Piper vs. Adonis
Written by Canadian Bulldog
The rivalry between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Adorable Adrian Adonis is one that would never be done today... yet it was a major part of the 1980s wrestling lore.
Piper was, of course, a top heel in the WWF, main-eventing the first WrestleMania and boxing Mr. T at WrestleMania II. Shortly after that event, Piper took a break from wrestling and along with it, his controversial talk show Piper's Pit.
With Piper's Pit on hiatus (and Jesse Ventura's Body Shop on ice), the WWF introduced two new talk shows on its television programming: Magnificent Muraco was a substitute for Piper's Pit with his Magnificent Moments show, and Adonis created The Flower Shop because he was effeminate and in 1986... even the threat of homosexuality was enough to make him a hated heel.
Muraco relinquished his spot when Piper returned, but Adonis' show remained. Hot Rod was aghast at The Flower Shop, complete with bright colors and flowers and of course, Piper's bodyguard Bob Orton, now wearing a pink cowboy hat.
In a debate of sorts between the two shows in the fall of 1986, Piper made fun of Adonis' implied sexuality, while also knocking Adonis' manager Jimmy Hart, his former bodyguard Orton and even his substitute host Muraco. Predictably, the four heels attacked Piper, turning him babyface for the first time in his WWF run.
Incensed and now sporting a crutch, Piper returned to the set of his destroyed Piper's Pit the following week on television (and despite television tapings moving from city to city, the WWF crew somehow left the crumpled Pit set on the ground). Wielding a baseball bat, Piper systematically destroyed The Flower Shop set to the cheers of the crowd (who probably didn't realize at the time they were supporting gay-bashing... or maybe they did? I'd just turned 12 at the time and don't recall).
With that one act, Piper had become the most over babyface in wrestling (yes, more than Hulk Hogan) and would spend the next six months battling Adonis, Orton, Muraco and even Muraco's manager Mr. Fuji in an attempt to gain revenge.
Ultimately, Piper took on Adonis at WrestleMania III, claiming Adonis was not a good role model for his children (sigh). Piper said he would retire "win, lose or draw" (and in fact, stayed retired for several years) and that the loser of the match would get their head shaved.
Predictably, Hot Rod won the match at WrestleMania and, with the help of Brutus Beefcake, shaved Adonis bald. The two would never wrestle again and Adonis in fact, would die in a car accident a year later. Still, it ended up being a memorable feud at the time... even though many people may frown if they think about the origins of it today.