LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Professional Wrestling World Mourns Longtime Star 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, clad in his trademark kilt, speaks in 2009 at the WrestleMania 25th anniversary press conference at Hard Rock Cafe in New York City. Piper fought in the main bout at the first WrestleMania in 1985, losing a tag-team match to Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, a premier wrestler in the now-WWE during the 1980s and 1990s who fought Hulk Hogan and Mr. T in the main event at the first WrestleMania in 1985, has died, the company reports. He was 61.

"Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world," said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. "I extend my deepest condolences to his family."

Born Roderick Toombs, Piper joined the company after years in smaller circuits and quickly developed a reputation as trash-talking "heel," reports the Associated Press:

"Piper became a household name because of his rivalry with Hogan, and the involvement of pop star Cyndi Lauper and her friend Captain Lou Albano, also a wrestler. The feud led to an MTV special "The War to Settle the Score" in 1985. Piper was cast as the villain, and his disqualification led to Hogan claiming the WWF championship. A brawl at the end of that fight led to the first WrestleMania."

Despite being born in Canada, he usually appeared in a kilt, and often played the bagpipes.

He went on to star in John Carpenter horror film They Live, the AP notes, in which he delivered the classic line "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass — and I'm all out of bubblegum."

Wrestlers and others posted their memories of Piper on Twitter on Friday.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)