Rowdy: The Roddy Piper Story by Ariel Teal Toombs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Rowdy is the story of wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, as told by two of his children.
When I was a kid, taking the first steps into a wrestling fandom that would last decades, one of the first wrestlers I really hated was Roddy Piper. As I got older, I saw what a great entertainer he was. When I had a pile of Amazon points burning a hole in my pocket, I snapped this up.
The book starts with Roddy's birth and rough home life, leading to him being semi-homeless and a criminal during most of his teen years. This part lasted a little longer than I would like. However, it was necessary in order to explain the cloud of sadness that hung over Roddy's head for most of his life.
Once the wrestling bug bit, the book really took hold. Roddy started off in Canada, driving astronomical distances for little money before finally getting his big break in the States, wrestling in Texas, George, Los Angeles, Charlotte, and all the other territories in between before finally getting the opportunity of a lifetime in the WWF. From there, it's Hollywood, WCW, cancer, and death. Yeah, I glossed over a lot.
While his kids, Colt and Ariel, wrote the book, they show a lot of warts, like Roddy's drug and alcohol abuse. They also share a lot of road stories from wrestlers who were close to their father. Some of it I'd read before but most of it was new to me. 61 is a young age to die but considering everything Piper went through once he got into wrestling, he probably should have been dead 20 years sooner.
It's better than I expected but I still wanted more road stories and stories from behind the scenes in the WWF/E and WCW. I'm sure some had to be cut for space reasons but you know guys like The Grappler and Ric Flair could tell Roddy Piper stories for days. That's pretty much my only gripe, though. Rowdy paints a surprisingly sad picture of one of wrestling's greatest personalities. Four out of five stars.
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