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Rowdy Roddy Piper

WWE Hall of Fame Series
by yo go re

Once again, Target's exclusive WWE Hall of Fame Series gets me to update a figure I already had.

In 1985, Rowdy Roddy Piper took part in a main event match that was to become the first ever WrestleMania. Four years later, at WrestleMania V, Piper, also known as "Hot Rod," came out of retirement. This proved to be a good move for him, as he became the Intercontinental Champion, his first and last time doing so. At Wrestlemania VIII, Piper went up against Bret Hart, losing his championship title. Soon after this defeat, Piper wasn't seen in the WWE Universe for nearly two years. Disappearing from the WWE and reemerging were constant in Piper's career. And, another constant: Piper's legacy. It was solid to fans and sports entertainment experts alike who considered Piper to be one of the most hated villains in WWE history.

Villain? Who really thinks of Rowdy Roddy Piper as a villain? If anything, he was more of a True Neutral wildcard, a tweener before there was even a term for that. He was playing Dean Ambrose three decades early. He's what a well-written Loki should be: the guy who pisses everybody off with his antics, but isn't actually malicious. Hot Rod may have been a heel when the WWF was starting to get big, but he wasn't by the time it actually got there.

Mattel has made a Roddy Piper before - several times, in fact. There was an Entrance Greats version and a WWE Legends TRU-exclusive two-pack, to say nothing of the more basic Superstar Entrances and Tough Talkin' line, where he also showed up. But now he's back again, and he gets a new head sculpt, with slightly shaggy hair and the mouth open in a laugh - you can almost hear him cackling!

Hot Rod is wearing his usual entrance gear: a white T-shirt with red trim, and a kilt, both of which are removable; the Entrance Greats figure had both those things as well, plus a leather jacket, but the Legends figure didn't have a shirt at all, and the other figures had the shirt permanently painted on, so this is a terrific inclusion. The only downside is that the kilt on this release is PVC, rather than softgoods like the first two had, and the pegs on the right side that are meant to hold it closed don't fit as well as they should. Still, you have your choice of how you want Piper to look, and variety is always nice.

The body beneath is a perfect fit for Rowdy Roddy. It's got some muscular definition, but it's still fairly scrawny, at least by WWF stanards - like he said in his Hall of Fame induction speech, he trained every bit as much as Hulk Hogan did, but he never got those 24" pythons (probably because he wasn't taking the same kind of "vitamins"). He looks like a real scrapper, and is wearing blue trunks and kneepads, then rust-colored boots with white "RP" lettering on the sides.

Roddy Piper's finishing move was a sleeper hold, and just like Brutus Beefcake, the toy's articulation isn't quite enough to get him into a pose (not that you'd realy be able to find another figure thin enough to fit into the arms anyway). He has hinged rocker ankles, swivel shins, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, a swivel waist, hinged torso, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head, but the left wrist on mine has a weird molding error that makes it look like the hand is about to pop off at any moment - if I find a second at the store, I might make a swap.

Other than the cloth shirt and rubber kilt, the figure gets no accessories - not even the microphone and Intercontinental Championship belt that Jakks gave him! When the toy was first shown off at Toy Fair a year ago, it was planned to come with the same bagpipes the Entrance Greats figure had, but I guess that didn't cost out.

Rowdy Roddy Piper died of heart failure in 2015, but in 2006, wrestling fans saved his life. See, thw WWE was having a gimmicky pay-per-view, Cyber Sunday, in which fans could vote on different aspects of the match: stipulations, participants, etc. Ric Flair needed a tag team partner for his match, and the fans voted for Hot Rod. Well, during the required medical check-ups prior to the match, it was discovered that Roddy had cancer - Hodgkin's lymphoma - and would require treatment. He later said he had no idea anything was wrong, and if the fans hadn't voted him into the match, he never would have known until it was too late. He eventually made a full recovery, and we got nine more years to enjoy the man and his work.

-- 02/14/18

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