Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper - The Feud That Led to WrestleMania

Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan and Cyndi Lauper at the 1985 Grammy Awards. Barru King/WireImage/Getty Images

When Will Their Paths Cross?

In January of 1984, Hulk Hogan became WWE Champion and spent the next year beating up all the heels (bad guys) in the company.  Roddy Piper joined WWE in 1984 and was humiliating all the faces (good guys) on his talk show Piper's Pit.  In addition, Piper was a manager and several of his wrestlers fought Hogan for the title.

Another person to burst onto the scene in 1984 was Cyndi Lauper.

  The videos for her hit singles Girls Just Want to Have Fun and Time After Time featured Captain Lou Albano.  His involvement in those videos led to her getting involved in the world of professional wrestling.  The two made many appearances on Piper's Pit where Piper and Lauper verbally sparred with one another.

Their verbal issues became physical on December 28, 1984.  That night at Madison Square Garden, Hulk presented Cyndi with an award.  After Hogan left the ring, Piper proceeded to smash the award over the head of Captain Lou Albano, kicked Cyndi Lauper, and then power slammed her manager David Wolf.

The War to Settle the Score

In a match televised live on MTV, Roddy Piper finally got his title shot against the Hulkster.  After the referee was knocked out, Paul Orndorff entered the ring and they beat up Hogan. They then turned their attentions to Cyndi Lauper. Before they attacked her, Mr. T, who was sitting in the front row, jumped into the ring to save her.

The ring was then swarmed by police and WWF officials.

WrestleMania

That incident led to the main event of the first , where Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (with Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka in their corner) fought Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff (with "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr. in their corner). During the promotion of this match, wrestling reached a new level of popularity.

Hulk Hogan and Mr. T co-hosted Saturday Night Live the night before the big match. This match was also very important to the future of the WWE.  If it wasn’t successful, the company could possibly have gone out of business.

In addition to the previously named combatants and their cornermen, some more celebrity glitz was added to the bout by the involvement of Liberace, Muhammad Ali, Billy Martin and the Rockettes. Hulk and Mr. T won the match after the outside interference of Bob Orton backfired and he accidentally hit Paul Orndorff with his cast. The event was a tremendous success and solidified Vince McMahon as the number one promoter in the wrestling business.

WWE Returns to National TV

On May 11, 1985, the WWE broadcast the first installment of on NBC. The main event featured Hulk Hogan beat Roddy Piper's bodyguard Bob Orton. Hulk Hogan spent the next few months feuding with other heels while Piper feuded with Paul Orndorff because of their WrestleMania loss.

The Wrestling Classic

The WWE held their first pay per view card on November 7, 1985. The main event of this card featured Hogan defend the WWE Championship against Piper. Like all their previous matches, this one ended inconclusively as Hogan won by disqualification due to the interference of Bob Orton.

  A few months, Piper would start his Hollywood career which would eventually lead to the first of his many retirements in 1987.

11 Years Later and a Different Company

In 1996, "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan was the number one heel in the business. His new World order was dominating World Championship Wrestling. At Halloween Havoc 1996, Piper came out after Hogan’s match to let him know that he was very disappointed with Hogan’s recent behavior.  He also reminded Hogan that he was the one man that Hogan had never been able to beat.   Two months later at Starrcade '96, there was finally a conclusive ending to one of their matches.  Roddy Piper won the match via submission when Hulk Hogan was rendered unconscious by the Sleeper Hold.  Unfortunately for Piper, Hulk's WCW World Championship was not on the line.

 

Piper got his shot at the title two months later at SuperBrawl but was finally pinned after "Macho Man" Randy Savage interfered and gave Hulk a pair of brass knuckles.  The rubber match took place at Halloween Havoc '97 where Piper beat Hulk in a non-title Steel Cage Match.  So even though Roddy was finally able to win the war against Hogan, he never won a world championship in either WWE or WCW.

WrestleMania XIX and Beyond

On March 30, 2003, Roddy Piper shocked the wrestling world by interfering in Mr. McMahon’s match against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania XIX. While Hogan won that match, he went looking for revenge on Piper for hitting him with a steel pipe during it.  They fought on May 18, 2003 at Judgment Day where Hulk Hogan finally pinned Piper in a WWE ring.  Unfortunately for Hogan, due to being suspended by Mr. McMahon, he competed in that match wrestling under a mask and being called Mr. America.  The feud was halted prematurely after Piper was fired for comments he made on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumble.

The Hall of Fame Ceremony

On April 2, 2005, both men were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. It was a fitting tribute to this feud that both of them were inducted on the same night.