INDUCTION: Bad News Piper – Like Al Jolson, Michael Jackson, and Tiny Tim? This is the Feud for You!

41 Submitted by on Thu, 31 March 2016, 20:00

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WWF, WrestleMania VI, 1990

One of the highlights of running this here website for the last sixteen years (yes, WrestleCrap turns Sweet 16 this April 1!) has brought me is the ability to talk with various personalities in the wrestling business.  Be it my dear friend “Earthquake” John Tenta, Lance Storm, or Vince Russo, I’ve been blessed to be able to pick the brains of folks I’d seen for years on TV as I always learn from those who have worked for the largest wrestling company in the world.  While I always thought that was cool, nothing could have ever prepared me for a phone call I received last year when a producer of a podcast wanted me to appear to talk about the new 1oth Anniversary Edition of The Death of WCW.  I’d been interviewed about it many times of course, and I always enjoyed doing that.  It helped to promote the book, but more than that, I still to this day find it a fascinating event in the history of the industry. What was going to be different about this particular interview was the host.

It was going to be none other than “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

I’d talked to Roddy a couple of times at conventions, but really nothing more than a quick hello and photo op.  Never anything in depth.  I’d have loved to have interviewed Hot Rod on WrestleCrap Radio, no question…but that wasn’t what was happening here.  No, in this instance, Roddy Piper was going to be interviewing RD Reynolds.

Wait, what?

mmrhigherres

Yeah, I don’t know either dude.

It was truly an honor to be considered for the show, and I won’t lie, I was pretty dang nervous going into this.  I mean, this was RODDY PIPER…and he was asking all the questions!  Would I know the answers?  And if I did, would he just change the questions (as he was known to do)?

Thankfully, the interview turned out great (you can check it out here).  It was clear at the beginning Roddy had zero idea who I was, but by the end we were getting along famously.  In fact, I had been contacted by the producer of the show that Roddy wanted me back on and I was on the schedule to return to Piper’s Pit later in the year.  That never happened due to Roddy’s far too premature death.

When Roddy passed away, like many of you, I was devastated.  This was one of the main guys who got me interested in wrestling in the first place, and while we were never friends or anything, we had formed something of a bond recently…which made it hurt all the more.

Long story long, hopefully no one will be offended with me inducting this storyline with Roddy today at WrestleCrap.com.  Again, I love Roddy…but trust me, a LOT of folks were offended when it actually hit airwaves back in 1990!

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Make no mistake, part of what made Roddy great was that he was a true loose cannon….but there were times when I believe even he himself would tell you he went way past the limits of good taste.  Such was the case in the build up to his WrestleMania VI match versus Bad News Brown.  It started as the most common of rivalries do in wrestling, with Brown costing Piper a match, in this case the 1990 Royal Rumble.

It ended with Roddy channeling his inner Bing Crosby and slapping on black face.

I mean, I love Holiday Inn and all, but I never once would have thought, “You know what would make for a great pro wrestling intrigue?  This”:

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Woof.

Now before I get too far, I want to state, for the record, that I do not blame only Roddy for this.  At some point, someone in the WWF, be it Vince, Kevin Dunn, whomever, had to have watched some of this and thought, “Hmmm, you know what?  This might offend someone.”  But no one did.

That’s why it is often tough to argue when people say wrestling is behind the times.

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During his first interview following the Royal Rumble, Bad News made it clear that he nearly had the match won, as men were apparently throwing themselves over the top rope just to avoid him.  “LIAR!” responded Tony Schiavone.  Piper hadn’t thrown Bad News out, we would learn – instead, Mr. Brown tripped over Roddy’s skirt and fell out on his own.  Maybe it’s just me, but I think I’d rather be thrown out than to have caused my own elimination due to being that clumsy.  Everything came to a head when Roddy started to make his way toward the podium, and things escalated when Brown noted that Piper and “his kind” like to look like Bad News so he should head to the beach and get a sun tan.

No, really, he did.  Listen!

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Roddy took this and ran with it in subsequent interviews, painting his face half black, and going off about how he was part white, part black, part Russian, part Chinese (seriously), part everyone.  He would then argue with himself.  He followed this up by asking Sapphire about him (since apparently she and Brown grew up together in Harlem?), and she told him that the people there weren’t proud of Bad News; they just thought he was a jerk.

OH!  Then he belted out a medley of songs from Michael Jackson and Tiny Tim.  

AND also this little ditty from Cyndi Lauper.  

Wait, didn’t they hate each other?

Regardless, I did NOT see that coming.

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Nor did I see him quoting AL JOLSON (with Jesse Ventura confirming it as such!) coming in his final appearance on the syndicated WWF Superstars prior to the big event.

Did I say “Woof” earlier?  If I did, can I use it again?

Woof.

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It all led to the inevitable: a battle between the two at WrestleMania VI.  Right before the match we would learn that not only had Roddy painted half his face black, this time he painted his WHOLE BODY half black.

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And yes, we got the obligatory pre-match song and dance, this time with a quick rendition of “Billie Jean” as he did something that somewhat resembled Michael Jackson and somewhat resembling a disco dance while also resembling fully neither.

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The match itself starts with more dancing before quickly becoming a battle of fisticuffs.  Brown scored a couple of two counts before Roddy reaches down into his trunks and pulled out…

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…why of course…it’s a Michael Jackson glove!

Sadly, Piper didn’t grab the house mic and belt out “Smooth Criminal”, but instead hits Bad News with it upside the head.  They roll to the outside, brawling for over ten seconds.

And you know what that means.

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Yes, all this build up, with black face and dancing and singing Michael Jackson songs and talk of white folk getting sun tans because they want to look like Bad News Brown…all of that led to a WrestleMania match that ended in a DOUBLE COUNT OUT.

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I never really understood why some people thought the bit on this show where Steve Allen sang with the Bolsheviks in a shower was somehow great.  And yes, these people do exist.

As it immediately followed that horrible finish to Piper-Bad News, I now kinda get it.

Shockingly enough, this feud leading to a pretty boring match leading to a completely unsatisfying double count lead to the creation of an action figure commemorating it.  Don’t ask me, I ain’t in the toy business.  But yes, in 2007, Jakks Pacific gave folks this:

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As best I can tell, only 100 of these were ever made.  You know it’s rare when you can’t even find a live listing for it on eBay.

But hey, wait a minute…no Michael Jackson glove?

To quote Roddy Piper, “Beat it beat it beat it!”

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Yeah, you know...the WrestleCrap guy. Been here since before day 1, I have. You can hang out with me on Facebook. (I'm on there quite a bit) or follow my exploits on Twitter (I'm on there not quite so often). Thanks, and Keep on Crappin'!
41 Responses to "INDUCTION: Bad News Piper – Like Al Jolson, Michael Jackson, and Tiny Tim? This is the Feud for You!"
  1. Chris VI says:

    What did they label that action figure?
    How could you ever explain this figure to someone who wasn’t familiar with WM VI?

  2. Alfonzo Tyson says:

    No joke, just YESTERDAY I was wondering why on Earth was this whole mess never inducted! Bad News Brown looked genuinely PISSED when he saw Roddy’s body half painted white at the beginning of that match!

  3. Sean Bateman says:

    Did I see RD steal the Big Cheese’s Somebody ought This Thunder in this induction? Also, this match happened a decade exactly to the day prior to the beginning of the Crapola!

  4. Scrooge Mcsuck says:

    For some reason I was convinced this was inducted years ago. I guess it slipped through the anals of terrible WrestleMania moments long enough. Yes, that was incorrectly spelled intentionally.

  5. Preparation Triple H says:

    Also didn’t Roddy say that someone stole his solution/ointment that he was going to use to remove the black paint after the match, so he had to go through customs in Toronto still painted half-black?

    • Nicholas Nutter says:

      It was Andre.

    • Adam says:

      Andre and Arnold Skaaland swapped it out for water, so he had to take two connecting flights home still painted up.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuBnnnI0DXI – Around 4:10 in… the story gets even better.

      • J says:

        I always got a kick out of that story I also thought it was funny that he couldn’t do anything about it because Andre would kill him in a fist fight

        • WadeMcG says:

          I remember reading about a previous incident when Andre blurted out a racial slur, Bad News Brown called Andre out for it, and Andre backpedalled.

          This kind of thing makes it that more curious that Andre would prank Rowdy Roddy, who was painting himself half black for a match against Bad News Brown, like that.

          On a side note, it’s kind of jarring that all three of these guys are no longer with us.

  6. Raging_Demons says:

    *Fry squint*
    Not sure if this is a legit induction or since tomorrow’s April Fool’s Day

  7. Charles Belles says:

    Just listened to the podcast you did with piper, awesome stuff and I wish you could have done more with him it sounded like you two had a blast.

    • RD Reynolds says:

      Thanks, I thought we had pretty good rapport. I kinda knew how to get Roddy to talk, which sounds weird but before I did the show his producer asked me to try to keep him on subject and get him to open up about things.

  8. The Million Cent Man says:

    This definitely deserved to get inducted, but I was hoping we’d get Kwee Wee as the 16th anniversary induction.

    And who in the world thought making that action figure was a good idea?

  9. The King Chivas says:

    Don’t feel bad about Piper not knowing who you were when he interviewed you…I listened to the podcast he did with Jim Cornette and Piper sounded like he only vaguely knew who Cornette was. Cornette sounds so uncomfortable throughout the interview…it’s wonderfully cringeworthy.

  10. Steve Terranova says:

    RD, I love you…you’re a genius. You, Blade, and the guys have provided us with more laughs over the years than anyone can ever imagine. But you are totally wrong to question for a moment the brilliance of the Steve Allen-Bolsheviks skit! “I get no kicks in Ukraine…” “Hey, that’s not Russian National Anthem!”
    C’mob, bro…that’s classic stuff 😀

  11. Jim says:

    If you search eBay for Piper Toy Fair 2007 and select Completed Listings, 3 of these babies have sold in the past month: one for $300, one for $350, and one sold for a best offer somewhere below the initial asking price of $600.

    Too bad this feud was a year before (at least according to Wikipedia) Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”; maybe Roddy was the inspiration for that song.

  12. Vealchop says:

    Black and white Roddy Piper does not come with glove as illustrated.

  13. Scrooge McSuck says:

    For the record, Steve Allen’s bit with the Bolsheviks was funny. Maybe in a “so bad it’s good” way, but funny regardless. That and his commentary for Snuka/Rude later in the night.

  14. Mister Forth says:

    I don’t think anyone has a problem with this being inducted. We all love Roddy, and we can at least admit this goofy angle is a classic for this site. Though I still love seeing him dance.

  15. Down With OPC says:

    One thing I didn’t get was when he asked, “Are you gonna get the Hot Rod…or the Hot Scot??” What does that mean?

  16. John C says:

    Lord what a clusterVince of a finish to a match that was. Months of buildup and it all the effect of being hit with a wet newspaper, Piper goes back to announcing and Bad News goes on to The Harlem Sewer Rats. Hot Rod certainly cut some pretty vile promos on JYD in the mid 80’s when he was still a heel that make this seem real tame. Those probably don’t surface anywhere again I’d imagine.

  17. Daz Weber says:

    Anyone can choose to be offended by anything, just as anyone can also choose to tell such humourless farts to grow up and get a sense of perspective. Piper painting himself half-black is, if anything, a tribute to so-called African Americans (which is a pointless label to begin with since the reverse-racist liberals constantly remind us that America only exists because of immigration and all humans descend from Africa, meaning all Americans – black, white, whatever – are African Americans) by denouncing half of his superficial race and half of his exaggerated privilege in order to side with another race. It’s not even close to a black and white minstrel show except in the most arbitrary, skin-deep (pun intended) manner imaginable.

    Then again, many of these professional victims also attack people who are flat-out PRAISING ethnic minorities, LGBT, women, other religions etc. if they use what is deemed by these zealots to be the “wrong” word in doing so. Look at Benedict Cumberbatch as an example, forced to apologise for saying something positive. The only people who should take offence to this are wrestling fans who had their time wasted for a poor match with an underwhelming finish.

    Anyway, nice for you to offer sincere words about Piper, shame the second interview never materialised. My guess is we’ll see an April Fools induction later in the same vein as the one for Michaels/Ramon at Wrestlemania X. Maybe one for Michaels/Taker?

    • Guestl says:

      Sorry I’m getting a lot of bullshit on this line

      You said you were a deluded conservative pretending that liberals believe and say things that conservatives themselves do?

      • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

        Okay, please knock it off, guys. This isn’t the place for political debate or personal attacks. Anyone who keeps doing it will get banned.

  18. Gerard says:

    Only Roddy Piper could get away with something like this!! They tried anything like this in the wwe today you would have 100 different groups coming down on their asses it’s racist it’s homophobic it’s this this and that. Plus Roddy Piper just didn’t a crap, he did whatever in the hell he wanted to!!! Back when wrestlers could say stuff like I hate you, I am gonna kill you instead of this sappy gooey I don’t like you but I respect you pg baloney!!! I miss those days.

  19. Patricko says:

    Now, the main event for WMVI was the biggest of all time, at least at the time, so you know you’re gonna get filler, and lots. I scratched my head a lot back then, at who would get pushed, TV time, etc. Bad News was a head scratcher for my younger self. Short matches, not a lot of character development…

    And I loved Hot Rod, but he was not known for five star matches in 1990.

    We all knew that this match was not gonna be good. With as crazy as hot rod was and as one dimensional as Bad News was, we knew the build up wasn’t gonna be good…

    I had completely forgotten that it was a double count out finish.

    How’d this NOT get inducted before now?

  20. Gotchism For Life says:

    When I was a kid, I thought Piper was making fun of the fact that Bad News Brown was kind of light skinned for a black guy, like how light George Jefferson was.

    But yeah, it confused me, and the double count-out at Wrestle freakin Mania was weak. Double count outs are fine, but they belong on shows like Superstars to build up to the big match that ends the feud…or shows that have no meaning like House Shows or Bound For Glory.

  21. Christopher Olsen says:

    When Steve Allen was in his prime might be the last time Vince paid attention to pop culture.

  22. Doc 902714 says:

    Steve Allen with The Bolsheviks bit was great. I laughed when he said (pertaining to playing piano in the shower) “the acoustics in here are great.” I also remember vaguely that he also did an Interview with Honky tonk man and Greg Valentine as well. Too bad he didn’t plug any of his books; “Journey to the center of Steve Allen.” “How to make love to Steve Allen,” “Happiness Is a naked Steve Allen,” or “Joy of cooking Steve Allen.”

    Anyhoo, Happy 16th Birthday WrestleCrap. I shall now watch this match in celebration.

  23. Geoff says:

    And to think, this was in the era where WWE head honchos, writers and staff actually knew what they were doing and were actually listening to the audience. Plus little storyline build up, not like the soap operas they have today that are swerving, braking and turning so much and rapidly you can’t keep everything in line.

    • Guestl says:

      If they knew what they were doing and listening to the audience why did this match end in a double count-out………..at Wrestlemania

  24. Outlaw says:

    Piper himself said that he hated this match. “Coulda phoned that one in,” were his exact words.

  25. Thun says:

    The Steve Allen and Bolsheviks bit sounds somewhat funny, at least.

  26. ThePWBPoster says:

    A little late on the posting, I for one just kick back and enjoy older inductions. I remember being a preteen and seeing this one on PPV after begging my parents for me to get it even if it meant seeing Rowdy Roddy Piper wrestling the match in full half paint and seeing it fall to garbage.

    I was even more surprised that RD and Piper before his passing were able to make respect with one another in an hour, Piper is a loose cannon as mentioned you never know what to expect out of him but once the subject on WCW’s death opened up more Piper became a blast to talk to it seems. I wonder what would have became of the second RD Reynolds on Pipers Pit…maybe Piper can open up about the blackface and the story behind it. Or maybe (if he hasn’t done yet) retell how great of a match Bret VS Piper for the IC Title was and the crowd reaction being off the charts that night.

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