I am going to postpone my normal topics I usually cover in my posts: I want to get some business out of the way, and also to reflect on some sad news I received over the weekend.
On August 1, I received the news that Roddy Rowdy Piper had passed away at the age of 61. I got to know Roddy Piper from him being trained in Judo by Gene Lebell, and also because of my association with pro-wrestling. If anyone is familiar with his past, you will know that professional wrestling was both a blessing and a curse to Roddy Piper.
Roddy Piper was known for being one of the best in the business. Although, he could wrestle scientifically, he was known as a brawler. He also had great “mic skills”, being able to get the crowd excited and interested in his matches. These abilities allowed him to be part of a long-running feud with fan favorites, including Hulk Hogan. Piper was a legend in this sport.
Wrestling opened many doors to him. This included him becoming an actor, appearing in numerous TV shows and also staring in such cult movies as “They Live”, and “Hell Comes to Frog Town”. The curse was that wrestling took its toll on his body and his health.
He was in a sport where if you did not wrestle, you do not get paid. Being forced to wrestle, even while injured, lead to him self-medicating himself and abusing painkillers. The impact this had on his life was obvious even to Piper, who in 2003 on HBO “Real Sports” said he was “not going to make it to 65”.
In 2007, he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, this he was able to conquer; but not the effects of years of abuse on his body. On July 31, he suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep.
All I can say about Roddy Piper is how I saw him when he interacted with the fans. I have been present in meet and greats, where hundreds of people waited in line to see him. Other wrestlers at the event complained about the number of people who were in line, and some even left before the event ended. Roddy Piper stayed, making sure everyone who came to get an autograph got one. He spoke to these fans, showing respect and kindness to each and every one.
This is probably the legacy of Roddy Piper; he gave everything he had to the fans, even to the point that it cost him his own health.
The fate of Roddy Piper is not unusual. Wrestling is now dominated by one or two federations, and those that run these federations have a Machiavellian view for their employees; firing wrestlers who were injured or refused to perform dangerous moves as part of their matches. Most of these wrestlers are on the road constantly, going from one arena to another, many spend more than 250 days a year away from home, going from one match to another.
I can tell you from experience what the mentality is of promoters. If you are injured, or think something is dangerous, their attitude is if you don't like it, quit. When you make a living as a professional wrestler, and there is only one major promotion, where are you to go? What skills did you learn in the ring for other jobs? Until the states go back and regulate professional wrestling via the athletic commissions, wrestlers are still going to die long before their time.
Since the rise of wrestler’s deaths has increased, some of these wrestling federations have performed mandatory drug tests on the wrestlers. This is nothing but a public relations campaign for they only test for recreational drugs; this would exclude the use of steroids and pain medication.
Until August 7th, "Legend of the Mystic Knights" is on sale for the Kindle for only $0.99. If you were interested in reading this novel, now is your chance. The sales of my novel will determine if my sequel is to be published.
Next week, we will go back to the middle ages.