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"Rowdy" Roddy Piper

Classic Superstars
by yo go re

Years before The Rock was catchphrasing his way out of the ring and off to Hollywood, there was only one true mic master. A heel who turned good, who turned ordinary interviews into an event worth watching and who was one of the major driving forces in taking the sport to new heights.

Rowdy Roddy Piper "Rowdy" Roddy Piper joined the WWF in 1984, serving as Hulk Hogan's main foe for many years. He hosted his own segment - Piper's Pit - in which he interviewed and fought many of wrestling's biggest stars. Eventually the Hot Rod outgrew his wicked ways and became a true fan favorite.

Roddy Piper was, at one time, one of the permanent fixtures of pro wrestling: he'd been with the WWF from its first days as a national promotion, and his weekly segment kept him in the spotlight. When long-forgotten LJN made the first wrestling figures - those huge, immobile lumps of solid rubber - Roddy was there. His most recent figure came from ToyBiz's decent WCW line, but that one was Piper mainly by virture of the clothes he wore. Thank goodness for the Classic Superstars line.

Jakks Pacific's Classic Superstars line is intended to offer "high-end sculpts of Superstars of yesterday and today." In other words, the same generic bodies as all their other wrestling figures, with new heads or paint jobs to create wrestlers (or personas) that aren't around any more The first two series were popular enough to warrant a third, with at least two more on the way.

The generic body they chose for Piper suits him: he's bigger than he ever was in real life, but not terribly so. He's wearing his white Hot Rod shirt and, of course, his kilt. The figure stands 7" tall and moves at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, hands and neck.

This is a long-haired Rowdy Roddy, which makes him look like his nameless hero from They Live: anyone hoping to make a custom will only have to find a wrestler in jeans and a flannel and perform a simple head swap. The likeness is good, but it's been created in a very odd manner - the actual face is too small on his head, giving him a sort of pinched expression. It's accurate, it just needs to be spread out a bit.

Rowdy Roddy's got two accessories: a microphone and a title belt. The mic points to the skills that made him the star he was, and the belt is the Intercontinental Championship he won from the Mountie in 1992 - his first and only title with the WWF. His kilt is removable, too; he's wearing his blue trunks underneath. It's a shame he doesn't come with his bagpipes, because the Piper could actually play: at age 14 he placed fifth in an international competition, before deciding that boxing might be a more lucrative career; it was a broken hand that moved him from that world to professional wrestling.

These Classic Superstars are great for the folks who grew up in the old days of wrestling. Since "Rowdy" Roddy Piper is mostly divorced from the WWE now, we won't be seeing any modern versions of him. This bad boy is one of the few people to beat both wrestling legends Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair in clean matches, and is one of the most enduring characters ever to step into the ring.

-- 01/06/05

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