Robinsdale, Minnesota’s “Ravishing” Rick Rude is one of the most iconic faces of the 1980s and 1990s in the wrestling business.
Also known as “The Ravishing One” and the “Sexiest Man Alive”, one could say that his pre-match “What I’d like to have right now…” in-ring promos helped inspire the modern era of heels; very few wrestlers did in-ring pre-match promos prior to the Monday Night War. Besides that, Rude became an INTEGRAL part of the War as not only being a FOUNDING MEMBER of Degeneration X, but also for being the first man to appear simultaneously on WWF Raw and WCW Nitro on the same night, November 17th, 1997, (Raw was taped a week prior and Rude left the company in that week and showed up on the live WCW Nitro the next week).
But before that, Rude got it done between the ropes.
Rude had a chiseled physique and looked like a more athletic version of Superstar Graham. Rude could get it done bell to bell and was one of the most respected workers in the business. Rude had a pretty decent run in World Class, but it wasn’t until he showed up in the WWF, managed by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, that he was able to really shine as an upper card heel. Rude’s promos, with or without Brain, were amazing, and the WWF always found ways to put him in creative situations revolving his character (something modern wrestling has failed to do because, for the most part, they have no characters). Some of Rude’s most memorable moments involved the infamous pose-down between he and Ultimate Warrior (his greatest WWF opponent), his attempt to seduce Jake Roberts’ wife Cheryl Roberts which led to them feuding for several months, his unbelievable debut in the ECW Arena, under a mask, chastising “The Franchise” Shane Douglas with his trademark grovelly voice and cocky demeanor, and many others. In WCW, he was in the Dangerous Alliance, teamed with long-time best friend Curt Hennig, feuded with several legends, and was a mouth-piece for the NWO. His finishing move, the Rude Awakening, was the most dangerous looking neckbreaker ever, because he would pause and then DROP, so it looked like he legit cracked the guy’s neck.
To this day, Rude stands as the ONLY WRESTLER to ever airbrush various things on his tights, including his face, his opponent’s faces, and whatever championship belt he was chasing or defending. Rick had to retire from wrestling in the mid 90s after breaking his back in a match with Sting in Japan. Rick died in April of 1999 while training for a comeback in the WWF. I love Rick Rude and I miss him and other characters from that era and he will always be one of the most inspiring and memorable heels of all time.
Defining Match Of The WrestleMania Era: Rick Rude vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat at Beach Blast 1992 (Iron Man Match)
There’s a few I can list here. Any of his matches with Ultimate Warrior (Wrestlemania V, Summerslam 89, and finally a Steel Cage Match at Summerslam 90) were great as, other than Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan (once), no one got the best out of Warrior like Rude did. His chemistry with Jake Roberts was also amazing. He had a pretty good slew of matches in WCW against guys like Sting and Ric Flair. But to me, the most fun I ever had watching Rude work was in WCW at Beach Blast 92 against Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in a 30 Minute Iron Man Match. I could not find video of that on YouTube, so instead I found it’s precursor, their match from Superbrawl II for the United States Championship: