coconut to the jaw and crashed into the flimsy set. A feud with Hulk Hogan involving singer Cyndi Lauper, Captain Lou Albano and Mr. T. was shown on MTV. 1987's record breaking Wrestlemania III sold out over 93,000 seats, one of them being wrestling fan and Halloween and Escape From New York writer/director John Carpenter. Carpenter was doing low budget movies at Universal and thought Piper would be an excellent lead due to his weathered look and expertise on the mic. WWF owner Vince McMahon was having none of it, thinking that the company was based around himself and superstar Hulk Hogan. McMahon tried to offer Piper a lead in a WWF produced film but the wrestler passed, knowing that a director of Carpenter's skill would not be involved. This lead to McMahon and Hogan holing up in a hotel room for a week and coming up with the not great 1989 flick, No Holds Barred.
terrific dialog that was half written and half improvised along with shotgun flavored action and a ridiculously awesome alley fight that goes on for 6 minutes. Piper is pitch perfect as the drifter who can't believe what's happening and delivers a broad performance where he can be sad and mad in the same 90 minutes. The $4 million dollar movie would gross $13 million upon release and become a cult classic, prompting special edition DVD's and repertory screenings around the world. Subsequent acting roles in genre fare like Hell Comes to Frogtown and a slew of direct to video films with Billy Blanks would never rival They Live but showed Piper had some real acting chops. 1997's The Bad Pack showed his goofy sense of humor in the low budget Magnificent Seven update opposite Robert Davi and Ralf Moeller while he surprisingly delivered the best performance in 2007's street fighting flick Honor as spiritually wounded policeman and father figure LT Tyrell against Russell Wong.
Piper's outspoken personality and fractured upbringing created an adult who would give you the shirt off his back if asked but resented authority and did not take orders well. This lead to his in and out relationship with McMahon and WWF as Piper spoke out against the company several times and subsequently fired. I recall one interview where Piper claimed he wouldn't make it to retirement age to claim his pension. Sadly, he was right. Rowdy Roddy Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 and is survived by his wife and four children. Mixed Martial Artist Rhonda Rousey received Piper's blessing to use the Rowdy nickname and dedicated her Saturday night title defense to his honor.