The recently departed Roddy Piper touched a lot of lives in the wrestling business, including that of fellow 80s wrestling supervillain, Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Jake has a way of collecting crazy wrestling stories (being crazy yourself probably helps) and sure enough, Jake’s tale of meeting Piper for the firs time, which he shared with Sports Illustrated, is an eyebrow-raiser. Roberts and Piper became friends in the early-’80s in Jim Crockett’s Mid-Atlantic territory, after being introduced by a “helpful” Greg Valentine…
“Greg Valentine came up to me one day and told me, ‘Roddy loves snakes.’ I thought it was so cool that Roddy liked what I was doing, and I really wanted to meet him. So I got the snake out and tapped Roddy on the shoulder. He turned around and went completely white. He had this briefcase with him, and he reached for it. I asked what he was doing, and he opens up his briefcase and pulls out a 30-millimeter pistol. I said to myself, ‘Holy sh*t.’ Then I turned to my left and saw Valentine going, ‘Hah hah hah.’ But that was not funny to me.”
So yeah, Roddy Piper used to walk around carrying a briefcase with a cartoonishly large gun in it. Gives new meaning to the term “loose cannon.”
Despite their edgy introduction, Roberts and Piper would discover they had a lot in common, and quickly become close friends. Roberts talked about their connection.
“There was something between Roddy and I that I never had with anybody else. A deep, deep connection. I think it’s from a rough upbringing. Roddy went through some tough times when he was young, but he was a fighter. A never-give-up fighter.”
Roberts also praised Piper’s ability in the ring and on the mic.
“I wrestled him a couple of times in Mid-Atlantic, and he was just so easy to work with. We would just go out and did what we do. The next time I saw him was in the WWE, and he was the top dog. Roddy didn’t have the stature, but he was so electric. He was constant motion. He was a fight waiting for you. He was that brawler, that guy who wasn’t going to go down. That’s what was so awesome about him. He was ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, with those bagpipes, and the grit and the grind. If there was ever a working man’s hero, it was him. He was middle class, he had to fight his way up, and he had to fight all the way through.”
Now I can’t stop thinking about what WWF missed out on by never teaming up Roddy Piper and Jake Roberts. I suppose the timing never really worked out, but man, that would have been an amazing team. Ultimately, I suppose they couldn’t do it, because that dynamic duo would have laid Hulkamania to friggin’ ruin. All the more reason to wish it happened.
(Via Sports Illustrated)