2015 has claimed yet another icon of the squared circle.
According to TMZ, professional wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, born Roderick Toombs, has passed away at the age of 61 at his home in Hollywood from “natural causes.” Piper, who was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2006, stated last November that he was “cancer free.” It’s not clear as of right now how much of a role his condition may have played in his death.
A mainstay of the pro wrestling elite of the 1980′s, Roddy Piper was perhaps the greatest villain character ever faced by then-WWF’s mainstay hero, Hulk Hogan. Along with “Mr. WOnderful” Paul Orndorff, Mr. T, and Hogan, Piper headlined the first WrestleMania event from Madison Square Garden in New York City in March of 1985. Lats year, at WrestleMania XXX from New Orleans, all four men reunited on-camera for the thirtieth anniversary of the WWE’s premiere event. Some of Piper’s most memorable moments include smashing “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka over the head with a coconut during an interview segment, his wars with the likes of Hogan and Mr. T — particularly a boxing match he had with the latter at WrestleMania 2 — as well as his general outspoken demeanor. There were few wrestlers as talented as Piper was on the microphone.
After leaving the WWF in the mid-90′s, Piper joined many of his old WWF co-stars by jumping ship to Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1996. The tables were turned, as Piper joined the organization just as former hero Hogan had become the villainous leader of the New World Order faction, with Piper positioned as the “babyface” (or “good guy”) to go up against him from 1996 into 1997. Piper’s time in WCW also saw him become the company’s on-air commissioner, doling out punishment to the villains and giving fans more chances to witness his classic wit.
After the collapse of WCW in 2001, Piper returned to the now-WWE at WrestleMania XIX in Seattle, by interfering in a match between his old rival Hogan and company chairman Vince McMahon. In 2005, Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and has had sporadic, crowd-pleasing appearances there over the past decade. He was last seen on WWE TV at WrestleMania XXX, and had also appeared as one of the main cast members on the WWE Network’s original series “Legends’ House.”
GeekNation wishes to extend our condolences to Piper’s friends, family, and fans. There won’t be quite another one like the Hot Rod, and he will be truly missed.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Roderick George Toombs
1954 – 2015
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