Piper, right, opting to leave his shirt on during extreme physical exercise. It’s a good look, and suddenly I don’t feel so alone for refusing to go topless in the pool at the YMCA. Hey, if we could all have hairless shoulders the world would be a very different place.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, WWE Hall of Famer and the last person named “Rod” not to go into gay porn, was found dead in his Hollywood home last week. Piper’s death is being reported as natural causes, which may sound unusual considering he was only 61, but in wrestling years that puts him in, like, his early 400s. Those guys have life expectancies that make medieval peasants look like Greek gods.
Technically cast as a villain among the pro wrestling personalities of the World Wrestling Federation (also known as the WWF and later the WWE), Piper’s charisma, over-the-top personality, and boundless energy made him a key pop culture figure. The WWE has named him as the greatest villain in wrestling history.
I’ve discussed my utter confusion about wrestling before, but one area that I’m completely into is the impossibly steep curve of insane stunts that the fans force the wrestling industry to climb as time goes by. Once your headline is that Seth Rollins just beat a man with an actual steel fucking ladder there’s no going back to the fundamentals. The industry could survive another 10,000 years and you’ll never see anyone talk about trying a back to basics approach that really emphasizes holds and good sportsmanship. You’ve crossed a one-way threshold. If you were to travel just five years into the future your brain probably couldn’t even acclimate to how much more psychotic the whole thing will have become in such a relatively brief time. By 2020 you’ll have guys with surgically-altered lizard faces cannonballing through brick walls and ripping out each others’ shoulder blades to use as oars with which to paddle themselves to safety, since it all takes place within a Plexiglass cage that is slowly filling up with hundreds of gallons of the performers’ own HGH-infused sweat. And that’ll be the undercard.
Just, you know… no blood. It really sends the wrong message about violence, and these are family-friendly events.