Last year, I recapped the trials and tribulations of Roddy Piper’s entrance into WCW. The good, the bad, and the ugly. There were moments when he had me in the palm of his hand, believing that he was the baddest man on the planet, and the only guy we could trust. There were moments where I couldn’t stand another second of him being shoved down my throat. And there were moments of some of the purest, most unintentionally hilarious television in history.
And it’s that last part, for which I’ll always remember Roddy Piper.
A lot of people will cite the coconut to the head of Jimmy Snuka, his emotional Intercontinental title win, or any of his legendary battles with Hulk Hogan. Those iconic moments are important, they’re historical. But I’m a horse of a different color. I thrive on the utterly ridiculous. And Roddy Piper was a gold mine.
During his initial WCW run, I got to witness:
· A VHS tape, delivered to Tony Schiavone by an obviously crazy person, which in turn Tony decided we HAD to watch immediately – despite the fact anything could be on the tape. On the tape … was Roddy Piper singing “I’m Your Man”, which somehow translated to Starrcade 1996.
· Taking the WCW audience, play by play, for a job he once did for Mr. T, a decade earlier.
· Roddy Piper being stretchered out of an arena while screaming in tongues.
· Mr. and Mrs. Murray – WCW’s geriatric Gaelic translation team, who are able to tell us, definitively, that Piper was screaming “the battle isn’t over until you get home” which somehow translated to Superbrawl VII.
You never knew what you were getting with the Hot Rod, which was part of his charm. You could just as easily get the bone-chilling promo right before Superbrawl VII, as you could get him going completely off script and making Piper’s Pit at Wrestlemania 21 a completely indecipherable segment.
My favorite Roddy Piper story of them all is the legendary trips that he and Ric Flair took to the Domincan Republic – where Roddy did such an amazing job of riling up the locals that Ric was forced to drop the NWA title, lest he be shot and killed. Of course, even under the pressure of death wouldn’t stop, screaming The Star Spangled Banner at obnoxiously loud levels, waving around the flag, and basically trying to incite a war. I suspect if he’d been stabbed on the way out he’d have worn the scars as a badge of honor. He wasn’t right … and we loved him that way.
I hated the fact that his 2006 run with Ric Flair was cut short due to cancer. He looked like he was having the time of his life, hanging out with his best friend, in the role of Crazy Old Men Tag-Team Champions against a group of male cheerleaders. It looked like it was exactly what the doctor had ordered to keep him young at heart … until the doctor ordered surgery instead.
Between him and Dusty Rhodes, the chances of having someone go off script and piss off the WWE figureheads have dropped about 90%, and that’s simply a shame. I just hope he was healthy and happy in his final days, and that his family has peace amongst themselves.
Meanwhile, over on WCW Worldwide, they’ve stacked the card one more time – because we’re going to see not only Tex Slazinger, but ALSO Shanghai Pierce … TOGETHER AS ONE! Don’t go messin’ with a hooded boy.
Our hosts are JESSE VENTURA and TONY SCHIAVONE’s incredible hair-part. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was also styling my hair the exact same way in January of 1993, but of course I was 10.
THE BARBARIAN vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO
The Barbarian is hailed as being from Parts Unknown, but did they ever bother just asking him? He seemed pretty open about his Tongan Roots just a couple years later. Don’t expect any answers from Scorpio, he’s too consumed with steppin’. A missile dropkick takes the mysterious Barbarian off his feet, and when he rolls outside to take a breather, Scorpio hits an axehandle off the apron. Back in, Scorpio goes for a Frankensteiner, and he gets powerbombed for his insolence. A backbreaker doesn’t yield a submission, so Barbarian must be showing restraint tonight. A dropkick attempt is swatted away, and a clothesline sends Scorpio to the floor. Tony says it’s not a DQ because momentum carried him over and not deliberate activity. It was a deliberate clothesline, and momentum is ALWAYS the cause of someone careening to the floor, so da fock is he talking about?!? Scorpio comes back with a crappy belly to back suplex, and his slingshot legdrop gets 2. Sweet Chin Music sets up a slingshot 450 splash, but Barbarian kicks out and backdrops Scorpio to the floor for a DQ at 4:18. I hate this stupid over the top rule, there is no rhyme or reason to its consistency. The fact this remained a plot point until 1997 is just insane. 1/2*
From WCW Magazine, Weather Man Wannabe ERIC BISCHOFF joins us. He takes us through the Vinnie Vegas / Van Hammer feud that is lighting the world on fire, and apologizes that we aren’t going to get the arm-wrestling match we’re all clamouring for because of Hammer’s injury. Bait and switch.
ERIK WATTS vs. PAT ROSE
Pat Rose is probably better known to video-gamers around the country, so you might not have been aware of his brief career crisis in early 1993 where he dabbled with a little pro-wrestling.
Thankfully, Erik Watts is the definition of “walking Goomba”, so this is a wonderful place for Pat to start. He pounds his opponent early, but when he reaches into his tights for the star of invincibility, it slips away. The momentary lapse is enough for Watts to hit a lariat and throw on the STF at 1:05. Don’t waste your time Pat, the princess in THIS castle is Missy Hyatt. She’ll try and tempt you with mushrooms, but they taste like regret and the clap.
JESSE VENTURA asks for an interview with Watts, and he’s pissed off at both father and son for what happened to Arn Anderson at the gas station. Erik says Bill did nothing; but Jesse says that Erik always does what his “daddy tells you to”. Erik freaks out that he’s his own man. No one believes you.
BARRY WINDHAM vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG
Barry reads the riot act to Armstrong before they lock up, and Brad responds with a sassy little bitch slap. Given the 6 inch, 100 pound disparity here, I’m gonna rate that a solid “George Steele” on the scale of smartest things I’ve seen in pro-wrestling. Lo and behold, a forearm shot gets an audible groan from the audience, and a spinning belly to back has Armstrong likely regretting his early decision. Brad backdrops loose from a powerbomb attempt, but Windham pops back up and goes back to the whoopin’. Armstrong throws a desperation dropkick that sends Windham through the ropes, but all that does is get him kicked in the face and planted with the jumping DDT at 3:50. *1/2
Elsewhere, TONY SCHIAVONE asks to chat with PAUL ORNDORFF, and he’s in a foul mood. Orndorff, not Tony. He calls Sting a ham n egger (what exactly does that MEAN anyway?), and wants to fight him anywhere in the country. HARLEY RACE makes his way out, thankful he’s got Paul in his camp.
TEX SLAZINGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT and SHANE DOUGLAS (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
So the story goes that apparently old Tex is under a mask because Watts felt that he was too good looking to get a heelish reaction. Yes, Henry Godwinn, sex symbol. Had they marketed him as the hunk du jour, that ALONE would have been ample to get the negative reaction they were looking for; the redneck version of Buddy Rose. Naked Mideon could have been a thing years ahead of its (unfortunate) time! The heels dominate the bulk of the action, and sadly that doesn’t make for a very good match since neither guy is any good. Steamboat plays our man in peril, making Shane Douglas our hero tonight, and I don’t think I can live in that kind of a world. Douglas gets the easy win with a cross body at 5:32 to retain. *
JESSE VENTURA congratulates the champions on their win, but informs them that Austin and Pillman are asking for a rematch, next week on Worldwide. Steamboat’s ready to get down to business, and welcomes the challenge. Oh boy.
STEVE AUSTIN and BRIAN PILLMAN grab the main event slot to talk with TONY SCHIAVONE. Pillman says it’s going to be a sad irony to look back at the career of Steamboat and Douglas and realize that they’re simply going to be known as the team that launched the era of Austin and Pillman. Austin laughs it up, and when Tony tells us he’ll see us next week, Austin barks “I DON’T WANT TO WAIT TIL NEXT WEEK” with a shit eating grin on his face.
Bit of a bore this week, but it sets the table for a killer showdown next week, which enough for me.
Kick of FEAR - An exaggerated recounting of professional wrestling's network of B-shows and colorful jobbers.
I think it's more that looking at Austin it doesn't seem like he's in ring shape. Also, he's only had one real match (I refuse to qualify that THING at NWO 2003 as a match) in the last 18+ months, so that can't help either.