Rowdy Roddy Piper, one of the sport’s most influential athletes, died of cardiac arrest Thursday night.
Piper, who headlined the first WrestleMania, along with Paul Orndorff against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, was considered one of the best professional wrestlers of his time.
He was a key, highly prominent personality from the WWF’s expansion period in 1985. He played the consummate heel to the hero Hulk Hogan, and feuded with Hogan for much of 1985.
Piper was known for cutting some of the best promos in the history of wrestling and was regarded as possibly the best talker in the history of the business. He was able to incite crowds with his tongue, and was among the most hated wrestlers around in 1985.
Piper, however, turned baby face in 1987, in a feud with Adorable Adrian Adonis. Piper is one of the few wrestlers in history to enjoy a run as the company’s top good guy and top bad guy.
Piper also enjoyed a major career in the NWA before joining the WWF, wrestling in classic matches, including a famed “dog collar” match against Greg “The Hammer” Valentine.
Piper burst onto the national scene when he broke a coconut over the head of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, in one of the most famous scenes in early WWF expansion history. The moment sparked one of the greatest rivalries in wrestling history.
More on this breaking news story to come.