Rick Rude Page 2
By January 1985, Rude had moved over to the
Florida region. This time, he was
managed by Percy Pringle, who would later also manage Rude in the World Class
region. On January 16, 1985, Rick
Rude became the NWA
Southern Heavyweight Champion (Florida version) by beating Pistol Pez
Whatley. Rude lost the belt to
Brian Blair three months later on April 10, 1985, then turned around six days
later and won the U.S.
Tag Team titles (Florida version) with partner Jesse Barr on April 16, 1985
by beating Jay and Mark Youngblood. Rude
and Barr lost the belts to the team of Wahoo McDaniel and Billy Jack Haynes the
following month. Two months later,
Hercules Hernandez was stripped of the Southern Heavyweight belt for a dressing
room fight with Wahoo McDaniel. A
tournament was set up and on July 5, 1985, Rude beat Mike Graham in the
tournament final to become a two-time NWA Southern Heavyweight champion. He held
it for another few months before losing the belt to Wahoo McDaniel in October,
1985. Rude was a participant in the
of the Belts on September 2, 1985, when he and Billy Jack Haynes fought to a
double DQ against the Road Warriors.
Almost immediately after losing the Southern Heavyweight belt,
Rude, along with manager Pringle, left the Florida area and headed for World
Class Championship Wrestling in Texas. Within
days of his entry into this region, Rude beat Iceman King Parsons for the American
Heavyweight title on November 4, 1985.
It was during this time that WCCW seceded from the NWA. It was decided
that Rude’s American title would now serve as World Class’ World title with
Rude having the honor of being the first WCWA
World Heavyweight Champion, crowned as such on February 2, 1986.
He lost the belt five months later (his longest title reign to date) to
Chris Adams at the Independence
Day Star Wars card. Rude fired
Pringle as his manager at this point, due to Pringle’s repeated interference
in this and other matches. During
Rude’s World title reign, he also managed to win the World
Class TV belt when he defeated Lance Von Erich in May of 1986.
Rude ran into the wild Bruiser Brody on May 4, 1986 as they fought at the
Annual David Von Erich Parade of Champions card.
Rude won the match by DQ. However,
Brody got his revenge, when eight days later, he beat Rude for the World Class
TV. Rude feuded with the Von Erichs (and what heel in WCCW
didn’t?), and for the first time, came upon a man who would later help to get
him huge heat in the WWF. Jim Hellwig, known in World Class as the Dingo
Warrior, would eventually cross paths with Rude in the WWF when the two would
become engaged in a feud… this time however, Hellwig would be going by The
Ultimate Warrior. While in the
World Class area, Rude was a part of some other large cards.
He and Jos LeDuc battled Chris and Mark Youngblood, losing by DQ at the Labor
Day Star Wars card in September 1986 as part of a tag team tournament to win
the vacant WCCW Tag Titles. Rude
pulled double duty (and became a double loser) on this card and he fought and
lost once more by DQ to Chris Adams for the WCWA Heavyweight Title.
Towards the end of 1986, Rude made the move over to Jim Crockett
Promotions and the NWA, where he was managed by Paul Jones.
Rude fought his old Florida foe, Wahoo McDaniel in an Indian Strap match
1986 in November of that year. The
following month, Rude and Manny Fernandez defeated the Rock ‘n Roll Express to
become the new NWA
World Tag Team Champions. In
April of 1987, Rude and Fernandez entered the Jim
Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup ’87, an annual tag team tournament that promised
the winning team $1,000,000. They
earned a bye in the first round, defeated The Thunderfoots in the second round,
and lost to the team of Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff in the third round.
While still one of the Tag Team Champions, Rude was injured, and Ivan
Koloff was allowed to take his place as a tag champ. When the Rock ‘n Roll Express beat Fernandez and Koloff in
May of 1987, it was Rude and Fernandez who went down in the official record
books as being the losers even though Rude wasn’t involved in the match at
By mid-late 1987, Rude was ready to enter the WWF.
Under the management of Bobby Heenan, Rude quickly became one of the
prominent heels in the promotion. Notching
his natural cockiness up 100%, and going by The Ravishing One, Rude would come
out to the ring, with great fanfare. As
he stepped to the center, he’d say, “Cut the music!” and launch into the
diatribe up above and remove his robe, flexing for all to see.
The women would take pictures as the men would boo loudly.
Rude’s first major feud was with Jake “the Snake” Roberts.
It all started out normally, with Rude doing his pre-match
striptease/flex. He spotted a woman
in the crowd, who ended up being the wife of Roberts.
Rude propositioned her, in his lewdest manner of course, the Snake took
offense. Rude continued to ride
Jake about his wife, taunting her at ringside, wearing tights with her face on
them… an instant and classic feud was born.
Once his set of matches with Jake concluded, it was determined to
give Rude the WWF Intercontinental title. The stage was set for Wrestlemania
5 and on April 2, 1989, Rick Rude beat the Ultimate Warrior for the WWF
Intercontinental belt. The two criss-crossed the country, fighting over the belt
until it came to a head at Summerslam
89. Here, the Warrior regained
the IC belt on August 28, 1989. Warrior
went on to defeat Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 6, and it was Rude who was chosen
to be one of his earliest challenges. The
two were the main event at Summerslam
90 in a steel cage match that saw the Ultimate Warrior come out on top.
Soon after SS ’90, Rude and Vince McMahon had a falling out and
Rude left the WWF, and eventually signed with WCW. His debut was at Halloween
Havoc ’91, as he came out in a hood, a mystery guest brought out by Paul
E. Dangerously. Rude, wrestling as the Hollywood Phantom, defeated Tom Zenk.
He was unmasked and Dangerously announced that Rude would be the
cornerstone of Dangerously’s new Dangerous Alliance.
Rude immediately went on to win the United
States title the following month on November 11, 1991.
This began a feud with Sting and a healthy US title reign that ended on
January 1, 1993 when an injury prevented Rude from defending the belt, causing
WCW to strip him of that title.
Rude finally returned from his injury in the Fall of ’93 and went
on to beat Ric Flair for what was formerly the NWA Heavyweight title on
September 19, 1993. The title, now
referred to as the WCW
International Heavyweight title, was held by Rude until March 16, 1994, when
he lost it to Hiroshi Hase. Rude
won the belt back from Hase on March 24, 1994, and then lost it for the final
time almost a month later to Sting on April 17, 1994. Rude fought Sting in a
rematch for the belt but it was during this match that Rude suffered a back/neck
injury that effectively ended Rude’s career as a wrestler.
It wasn’t until 1996 that Rude was seen again in the national
spotlight. Paul E. Dangeroulsy,
Rude’s former Dangerous Alliance manager, was now the man in charge of ECW.
Rude began showing up during Shane Douglas matches under a mask, taunting
Douglas mercilessly. For the first few times, it was unclear to fans who was
really under the mask but that voice and the body language were a dead giveaway,
and eventually Rude came out from under the mask.
He continued tormenting Douglas for a while, and then eventually ended up
joining in as an advisor-type to Douglas’ Triple Threat stable.
While Rude didn’t actively wrestle, he was involved in several angles
and did some commentating alongside Joey Styles.
Rude was in classic form with his cocky, swaggering attitude that added a
nice opposition to Styles’ straightforward calling.
In 1997, Rude jumped from ECW suddenly and appeared on a WWF
broadcast and Shawn Michaels “insurance policy.” At the time, DeGeneration X had just started up and were
engaged in a big feud with The Hart Foundation, with Michaels and Bret Hart
being the two largest components of the feud.
Rude played a sort of bodyguard/enforcer role during this time, but not
doing much more. Rude was only
working on a per-appearance deal rather than a contract, and after the debacle
between McMahon, Hart, and Michaels (aka The Screwjob Heard Round the World),
Rude decided to exit… but in a surprising fashion.
known to many, Rude had accepted an offer from WCW. Rude participated in a WWF TV taping, performing as usual.
During this time, RAW was not live each and every Monday night,
therefore, this RAW taping would appear a week later.
By then, Rude had already left the WWF and on the same night that this
RAW taping was aired (with Rude appearing on the broadcast), he appeared live
on WCW Nitro, and went on to join the nWo.
While with WCW, Rude continued his position as advisor, this time
to his friend Curt Henning. This
went on for a short while until Rude once more left the national spotlight in
1998, this time for what ended up being the final time.
Rick Rude died on April 20, 1999, in his Georgia home. The cause was ruled as heart failure. Fans were shocked by his sudden death…. Rick Rude was a specimen of the human appearance. In shape, muscular and cut like no one else, how could he have died of heart failure? Some attributed his heart failure to steroid abuse, some to the hormone HGH… whatever the cause, Rude was taken way too soon. While his active in-ring career may’ve been over, Rick Rude still had much to contribute to the world of professional wrestling and it’s a shame that his potential for this will never be explored.
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