HOUSTON -- "Rowdy"
But here he is, walking around the Reliant Center, once again ready to step inside the ring at WrestleMania for a match. The mere thought of it nearly causes him to well up.
"I didn't believe it would last this long," said Piper, who wrestled
Back then, WWE chairman
"I got towed into this room for a meet-and-greet before the first WrestleMania and I was trying to get to my dressing room," Piper recalled. "
That Piper, 54, is even able to lace up his boots one more time seems like a minor miracle after everything he's been through since the first WrestleMania, including overcoming cancer two years ago. Listening to Piper talk about his need to step into the ring one last time almost sounds like a cross between Rocky Balboa and Randy "The Ram" Robinson.
"No matter how I feel, its time for me to go out there and let people know why I'm Roddy Piper, to let it go," Piper said before the match. "This WrestleMania XXV is really important because this is the last one for me. It's so big. I'm going to give you my heart no matter how I feel, I'm going to give everything I got, I don't care if I get hurt. This one is worth it.
"I remember being in Houston when I was 15. [Former wrestler]
"Two years ago, I had a meeting with Vince [McMahon] close to WrestleMania and I said, 'Vince, I've been here since 1993 and I've never even wrestled on a WrestleMania,' " Lawler said. "He looked at me surprised and said, 'That's a travesty.' He said, 'We could rush something this year, but this is something big, the King having his first match ever at WrestleMania. Next year, I promise we're going to do something big.' Well, that was two years ago."
Lawler figured he would have been in the Jericho match because so many legends were wedged into that angle, but he was once again left out. Lawler is beginning to doubt that he'll ever be given a chance to experience WrestleMania from anywhere besides the broadcast table.
"I keep thinking any minute, boy, one of these nights we're going to be announcing what kind of big match we're going to be in," Lawler said. "And the next thing you know, WrestleMania comes and goes again and no match for me."
Rourke's appearance Sunday may have been one of the worst executed in WrestleMania history. Not only were WWE staffers fretting over Rourke's availability, unsure if he'd actually be doing anything until Saturday night, but when he did actually step in the ring, most in attendance wished he had simply stayed home.
After Jericho had beaten up Piper, Snuka, Steamboat and Flair, Rourke came into the ring and grazed him with an awkward left hook that "knocked out" Jericho.
Afterward, the "Mouth of the South,"