(With the death of wrestling legend Roddy Piper, we have turned over the Top 10 list to our wrestling columnist, Achilles Heel.)
One of the hallmarks of Roddy Piper’s amazing career was Piper’s Pit, a ground-breaking interview show featuring Piper’s unique stream-of-consciousness style as he interviews everyone from the top stars to the jobbers who lost every week. The first time you saw Piper’s Pit, you knew you were watching something different.
I’ve tried to incorporate all the different types of Piper’s Pits, from promoting big angles to insulting the guests to in-ring Piper’s Pits at major arenas, into this list.
But a Top 10 isn’t big enough for the list of the best and most memorable Piper’s Pits, so I’m turning this into a Top 15 list. There is a space at the bottom to add your comments or favorite Piper’s Pits.
(Click on the links to view individual Piper’s Pits.)
15. Kamala, Freddie Blassie What distinguishes this Piper’s Pit is how Piper, while interviewing Blassie, always keeps a wary eye on Kamala, who is pacing the set while carrying a spear. Piper’s borderline fear sells the fact that Kamala is dangerous.
14. Sgt. Slaughter While trying convince Slaughter that he shouldn’t feel any loyalty or love for the fans, Piper delivers a social commentary on the treatment of soldiers who returned from Vietnam.
13. Adrian Adonis, Bob Orton Jr., Magnificent Muraco, Jimmy Hart This was a showdown between Piper’s Pit and Adonis’ The Flower Shop, with adjoining sets. This one doesn’t end well for Piper, with Adonis, Orton (Piper’s former bodyguard) and Muraco delivering a beatdown on Piper.
12. The Shield Piper tries to create dissension in The Shield in this Piper’s Pit from Jan. 6, 2014, demonstrating that Piper still had “it” even as he approached his 60th birthday. Other excellent in-ring editions of Piper’s Pit after Piper retired were with Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XXI and with John Cena, trying to get Cena to respond to the fans booing him, before his WrestleMania 28 match with The Rock.
11. Paul Orndorff There are several good Piper’s Pits with Orndorff, but this in-ring edition of Piper’s Pit was when Orndorff turned babyface after Piper blamed him for their loss to Hulk Hogan and Mr. T at the first WrestleMania.
10. Magnificent Muraco, Mr. Fuji This mutual admiration society version of Piper’s Pit from October of 1985 with Magnificent Muraco, who worked wonderfully with Piper — both with him and against him — in entertaining feuds throughout different territories during his career, represents all the Pits during which Piper showed his love for his fellow heels. This one just barely beats out a Piper’s Pit two months earlier in which Piper and Muraco demonstrate their love and respect for one another by exchanging t-shirts.
9. Mr. T (with Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Snuka) Piper gives Mr. T an opportunity to back out of the main event of WrestleMania during this live in-ring Piper’s Pit at Madison Square Garden just two weeks before WrestleMania.
8. Andre the Giant This Piper’s Pit is the best of several terrific Pits with Andre the Giant, who was a great target for Piper because Piper could destroy him verbally while demonstrating respect for Andre’s size and power. On this occasion, Andre’s anger boils over and Piper finishes with one of his signature lines.
7. Bruno Sammartino Piper certainly wasn’t politically correct, as is evident by the ethnic slurs that incited Bruno Sammartino and the live crowd during this red-hot in-ring Piper’s Pit from Madison Square Garden in October of 1985.
6. Andre the Giant, Bobby Heenan, Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan This is the Piper’s Pit in which Andre the Giant aligns with Bobby Heenan, turns heel and demands a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania III. Piper doesn’t do much talking during this Pit, but his expressions are an essential part of telling the story. The Pits leading up to this historic Pit — with Hogan, Andre and Ventura on by themselves — are also worth watching.
5. Roddy Piper Billed as “The Last Piper’s Pit,” this edition features a heartfelt monologue from Piper that serves as a wonderful, albeit premature, retrospective on his career. Here’s one quote: “I’m proud of this country because they let a jerk like me come in and do whatever the hell I want to do for as long as I could.”
4. The Haiti Kid Piper and bodyguard Bob Orton Jr. carry The Haiti Kid from the ring and make him an unwilling guest for this edition of Piper’s Pit. Piper, who was preparing for a WrestleMania 2 boxing match against Mr. T, isn’t funny in this segment. He reminds people that he’s the top heel in WWF by completely humiliating Haiti Kid by giving him a Mr. T-like mohawk.
3. Capt. Lou Albano, Cyndi Lauper This was the long-awaited appearance of Cyndi Lauper on WWF television, which Capt. Lou Albano had been promising for weeks. Understandably, there were doubts among wrestling fans that Lauper, a huge star during the 1980s, would appear. It’s remarkable that she became part of a major angle in WWF. Piper does a terrific job of setting up this angle with Lauper and Albano. Piper’s Pits with Albano before and after this edition are also terrific.
2. Frankie Williams This early Piper’s Pit emphasized that this segment was different than anything ever seen before. Piper’s guest was Frankie Williams, a jobber who lost every match. Guys like Williams weren’t featured on interview segments. Piper tears him apart verbally before getting physical, ending the segment with one of his most famous signature lines.
1. Jimmy Snuka This is the moment that cemented Piper’s Pit as an iconic segment that would live on forever in wrestling history. Piper delivers a series of politically incorrect insults before smashing Snuka in the head with a coconut and whipping him with his belt, sparking one of the most memorable feuds in WWE history.