Real Name: Richard Rood
Hometown: Robbinsdale, Minnesota
Signature Moves: Backbreaker, forearm smash, sitting chinlock
WCCW Titles Held: WCWA World Champion, WCCW TV Champion
Notable WCCW Feuds: Iceman King Parsons, Lance Von Erich, Bruiser Brody and Chris Adams
Need to Know Facts: Born Richard Rood on December 7, 1958, "Ravishing" Rick Rude grew up in Robbinsdale, MN in the heart of Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association (AWA). Early in his life, Rick would develop a lifelong friendship with future AWA World Champion and WWF Intercontinental Champion, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig.
Prior to beginning his wrestling career, Rude competed in several local tough man competitions throughout Minnesota and worked as a bouncer in the toughest Minneapolis bars and clubs with future wrestling superstars The Road Warriors (Hawk and Animal) and Barry Darsow (Krusher Khrushchev and Demolition Smash). Many of those who worked alongside Rude in those days stated he already had a reputation as a tough man, and he could literally knock a person out with an open-handed slap.
Ring veteran Ed Sharkey, who trained the Road Warriors, Darsow and Nikita Koloff, would also train Rude.
Rude would get his first big break working the Memphis territory (after bouncing between Bill Watts' Mid-South and World Class Championship Wrestling, often working the opening matches). Longtime Memphis promoter Jerry Jarrett was the first to see real potential in Rude and billed him as "Ravishing" Rick Rude. He would use Sade's "Smooth Operator" as his entrance song while strolling to the ring with his suave swagger, looking every bit the part of a true Chippendale dancer with his slim, chiseled physique. Ravishing Rick developed a very arrogant in-ring personality (after Jarrett sent Rude back to World Class to study "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin's ring antics), which would ultimately make him one of Memphis' most hated villains under the tutelage of Jimmy Hart.
Rude and Pringle continued their partnership into World Class in the fall of 1985 where Rude would quickly capture the NWA North American title from "Iceman" King Parsons on November 4, 1985.
Rude's championship reign came at a crucial and historically significant time in the annals of World Class Championship Wrestling history. On February 20, 1986, frustrated with Mid-Atlantic wrestling promoter Jim Crockett, Jr.'s tight hold over the National Wrestling Alliance's world title and the cost of booking the NWA's World Champion, WCCW owner Jack Adkisson (Fritz Von Erich) would forever sever the group's long-standing ties with the alliance, and recognize North American champion Rude as World Class' first world champion.
In the biggest match of Rude's career thus far, Rude as WCWA World champion faced wily veteran Bruiser Brody at the third annual Parade of Champions at Texas Stadium on May 4, 1986 in front of over 24,000 fans. Rude would be declared the victor of the bout when Brody was disqualified.
Rude would eventually lose the WCWA World title to "Gentleman" Chris Adams on July 4, 1986 in Dallas.
Rude would leave Crockett abruptly in May 1987, still one half of the NWA World Tag Team champions (with Fernandez) and head to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
After spending his first few months in the WWF working mostly opening matches, Rude became the centerpiece of the Bobby Heenan "family", initially feuding with former "family" member "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff.
Working programs with Jake "the Snake" Roberts and the Ultimate Warrior would be next on Rude's WWF agenda, with Rude winning the WWF Intercontinental Championship from the Warrior at Wrestlemania V in 1989.
Rick would headline a pay-per-view for the time in his career when he wrestled -- and, this time, lost to -- the Warrior in a steel cage match at the WWF's SummerSlam on August 27, 1990 in Philadelphia, in front of a sold out crowd of over 19,000 fans. Shortly after his SummerSlam match, Rude tore his tricep muscle, which would put him out of action for quite a while. As this was before the days of guaranteed contracts, Rude was now only being paid a portion of what would normally have been owed to him were he not injured. In the meantime, the WWF -- in an attempt to ensure that they would continue to draw good money from the Warrior-Rude feud -- continued to advertise Rude on its cards, although they knew he would not be able to compete. This fact infuriated Rude, and he abruptly left the WWF.
American fans would next see Rude in October 1991 via World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where Rude, wrestling under a mask as the Halloween Phantom in his first match at the company's Halloween Havoc pay-per-view, removed the hood to reveal his true identity after quickly defeating Tom Zenk.
However, Rude's wrestling career ended abruptly during a match against Sting in Japan during October 1993, when Rude injured his back trying to catch Sting following a flying bodypress from inside the ring to Rude, who was standing outside the ring.
Rude would eventually resurface as a commentator in ECW, and a bodyguard in both the WWF and WCW, but due to his injury, he could not compete in a full-fledged wrestling role.
Trying to cope with constant and severe back pain, Rick Rude still had his sights on returning to the ring on a regular basis. Sadly, he died from an accidental overdose of pain medication on April 20, 1999 at his home.