A strange coincidence of around Roddy Piper's death is that it occurred one week after WWE wiped all references to Hulk Hogan from their website.
Even before we knew why, WWE.com had taken down Hogan's profile, listing on their Hall of Fame page and merchandise for the online store. He was replaced as a judge on Tough Enough with nary a mention of his ouster. Vince McMahon would only offer a brief statement to investors that amounted to 'he won't be missed'.
But now, the loss of another Hall of Famer in Piper puts the company in a difficult position. Both because fans expect it and because it's the right thing to do, WWE will pay tribute to Hot Rod on Monday Night Raw and on all of its programming next week. As we unfortunately just saw in June when Dusty Rhodes died, that means a ten-bell salute with the roster on stage, video packages of highlights and Network specials of past and present wrestlers reminiscing about The Rowdy One.
The reveal of Hulk using racial slurs in a couple of different instances on a couple of different tapes is still fresh in the public's mind, however. And several of Roddy's most famous, most influential moments involve the Hulkster.
For what is known as the Rock 'n' Wrestling era, the then-WWF's biggest boom period prior to the war with WCW and The Attitude Era, was built on Hogan vs. Piper. They were the key players in the main event of WrestleMania I - a show that Vince wants everyone to remember changing the business forever.
Hot Rod had a thirty-plus year career in the business, and he had as many - if not more - memorable moments with Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, "Cowboy" Bob Orton, Rick Rude, Jerry Lawler and Ric Flair. But to ignore 1984-85, a run that was integral to not only the popularity of Piper but the history of pro wrestling, would be unfathomable for almost any reason.
But the most famous pro wrestler of all time slandering blacks and gays might be one of the few reasons to do it.
WWE.com, which does still contain plenty of pictures of Hulk Hogan if you search by events he took part in as opposed to by his name, posted a photo album and video playlist of Roddy's "Career Highlights" today. Both do a good job of depicting how nuclear Piper was when he arrived in WWF - without showing on blonde hair on his chief nemesis' head. They mostly focus on Hot Rod vs. Mr. T, which was half of the 'Mania tag team main event and one of the next year's show's multiple top bouts (WrestleMania II took place simultaneously in three time zones).
Unlike in the hours after Dusty Rhodes died, the company hasn't released any new video compilations. As of this writing, the only offering on their YouTube channel is a scrubbed down version of his 2005 Hall of Fame induction package, which removes a segment on his "legendary battle with Hulk Hogan" which talks about how "The Rowdy One was the fuel that fired up Hogan's Hulkamaniacs" and focused on the first 'Mania (you can watch the original at the beginning of this clip).
That's probably what we'll see next week. And it sucks. But I'm not sure there's anything WWE could, or should, do differently.
What do you think, Cagesiders? How will WWE handle the Hogan parts of Piper's history & legacy when celebrating him next week?