Kayfabe, Lies and Alibis: Roddy Piper Shoot Interview WWF 1984

Hosted by Sean Oliver and the Kayfabe Commentaries crew

Piper relates his late 70’s Madison Square Garden appearance.

Piper starts to ramble on about promoter Roy Shire spitting chaw and Jay York meditating and Sean Oliver tries to rein him in. It didn’t take too long for Roddy to go off the rails.

Roddy was teaming with Killer Brooks in Portland and Killer came to see him off to the WWWF but Piper got scared and bailed on his planned booking in MSG. He went 3 weeks later when he regained his courage.

Freddie Blassie and Lou Albano greeted him at MSG.

Hot Rod describes MSG then as “24,000 Puerto Ricans with knives”.

Roddy had his bag pipes tampered with and he was embarrassed by his instrument’s failure to play in front of the packed house. He figured out Fred Blassie had clogged the pipes with tissues.

Piper entered the WWF as a manager in 1984. Sgt. Slaughter gave Vince Sr. the recommendation to scoop Roddy up after they worked together in the Mid-Atlantic.

Jim Crockett was called by Vince Sr. and the WWF got his permission to take Piper.

The Hot Scot says the 1980 Shea Stadium show headlined by Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko drew 500K in tickets and JCP badly wanted their own supercard to draw in that manner and thus Starrcade was born.

Rick Martel lived with Hulk Hogan for a while and Rick tried to get Hogan and Piper together to bond. Martel and Piper had been roommates and teammates previously.

“The War to Settle the Score”: Roddy says since Hogan was champion and they had rematches planned, Piper didn’t feel he should lose clean and thus he didn’t.

Piper has heard Hogan rag him in some interviews and Piper realizes that there is no honor among thieves so it doesn’t bother him too much.

Hot Rod goes over all the announcers he worked with like Marty O’Neil, Gordon Solie and others. Mean Gene was super smooth and able to handle comedy, seriousness, promoting and anything else you’d need.

Mean Gene, Hogan and Roddy all came in on the same WWF taping and Roddy thinks Hogan and Gene’s years together in the AWA made for great instant chemistry.

David Schultz was far from the protégé Piper would have chosen to be paired with, but Roddy made due.

Iron Sheik’s rumored bribe by Verne Gagne to break Hogan’s leg and jump to the AWA is discussed. Piper suspects that there must be some truth to it, even if it was said in a less than serious manner.

Piper wanted promoters to just let him get himself over and don’t try and tweak his gimmick.

Promos became more important than the in ring product for Piper.

Vince gave Roddy “Piper’s Pit” while discussing business in a bar. Hot Rod was hung over the next day when he showed up at TV and saw he had a set already and he freaked out a bit.

The Pit was improv and he barely knew ahead of time who was coming out to be interviewed.

Piper refused to work WWF shows in Portland out of respect for promoter Don Owen, who made Roddy a star. This is part of why Piper feels he has the rep of being hard to work with.

Mr. T was goofing around too much for Piper’s taste and Piper decided that T was going to be trouble right away.

Don Muraco was one of the best on the mic.

Adrian Adonis was an orphan and Piper figures that’s why he was such a tough guy.

Piper, Adonis, Muraco and Bob Orton Jr. got drunk and ended up getting in a bar fight. They drove off and managed to get their car jammed on a train track. A train came through but happened to be on another lane. They left the car on the tracks and somebody stole it. A massive squad of cops charged in their hotel later and tazed Orton. He no sold the “attack”. Piper ended up getting arrested for vagrancy.

Piper worked in Texas in the early 70’s and rotated territories within the state.

The Von Erich boys drank with Piper as they were all teenagers then.

Kerry and Piper shared a hotel once in the WWF and accidentally got locked on a balcony while smoking pot. Mr. Perfect and Big Bossman saved the day. Piper gets sad when he recalls that he’s the only one left alive out of that group.

Roddy claims President Jimmy Carter made his whole cabinet stand at attention and say the Pledge of Allegiance when Slaughter was on TV. The timeline doesn’t fit for that story.

Hot Rod would drive alone and create promos while drinking beer. He kept a notepad and edited his own lines until he found some that clicked.

Piper wouldn’t use any promos he didn’t create himself. Even today he doesn’t take direction.

The WWF started to sign the wrestlers to merchandising contracts. Piper says he was the last hold out and figures he was getting screwed since a lot of merchandise paid a flat rate to all the guys and Piper was the hottest act in the business and should have earned more.

Sean asks about “Tuesday Night Titans” and Piper says he didn’t want to say too much since he still has an old school worldview.

Andre the Giant liked working with Piper. The massive drinking binges they undertook wore Roddy out.

Mad Dog Vachon was part of Andre’s clique so Vachon liked Piper too.

Andre bladed for Piper in MSG to pay Roddy back for putting him over so often.

Sean asks about Pat Patterson’s homosexuality. Piper says Patterson doesn’t like him and it stems from the 70’s in Los Angeles. Roddy says he was cute when he was younger and he implies Pat made a pass at him.

Piper puts over Patterson’s mind for the business and says Pat helped put together the Piper/Lawler King of the Ring 1994 PPV match.

Lord Alfred Hayes would chase Piper with his enormous penis and Ken Ramsey would masturbate in front of Piper.

Promoter Bob Geigel distracted Piper one time and Roddy was forced to stand there and pay attention while “something” ended up being put in his hand. After a lengthy talk, Piper was able to turn around and discover Lord Alfred Hayes’ penis in his palm.

My word, Roddy! What’s that you’ve got there?!?

 (photo courtesy obsessedwithwrestling.com)

Hot Rod told Vince that the WWF should stand for “World Wide Faggots”.

Roddy stopped using the dressing rooms because the ribbing became so rampant.

Horst Hoffman and Geoff Portz were talking about banging underage girls in the AWA locker room one night. Larry Hennig told them to quit talking about shit like that and Portz got mouthy. Hennig delivered a lightning fast eyepoke and Portz went down. Roddy stole the eyepoke and used it as part of his repertoire.

The infamous Frankie Williams edition of Piper’s Pit is discussed. It was improvisation like usual. Piper broke wrestling’s rules by burying his “opponent” in a promo and Williams was legit pissed by Roddy’s verbal attack during the bit.

The Williams interview was the moment Vince Jr. decided to run with Roddy as a top guy.

Piper listened to guys do promos for years where they boasted threats that never came true since they were hyperbole. Roddy made sure anything he said in a promo could actually be backed up.

Paul Orndorff attacked a group of fans at a house show. An 8-year-old boy and 81-year-old man were injured.

The Mr. T angle was casually pitched to Piper as he passed booker George Scott on the way to the latrine. Piper says as long as he was getting paid he didn’t care.

The locker room was divided by ethnic groups and age in the mid 80’s. Piper got along with everyone since he wasn’t a stooge.

Vince Sr. died in May of 84. He was a very honest guy. Vince Jr. and Sr. along with Jim Barnett tried to hold a meeting with talent. George Steele smarted off to Vince Jr. and embarrassed him. Piper saw this as an opening for the talent to bust down the promoters a little bit but Tony Atlas stood up and asked an ignorant question and allowed Vince to use that to remind the talent that Vince is the brains and they are the labor. Muraco was pissed and called Atlas “a stupid n______”.

Roddy talks about Atlas’ fetish for having women stomp on his face.

Lord Al Hayes taught Roddy literature, music, grammar, manners and other life lessons. Hayes never swore as his only vice was an affinity for young girls.

The Tuesday Night Titans skits that Roddy was involved in were only loosely planned out.

The Richter/Moolah screw job from the following year is covered. Piper says Wendi was ignorant to how dark the underbelly of the business could be.

Moolah and Bulldog Bob Brown once stripped Piper down to his underwear while driving to an arena. Just another rib.

Jesse Ventura tried to start a union prior to Wrestlemania 2. Hogan ratted him out. Ventura was the shits in the ring.

Roddy gets psychological as he gets his game face on to show how he had to get wound up for battle. Piper says Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali were both great but Ali’s spirit was what took him to the next level. Some wrestlers have this same spirit and they bring it into their ring performance.

Piper had a confrontation with Mid-Atlantic booker’s George Scott’s kid – Piper ended up accidentally rolling out of a car with Jack Brisco (whose leg was in a cast) and his car ran into the kid’s. A court case followed and Piper took full blame since he felt indebted to Scott for giving him a good push.

The Freebirds entered the WWF for a brief run. Piper says Michael Hayes is a “snake”. Roddy doesn’t clarify but he doesn’t approve of Hayes’ political machinations.

Piper told off Hayes when Hayes tried to initiate Piper into the Freebirds “club” where they would piss on guys while in the shower as a “rib”.

Hot Rod says he gave Brutus Beefcake his barber gimmick because Roddy knew that cutting Adonis’ sweaty hair at Wrestlemania 3 wouldn’t work so well and thus be volunteered Beefcake to do it to avoid looking silly on the grand stage.

JYD’s overness in Mid-South is discussed. Ted Dibiase told Piper about having to fight just to make it to the ring to wrestle JYD. Piper says JYD was a great human being but a really shitty worker.

Piper explains how the road will own you. Lots of drugs were used in the WWF to keep up with the expansion schedule.

Stu Hart told Piper that they were cousins. Roddy visited the Dungeon but he wouldn’t work the Stampede territory because the money wasn’t worth it.

Piper was confronted by 3 thugs in an alley. Roddy started to walk slow and they realized that Hot Rod may have been setting them up and they bailed. Roddy says he could never back down – he’d even chase down fans that stabbed him.

Simon Dean aka Super Nova worked some house shows with Piper doing Piper Pit’s segments. Dean suggested some ideas to Piper and Roddy saw this as disrespectful and the boys took all of Dean’s belongings and soaked them in the shower. Piper takes credit for Dean being shunted out of the WWE soon after.

David Sammartino had a great work ethic but trying to follow his famous dad was never going to work. Bruno and Vince often butted heads and that also helped seal David’s fate.

Heenan told jokes constantly in the locker room and on the road.

Piper figured out if he jobbed to Hogan it would hurt his profile – especially since the WWF was airing one of their matches on MTV.

After Wrestlemania, Hogan and T were whisked off to parties and Piper wasn’t even a provided a ride back to his hotel.

Vince didn’t want Piper to leave at Wrestlemania 3 and tried to woo him to stay by offering a potential title run. Piper says he got over without a title, so that was hardly an incentive.

Piper discusses a mole in the AWA that was sent by the WWF. He won’t say who, but he’s probably indicating Blackjack Lanza, as other shoots have revealed Lanza as a double agent.

Johnny Valentine taught Piper that he needed to make people believe that his matches are real…even if everybody else’s were baloney.

Roddy didn’t mind all the other interview segments that popped up over the years.

Bob Orton Jr. was picked as Roddy’s bodyguard because of Bob’s real life toughness.

Piper wouldn’t argue if you were to say he was the greatest heel of all time.

Tonga Kid headlined MSG at the age of 19 against Piper. Roddy says he had to babysit Tonga step by step and the Kid wasn’t too bright.

Piper had real fans that he would interview on Piper’s Pit at house shows. Piper loved going tit for tat with a live audience.

Hot Rod claims that his attack on David Wolff and Cyndi Lauper at MSG was done on the fly and his slamming Wolff and kicking Lauper wasn’t planned.

David Schultz was going to do a unplanned run in and attack Mr.T in order to inject himself into the main event angle. The police were able to subdue him. This led to Schultz being fired.

Final thoughts:

This was a long interview with an engaging participant, capable of keeping your attention as the hours rolled on. Roddy did lose his train of thought frequently but Sean Oliver was able to keep him mostly on the tracks. A lot of information was a repeat of other stories I’ve heard and some was probably just plain made up, but nonetheless hearing Roddy tell the tales is a pleasure!


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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