When people ask me, “Kelly, who are your favorite wrestlers of all-time?”, I have a strong tendency to gravitate towards certain names that make up for the lack in technical or “scientific” wrestling skills with their verbal skills in front of a camera and/or a crowd. I’m a BIG fan of the talkers, so to speak.
One of my favorites of all-time is, without question, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. After a long, exhausting week of bulls*** going on in my life and in the world in general, I can put on my homemade Roddy Piper compilation and enjoy my weekend to the fullest. Of course the main component of my homemade compilation (and any Roddy Piper compilation) would certainly be “Piper’s Pit”.
For you young ‘Crappers reading this, Piper’s Pit was Roddy Piper’s own 3 to 5 minute “talk show” segment that would air during WWF television shows in which Roddy (a heel at the time) would “interview” other WWF wrestlers, showing favoritism for his fellow heels, and in general use this talk show medium to help get the other wrestlers over and advance all the different storylines. Roddy was soooo good at this talk show racket that it spawned about 3,035 copies (most being worthless, and most I’ll be getting to sometime in the future). The “Pit” and its main competitor, Adrian Adonis’s “Flower Shop”, even became the main focus of Roddy’s own “retirement” (the first of several) in 1987. AND would also be the place where Andre turned against his bestest closest buddy in the whole wide world, Hulk Hogan, and with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan by his side, CHALLENGE Hulk for the world championship at Wrestlemania III.
To sum up in four words (and one math symbol): Piper’s Pit = wrestling history.
Two years after Roddy’s “retirement” and break into Hollywood as an actor, he would not only come out of this retirement, but he’d also return triumphantly to the WWF at Wrestlemania V with….a “very special” Piper’s Pit.
No, Blossom and her perky sidekick Six will not be on this edition of Piper’s Pit.
But by the end, you’ll wish they were.
Before I get too far, a quick note about WrestleMania 5. This show, and the year’s prior show as well, took place in the cavernous Trump Plaza. Not sure if it was due to a different audience being attracted to the Casino versus other wrestling shows or bad accoustics (or a combination of both), but the crowds for these shows seemed absolutely dead. With the exception of a handful of moments, you’d think the shows were taking place in a morgue. I’m talking tag on the toe material here.
So when Howard Finkel introduces our hero Rowdy Roddy, it is impressive that the crowd actually comes to life.
But…hey wait a minute, that’s not Roddy!
Why it’s Brother Love, the corrupt 1980s preacher stereotype that replaced Roddy as a WWF talk segment host soon after Hot Rod left.
I’d mock him for wearing a kilt, but seriously, this is a guy who paints his face bright red. Is it really worth the effort?
Brother Love walks down the steps of Trump Plaza slowly.
I mean, like tectonic plate slowly.
In the time it takes him to get to the ring, wars have been declared and fought, children have grown up to become parents and the excitement of Wrestlemania has been cheapened by 11 other WWF PPVs a year.
Brother Love starts off by declaring how much he LOOOOOOOOVES YOOOOOOUUUUU. Whatever you believe to be the worst catchphrase you’ve ever heard, this one trumps it.
Then he proceeds to “interview” an invisible Roddy Piper about how much he loves Brother Love and his talk show. He did so in the following manner:
1. Brother Love asks question to Invisible Roddy.
2. Brother Love takes his glasses off and changes seats.
3. Brother Love answers question doing world’s worst Roddy Piper impression.
You know that impression you do of Roddy Piper when you’re falling down drunk? It’s better than this.
No doubt somewhere in the crowd that night, a young Lance Storm was thinking, “Surely you can’t be serious”.
(I set that one up for you, guys, now bring it on home. 🙂
The crowd, which had been alive just 2 or 3 minutes earlier, is back to its comatose state. I know what you’re thinking – there’s only one way to wake them up!
With a heapin’ helpin’ of MORTON DOWNEY JR.
(Note from RD: First person that makes a “Jim Neidhart” joke gets punched in the face. I’m really sick of that joke!)
Who is Morton Downey Jr, you ask? He just happened to be, at the time, a highly successful chain smoking talk show host out of a favorite local channel from my childhood, WWOR Channel 9 in New York (once the home of Vince Sr’s WWWF television show on Saturday nights), and syndicated all over the country. His “in your face” talk show host persona and format would be copied by dozens of others with less success and originality for years to come.
So Mort comes out and high fives Brother Love. Why? Who knows. But since he follows it up by firing up a cig and making fun of him, I guess that’s ok.
Quick side note: a year earlier on Downey’s show, he spent an entire house debating if wrestling was real or not, all while smoking cigarette after cigarette.
We need more shows like this on television.
I know you’re thinking a debate between these two would be fantastic, but sadly it quickly deteriorates into Downey calling Brother Love “fat boy.”
Them’s fightin’ words right there!
But before the two can come to blows, the Fink announces, “Now REALLY, here is Rowdy Roddy Piper!”
Bet the crowd will come to life now!
Well, yes, they do.
Until it takes him 9 years to make it down to the ring.
Seriously, you could run a city marathon on these steps.
Now when my hero Roddy has that look on his face you see here…I’m psyched.
No doubt he’s ready to rip his opponents to shreds with his trademark Roddy Piper wit!
Here we go!
“You’ve got them Bette Davis knees there!”
I love Roddy but sometimes his insults that SOUND biting don’t seem to make sense, like when he ran around Alcatraz and called Hulk “an extinction”.
As for Mort, he just looks around bored, throwing cigarette butts on the mat.
Ooo, don’t like where this is going.
So we get a few minutes of Roddy and Brother Love winging it, as the two talk about the difference between Scotch and Scots (one is a drink, the other is Groundskeeper Willy), Brother Love wearing cheap gold from Ted DiBiase, and Brother Love being fat like Oprah, which brought me a brief chuckle.
And yes, I’m one of the lowlifes that thinks “Oprah is fat” jokes will NEVER get old.
Now, if you’re watching the PPV or Coliseum Video version of WM5, Roddy pulls Brother Love’s kilt, causing the fat preacher to run to the back in shame.
If, however, you’re watching the WWE version on any DVD or on 24/7, you get a weird edit where Roddy and Brother Love are seen talking in close proximity and then Roddy turns his head to the camera. When he turns back around, he’s alone in the ring with Mort. It’s like Brother Love was taken back to Poochie’s home planet in his spaceship.
Now normally, I hate when WWE edits their footage but since they spared me from seeing Bruce Prichard’s saddle bag of ground pork he calls a butt, then I will completely welcome this WWE editing job.
So Mort blows smoke in Piper’s face as the two have a verbal sparring contest that the crowd no-sells completely. But can you really blame them when you get dialogue like “It’s a kilt, Mr. Downey” and Mort replies “Killed?”
I know people get ticked today that everything in wrestling is so heavily scripted, but I gotta think that even Brian Gewirtz could have had a couple better lines than these.
Roddy, looking for a way out of this lingering Hellhole of a segment, asks Mort to fire up a cig for him and pass it along to “ol’ Hot Rod.” As Mort turns his back, Roddy reveals a fire extinguisher under one of the stools, which he proceeds to blast Mort in the face with like a sadistic anti-smoking money shot.
(Note from Blade: We’ve officially corrupted her.)
Aaaaaaand the segment is officially and mercifully over so we can get to the No Holds Barred trailer. Never thought I’d long for Zeus and the evil Mr. Brell, but…
You know, I love Roddy and Mort, but that segment was awful. Roddy came back to the company, which pleased many of us but this way was nothing more than a time-waster devoid of any humor or “sports entertainment” (ugggggh). Granted, you couldn’t get much of a reaction out of the Trump Plaza crowd except for the well-known guys like Hulk Hogan, so maybe if we had the Married With Children audience, it would’ve gotten over better.
Wrestlemania with a laugh track,,,now that’s an idea whose time has come.