Biography channel, 2013
A lot of wrestlers have “personal demons,” and Roddy Piper is no exception. In the rowdy Scot’s case, though, they’re not the kind of demons you can get arrested for if the cops pull you over and find them in your car. No, these are bona fide ghosts, and if you don’t believe me, just ask professional TV psychic Kim Russo.
Now, before you jump to conclusions and write this woman off just because of her last name, I can assure you that her background is nothing like Vinnie Ru’s. For one thing, instead of making up silly articles for WWF Magazine, the psychic Russo was on the A&E series, “Psychic Kids,” where she and other responsible adults convinced groups of mentally disturbed children that, yes, they actually did have psychic powers and that the voices in their heads were real.
(Then again, if Vince Russo were still writing for WWE Magazine, he would have penned a feature about an adolescent Randy Orton having been on that very TV show.)
So really, messing with sane, grown adults who should know better is a huge step up for Kim.
And that’s where Piper comes in. After appearing on another Biography channel series a year and a half earlier entitled, “Celebrity Ghost Stories,” Hot Rod agreed to a visit from Russo for another paranormal series, “The Haunting of…” Luckily for Kim, her son used to watch wrestling, so she is familiar with Piper… not that she needs to be, given that as a psychic, she can tap into the kind of vast reservoir of knowledge beyond the imagination of ordinary people.
|The producers of the show apparently knew that there was one thing scarier than ghosts, and that was failing to have enough content to fill a 60-minute time slot, so the first ten minutes of the episode consists of recycled footage from Piper’s “Celebrity Ghost Stories” appearance. On the show, he talked about the paranormal encounter he had in his house with not just any ghost, but that of Keith Franke, better known as Adrian Adonis.|
|Just the thought of having an undead Adorable One in my house conducting a Flower Shop segment is enough to send chills down my spine…|
|…but the leather-clad version of Adonis that Roddy encountered that day was much younger, thinner, and heterosexualer than the one Piper faced at Wrestlemania III.|
|As it turns out, Adonis was one of Piper’s best friends early in their careers, and he was the one who convinced Hot Rod to settle down and buy his home in Portland. In other words, if it weren’t for Adrian, there would have been no Celebrity Wife Swap featuring Piper and Ric Flair.|
|It gets even scarier.|
|Years after Adonis’s death in a car accident in Newfoundland, he appeared to Roddy Piper’s son in his Portland home. Why would the late wrestler travel 4000 miles, the entire length of a continent, and several dimensions to visit the Piper house? To burn the thing down of course! A young(er) Roddy Piper arrived just in time to put out a fire that spilled out of his fireplace and that may or may not have been started by the Adorable One. Geez, with disembodied friends like Adrian, who needs disembodied enemies!|
|Roddy didn’t know whether his ghost pal had started the fire or was trying to help him put it out. Adonis’s ghost told Piper to take care of his house (dammit)…|
|…puzzling the Hot Rod (even more so than his own uncanny resemblance to Andy Richter).|
|Back in the present day, our psychic friend is riding out to Piper’s home and is starting to hear various voices talking in her ear. It’s sort of like being a WWE announcer, except none of the voices are yelling at Kim not to call the championship title, a “belt.”|
|Oh, and she says that Roddy is far from alone in his house, as she senses the presence of a whole group of male ghosts. This should be news to Piper, who admits to never seeing a ghost before or since Adrian Adonis’s impromptu barbecue. This is definitely good news for the producers, who, again, have to fill a whole hour with this crap.|
|As the medium walks up to the Piper household, she gets freaked out by the ornamental gargoyles, which the producers play up with close-ups and scary music to give the impression that the home was built upon the gates of hell.|
|Around the same time this episode was filmed, Fifi the French maid came to the house and made bad meatloaf. Maybe the place is cursed.|
|One difference between Fifi and Kim: Fifi was not used to tending farm animals, while Kim is clearly well-versed in bulls**t. She starts using tricks of the psychic trade, such as throwing out as many ideas as possible and waiting for the mark — I mean, client — to make the connection himself. In this case, Kim senses that the home was built on an Indian reservation. No, says Piper, but he did used to live on an Indian reservation (as stated on page 1 of his autobiography, which can be previewed for free on Amazon). Bingo! Kim is 1 for 1 so far, although I’m sure she would count it as a success if Hot Rod had recently watched a Cleveland Indians game on TV.|
|Another trick? Using background information she has already learned about Piper and passing it off as psychic intuition. For instance, she senses that Roddy had an unhappy and lonely childhood. This revelation would have been a lot more shocking to viewers if they hadn’t already learned from the previous year’s “Celebrity Ghost Stories” that Roddy left home at age 12.|
|Kim then senses the presence of an older man named George. I don’t know how many names Kim suggested that were cut out in post-production, but Roddy recognizes “George” as his grandfather’s name. Again, not a surprise given that Piper’s middle name, freely available on Wikipedia, is “George,” but I bet Kim was disappointed that it wasn’t his father or, even better, George “The Animal” Steele. How awesome would that have been! Especially since he’s not even dead yet!|
|But, wait! There’s more. Another man is appearing to Kim, and he is Roddy’s father! And Kim apparently has no idea what his name is, since she has already used up her only lead with the name “George.” More bombshells follow, as Piper, Sr. tells Kim that Roddy ran away from home. Also, he was a cop, a fact otherwise known only to Roddy, the Canadian Online Explorer, Wikipedia, and anyone who had ever typed “roddy piper father” into Google.|
|All the while, viewers are just waiting for the Hot Rod to finally blow his lid and tell Kim, “That’s not my dad!” Alas, Roddy mostly just nods along, amazed at the broad, mundane information Kim relays from the spirit realm.|
|Still, as unimpressive and strained as this medium’s “revelations” have been, she at least hasn’t done anything truly tasteless, like, say, invoking the name of a beloved and famously deceased wrestler. Also, given how damn dark everything looks in this episode, she apparently hasn’t turned on a single light in the Piper house, either. Let’s keep watching to see if she does either one.|
|Great! Kim has made contact with another figure from Roddy’s past. He comes from a large family, she says. In fact, he was “one of, I don’t know, 12, 13 kids.” Could she be talking about…? No, she wouldn’t do that.|
|“It’s sounds to me like something with an ‘O.'” I do not like where this is going at all. Tread lightly, Kimmy Ru.|
|“Let me tell you how he told me he passed away. I feel like he was up high on something, and he fell. Somebody’s name starts with an O. It’s like ‘Owey,’ ‘Owen’…” Hold on, I’m hearing a voice of my own, coming from someone with the initials ‘J.R.'”|
|It’s bad enough that she’s bringing Owen Hart into all of this, but does she have to pretend so hard to just now be hearing this information, which was national news? Plus, her son used to watch wrestling; my mom doesn’t know Shawn Michaels from Sean Mooney, but even she could have told Roddy how Owen Hart died, and without having to contact the “other side.” And besides, what the hell kind of name is, “Owey”?|
|Yeah, I don’t know either dude. And I’d expect “Man Mountain Rock” to be an expert on stupid names.|
|Just in case you thought Kim was done digging up famous dead wrestlers, she breaks out the shovel and gets right back to work. Standing next to “this Owen guy” is another wrestler, named Curt. Yes, as in that Curt. Take it away, Jim.|
|When Roddy confirms that Curt Hennig did indeed die, Kim is seriously spooked. Don’t believe me? Just look at her! Now, how could this possibly be the face of a shameless scam artist?*|
*Note to Kim Russo: this is merely a question, not a statement of fact. But you already knew that, because you’re psychic.
|Finally, Kim brings in the spirit of a friend of Piper’s named Keith. “Keith Franke,” says Roddy. “That’s Adrian Adonis’s real name.” “Who!?” asks Kim in an oh-so-convincing manner. And yes, this episode was filmed more than a year after Roddy appeared on the very same network with this very same story, which re-aired on this very same episode.|
|Piper says that the form of Adonis he saw was what he looked like at age 22, which raises some questions about the veracity of his ghost story. I mean, every ghost story I’ve ever heard has the ghost looking just like they did when they died. Does this mean that the ghosts haunting the Piper house could look as they did years before they died? Because I sure wouldn’t want to encounter Curt Hennig in his Wrestlerock Rumble gear.|
|Kim assures Roddy that Adrian’s ghost wasn’t really going to let his house burn down all those years ago. The whole thing was just a rib on a friend, apparently, like when the Eddie Guerrero’s ghost gave Rey Misterio the #2 slot in the Royal Rumble, or when The Big Bossman’s ghost drove off with Fabulous Moolah’s casket. That’s all nice, but she never gives us a real scoop, like whether Adrian’s ghost ever visited Jeff Hardy’s house.|
|The episode takes a dark turn when Roddy admits that every time he goes down into his den (which we now know is haunted by half the WWF roster), he wishes he would fall asleep and never wake up. Kim then tells him that Adrian Adonis is now yelling, “What’s the matter with you?!”. This is exactly what Roddy always wanted to hear:|
“Adrian’s spirit lives on, and he thinks you’re a p***y!”
|Speaking of dark, won’t somebody please turn a stinking light on in this house!? Did Fifi’s shopping spree with Roddy’s family wipe out his whole bank account and keep him from paying the electric bill?|
|Kim ends on a high note, though, assuring Roddy that the ghostly six-man tag team in his basement all think he’s super for surviving the wrestling business and taking care of his family. She also tells him that Adrian has been watching over Piper’s family for years, which is why his kids have always seen strange shadows in the house. This raises even more questions, though, as the late wrestler had a family of his own that he could be looking after. The same goes for Owen Hart. And do you really think that Mr. Perfect would waste his afterlife hanging out in Roddy Piper’s den when he could be teaching his son how to cut a decent promo?|
The only redeeming quality of this episode is that, although Kim clearly puts words in the mouths of the dead (and uses cheap tricks that would make the producers of “Exposed: Pro Wrestling’s Greatest Secrets” stand up and say, “Whoa, that’s way too obvious to do an exposé on!”) she at least confines herself to the dead. If she hadn’t, she would have gone on for hours about the messages she’s receiving from every wrestler under the sun (“I’m getting a message from a ‘Ric.’ He’s telling me that he doesn’t like ham.“). Still, even in an article where I’ve made jokes about the late Curt Hennig, Big Bossman, and Fabulous Moolah, I’m still comfortable saying that Kim Russo’s schtick is far too tasteless for most wrestling fans to stomach.
Sorry, Kim, but there’s still only room for one psychic in professional wrestling.