Ronda Rousey is one of the most famous and successful female athletes in the world. She has won Olympic medals, UFC championships and WWE titles. She is also known as ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey, a nickname that pays homage to another legendary figure in the world of sports entertainment: ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper. But is there any blood relation between the two ‘Rowdy’ stars? Here’s what you need to know.
The origin of the ‘Rowdy’ nickname
Ronda Rousey was born in 1987 in Riverside, California. She started practicing judo at the age of 11, following in the footsteps of her mother, AnnMaria De Mars, who was the first American to win a world judo championship in 1984. Rousey became a prodigy in the sport, winning multiple national and international titles, including a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
After retiring from judo, Rousey decided to pursue a career in mixed martial arts (MMA), inspired by her idol, Gina Carano. She made her professional debut in 2011, and quickly rose to prominence with her impressive skills and charisma. She became the first female fighter to sign with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2012, and the first UFC women’s bantamweight champion.
As she was making a name for herself in MMA, Rousey was looking for a catchy nickname that would suit her personality and style. She was a fan of professional wrestling since childhood, and admired ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, who was one of the most popular and controversial wrestlers of all time. Piper was known for his rebellious attitude, his Scottish heritage, his signature kilt and bagpipes entrance, and his talk show segment, Piper’s Pit.
Rousey thought that ‘Rowdy’ would be a perfect fit for her, as she was also outspoken, fearless and aggressive in the cage. However, she felt hesitant to use it without Piper’s permission, as she respected him too much to steal his moniker. She got the chance to meet him through their mutual friend, Gene LeBell, who was a legendary judo and wrestling coach. Piper gave Rousey his blessing to use his nickname, and even gave her one of his leather jackets as a gift.
The bond between Rousey and Piper
Ronda Rousey and Roddy Piper became friends after their first meeting, and kept in touch over the years. They shared a mutual admiration and appreciation for each other’s accomplishments and contributions to their respective fields. Piper was proud of Rousey’s success in MMA, and supported her when she faced criticism or adversity. Rousey was grateful for Piper’s mentorship and guidance, and honored him by wearing his jacket and T-shirt during some of her fights.
Piper passed away on July 31, 2015, due to a heart attack. He was 61 years old. Rousey was devastated by the news, and dedicated her next fight to him. She defended her UFC title against Bethe Correia at UFC 190 on August 1, 2015, and knocked her out in 34 seconds. She paid tribute to Piper by saying “We did it together” after her victory.
Rousey continued to honor Piper’s legacy when she transitioned from MMA to WWE in 2018. She made her debut at WrestleMania 34, teaming up with Kurt Angle against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. She wore Piper’s jacket and T-shirt again, as well as his signature kilt. She also adopted his finisher move, the sleeper hold.
Rousey had a successful run in WWE, becoming the Raw women’s champion and headlining WrestleMania 35 with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. She left WWE in 2019 to focus on starting a family with her husband, Travis Browne, who is also a former UFC fighter. She announced her pregnancy in April 2021.
The family ties between Rousey and Piper
While Ronda Rousey and Roddy Piper shared a close friendship and a common nickname, they were not related by blood. However, they did have some family ties through Piper’s daughter, Teal Piper.
Teal Piper is also a professional wrestler, who made her debut in 2019 at All Elite Wrestling’s All Out event. She is also an actress and a singer. She has trained with Rousey in the past, and has expressed her admiration for her on social media.
Teal Piper has also hinted at a possible WWE return for Rousey in the future, saying that she would love to team up with her or face her in the ring. She said that Rousey is like a sister to her, and that they have a lot in common.
Rousey has also met Piper’s widow, Kitty Toombs, and thanked her for trusting her with Piper’s nickname and jacket. She has also shown respect and support for Piper’s other children, Colt, Ariel and Falon.
Ronda Rousey and Roddy Piper were not related by blood, but they had a strong bond based on their love for professional wrestling, their ‘Rowdy’ nickname, and their friendship. Rousey has honored Piper’s memory and legacy throughout her career, and has maintained a connection with his family. Piper was proud of Rousey’s achievements and influence, and gave her his blessing to use his moniker. They were two ‘Rowdy’ stars who made an impact in the world of sports entertainment.