Roddy Piper Turns 60: The Five Most Important Piper's Pits
For traditional sports, the answer to that question for most people is pretty easy. You know who your favorite football, baseball or basketball player is, and you know the reasons why. His career is a collective body of work that defines him, and your love for that athlete is usually for the totality of his work.
Professional wrestling is just different. It's sports entertainment where the "players" are actors as much as they are athletes, so to answer the question "Who's your favorite wrestler?" is a little more complex.
At least, it is for me.
The answer to the "Who is your favorite wrestler?" question probably has two answers, one the equivalent of naming your favorite actor, and a second that would be more like answering "Who's your favorite television character of all time?" Think of it this way -- my favorite actor of all time is probably Robert De Niro, and my favorite television character is probably Tony Soprano.
Along those lines, my favorite "wrestler" in the "actor" sense is probably Mick Foley, who played about a half dozen different characters magnificently for WWE and other wrestling companies. My favorite "wrestler" in the "character" sense was probably "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's heel-and-then-brash-babyface character between the years of 1984 and 1987.
(I hope to God the last five paragraphs made sense to you, and frankly, if they didn't, you probably didn't click on this post anyway, so there.)
When it came to riling up a crowd, stirring up shit, and just being a generally entertaining, caustic and at times evil nuisance, nobody did it better than Piper at his best, and he never did it on a bigger stage than when he first arrived in the then-WWF in early 1984, during Vince McMahon's initial foray into expanding his brand nationally.