This post, from almost ten years ago, references one of the saddest & most upsetting pro-wresting related stories I ever encountered. Since then, Roddy Piper has passed on way too soon.
Long story short, I found a couple of video interviews and such on YouTube that suggested Rowdy Roddy Piper had been molested/assaulted/exploited as a teen; possibly when he was starting in the pro wrestling industry, possibly by someone more powerful within the industry. They are extremely sad and triggering interviews to watch and listen to. (link 1, link 2: no longer up)
Piper left home when he was 13 years old, and started wrestling at 15. He has mentioned these facts before in other interviews, and that his adolescence was extremely hard. But it was only in the last year of his life that he started alluding to what some of those traumas were.
After the interview in which he seemed to suggest he had a traumatic run-in as a teen with a particular older wrestler, he then backtracked and issued a very angry and defiant retraction on his podcast stating no sexual activity between them happened. (yup, these original videos seem nuked as well) This audio is also really sad and difficult to listen to. He basically falls into his “heel” persona from his old wrestling days, putting down the audience; something he sort of never did anymore. And it made me wonder if that old persona itself was a defense mechanism he had built up to deal with all this earlier issues, that he used to channel the rage he felt.
I was, and am, a huge fan of Piper; ever since I was a kid. I’m torn between writing this post and respecting his final word on the subject. The “logic” goes, don’t “ruin” his reputation as a great wrestler and actor by mentioning this stuff. The other side of the coin is that obviously SOMETHING really traumatic happened to him as a teenager. We live in a world where men still don’t feel they can admit these things happen to them—especially men in “macho” fields like sports.
If Piper really was hurt in this way, I hope he had somebody to talk to and some way to process it. I wish he could have read all the messages of support from fans in the YouTube comments who reaffirmed his manhood and greatness while at the same time saying that being a possible victim of sexual assault/harassment didn’t minimize those things.
And I wish we can move into a phase in society where men who have been sexually exploited/harassed/assaulted can feel comfortable enough to talk about these things; if not publicly, at least privately so they can get some help. The fact that Piper died within a year of finally publicly attempting to discuss some of these issues—regardless of what the actual details of those issues were—is significant. How many other men from his generation up to the present day are still holding on to this stuff in shame, with no outlets to deal with it?
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