“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who would become one of the biggest names in the history of professional wrestling, entered Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in the early autumn of 1980 as a virtual unknown to the fans of Jim Crockett Promotions. Without any advance publicity, Piper debuted in the territory on October 7, 1980 at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, defeating Special Delivery Jones. But it was at the next night’s TV tapings at the WRAL television studios in Raleigh that Piper was truly introduced to the fans of the Mid-Atlantic area.
|Roddy Piper with his bagpipes|
After Piper won his first TV match with ease, Caudle attempted to introduce Roddy to the area’s fans saying, “At ringside right now, and you just saw him in the ring and I gotta say…” Piper couldn’t wait for the introduction, blurting out, “Let me just tell you something Mister. I tell you something; I come to the area here and I walk in the arena and this lady says, ‘Who are you?’ She says, ‘WHO ARE YOU,’ to me! Who am I, who am I? Do I look like the tidy bowl man?! I come to the arena; I’m in my wrestling gear. Since I’ve been 16 years old, I’ve been professional wrestling.”
A boisterous Piper continued, “I was the youngest professional wrestler in the world when I started wrestling! By the time I was 19 years old, I won the Light Heavyweight Championship of the World, brother. Who am I?? When I was 21 I took Muhammad Ali, the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, hip tossed him right down on his buttocks, and made him look like a fool. Who am I, you say?? You take a look at me, man; I’m the whipped cream on your strawberry shortcake! Who am I?? I am Rowdy Roddy Piper, 26 years old…”
|Bob Caudle with Roddy Piper|
Without taking a breath Piper rants more on Flair and concludes, “Saw him the other day with some chicks, looked liked a Sasquatch exhibition, brother. Well, you listen to me. I’m what’s happening. You say, ‘Who am I?’ I told ya; I gotta question for you. You do you think you are, man?”
Almost at a loss for words, Caudle comments, “I tell ya fans, there’s no doubt what Roddy Piper thinks of Roddy Piper, and he can back it up as he said. He was the youngest wrestler in the world at 16, and held many championships. And that’s the story from Roddy Piper.”
It was a Mid-Atlantic story that had its first chapter in Raleigh in early October of 1980, and within less than a month saw Piper win the NWA Television Title in Richmond, Virginia in a spectacular one-night tournament. The United States Title came soon thereafter, and then many memorable feuds that culminated in 1983 with the vicious battles with former “Dream Team” friend Greg Valentine and the epic “Dog Collar Match” at Starrcade 1983.
The lady asking Roddy Piper who he was at his first WRAL appearance asked a fair question. But in his debut interview for Jim Crockett Promotions, Piper made it crystal clear who he was, and likely never had to answer that question again while wrestling in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Fans in the Carolinas and Virginia quickly recognized Rowdy Roddy Piper as a wrestling star that just doesn’t come around every day, and saw that star shining brightly even during Piper’s earliest Mid-Atlantic appearance.