you standing in the middle of the ring wearing a pig hat. What was the deal with the pig hat, and can you talk about what it was like wrestling Puerto Rico?
Roddy Piper: (Laughs) Interesting question! (Laughs again). Man, they had riots there. I loved Puerto Rico, and I had no problem with riots. I incite them. The pig hat is a very inside joke between Sgt. Slaughter and myself. In the book that I wrote, there’s actually a picture of this for reference. Ole Anderson was booker at the time. Ole Anderson — I have a lot of respect for him, but had a reputation as a bully. I learned a great amount of psychology from Ole Anderson, and I give him a lot of credit for bringing me a large step forward in my career. He bullied around so much, but he couldn’t bully me — I wouldn’t allow it. Anyway, he’s got this mole over his eye — I think it’s his left eye — and so I nicknamed him pigface. If you look in my book, Sgt. Slaughter and I both have a pig hat on, and it’s in reference to Ole Anderson’s nickname, Pigface, which is why I wore the hat.
Wade, from Alabama: I loved your song “For Everybody” from the Wrestling Album. I only learned in the past few months that that was a cover of a more vulgar song. How did that song come about, and what was it like performing on those albums?
Roddy Piper: Wow. That was a very radical time in my career. Maybe two years before that I had been stabbed for the third time before that and it came within an inch of my heart. After I got stabbed, I kicked Cyndi Lauper, I slapped Mr. T — I was breaking every rule there was to break, and I was hard to handle. They were doing Land of a Thousand Dances, and they wanted me to do a single. My attitude at that time was, well, you know, “For Everybody.”
WrestleNewz: But instead of “For,” a different f-word?
Roddy Piper: Exactly. But that was really the only lyric I changed in it. When we were doing the song, in the chorus there were a few other people, I think I even tried to put a cuss in there. Haha. David Wolfe, who was managing Cyndi Lauper, got Scott Shannon — a big DJ in New York, on Z100 maybe. But half way through the song he recognized what it was and ripped it off and said “That damn Piper!” When you listen to those lyrics, they fit. I was really mean and aggressive at that time. And it kind of summed me up. For everybody, man. If you don’t like it, you can kiss my trash.
Barry, Sacramento: What are your thoughts on The Rock’s part-time return, and do you have any memories of The Rock before he was a star?
Roddy Piper: On the 1000th episode of Raw, I had this idea to get a white t-shirt and get everybody I saw to sign it, and he was there. I don’t really know the guy, but I went up to him and said “Could you sign my shirt?” And he kinda looked at me and he says: “You know, I’ve got to tell you — you were my hero when I was a boy.” He’s a class man. When I first did They Live, I wanted to go down that Hollywood road, but there was a black cloud over wrestling and I couldn’t sustain it. But he has picked it up and done an unbelievable thing with it. I’m proud to be his boyhood hero, and really impressed with what he’s done.
WrestleNewz: Of all the questions we’ve asked in this interview, which was your favorite?
Roddy Piper: I really liked the pig hat one. I mean, who calls their booker a pigface and wears a pig hat? I dug that question a lot.
WrestleNewz: Thanks a million, Roddy.
Roddy Piper: Thank you for thinking of me. All my best to you and everyone there. Love you all.