When most fans hear the name J.J. Dillon, they think of him as the manager of the WWE Hall of Fame stable the Four Horsemen. Dillon may be best known for that role, but he also had a long career as an in-ring competitor, referee and backstage executive.
As a 2012 inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame and a 2013 inductee into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, Dillon is recognized as one of the most decorated managers in the history of the sport.
Dillon recently spoke with Ring Rust Radio (quotes courtesy of the News of Delaware County’s Joe Arcidiacono) about the recent deaths of his friends Rowdy Roddy Piper and Dusty Rhodes, the Four Horsemen stable and much more.
The wrestling world was rocked by the deaths of Rhodes on June 11 and Piper on July 31, and many fans were hit hard by the news. One of the people in the industry who was lucky enough to know both men was Dillon, and he considered each of the legends his friends.
When asked about the impact of both Rhodes and Piper on the wrestling business and in his life, Dillon offered his perspective on the recent untimely deaths of two of the sport’s biggest stars:
The words ‘icon’ and ‘legend’ get thrown around a lot in our business and over used, but we lost two people in less than two months that for me, who spent half a century in and around the wrestling business, the American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Rowdy Roddy Piper exemplify what is really an iconic legend.
Both of them are going to be missed very much. I care deeply for both of them—they were friends as well as people I worked with, and I don’t think there will ever be another American Dream or Roddy Piper. There will never be someone who comes along with that type of iconic talent, achieves what they did in the ring and have the impact they had on the business. …
So when I say that I look at the American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Rowdy Roddy Piper as being iconic legends, that’s a definition that I reserve for very few. We lost two of the greatest in such a short time, and it’s sad that they are gone forever.
Losing a legend such as Rhodes or Piper would have been a huge burden to carry, but losing both in back-to-back months was devastating to the industry. Few were hurt more than the people who knew and loved these men, though.
While it has been tough for Dillon recently because of the losses, his career, spanning over 50 years, is something that brings a smile to any wrestling fan’s face. It is clear Dillon has loved the industry his whole life, and he has seen it all.