This weeks old school profile centers around a man from the legendary Robbinsdale, MN area. Known as the "The Sexiest Man Alive" Ravishing Rick Rude is one of the greatest professional wrestlers of 1980s and 90s. Probably best known for his time in the WWF where he was one of the more memorable Intercontinental Champions in the company's history. Rude has wrestled in many organizations around the world and has been successful at every stop. With a great look and solid microphone skills there were too many who measure up to Rick Rude.
The young Richard Erwin Rood was born in St. Peters, MN and attended Robbinsdale High School at the same time as 8 other young men whom would later become professional wrestlers. Names like Tom Zenk(Z-Man), Nikita Koloff, John Nord and Joseph Laurinitis(Road Warrior Animal). He also was there with his best friend and WWF Hall of Famer Curt Henning(Mr. Perfect). This list of men only rival teh West Texas State Football teams that had Stan Hansen and Tully Blanchard of places that produced wrestlers.
Rude began his career in the early 1980's touring various NWA territories as many wrestlers did at that time. He made a big impact in 1985 when he went to compete in the legendary World Class Championship Wrestling. Managed by veteran manager Percy Pringle(WWF Paul Bearer) he feuded with the likes of Chris Adams and Kevin Von Erich. While with World Class he became the NWA American Heavyweight Champion.
After capturing the title in World Class the promotion withdrew from the National Wrestling Alliance. The belt was renamed WCWA World Heavyweight Championship while Rude was holding it. This effectively made him the first World Champion of the Fritz Von Erich ran promotion.
After a run in Jim Crockett Promotions where he teamed with Manny Fernandez and won the NWA World Tag Team Championship he went to the WWF. In July of 1987 Rude began his career with the WWF. He first was managed by Jimmy Hart and Bobby Heenan. Due to his great physique and over the top persona "Ravishing" Rick Rude was created.
He quickly got the ball rolling with a legendary feud between him and Jake The Snake Roberts. The feud even got Roberts real life wife Cheryl Roberts involved as Rude would make passes at her. Rude even placed Mrs Roberts picture on his famous tights.
After his conflict with Roberts he had another notable rivalry with The Ultimate Warrior. Most of their battles centered around the Intercontinental Championship in which Rude was able to capture from Warrior at Wrestlemania V. After the Warrior became WWF Champion he and Rude competed for that title also. Rude was not able to capture the world belt from the Warrior but was strong competitor.
In 1991 Rude made his way back to World Championship Wrestling which was now owned by Ted Turner. He appeared at Halloween Havoc as the masked phantom and later revealed himself that evening. He became apart of one of wrestling's most underrated stables the Dangerous Alliance.
Headed by Paul E. Dangerously the Dangerous Alliance included Arn Anderson, Steve Austin and Larry Zybszko. He competed for the United States Heavyweight Championship and had issues with guys like Sting and Nikita Koloff. His most notable feud was iwth Ricky Steamboat and their matches are held in high regard among wrestlign historians.
Rick Rude vs Ricky Steamboat at Superbrawl 1992
Rude then began his focus on the highest prize the NWA Heavyweight Championship. He faced off against The Nature Boy Ric Flair whom he defeated at Fall Brawl in 1993. After WCW withdrew from the NWA the title was rebranded WCW International World Heavyweight Championship in which Rude defended internationally in Japan. He would then defend the belt against Sting and lose the title. He would also suffer a career ending back injury during that match doing a suicide dive.
After being retired for a few years he made his way back into the business. There was a brief stint in ECW in 1996 where he taunted Shane Douglas and then he moved on to the WWF. He was an original member of the revolutionary group DX in 1997. Known as the insurance policy. He would frequently interfere in matches using his trademark briefcase.
Rude was in the lockerroom after the controversial Montreal Screwjob incident. He witnessed the confrontation between Bret Hart and Vince McMahon. It is believed that he contacted Eric Bischoff at WCW that night to come over to WCW. He was on a pay per appearance contract which allowed him to leave the WWF so easily. In WCW he managed his best friend Curt Henning. Rude my be the only man to appear on Nitro and Raw on the same night. Raw was pre-taped and Nitro was live on November 17th, 1997. It was rumored that Rude was working himself back into shape for a full time comeback to the ring. Unfortunately Rude lost his life on April 20th, 1999. The cause of death was heart failure.