Wrestler to bow out tonight

Wrestler to bow out tonight, By Meghan E. Murphy - 18th April 2008
(Credit: Times Herald-Record)

CITY OF NEWBURGH — No one can predict what will happen when Rowdy Roddy Piper enters the wrestling arena with bagpipes blaring tonight. Only one thing's for certain: The legend says it will be the last time he'll set foot in a ring.

A day after his 54th birthday, the WWE Hall of Famer promises fans one last "Piper's Pin" at Newburgh Free Academy's Spring Slam. The fundraising event will also feature a title bout between Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe, New Windsor's Tony DeVito and the wrestling debut of K104 DJ Chris Marino. Samoa Joe took the Total Nonstop Action wrestling title from Angle just five days ago in a pay-per-view broadcast.

Only about 1,400 fans will get bleacher seats for the retirement match of one of World Wrestling Entertainments' biggest names. Piper has made only occasional ring appearances in the past few years, but said he couldn't turn down an opportunity to help raise money for young wrestlers.

Piper left home at 13 and slept in youth hostels. His first coach advised him to look into amateur competition to stay out of trouble.

In 38 years of wrestling, Piper's won 38 pro titles and more than 7,000 matches. He's also been stabbed three times, suffered spine injuries, has a titanium hip and last year beat Hodgkin's lymphoma. Tonight's match benefits the Newburgh Wrestling Boosters Club, which last year sent a dozen students to camp with Spring Slam proceeds. Coach Jeff Cuilty said the impact on the team of this fundraiser is evident: The team won the league title this year.

Wrestlers will sign autographs and take photos with fans at 6 p.m. Bell time is 8 p.m. at NFA, 201 Fullerton Ave.Tickets start at $15. For more information, visit www.northeastwrestling.com.



Roddy Piper