Earlier this month, PWInsider (via Wrestlezone) reported Hulk Hogan's seemingly inevitable return to the WWE could culminate in a one-on-one match against "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. The combined age between the two pro wresting titans is 119, meaning a Piper-Hogan match in 2014 would have the oldest combined age in a singles match in WrestleMania history. The match very well may be a nightmare, but Piper and Hogan at WrestleMania would be bigger than just a match.
The rumors eventually found their way to Steve Austin's podcast, where Piper was a recent guest. Piper only furthered these rumors with his sentiments:
This is Wrestlemania 30. I've pinned Hogan once and he's never pinned me. From a fan's perspective, and WWE Universe and Vince, it never had closure. The business that would be done.. the interviews and stuff would be coming from the heart. We could try to outraise the bar of the WWE entertainment machine in our sport, if they let us go toe to toe and don't script us. The fans will see really how it got started and why, and then they'll see the conclusion. They are asking can I get in shape. I am already in shape!. They are asking Hogan.. But there is a fear, I guess, of whether we can pull off the performance.
Roddy Piper's last showing in a wrestling ring at WrestleMania came at WrestleMania XXV, just before his 54th birthday.
It wasn't pretty.
Piper's severe in-ring limitations were evident despite being protected in a handicap match where he was booked to have limited offense before being quickly pinned. Even his once-elite brawling instincts failed him. Here's Piper at WrestleMania XXV as told by Wade Keller of the PWTorch:
Piper spit his gum at Jericho, then tackled him at the bell in a really awkward looking move. He clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor. Piper got his arm caught in the ropes briefly. The ref helped him break free. He went after Jericho on the floor, throwing him into the announce table. Piper hit a sunset flip for a near fall. That would have been hilarious if that was the finish. Piper even hit a dropkick, or something resembling such a move.
What's even scarier is Piper would be the one asked to lead Hogan if they were to wrestle.
Hogan's limitations in the ring aren't so much limitations as they are impossibilities. Hogan hasn't worked a singles match in over three years, he's had countless back surgeries and has even been advised against getting physical at WrestleMania XXX, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via lordsofpain.net).
Piper and Hogan in a wrestling ring just wouldn't make sense. But then again it would.
Despite returns from Batista, Brock Lesnar and The Ultimate Warrior, WrestleMania XXX is still searching for that true nostalgic callback to its lineage. That moment with those legends that allows WrestleMania to revisit its origins.
In Piper and Hogan, WWE has the two main ingredients needed to fill the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with childhood memories. Both Hogan and Piper were prominently featured in the original WrestleMania main event, with Hogan teaming with Mr. T and Piper alongside Paul Orndorff.
In order for WrestleMania XXX to truly feel like WrestleMania XXX, at some point it has to feel like WrestleMania I. Homage is needed to bring the most successful pro wrestling company in history full circle. The beauty of it is it doesn't even have to be a match. The Piper-Hogan moment will give way to illusion as the imagination of pro wrestling fans fill in the blanks.
A staredown, a Piper's Pit with an entertaining verbal exchange or the tearing of a bright yellow shirt in present day would all have the same effect as a strong match between Piper and Hogan in their prime.
A moment will be more powerful than any awkward bump Piper or Hogan could ever take.
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