‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper at ‘meet-and-greet’

PARKERSBURG — Wrestler and actor “Rowdy” Roddy Piper made an appearance Thursday to meet and greet fans at the National Guard Armory in south Parkersburg.

Piper, who is starring in “Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies” filmed in Parkersburg, said he was happy with the turnout at the autograph session at the National Gaurd Armory on Blizzard Drive.

“I didn’t know people would come,” he said. “I guess it’s because they did the movie here.”

Piper said while he was here he was impressed by how nice residents were to him and the crew.

Piper said in autograph sessions people seem to remember his career during the 1980s.

“I think it’s more like I’m an iconic sign of the spirit of the ’80s,” he said. “What I do for a living was big because it is an international language, no explanation needed.”

Piper came to be best known on “Georgia Championship Wrestling” that went nationwide with the growth of cable television on WTCG, later Super Station WTBS. Piper appeared on the show with Gordon Solie, the announcer on the program.

“It was wonderful,” he said. “I was the first wrestler to do that show with Solie in the late ’70s. I was the first to do what Jesse Ventura and Vince McMahon did after me.”

Piper said at one time the promoters wanted to fire him but after they gave him the “Rowdy” Roddy Piper persona, the ratings grew and in his words, “it took off.”

Vicky Shinn of Cottageville was waiting for Piper to sign a DVD cover of some of the highlights of his wrestling career.

Shinn said during the 1980s Piper was her favorite wrestler.

“I loved it when he got mad,” she said. “He was the best. He was my favorite.”

Eddie Ray, also of Cottageville, said he wanted to meet Piper. Ray said he had never seen Piper in a live wrestling event but has seen him wrestle on DVDs.

“I’ve seen some of his matches on DVDs,” he said. “He had great moves and I just wanted to meet him.”

Jeremy Ambler, who appeared in the movie and as a feature walking zombie in the AMC series “The Walking Dead,” was on hand for the autograph session. Ambler said he was in a few scenes featuring Piper.

“I was in a couple of scenes in a group,” he said. “It was an experience.”

Ambler said he remembered watching Piper when he was growing up.

“I was a big fan of wrestling, watching it on TV,” he said. “Of course I saw Piper and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and later meeting them they were wonderful to work with.”

In “Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies” Ambler is one of the ringside zombies.

“Me and the other zombies are trying to attack Hacksaw and Piper and others,” he said.

Ambler was in episodes one and 13 of the second season of “The Walking Dead.” In the first he was a featured highway walker and in the 13th episode, the season finale, he was shot in the head in the scene while a barn is burned down.

Ambler has been seen on other merchandise associated with the show.

“Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies” will premiere this evening at Parkersburg High School. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. for holders of Super Fan and VIP tickets. The screening starts at 7.

Writer and director Cody Knotts said the film is getting national attention.