(Brief update: IHL will be returning to schedule 03/04. The blog will explain the brief hiatus.)

“Because when I’m good, I’m great… but when I’m bad, I’m better.” – Piper

Up until this point in time, the people I’ve posted about have tended to be more obvious figures. Whether it be because of the fact that they are writers or have some comedic influence, they make sense. This one might throw a few of you for a loop. (Those that don’t know my outside IHL activities, that is). I’m a professional wrestling fan and I have been since I saw Hulk Hogan lose the world title on Saturday Night’s Main Event due to ‘an evil twin referee’.

The theatrics of prowrestling have been with me forever. The good guy versus the bad guy. The anti-hero. The redeemable villain. These are all standard archtypes of any story, good or bad. It just so happens that you never see Sherlock Holmes give Moriarty a suplex or Luke Skywalker throw the big boot to Palpatine. The characters fight it out in mock combat in the hopes to prove their point. Sometimes in this, wrestling is great. Other times, it’s one of the most horrendous and base things on television.

During the 80s and stints during the 90s though, there was a character that I couldn’t help enjoying. Whether he was a good guy or a bad guy, when he talked – I listened. He came up with some of the craziest explanations as to why he wanted to hurt his opponents. He then would talk circles around them and in the end… get his ass kicked by the biggest names in the business. Rowdy Roddy Piper, the crazy scotsman.

Piper’s name is fairly well known in pop culture. It’s probably a mix of his wrestling, and his acting (Ok, specifically They Live) – why does he qualify so strongly to be listed in this influence list? It’s because of his attitude. His fire. He played the crowd when he was a bad guy and made them hate him. When he was trying to get under the skin of his opponent, he would take any piece of their character and pick it apart. The speed that his brain worked just to verbally massacre someone was incredible. Now imagine watching that as a chubby pre-teen in a middle school, surrounded by kids that mocked and teased… a little hero worship for a smooth talker might be kind of expected.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gone and revisited the old tapes and promos that Piper did. They still mostly hold up. At times, when I’m on some sort of verbal tirade, I can even catch little cadences that I’m sure I took from my hundreds of hours dissecting prowrestling, and more specifically Rowdy Roddy.

Whether or not you like professional wrestling or even Piper himself, it can’t be denied that there is a raw charisma there. That charisma and almost insane elocution helped me get through at least a little bit of the worst years of my life – and in turn helped me find my own voice which is really all this is…