Sound Bite: Roddy Piper – real name and stage name
My Christian name is Roderick George Toombs. Fine name, isn’t it. Roderick in Gaelic means conqueror. Do you know how I got the name Roddy Piper? Well I’m glad you didn’t, otherwise I wouldn’t have anything to say. The very first professional wrestling match I ever was in, I was 167 amateur wrestling champion, and I was living in a youth hostel. I came 5th in the world playing the bagpipes for a band called ?, or ?, and I didn’t know anything about professional wrestling match, so I went to my pipe band and said, talk to me, and they said we’ll play you in the ring, so this was back in the days you know you could hear the popcorn machine going, and can’t tell the wrestlers without a program, so yeah, coach says to me, I can get you 25 bucks, somebody just didn’t show up in the Winnipeg arena. And I asked my pipe, we’ll play to the ring 4 pipers, bass drummer with the big fluffy boom boom boom boom two tenors, and me 167 pounds and I had a basket and I didn’t have money so I put dandelions in it. Now the guy, some guy missed a plane, I think it was Buddy Wolf at the time, this was in the AWA in Minneapolis. And the fella that he was fighting that he was wrestling was Larry the Ax Henning. Larry Henning was six foot 5, 320 pounds and just lost the world’s heavyweight championship, so here I come to the ring kind of upstaging everybody, boom boom, we just you know ignorance is bliss, and the announcer, short for Roderick is Roddy, and the announcer needed to say something, so he says Ladies and Gentlemen here comes the barking dogs! No that’s not what he said. He said, Ladies and gentlemen, here comes Roddy the Piper. And the The just got dropped. I don’t know where the rowdy come from (talks) and you know what? It was my first world record: shortest match in the history of the Winnipeg Arena, 10 seconds. He beat me in 10 seconds, that includes the 3 count. My eye was busted, my nose was busted, and I was sitting there, Piper left, and they used to have penny loafers, I don’t know if you remember this this was like 1969, and this promoter come I thought he was gonna duke me out of my 2 bits, he says kid, you did great, how’d you like to go to Kansas City? And, is Larry Henning gonna be there? Oh no, we won’t overmatch you. And they put me in a car and when they got to the border of the United States, the guy’s name was Al Tomkil and he blankets, Oh yeah that’s my kid he’s just sleeping, and for the next 4 years of my life, every night I wrestled until I was 19 I won the light heavyweight championship of the world in the Olympic auditorium in Los Angeles, and at that time they did some of the most wonderful things for me. They got me a green card and a tax id number so I could pay taxes for the rest of my life. Thank you for that so much. But it’s the greatest country in the world.
Sound Bite: Roddy Piper – on bagpipes
Oh no I started playing the bagpipes when I was 5. I lived on an Indian reservation called The Pas, T H E P A S, Manitoba, which is right up close to the northwest territories. I was the only white kid on the Indian reservation, I got beat up every day. Now I don’t know why I got the bagpipes because none of the people that raised me play the bagpipes and I can’t imagine a Cherokee dancing around a fire playing the bagpipes, I really don’t know why, I can pick it up about 7 or 8, and um pictures, a couple of pictures of me as a kid full kilt, and as I said when I was 14 I came 5th in the world, and uh you know it’s just I don’t know why, you know, redheaded stepchild.
Sound Bite: Roddy Piper – bagpipes in first match?
Oh yes, absolutely, and I wore the kilt of the band that I was playing with, so we all had beautiful kilts on of the same color which really made Larry happy, Larry The Ax Henning, the Ax Henning, the bell was like, Ding ding, there’s a fire, oh no. haha tough gig man, tough gig, and the car that they put me in also had a couple of lady wrestlers but was hard to distinguish because they also had long hair on their back haha like Larry. However Mula has passed away now, I love you Mula, I didn’t want to mess with her. One time, I don’t know if I should tell this one. Yeah, one time this, they used to mess with me so much, I was the youngest in history of my sport, I was 15, and one time I’m driving with Bull Dog Bob Brown and I’m in the front seat on the passenger side and these 2 ladies who were significant partners and I didn’t believe it, and so they pulled out a check book, this is a true story, pulled out a check book with their names on it, which really kind of confused me more, and then they grabbed me and pulled me into the back seat and started ripping my clothes off. Well what were they going to do with me? If they weren’t interested in me, where do you go from there? One time we used to have to go from Winnipeg to Minneapolis, it’s 500 miles, and we’d have to leave Friday night, and there was these 2 old timers, Bobby Jones and Dave Mirror, and the heat it was so cold and they just put the heat on a little bit, and I’d be back in the back seat I’d say, sir, and I had a 7 Up and a sandwich, bologna sandwich, and I’d say, Sir, it’s cold. Ahh, dodge, shut up man we’re hot up here. Yes, sir. My 7 Up bottle blew up, that’s how cold it was. And they wouldn’t stop, I could tell you stories, but I don’t know that you could keep them on the air.
LOG ENTRY TO BE CHECKED!!!
Sound Bite: Roddy Piper – talks about the return of wrestling
No no, this is what happened, you’re close. It’s black cloud came over it with George Wagner, Gorgeous George, who I believe committed suicide, he spray painted all his turkeys purple, the guys teach me, in any case, about, it really bottomed out, and all the guys that were left, the Chick Garabaldi’s, the Leo Garabaldi’s , these rough, the Lou Thez, I wrestled Lou Thez, and when I come in in 69 they were towards the end of their era and they hated everyone, and the last thing they wanted to see was a 15 year old boy come into the business, so they would stuff like, they would take me and one time, some of it suppose is funny, I don’t know, I had white trunks with little bagpipes on them, looked like cockroaches, I was in Quebec, so come in the referees there, this old timer comes in the ring you know and the referee comes checks me the old timer comes checks me, puts something in my hand, I’m so scared, he says put it in your trunks, sure I put it in my trunks, all of a sudden this old timer runs at me and picks me up and slams me and again and like 6 7 times slams me and all of a sudden jumps back and gets out of the ring and goes ahhh! And the referee, and they get, and they leave. And all the people are laughing at me, and I have no idea, it was a one inch square piece of bread with about a half an inch of peanut butter on it coming out my white trunks. One time they put baby powder, these are called drones in the bagpipe, baby powder in them, I go out to play, baby, pff pff pff pff, I’m on live TV. They would drop me off and say kid, why don’t you get the sandwiches the arenas around the corner. The arena would be 25 miles away. I was so scared I was poon plus one other match, first match right? Well I’d hitchhike, I’d get in the car, and I’d be changing in my kilt in the car, which got a lot of notice from the car driver. However what, it couldn’t get that much worse. I wrestled a 650 pound bear named Victor like he needed a damn name.
Sound Bite: Roddy Piper – on the bear he wrestled
I told you when I was 19 years old I won the light heavyweight championship from Chav Guevara, and you know in those days I had a big head and I had a black Cadillac leased and I had a girl on each arm, in those days I had 3 arms goin. And the promoter’s sayin to me, Piper, Piper, and I’m leaving the building, Tomorrow, you’re wrestling Vic. I don’t give a damn, I’ll wrestle anybody, da da da da. Next day it was Fresno, California. Now this is a true story you can look it up on the internet. I came bouncing up the stairs in Fresno, California to the back, and I come around the corner, and here I came, and in front of me was a 650 pound Kodiak bear with a pint of wild turkey drinking the wild turkey ahhh and he dropped the wild turkey and the trainer gave him a coca-cola ahhh and the promoters yellin at me because I’m late, and I’m lookin at him, it was Victor the Bear, it wasn’t Victor Bear, the was very important there, and I’m lookin and I’m gonna get fired if I don’t wrestle this bear, and this bear doesn’t seem to bother him that I’m the light heavyweight champion of the world. Now the guy, the trainer he starts to tell me the rules of wrestling a 650 pound bear and he says to me, he says Now Victor, don’t punch him in the snout or pull his fur because he don’t like that and them paws he gonna break your neck. Let me get this straight, I got a drunk bear that’s gonna break my neck, Now don’t get your finger back in his back teeth, we’ve taken the front teeth out for your protection, but back there, he gonna bite your finger off. Drunk bear gonna bite my finger off and break my neck, and I’m lookin over at the promoter and he doesn’t care, he’s got a toupee on looks like poodle road kill, he could care less just as long as he got the money. Now I’m stupid enough to look at this bear and try to figure out how I’m gonna beat him, so now, this is the only part I found funny about the damn story, as the trainer’s goin by, you know I get away from the bear, then you know, Hidey doo, I’m Rod, you’re Victor. And as the trainer’s goin by he says, Victor don’t like standing on his hind legs unless he’s drinkin, so he had a 4 foot stick, so when the bell rings I’m gonna poke him in the bum with this stick and that’ll bring him up. I bet you it will. You get underneath him. So there I am, watchin the trainer bring Victor to the ring, I had a friend, I thought, Jay the Alaskan York, I love you bro, and he’s pattin my bum, Jay I gotta fight a bear, go away. Still pattin my bum. Jay, a couple of profanities, leave me alone. Ahahaha. He goes, go get em kid. Yeah thanks. In the ring, ding, poke, up, Rod under. Now first thing, you know if a man’s wrestled a bear or not, how do you win a wrestling match? You pin a man’s shoulders. Bear ain’t got no shoulders. You don’t realize that till you get there. Bears are natural wrestlers. First thing this bear did was inside arm drag me, and I fell down on my tummy. Go back to Jay York. When he was pattin my bum, he went and got as much honey as he could and smeared that honey all over my bum and when Victor arm dragged me and I landed on my tummy he found the honey and it was time for a banquet and he was all over my trunks and he was lickin my trunks, then he ran out of honey, and now the front claws were takin out for my protection, so he started pulling my trunks down because Victor felt the deeper in the hive, the more the honey, now I got 6 feet of tongue and 8 feet of bear nose up my bum lookin for honey, and I’m snout punchin and I’m fur pullin, but it ain’t doin nothing, and I guess they got a deal on the Jack Daniels, Jim Beam or whatever the hell it was because the trainer was drunk and fell asleep, and Victor was all over me 2500 people laughing at me until and they finally got the bear off me and my trunks were down to my knees like a halter and I was in my baby suit in all my glory and I went to get out of the ring, and my boot caught the second rope and I did a header on the concrete and I knocked myself out. I’m knocked out naked, there’s Victor in the ring pulling on a ?, he’s had a banquet, and that’s the name of that story, and for years anybody that mentioned that story would have a reaction. (talks) Yeah, that’s Victor the Bear you just, Beery, Victor Beery, and I think it’s spelled B E E R Y and you will find victor. I believe they had to kill him because for reasons that.
Sound Bite: Roddy Piper – started when wrestling started go become big
Well about in 78, uh I started something with Gordon ? on TBS which was a wrestler doing commentary and shooting whatever I wanted to of these wrestlers. So I was getting national exposure and wrestling was really starting to bubble and Vince McMann senior had called for me and wanted to get all these rebels to take over the world, so the first match for Wrestle Mania was called The War to Settle the Score, now nobody knows what’s goin on and you got David Schultz who slapped John Stoncil, I mean they’re all like that, there’s Andre, they were all rebels that would cross any lines so I refused to take a dive, 17 and a half years wouldn’t take a dive. The War to Settle the Score, Cindy Lauper was the special ring dinger, Clark was a special announcer, Mohammed Ali was a special referee, Mr. T was sittin in the crowd, Hogan was just in his prime goin What you gonna do? I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. So I get in the ring, and I, away we go, and it’s about the 20 minute mark, and I gotta hold him down, and I got him down by the hair, that’s a mistake I make, I like to say that one easier, and all of a sudden, I’ve been in so many riots, I got him holdin down by the hair, and all of a sudden Mr. T whatever his reasons are, I don’t get along with him to this day, he jumped up, just in my peripheral vision, up on to the apron, and I just went over and knocked him out. Well about that time, to my left side, I just saw something blond coming underneath the ropes. I don’t know how many blond wrestlers there is, and I have them in full motion and I turn to kick and it’s Cindy Lauper, and you watch the tape, I tried to pull the kick when I saw it, you know it’s a girl that just wants to have fun I’m gonna kick her, and I connected, and all of a sudden a New York City policeman in uniform found himself in the ring, and I looked, and here comes, and next thing you know Time Magazine and that’s what lead into the very first Wrestle Mania, and until that match which I think it was MTV put it on, I think it was a 9.1 share, the highest they had had maybe to that time, I don’t know how high they’ve done since, and from that time on everyplace I went, people would turn up Girls Just Want To Have Fun, I couldn’t take my family anywhere, and they hated me, hated me with a passion, they stabbed me, they tried to shoot me. Jimmy Lennon, not the son that does Showtime now but the father, I was comin down the ring in the Olympic auditorium, he was a good man Jimmy Lennon, he was a boxer when he was young, and this guy pulled out a 45 and I was coming down the ring, pardon me I was coming down the aisle way, and Jimmy saw it, and the guy was screaming, Get out of the way! And Jimmy was pretending that he couldn’t hear him and stayed in the way, and gave a signal, we used to have spotters at that time, they got this guy, I didn’t know anything about it until I finished, and they popped the clip and the bullet that was in the chamber had my name scraped into it, so it wasn’t for Jimmy Lennon Senior who was the uncle of the Lennon sisters, I would’ve caught that one maybe too. A whole different era, you know I used to come to your television, in your town by television, and tell you what a geek you are, how much I’m gonna rip you up, and every time you think you got all the answers, I change the questions, and you ain’t a bump on my bum. For 3 weeks, then I’d come into your town, and you’d all come there, and then I’d beat up your local champion, then I’d try to go and have something to eat, haha you know La Denny’s or Awful House you know, I had more fights there, there was no security, there was no, so once I got to that stage I had been through so much that I knew all my corners, and once I heard that hit and I invented a segment called Piper’s Pit, and then the rest, you know, just rolled.
Sound Bite: Roddy Piper – on Andy Kaufman
You know what man? Andy Kaufman, before he did any of that, would come to the Olympic Auditorium and would do his Elvis impersonation for the police to let him in and he would watch me, and then he would take me in his van and he would say things like, Say something funny. I don’t know any jokes, and one time I was in the ring and there was a riot starting and I just said over the mic, is there no justice? And he thought that was so funny, so he would take me down to Bud Friedman’s improve and we would get on the mic and he would take these people off to the point where they’re going, they’re waiting for the humor, and Andy was a great comedian, and he did great barking imitations like dogs, you know and he would do that to the annoyance of the fans where they would go, get him off, get out of there, and he would leave, Andy, what are you doing? And he was on the new Dick Van Dyke show, and he brought me down to meet Dick Van Dyke and he’s, Dick Van Dyke says, so this is the genius you’ve been telling me about? You know his judgment I don’t know, but I left LA, and Andy was there, and he said goodbye to me and never smoked never drank, nothing that I know of at all, but he’d do a concert and he’d have yellow school busses and then after his concert he’d take everybody out for chocolate mousse pie and then years later, Jerry the King Laurer in Memphis, but if you watched Andy the way he wrestled, and you watched me in the Olympic Auditorium, it was exactly the same.
Sound Bite: Roddy Piper
Well this is what happened, I got married, see and then I had a kid, then I had another kid, now there’s an old saying, you know, you need a license to hunt, you need a license to fish, any jerk can have a kid, it takes a man to be a father. There now remember we got mean and I can’t remember when my first, she’s 25, so you do the math, um I’m 27 and uh haha that’s my lie, I’m stickin with it. And then there became a time when, because I was so far gone out there, so far and the promoters loved it, because the more trouble I got into, the more I made the papers, the more I drew, they didn’t care, as a matter of fact they loved it, and you know one guy wrestler, Jimmy Val he’d say, Pipes where you goin tonight? Wanna come? He says, no, I just wanna listen to the stories tomorrow. Thanks Jimmy, and then another kid came, and another kid came, and then it was a whole different ballgame, it got real serious, and Hogan and I, we didn’t get along at all, cause you want me to take a dive for you the heck with you, I got ice cream bars too, I got bath towels, I got lunch boxes, and I got 4 kids, and if you want it you come and get it, and then I got a reputation of being hard to do business with, and then Mr. T came in Wrestle Mania 2, they wanted me to box Mr. T, and they put me in a camp with Lou Douva and Tyrell Biggs, Holyfield, Braxton, Spinx, and uh to heck with him to and then I got that rep and I said I won’t take a dive for 17 and a half years, and then you know, kids needed to feed, you know family, it’s all, you’re talkin about, you know, when did you realize you became a star and recognize I told you, that never really other being able to go to a kid’s hospital and use your power that way, I like that but um I wish I remember what I was gonna tell you. What the heck was I gonna tell you?
Sound Bite: Roddy Piper – about his kids and what changed
Yeah things got just, you know it wasn’t, I was out there and I needed to bring myself under control, and it wasn’t fun anymore, and you know drinking a bottle of whisky a night and you know there’s a Peruvian marching band and you know there’s doctor quack quick and wow, and wait a second, you know hang on, and one time she’s 4 foot 11 and a half, she’s a poisonous ?, I’ve been married 25 years, you know one time, she says to me, she says Roderick, I wanna buy 2 horses, I’m on the road, I say you don’t need 2 horses, just buy 1 horse that’s fine. You know what she did? She bought a pregnant horse. Poisonous ? I was comin, I came in about 3 o’clock in the morning and I had a 7 o’clock plane and I had my first child that time, and she mouthed with the first child, Are you really my daddy? (starts to get choked up) I know what I was gonna tell you. When a star bein nothing, one time I watched an episode of The Walton’s, and it was a Christmas episode, and I got to do a movie with Grandpa Walton later, it was who wants a drum stick? And I said to myself, I want a family like that. And so in my thrust for my fighting was to have that many kids and I have a ranch on top of a mountain, and who wants a drum stick? And that’s where my head was coming from and uh I had to kind of beat it back a really dark time, most fired wrestlers, some auspicious records I do.
Sound Bite: Roddy Piper – on acting and what he’s doing now
Hey, when I did They Live, I wasn’t ready for Hollywood. The name Hollywood is very generic name, the industry of making movies is very specific. All that I’ve told you, I came right from Wrestle Mania 3 as I told you John Carpenter, and right argh in and scared everybody, and my reputation went around that you can’t control this guy, and I ended up having to go back to fighting to feed my family. Well now I’m they’re putting me in my third hall of fame now, I’m quite proud the Dan Gable hall of fame, it’s one of the greatest amateur wrestling coaches of our time and long ago very proud, but that’s 3, thank you sir, that’s 3, that’s enough, and now um I’m ready and I understand the industry and I understand being a gentleman, a gentle man, I don’t have to be a gentle man, but I prefer to, and having raised children, I know how important it is to be gentle, no one ever raised a hand in my house, and how important it is to be gentle. I’ve done, just finished wrapping a movie about a father in a wheel chair, and his son, I don’t wanna give away the plot, but uh, it was very very deep dramatic piece, and it’s the kind of thing you know I’ve done about 34 movies, but I think I just caught on how to act, and it’s because it’s because I got a little bit of peace now, I don’t have anything to prove, if somebody says something to me, I don’t need to fight, and if I see somebody that has got a problem, you become a master of psychology when you come to the ring. I hate music because when I used to come to the ring I could tell you how I needed to start the match by listening to the hum of the audience. If they were humming, I’d start real slow, because the match before me must’ve been a barn burner. If they were sittin on their hands, I’d kick it in a 10, or 2 to 9, whatever it happened to go, and as I took you for that ride, you become a master of mass psychology, and having, I’ve had cancer, I got cancer, and I’ll try to make this quick man. It’s the wrestling fans that saved my life. There was this event that’s called Cyber Sunday, and it was the Christmas of, where are we now, 08? It was 06. And the Rick Flair, uh one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and brother of mine, he was half the world’s taking champion, Dusty Roads, Sergeant Slaughter, myself were up, the fans voted, bottom line, they voted for me to be Rick’s partner, to go for the tag champions, we won the tag team champions, boom we went over Glasgow, Scotland, I got to Glasgow, Scotland, and my hips wouldn’t work. And I figured well I was trying I don’t know and the tour was goin on and being the honorable wrestlers they were they left me, so I was bent over like one of those poor Japanese ladies been pickin rice for 30 years and I made it from Glasgow to Portland, Oregon and I got in there and they put me on the slab and a good Irish doctor named ? and when they got me on the slab they found that a piece of bone chipped from a disc, but like a potato chip thin was, my sternum on the back was cutting my nerves, my nerves to my hips, and so boom he opened that up, and he saw a lymph gland, and he said get a biopsy of that, and turned out I had lymphoma cancer, low grade 2A lymphoma cancer, so uh if the fans hadn’t had voted for me, I would have never found that out and possibly could’ve been another Christopher Reeves, God bless his soul, he was such a brave man. But so I’m laying in the hospital and I find out I got caner and all my kids come now, my daughter from LA, who’s she’s an actress, Ariel Tiel, and they’re all there and I gotta tell them I’m in room 930, and their great grandma, I don’t know something happened, I can’t remember what it was, and I gotta make up the room, we’ll just say she was in room 430. Here’s the kids, I don’t know I don’t wanna, dad’s got cancer, what are we gonna do here and, go down and see great grandma, so they go down to see great grandma and she dies right in front of them. And they all come back up, little corn muffin, so I gotta tell them I got cancer. (tape ends)
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