Teal Piper Ready to Stir Things up in 'WOW Women Of Wrestling' Season 2
When WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper passed away in 2015, his daughter Ariel Teal Toombs felt a part of herself had died with him. However, she believes another was reborn, which has evolved into a growing passion for joining the family business. The next generational grappler recently signed on to WOW — Women Of Wrestling, which is gearing up for its second season on AXS TV.
“I always admired the work and everything behind the world of wrestling,” she said, taking a break from training in California. “The first time I got in the ring I wanted to connect with my father more and this part of his life I really didn’t get to be a part of. It has been super emotional for me, but also super f---’in awesome. Just being in the ring is a whole new experience and stems from wanting to be closer to understanding parts of my dad’s life.”
Piper did get to work alongside her legendary dad in films like The Portal and Lights Out. She also collaborated with brother Colt to finish their father’s autobiography Rowdy: The Roddy Piper Story that he began writing before his death. Her career choice has admittedly drawn mixed reaction from the family.
“I feel out of everyone my brother Colt was the one I was most afraid to tell,” she said. “Maybe that’s because he is like a mini version of my dad. I didn’t know how he’d react. And he is the only one in the family who has been in wrestling before. He has done the sport. He actually found out through friends of his before I wanted to tell him.
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“I was so nervous, he was super cool about it. He told me, ‘Honestly, at first I wasn’t okay with it. Then I heard you talk and realized you have a passion for this and to work hard in the ring to do your best. It wasn’t just a fleeting project of yours.’
"Once he felt that way, he was super supportive and mentored me. He trained with my dad when he was alive, so he has a lot of great knowledge from that. That’s been a really cool bonding experience with my brother. I think my mom just doesn’t want me to get hurt. I think that’s all she cares about.”
Knowing how top names Charlotte Flair and WOW champ Tessa Blanchard, Piper feels it would be naive of her not to feel the added pressure. At the same time, the driven newcomer is willing to put in the effort to succeed. Piper, who is also a singer-songwriter with an album dropping soon, is honing her skills under the eye of veteran and head trainer Selina Majors, as well as getting tips from fellow WOW Superheroes Faith the Lioness and Stephy Slays.
“Those are some fantastic wrestlers who have really done their families very proud,” Piper said. “They are killing it right now. I feel pressure, but I also feel inspired when I see these women come in and really revolutionize the sport for women. It’s exciting. I want to be part of it, and I want there to be pressure because I take it very seriously. So for me it will only make me want to work harder.”
The WOW roster is filled with colorful personalities, and Piper prepares to bring a unique identity to the table. However, she teases there might be some “Rowdy” sprinkled in there.
“There are parts of me that are reminiscent of my dad just like anyone picks up traits from their parents, but I’m also my own person,” Piper said. “I think that people are going to be taken a little bit out of left field with me at first because I’m kind of a crazy person. I can be unpredictable on the mic. I’m probably going to go in and stir things up.”
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The budding in-ring talent found it took years to fully embrace her Piper side. Even at the point when she was planning to start a women’s wrestling promotion of her own with Brooke Hogan, Lacey Von Erich and Brittany Page, she was planning to be part of the managerial side. When Piper made the conscious decision to lace up the boots, WOW allowed her to train at its Training Center. It was love at first bump.
“Yeah, women are main-eventers in a lot of the bigger arenas, but WOW has been doing this forever. They’ve always had the women in the main event,” Piper said. “They’ve really been ahead of that ball. They just send such a positive messages about women out there. These girls can wrestle. They are impressive. So as soon as I got in there, I knew I wanted to be part of it.
"It’s something I’ve grown more and more proud of working for them since I started.”
Before making her WOW debut at the next set of TV tapings, Piper will be thrown into the proverbial deep end as a participant in All Elite Wrestling’s Casino Battle Royale. This sees her perform before thousands of Chicago fans as part of the buzzy company’s All Out pay-per-view Buy In pre-show.
“For me, it’s like go big and if you break that ice, everything after may feel a little easier. I feel like it doesn’t get any bigger than these events,” she said. “I’m honored to be part of it. I take it very seriously. These girls I’m going to be in the ring with are no joke. They are legit competition and been doing it a long time. They know what they are doing and are unbelievably talented. I’ve been working very hard. At the end of the day, I’m just happy to be part of it. To have this be where I first launch off.”
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No matter where the road takes her, she is feels genuine gratitude to WOW and AEW for the platform. She hopes to make the most of every opportunity given. Through it all, Piper knows her dad is looking down with a big smile on his face.
“I’m sure he would say, ‘Get out of the ring!’” Piper said jokingly. “He would be very worried, but I feel one of the things is he’d be proud of me. He’d be very happy, specifically at the choice of me signing with WOW because he was always such a feminist and a fan of women’s wrestling. He always told me that the women had to work twice as hard as the men.
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“He was serious about it. This was even back when women were in the lingerie and were seen as mostly accessories to men. He saw the women had to work twice as hard for half the pay to even get remotely the same respect. They had to be better than the guys.
"I think that him seeing everything WOW’s has done for women in the sport and how serious they are. They don’t try to demean them in any way. They are great athletes. That’s something he would be happy about me being a part of. I think he would have so much respect for the Women Of Wrestling as a company. To me, that is what he would be really excited about.”
Season 2 of WOW — Women of Wrestling premieres Saturday, September 7, 8/7c, AXS TV. Piper debuts for WOW at its September 18 & 19 live events in Los Angeles at the Belasco Theater.
All Elite Wrestling's All Out airs Saturday, August 31, 8/7c Live, pay-per-view and B/R Live. The Buy In pre-show airs at 7/6c.