God Bless You, Sir
by VINCE RUSSO
I never thought I’d be writing this . . . not tonight.With all my heart and soul . . . I hate that I am.
As a writer, God fills you with words. Regards of the who, what, where, when and why . . . he arms you with words knowing just exactly what to say according to each and every circumstance. A writer is never lost for words . . . ever.
Tonight . . . I am.
It was only three weeks ago when I sent Roddy Piper a text message in regards to his situation of losing his podcast and WWE legends contract within a day of each other. As a human being, I was concerned for Roddy, and I just wanted to make sure that he was OK. From there, he and I exchanged a few more text, with his last one saying . . .
“Baby Jesus. I’m building an arc . . . just in case.”
In response I told Roddy , “Save a spot for me—I’ll even bunk with the donkey.”
Those text will never be deleted from my phone, because yesterday I lost not only my inspiration to work in the professional wrestling business, but also under God’s divine love . . . somebody that I could call a friend.
For almost 16 years Rowdy Roddy Piper had heat with me. For 16 years I had no idea why. I found out less than a year ago when Roddy reached out to me and asked me to be a guest on his podcast. At the time, I was absolutely honored to accept his personal invitation, not just because it was “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, but because I knew that this would give me the opportunity to find out first hand exactly what his issues with me were. As I hung up the phone with Roddy, he was very gracious that I agreed to come on, and ended our conversation by saying,
“God bless you, sir”.
The words that I remember Roddy saying at the end of every conversation I ever had with him.
The interview that day was an extremely tough one for me. Roddy was very old school, and some of his assessments of me . . . honestly . . . I felt were neither fair, nor right. During that conversation I found out where the heat of 16 years stemmed from. Roddy explained to me that It all went back to the first time we worked together in WCW in 1999 (I think I briefly met Roddy when he worked WM XII), when my writing partner Ed Ferrara approached him in the locker room before I did. Roddy told me he felt that showed a lack of respect on my part, as he was certain that I purposely sent Ed in before me. That was just the way an old timer like him perceived it. For 16 years, I had no idea Roddy was carrying this around. To be honest with you—I didn’t even know that it had happened. And, even though I didn’t remember the incident at all, knowing myself, I explained to Roddy my version of why things may have went down the way they did.
People forget, first, and foremost Vince Russo is, or at least was, a fan of professional wrestling because of the legends of the game that hooked me before I was a teenager and up through the time when I called WWF my employer. Due to the path that God put me on—for whatever reason—I had the absolute honor and privilege of meeting some of my influences in person. I’m talking about people like the “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd, Lucious Jimmy and Handsome Johnny the Valiant Brothers, Chief Jay Strongbow, Bob Backlund, King Kong Bundy, Dusty Rhodes, Captain Lou Albano, Freddie Blassie, Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase, Warrior, Vince McMahon and of course–“Rowdy” Roddy Piper. And, on every occasion when I had that opportunity, the person who met them was Vince Russo fan . . . not Vince Russo writer. On every occasion, I was as nervous as that 13 year-old kid who grew up loving the magical spectacle known as professional wrestling with everything he had in his heart. Looking back now, when I “formerly” met Roddy at the age of 38 . . . to me . . . it would have been like meeting the President of the United States. If there was any hesitation in my meeting Roddy it had everything to do with being nervous and overwhelmed, and nothing to do with lacking respect.
Once I explained that to Roddy I think he understood. After covering a few more topics, we ended the phone conversation with what I felt was a new respect and understanding for each other. That was soon confirmed with a text I later received from Roddy, telling me how grateful he was for the call, and how I now had gained his full respect. In turn, I simply told Roddy that I was so thankful that we had the opportunity to talk and the last thing I told him was that I loved him.
“God bless you, sir” was his response.
I can’t believe he’s gone . . . I really can’t. I feel in my very soul that with his exit from this world leaves everything I ever loved about professional wrestling. The pageantry, the soap opera, the larger than life characters, the promos, the drama, the comedy, the entrances, the interview sets, the Rock-n-Wrestling Connection, the coconuts and . . . the bagpipes. This one is just the toughest for me, because nobody embodied the wrestling business I once loved more than Roddy Piper.
As I sit here, I am more thankful than anyone will ever know . . . except Roddy . . . that God gave us that opportunity to have that one last conversation. I am so thankful that God gave me the opportunity to tell Roddy how I honestly, and truly felt about him. But, man . . . no . . . I can’t believe he’s gone.
God bless you, sir. I will always and forever be thankful for you. I love you, my friend.
See you on the arc.
(You can follow Vince Russo’s daily blogs and video podcasts on The RELM Network at vincerussobrand.com)