Saskatchewan’s professional wrestling community is mourning the loss of one of their own.
Rowdy Roddy Piper died at his Hollywood home Thursday at the age of 61. The World Wrestling Entertainment villain was known for his kilt, bagpipes and bombastic ‘anything goes’ attitude.
“I think it was just a shock because nobody thought that Roddy Piper would ever die. He’s one of those that just transcends mortality,” Regina’s High Impact Wrestling owner Mike Roberts said.
To the world, he was the Scottish wrestler, but Piper, whose real name was Roderick Toombs, actually hailed from Saskatoon. His family traveled the prairies in his youth and he got his wrestling start in Winnipeg in the 1970s. He rose to prominence in the 80s battling the likes of Hulk Hogan during the days of the then World Wrestling Federation.
Thought Piper didn’t get the mainstream success of Hulk Hogan or Mr. T, Roberts said wrestling wouldn’t have been the same without everyone’s favourite villain.
“If nobody was there to hate Roddy Piper, there would be nobody there to love Hulk Hogan,” he said.
Toombs helped launch Wrestlemania and later became a pro-wrestling commentator and actor. He appeared in John Carpenter’s 1988 cult classic “They Live” where he delivered the icon line: “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
Robert remembers watching Toombs perform in Canada against “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase in the early 1990s and said and it helped foster his own love of professional wrestling.
“He pretty much said what he wanted to and he was very genuine about it and there was a believability about that because he wasn’t pretending to be someone,” Roberts said.
Toombs is survived by his wife Kitty and their four children.
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