Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline WWF 1984 – Roddy Piper
Written by: Brian Bayless
This was released on April 22nd, 2014
The Interview was hosted by Sean Oliver
Its runs for three hours and thirty-one minutes long
Roddy Piper, along with “Dr. D” David Schultz, makes his debut on WWF TV during the January 7th episode of “Championship Wrestling.” Piper managed Schultz, along with Paul Orndorff and briefly Big John Studd upon his debut. Oliver asks Piper if he was brought in at first to be a manager as Piper said no then talks about his Madison Square Garden debut in the “mid-70’s,” (it was really 1979). He was wrestling for Roy Shire in San Francisco then goes off-topic to tell us something he never disclosed before. Piper said he was living in Texas with Killer Tim Brooks and lied to him about there being a storm as he was scared to go to the WWWF because it was a “big man” territory and felt that he wasn’t at the level to make it there so he chickened out to return three weeks later. At that time, Capt. Lou Albano came out and yelled at him while Freddie Blassie whacked him with his cane, calling him a “pencil-necked geek.” Piper said he was about 190lbs at the time and everyone else was much bigger than him and told the announcer to tell the crowd to stand when the bagpipes were playing and said he wanted to play the crowd like “Jack Benny” and after the match he was told backstage they will call him later and three weeks later he got canned as Blassie fucked with him by shoving toilet paper in his bagpipes. Piper gets back to the question and said Vince Sr. didn’t want to bring him back and talks about Sgt. Slaughter going to bat for him and Vince Sr. called Jim Crockett then Piper talked about how he quit working for Crockett and went up to New York. Piper said his match at Starrcade against Greg Valentine was what got Vince Sr. interested in Piper again. When asked if getting paired with Schultz was his idea, Piper said he wouldn’t hang around him “for a pot to piss in.”
Also on the January 7th edition of “Championship Wrestling,” Hulk Hogan made his return to TV as a babyface. Piper said Hogan and Vince Jr. got together to “change the world” and how Rick Martel, one of his best friends, told Piper that he should meet up with Hogan, who was also friends with Martel. Piper said that once he exploded as a heel, it became tough for the company to handle because they never had a heel catch fire that quickly then questioned why he would job on the “War to Settle the Score” as it made no sense. Piper then talks about Hogan to say he heard Hogan said stuff about him behind his back but they never had a face-to-face conversation. Oliver asks him about Okerlund and how much credit he deserves for the WWF TV product at the time. Piper said he was the first heel to take a talk-show style segment on TV then compares Okerlund to Gordon Solie and how Okerlund sold the product while Solie sold himself. He then says Okerlund had great comedic timing and never got rocked when things went off track.
When asked about knowing about Hogan winning the belt at the January 23rd MSG show, Piper joked that if you worked here and did not know it was happening then you should have quit or you were about to get fired. Piper is asked about the “Double-Cross” rumor regarding Verne calling the Iron Sheik, telling him to break Hogan’s leg. He said that a comment like that might have been thrown out but then jokes about how if it was true, Sheik probably would have done that job.
On the January 28th edition of “Championship Wrestling,” the “Victory’s Corner” segment was announced as being replaced by “Piper’s Pit.” First, Piper “clears his name” by telling us what happened. He said he was in a St. Louis bar with Vince and asks him for five weeks to make it work and if not, he can pull the plug. Piper said he found out a way to get over by spending 65% off the focus on his promos and the rest on the in-ring work. He also said that he created the “Piper’s Pit” name.
The WWF made their debut at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, MO. That was known as a huge NWA city. Piper talks about working on top in Los Angeles, Portland, Charlotte, and Atlanta while saying that the WWF did not make him and did not want to screw over any territory by working in their city. He talks about Don Owen (Promoter of Portland) giving Piper his “blessing” to work in the city when he was in the WWF.
Tito Santana beat Don Muraco for the Intercontinental Title in Boston on February 11th. Footage of the match was either lost or destroyed. Piper tells stories us how both Don Muraco and Adrian Adonis were orphans and “men’s men” but crazy. He then talks about how he was with Muraco, Adonis, and Bob Orton in Fresno, CA. They were in a Mexican restaurant and closed the restaurant down before leaving to go another bar where Adonis went into the women’s bathroom and some guy got knocked off of the stool to they left and drove away, where they slipped off of the road and wound up struck on the train tracks. The wheels were stuck so they got out where Piper and Muraco pushed from behind while Orton put in into drive as the pebbles were pelting both of them. All of a sudden, they hear the train so they stepped back where the train missed by inches as there were several tracks all near each other. Soon after that, the police swarmed the hotel when they arrived via cab to the hotel. They told the cops the car got stolen and while that happened, some guy yelled at them all to “shut the fuck up” as the door behind him closed and it was locked. He then said that somehow Orton got up there and in bed and how a cop shot a taser into the room and it hit Orton, who was apparently nude as he slept that way. The cops thought they shot a guest so Piper said they had to arrest someone so they got him for “vacancy” as he was not checked into the hotel.
Piper talks about Sgt. Slaughter and how “President Carter” and his cabinet was watching as Slaughter made them all stand and recite the “Pledge of Allegiance.” He puts over Slaughter for being a great guy. (Carter was a big wrestling fan but Reagan was in office here. Maybe Carter saw then wrestle in the NWA before this but I doubt it)
When asked about the switch of direction from the basics to the talk-show stuff like with “Tuesday Night Titans.” Piper said he was from the old school where you were told to speak when spoken to and if you were going to die, make sure it is in the ring because its good for business. That was after several minutes of rambling.
On bloodying Andre the Giant at Madison Square Garden, Piper said that it was tough to work with Andre because he was so big that it was tough to believably hurt him. Piper then said he was trained by Mad Dog Vachon, a friend of Andre, who insisted on letting him do so for all the times Piper put him over as a sign of respect.
Piper is asked about Pat Patterson and if everyone knew about his sexuality and if it was a comfortable climate in the locker room for that. Piper said that Patterson does not like him and tells a story at the Olympic Auditorium when he was 21 years old and almost hints that Patterson made an advancement towards him as he remains vague then says it got “awkward” then that he “fucked up” while later on saying nothing actually happened to him. He then said that someone played a joke on him with a guy named Ken Ramsey was jerking off behind a door while Lord Alfred Hayes ran around, holding his giant schlong, saying “Roddy.” After that, Piper said he was still in the locker room and while he was listening to Bob Geigel, he felt something on his hand then turned around to see that it was Lord Alfred’s cock. Piper said he turned around and his face and red but there was no one there he could take in a fight.
Now, he is asked about beating up Frankie Williams on “Piper’s Pit.” Piper said he found out he was the guest and tried to figure out what to do with him so he asked him were he was from then went against everything you did in wrestling by insulting him for being a jobber. Piper said Williams was pissed and came back with his closing line and said the interview was basically a shoot. Backstage, when it was finished, Piper said it was really quiet and after they finished the taping, they had a meeting where Vince Jr. went nuts for them to push the segment going forward.
Vince McMahon Sr. passed away on May 27th. Piper said he was a good man when it came to business as he was true to his word. When he passed, Piper said he was at the meeting where some guys, including Andre, were ungodly hungover and trying to drink in order to wake up again. Vince Jr. told them if they knew why there were here? George Steele said they were wrestling and after that Vince broke down and cried as they all knew something was wrong. After that, Tony Atlas asked Vince about getting an advance on his check and how his check was smaller at the end of the week, having no clue as to how that system worked. After that, Piper claimed that Muraco put his hand over his mouth to tell Atlas “shut up and shit down you stupid nigger.” (Odd, never heard Muraco being accused as a racist before but have about Orton. Wonder if Piper got the two screwed up). Vince then explained to Atlas in the simplest of terms about the advance system but Atlas could not understand. Sean follows up by asking if Vince Sr. knew of his son’s plans for the company as Piper said he did.
“Tuesday Night Titans” debuted on May 29th. Piper talks about how hilarious that show was and it was mostly all improv. On Lord Alfred Hayes as the sidekick, Piper puts him over for teaching him about wrestling and how he had a penchant for “younger gals.” On the skits and who came up with them, Piper said they would come up with ideas like how he was supposed to be Scrooge so he just went with it and wanted to do it quickly, saying they never tried to “script” him but did offer suggestions.
The edition of “Piper’s Pit” where Piper smashed a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s head aired on the June 9th episode of “Championship Wrestling.” It was taped on 3/28 in St. Louis. When asked why it took for so long to air, Piper said that when he hit Snuka, his eyes “rolled” and it was a bad sign. He was also told that in the dressing room (The faces and heel were separated) he heard that Snuka was out of it but back then, no one went to the hospital, and after that in the hotel, Snuka went after him. Piper then goes back to the question and said that when Hogan came in, Snuka was more popular so they put Jimmy in a cage against Muraco (A match that took place 10/17/83) where he lost and how after that he feuded with Piper. Back to the segment, Piper said Snuka was not aware he was getting hit and before hand. Piper was given stuff from “Fiji” by the production crew that use, which was all fruit. Pier also said that his promo was weak and that he didnt have many good lines about the fruit to use. Piper said that Snuka always had the same response then talks about how the coconut was not gimmicked. Piper then said that it was not scripted for Snuka to destroy the set and the door he went in was a small area where Piper claimed to have put his weight behind the door in order to prevent Snuka from entering.
When asked about the Cyndi Lauper/Lou Albano angle, Piper said both Lauper and her boyfriend, David Wolff, were both huge wrestling fans. Piper also credits Lauper for help making WrestleMania a success and how they both “got” the business. He liked Wolff but said they had a horrible falling out. Piper credits Wolff for getting him a part in “They Live” then said that Vince did not like him.
On bleeding and that process, Piper talks about that, saying the “right” place to use it is when you are in the midst of a long match and its used but you are trying to win and not just make a guy bleed, like Abdullah the Butcher does. Piper says what Abdullah does ruins the business and would not want his kid watching that. He then says the ban on blood by the WWF is good for the business.
Sean asks Piper about the rumor of Vince wanting Bob Backlund to turn heel, dye his hair and have a run against Hogan. Piper said he heard some rumblings about Backlund turning heel but that was all. Piper said that Vince was selling “show business” at this time and told Backlund he did not have enough charisma.
On the merchandise and his royalties, Piper said he was getting a share, but not a fair one.
When asked about “Maple Leaf Wrestling” and how Jack Tunney dropped Crockett and exclusively showed the WWF, Piper said Tunney saw how the business was going and decided to align with Vince. Piper liked the Maple Leaf Gardens.
Now they talk about the “Brawl for All” special that aired on MTV. Piper said that the channel was literally fearful of the wrestlers. Sean talks about how it drew a 9.0 Nielsen rating with Wendi Richter vs. Fabulous Moolah as the main event. Piper said that Lauper chose Richter for the role and how Richter was in the right place at the right time. Piper also said that Richter was naïve to the business and her success was hard for Moolah to handle. He then tells a story of how Moolah and Diamond Lil’ stripped him down to his underwear in the car and drew his clothes out of the window before heading to the arena so he had to show up wearing only his underwear.
On July 30th, the WWF switched the “Championship Wrestling” tapings from Allentown, PA to the Mid Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. Sean asks Piper about what makes a venue as Piper says its all about getting anticipation at the right time then asks to demonstrate with Sean by asking to stand up. Piper talks about Ali/Frazier and how they are both great and the stare is what makes you want to see them and the closer together they get, the anticipation grows as he moves as close to Sean as possible without touching him. Piper said the build is what makes the money, not guys just going out and wrestling without the build. Piper says he uses the anticipation when building a feud, not with every person.
George Scott is hired from the NWA as an assistant booker. Piper likes Scott then talks about how he got into an incident with his son outside of a club when he smashed the car window of Scott’s son Byorn’s Cadillac after he told them all the only reason they became anything was because of his father. Piper said that Scott’s son also came to the WWF and constantly ran his mouth there as well.
The Fabulous Freebirds arrived in the WWF due to the “Rock & Roll Connection.” Piper said that one of those guys is a “snake” (implying it is Hayes) and that they were let go as part of that then talks about being a bad locker-room politician. He then talks about how a few years ago he was backstage at WrestleMania with Jim Duggan when this person runs over to tell Piper he had an interview, which turned out to be a rib. He says the first time they met, this person asked Piper in the shower he had ever been “pissed on” as Piper replied not by anyone who is still alive.
Junkyard Dog made his debut on August 18th as Piper says “who gonna beat that dog” repeatedly while laughing then says JYD was a really good man with a beautiful heart. When asked if he was tough to work with, Piper joked that he didn’t work at all and talks about the term “work” and how it applies only to people in the ring while outside the ring it is just “lying.” Piper then said that JYD laid down in the fetal position when he sold.
On Rick McGraw and if it was one of the first deaths in wrestling due to substance abuse. Piper talks about being one of the last to wrestle him and tells a story about how they were in North Carolina and how Charlie Fulton had a heart attack after trying to party like Piper. From that, Piper talks about getting everything you want tests your “moral fiber” and after getting knocked around night after night, you are not the same person and your tolerance goes way up so you have to be careful. He then said the stress over travel and how hectic the schedule was and how once he spent 90 days on the road, not letting him go home.
When asked if Gene Okerlund was treated like “one of the boys,” Piper said that he was but tells a story about Simon Dean (Nova) telling himself exactly what they should do on “Piper’s Pit.” Well, the “inner-circle” heard about what happened and took everything Dean had and tossed it in the shower with the water running. Piper, who went to bed, said the next morning the Undertaker came up to him at the airport and asked Piper what happened as Dean apparently was crying “like a baby” for a half-hour as after that, Dean started to work in the office. Dean apparently went to wrestler’s court and harassed after the incident. Piper said that the “inner circle” would not allow him to be disrespected.
On David Sammartino, Piper said he worked hard and was a great kid but there was no way to follow Bruno, who also came back as a commentator at this time. Piper also said the office disliked Bruno as well. Piper also said, when asked, that David was respectful in the locker room but didn’t have the same mental makeup as his father. Piper said he loved Bruno then said on the “Pit” he told Bruno his tire went flat on the way to the show and went “wop, wop, wop” and said 26 years later, Piper introduced his son to Bruno, who joked to him that his dad (Piper)called him a wop.
Bobby Heenan made his debut here. Piper said Heenan is so good at his job because when you are done, you talk about the opponent just as much as him. Piper said he can be a pain in the ass sometimes but was hilarious and even funnier and quick-witted on the road.
Piper faced off against Hogan for the first time at the October 6th Boston Garden show. He talks about competing against Hogan in merchandise sales and how Vince didn’t respect guys that were over in other places and thought it was dumb for Hogan to beat him the first time if they were going to come back and do the match again. He also said after WrestleMania I, they had a party and transportation set for Hogan and Mr. T but he did not have anything at all. Piper said that Vince told him if he did not leave to film “They Live” he’d get the title. He then talks about how people are making him a martyr of sorts by saying he is the greatest WWF wrestler ever to not hold the title, which Piper said is a compliment because you get the belt because you need to get over.
He is then asked about “Pro Wrestling USA,” a territory featuring talent from promotions form the NWA, AWA, and Memphis in a failed effort to compete against Vince. Piper said they were aware of the promotion then asks Sean for a pen as he writes down something before talking about Ivan Koloff among others received a contract. Piper brings up how they went after guys like Backlund and how the WWF would stop the promotion from getting talent and how one guy went in there and became close to Eddie Einhorn, who hired people in that company, but was really sent in by the WWF and as a result, has a job for life with the company by sabotaging the promotions efforts to sign people. Piper then shows the name to Sean, who seemed shocked.
On getting Bob Orton as a bodyguard, Piper said Orton was so good he’d tell him to make mistakes sometimes so people would know just how good he was. Piper said he was tough and that his son, Randy, is an example of how he is a great father.
When asked about the Tonga Kid, who main evented MSG at the age of 19, Piper said he was a “test run” of Jimmy Snuka passing the torch. He then added how he was a sweet kid but needed to be babysat, joking that he needed to “wear a helmet on the bus to prevent him from licking the windows.”
On Andre getting his haircut by John Studd, Ken Patera, and Bobby Heenan, Piper said Andre hated Studd and once beat the shit out him in a match at MSG.
Butcher Vachon got married on “Tuesday Night Titans.” Piper is asked why they picked him, he joked that they did so to give everyone else hope. (Okay, that was pretty funny).
Piper talks about the December 28th show at Madison Square Garden where he smashed a gold record over the head of Albano then bodyslammed Wolff. Piper said he was dangerously close to getting “white heat” from this segment but toned it down a bit. He said that Dick Clark ran out and said “please don’t hurt me” as he talks about how most of what he did was not planned and that scared Clark to death. He then flung Lauper off of him and the next thing he saw was a NYC cop with a gun with several more to follow. Piper is then asked about how Dave Schultz came up with the WrestleMania name as Piper said Schultz accused him of stealing his angle with Mr. T. Piper then talks about Schultz trying to beat up Mr. T but Chief Jay Strongbow found out and tipped off the cops, who rushed Schultz and took him down at a show in the LA Sports Arena.
Now they talk about Schultz slapping 20/2o reporter John Stossel at the same MSG show. Piper said he was about 10-15 feet away from the incident. Stossel’s assistant kept asking Schultz if wrestling was a sport and if it was entertainment but maintaining respect but Stossel must have felt his guy was being “too soft” so he shut it down and point blank asked Schultz if it was fake and not in a respectful manner and got slapped as a result. Piper said it didn’t hurt the business then said that Eddy Mansfeld, who helped “expose” wrestling in that piece, was always a “piece of shit.”
Final Thoughts: This is what I expected and typical of Piper meaning you get insight, comedy, and some pure bullshit. Some of his timeline stuff is way off but there was a good amount of insight here. And a lot of solid stuff overall. However, some of the stuff he said just makes you shake your head.
1984 was certainly an interesting year in WWE history and Piper was a great choice. With all that said, I thought this was an enjoyable timeline. Some of the stories were hilarious and listening to him speak about what drew money and made a good heel was awesome, seeing as he did both.
Overall, I will recommend this Timeline but be warned that there is some crap to get through and it takes a bit to get into a groove. The first 30-45 minutes I thought this was going to be pure garbage but it got a lot better as it went along.
You can purchase the DVD of this interview for $25 or purchase and On Demand copy for $20.99, which you get to keep forever, by clicking on the link below.