Last Thursday was a very sad day for pro wrestling fans, as well as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, after news spread that WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper passed away at the age of 61.
Piper had long been known as the one of the greatest villains in pro wrestling history and was the antagonist to Hulk Hogan's mega-popular protagonist during the mid-80s when the wrestling promotion was known as WWF and soaring in popularity.
The "Rowdy" heel could draw heat from a crowd like no other and had been making cameo appearances since retiring from in-ring action in 2005. Prior to his death, Piper was going to appear alongside former UFC title contender Chael Sonnen, who made a career out of adding pro wrestling shtick to his game.
Sonnen and Piper were expected to have a meeting of the minds in Jeff Jarrett's new promotion, Global Force Wrestling (GFW). The retired fighter recently signed to serve as analyst with the organization and made his debut at GFW: "Amped," which taped for television back on July 24, 2015.
In the video above, Sonnen spoke to Mike Straka from Louder Noise -- a new Rock Music Lifestyle channel launching later this year -- to explain how it was going to go down.
"He [Jarrett] just got a commitment from Piper last night that Piper and I would work his next show in Las Vegas and do a reenactment of ‘Piper's Pit.' After we did one, Piper would pass the torch to me and then I would take over the ‘Piper's Pit.' Under what name, I'm not totally sure. Real close connection right there, particularly time-wise."
In more ways than one.
Sonnen had a pre-existing relationship with the Piper family thanks to "Rowdy's" son, Colt Toombs, who trained mixed martial arts (MMA) with "The American Gangster" at Team Quest from 2008-2010. Piper, who succumbed to cardiac arrest in his home in Hollywood, Calif., is survived by his wife and four children.
For more on Sonnen's run in pro wrestling click here.
Raymond Hernandez, the producer of the "Piper's Pit" podcast the last year, reached out to MMAMania to refute Sonnen's claim. And he also mentioned Piper was heading to Classic Revolution Wrestling, not GFW.
"I worked with Roddy Piper right until he passed away," Hernandez said in an email. "I produced Piper's Pit. Roddy was going to work for a new wrestling organization. He was in no way affiliated with Global Force Wrestling as that would have been a conflict of interest with his new employer. Roddy NEVER mentioned Chael and in all honesty, probably didn't know who he was. It's bullshit. And I think it's disgraceful that Chael would ever say such a thing. Roddy would have never handed off Piper's Pit. And if he were to do so, it wouldn't be to an MMA fighter, it would have been to a pro-wrestler. And you can quote me on that."
Jeff Jarrett, the founder of Global Force Wrestling (GFW), was reached for comment by MMAMania and he gave a brief statement on the matter supporting Sonnen's statements via email.
"In the coming weeks you will see evidence of this...."
Hernandez reached out to MMAMania once again and admitted he is having a hard time dealing with Piper's death and overreacted with his comments earlier and asked that they be retracted.
"I spoke with Chael and I'd like to retract anything negative that I may have said," said Hernandez via email. "I think that I took things out of context. I shouldn't have said anything at all. I apologize. Roddy was my hero. And I got to know him very well. I'm not dealing with his death well. I was wrong. And I apologize. Deeply. I'm sorry. Chael didn’t deserve such hateful and venomous comments. He didn’t deserve it. I just can't believe he's [Piper] gone. He was amazing. He was my friend. I messed up and I apologize. I’m so sorry. Chael is a good guy."