Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ravishing Rick Rude

Richard Erwin Rood (December 7, 1958 – April 20, 1999), better known by his ring name "Ravishing" Rick Rude, was an American professional wrestler who performed for many promotions, including World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), in the 1980s and 1990s.

Among other accolades, Rude was a four-time world champion (three-time WCW International World Heavyweight Champion, and one-time WCWA World Heavyweight Champion), one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, and one-time WCW United States Champion.

The self-proclaimed "Sexiest Man Alive", Rude was noted for his chiseled physique as well as being one of the greatest talkers in the history of professional wrestling. He is also notable for being a member of the original incarnation of D-Generation X, alongside Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna.

Born in St. Peter, Minnesota, Rood attended Robbinsdale High School in Robbinsdale, Minnesota with Tom Zenk, Brady Boone, Nikita Koloff, Curt Hennig, John Nord, Joseph Laurinaitis and Barry Darsow, all of whom later became professional wrestlers.

After graduating from Anoka Ramsey Junior College with a degree in physical education, Rood began wrestling in 1982 as Ricky Rood, a babyface jobber. Rude lost his TV debut against Mid-Atlantic Champion Paul Jones on the 11/20/1982 episode of NWA World Wide Wrestling. He started with Vancouver's NWA: All-Star Wrestling before moving on to compete for Georgia Championship Wrestling and later the Memphis-based Continental Wrestling Association. Rude debuted on the 5/28/1983 episode of World Championship Wrestling, defeating Pat Rose with a dropkick. Gordon Solie interviewed Rude the following week, with Rude discussing transitioning from arm wrestling to pro wrestling and dropping weight to increase speed. He later left and joined the National Wrestling Alliance affiliate Jim Crockett Promotions where he and a variety of tag team partners feuded with The Road Warriors. He returned to Memphis in 1984, this time as "Ravishing" Rick Rude, an overconfident, arrogant heel managed by Jimmy Hart. Rude feuded with Jerry Lawler and later his former partner, King Kong Bundy.

Rude was hired by Championship Wrestling from Florida in December 1984, where he was managed by Percy Pringle. He defeated Pez Whatley for the NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship on January 16, 1985 and lost it to Brian Blair on April 10, 1985. He captured the championship again on July 20, 1985, when he defeated Mike Graham in the finals of a Southern title tournament. He held the belt until October 2 of that year when he dropped it to Wahoo McDaniel, who was booking Florida during this time. While teaming with Jesse Barr, he won the NWA Florida United States Tag Team Championship on April 16, 1985, and feuded with Billy Jack Haynes and Wahoo McDaniel over the belts, losing the straps to McDaniel and Haynes on July 9, 1985. In late 1985, he jumped to World Class Championship Wrestling along with Pringle, where he feuded with Kevin Von Erich and Chris Adams. During his time in WCCW, Rude captured the NWA American Heavyweight Championship on November 4, 1985. However, WCCW withdrew from the NWA on February 20, 1986, and changed its name to the World Class Wrestling Association. The NWA American Championship was renamed the WCWA World Heavyweight Championship while Rude was still holding the title. As a result, Rude became the promotion's first World Champion. After losing the title to Chris Adams in July 1986, he fired Pringle and briefly replaced him with his sister, Raven. He formed a short-lived tag team with The Dingo Warrior, but the Warrior turned on him and became a face.

In September 1986, Rude returned to Jim Crockett Promotions and joined Manny Fernandez and his manager Paul Jones in their rivalry with Wahoo McDaniel. Rude and Fernandez, known collectively as the "Awesome Twosome", won the NWA World Tag Team Championship on December 6, 1986 from The Rock 'n' Roll Express, and they began a feud that ended only when Rude left the promotion for the World Wrestling Federation in April 1987. To explain the sudden departure, Jim Crockett, Jr. aired a pre-taped non-title match where the Express defeated Rude and Fernandez and claimed that Rude had been injured as a result.

Rude later returned to WWF as the "insurance policy" of the D-Generation X (DX) stable (Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna). As a member of DX, Rude never wrestled, but would stay ringside during the group's matches. He once again left WWF after the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series. According to Bret Hart, Rude stayed in the locker room during Bret's confrontation with Vince McMahon, later calling Eric Bischoff and informing him what had happened was in fact real. As Rude was not signed to a full-time contract with WWF, and was instead performing on a "pay-per-appearance" basis, Rude was able to negotiate a deal with Bischoff and WCW, in part due to his anger over the Montreal Screwjob. Rude died at the age of 40 on April 20, 1999 after suffering heart failure.

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