Rick Rude
Rude at an Extreme Championship Wrestling television taping in October 1997
Birth nameRichard Erwin Rood
Born(1958-12-07)December 7, 1958[1]
St. Peter, Minnesota, United States
DiedApril 20, 1999(1999-04-20) (aged 40)[1]
Alpharetta, Georgia, United States
Cause of deathHeart failure
Alma materAnoka-Ramsey Community College
Cheryl Holler
(m. 1976; div. 1982)

Michelle Rood
(m. 1988; "his death" is deprecated; use "died" instead. 1999)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Rick Rude[1]
Ricky Rood
The WCW Phantom[1]
Billed height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[2]
Billed weight251 lb (114 kg)[2]
Billed fromRobbinsdale, Minnesota, United States[2]
Trained byEddie Sharkey[1][3][4]

Richard Erwin Rood[1] (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), World Wrestling Federation (WWF), and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1, 2017.[5]

Rude wrestled from 1982 until his 1994 retirement due to injury, with a final match following in 1997. Among other accolades, he was a four-time world champion (three-time WCW International World Heavyweight Champion and one-time WCWA World Heavyweight Champion), a one-time WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, and a one-time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion. Rude also challenged for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship on pay-per-view.[6][7]

In 1997, Rude co-founded the influential D-Generation X stable, along with Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna. On November 17 of that year, he became the only person to appear on the WWF's Raw Is War and WCW's Monday Nitro on the same night, as the former was pre-recorded and Rude had left for WCW in the interim.

Early life

Rude was born in St. Peter, Minnesota to Richard Clyde Rood and Sally Jean Thompson. He attended Robbinsdale High School in Robbinsdale, Minnesota with Tom Zenk, Brady Boone, Nikita Koloff, Curt Hennig, John Nord, and Barry Darsow, all of whom later became professional wrestlers.[8] He was especially close with his childhood friend Curt Hennig.[9]

Professional wrestling career

Early career (1982–1984)

After graduating from Anoka-Ramsey Community College with a degree in physical education,[8] Rude trained as a wrestler under Eddie Sharkey.[4] He began wrestling in 1982 as Ricky Rood, a babyface jobber.[3] Rude lost his TV debut against Mid-Atlantic Champion Paul Jones on the November 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 (GCW) and later the Memphis-based Continental Wrestling Association (CWA). Rude debuted on the May 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 having had a debuted in WCCW in a match against Kamala that he lost, and then went on to (NWA) affiliate Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) 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.[10] Rude feuded with Jerry Lawler and later his former partner, King Kong Bundy.[11][12]

Championship Wrestling from Florida (1984–1985)

Rude was hired by Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF) 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.

World Class Championship Wrestling (1985–1986)

Debuting on October 18, 1985, Rude jumped to World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) 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.

Jim Crockett Promotions (1986–1987)

In September 1986, Rude returned to JCP and joined Manny Fernandez and his manager Paul Jones in their rivalry with Wahoo McDaniel.[13] Rude and Fernandez, known collectively as the "Awesome Twosome",[14] won the NWA World Tag Team Championship on December 6, 1986 from The Rock 'n' Roll Express,[15] 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.

World Wrestling Federation

Debut (1987–1988)

Rude made his World Wrestling Federation (WWF) debut in July 1987 as the newest addition to the Bobby Heenan Family. His first feud in the WWF was with Heenan's former muscle bound charge "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff (who Heenan had dropped after Rude joined the Family), before starting one of his most famous feuds with Jake "The Snake" Roberts.[16] Rude had a routine where, before the match, he would make a show of removing his robe while insulting the males in the crowd (usually calling them "fat", "out of shape" or "sweathogs") and, after his victories, he would kiss a woman that Heenan picked from the fans.[11] One of Rude's trademarks was his specially airbrushed tights that he wore during matches. In the Roberts angle, Rude tried to get Roberts' real-life wife, Cheryl, to comply (though not knowing when Heenan chose her that she was in fact the wife of Jake "The Snake"). After Mrs Roberts rejected him and revealed who she was there to see, Rude got angry (after she slapped him) and grabbed her wrist, berating her on the microphone when Roberts ran from the dressing room to make the save.[11] To retaliate a few days later, Rude came to the ring with a likeness of Cheryl stenciled on the front of his tights. A furious Roberts charged the ring and stripped Rude, appearing to television viewers to leave him naked (as indicated by black-spot censoring Rude's genital area),[17] although the live audience saw him actually stripped to a g-string.

Through mid-1988 Rude continued to wear a second pair of tights under the one he wore to the ring, including during his match against the Junkyard Dog at the inaugural SummerSlam at Madison Square Garden. During the match Rude had the JYD on his back and had climbed to the top turnbuckle. While up there he pulled down his tights to reveal a second with Cheryl Roberts printed on them. After hitting the Dog with a flying fist, he was attacked by Roberts who had seen the action from the dressing room. Roberts attack on Rude caused the JYD to be disqualified, giving Rude the win. Rude's feud with Roberts came to its conclusion when Roberts pinned Rude following a DDT during the 1988 Survivor Series.

Intercontinental Champion and departure (1989–1990)

Rude's next big feud was with The Ultimate Warrior and began in January at the 1989 Royal Rumble pay-per-view in a "Super Posedown" that ended with Rude attacking Warrior with a metal pose bar.[18] With help from Heenan, Rude won the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship from The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania V, before dropping it back to Warrior at SummerSlam that same year, due in large part to interference from "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.[18][19] Rude then feuded with Piper which lead to a conflict between their respective teams at the 1990 Survivor Series in which both men brawled to a double countout. Rude would go on to have many matches with Piper including inside a steel cage, losing the majority of them, before having a brief program against Jimmy Snuka getting a win over him at WrestleMania 6. Rude resumed his conflict with The Ultimate Warrior in the summer of 1990 after Warrior had won the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. The two battled in a steel cage at SummerSlam 1990; however, Rude failed to win the title and departed from the WWF in October 1990.[20][21] This departure came right before he was scheduled to feud with Big Boss Man, which had its potential start when Rude started to make degrading comments about Boss Man's mother.[22]

World Championship Wrestling

The Dangerous Alliance and United States Heavyweight Champion (1991–1993)

Main article: The Dangerous Alliance

After spending a year wrestling on select shows on the independent circuit, as well as a July 1991 tour for All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), Rude returned to WCW, which had originally been JCP prior to being sold to Ted Turner in late 1988; he returned under a mask as The WCW Phantom at Halloween Havoc on October 27, 1991, unmasking himself later that night.[20] He led The Dangerous Alliance, consisting of himself, Paul E. Dangerously, Madusa, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko, and "Stunning" Steve Austin. On November 19, 1991, Rude defeated Sting for the United States Heavyweight Championship and engaged in a number of high-profile feuds, including one with Ricky Steamboat. At one point during their feud, Steamboat suffered a kayfabe broken nose in a gang attack.[23]

In 1992, Rude and Madusa left The Dangerous Alliance and feuded with Nikita Koloff. Rude challenged reigning World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons on several occasions but failed to win the title. In December 1992, Rude suffered a legitimate neck injury and was forced to forfeit the United States Championship, thus ending his reign of nearly 14 months, a reign that still stands today as the second longest reign in the almost 40-year history of the title.[11] Rude returned alone in April 1993 and tried to reclaim the title from Dustin Rhodes, who had won it while he was injured. The title was eventually held up after several controversial finishes to matches between the two. After a 30-minute Iron Man Match ended in a 1-1 draw at Beach Blast on July 18, a best-of-three series was set between the two on Saturday Night; Rude won the first match on August 28, but lost to Rhodes twice on September 4 and 11, losing his chance at regaining the U.S. title.[24]

International World Heavyweight Champion and retirement (1993–1994)

Rude switched his sights to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, making his intentions clear on August 28, 1993, when he was the guest on then-champion Ric Flair's "A Flair For the Gold" talk segment.[12] Rude defeated Flair for the title in September 1993 at Fall Brawl.[25] As WCW had recently withdrawn from the NWA, WCW lost the rights to continue using the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. WCW created their own championship, dubbing it the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship, which Rude lost to Hiroshi Hase on March 16, 1994 in Tokyo, Japan.[25] Rude regained the title just eight days later in Kyoto, Japan.[25] After dropping the title to Sting on April 17 at Spring Stampede, Rude pinned Sting on May 1 at Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoka to become a three-time champion.[25] Rude, however, injured his back during the match when, upon receiving a suicide dive at ringside, he landed on the corner of the raised platform surrounding the ring; unable to wrestle, he was stripped of the title (with the storyline excuse that he was found to have used the title belt as a weapon in the course of the match).[11][25] Rude retired shortly thereafter.[11]

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1997)

Rude collected on a Lloyd's of London insurance policy and did not appear in wrestling again until early 1997, when he joined Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) as a masked man who harassed Shane Douglas, at one point spanking Francine during Crossing the Line Again. He eventually unmasked and became a color commentator before later aligning himself, for a short time, with Douglas and his Triple Threat stable. In the main event of ECW Heat Wave 1997, Rude made a one-off return to the ring in a six-man tag team match, where he partnered with ECW mainstays Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman to face Jerry Lawler and ECW stars Rob Van Dam and Sabu. During the ECW versus USWA/WWF inter-company competition, Rude helped Lawler win matches against Dreamer and The Sandman.

Return to the WWF (1997)

Main article: D-Generation X

On August 11, 1997, Rude returned to the WWF as the "insurance policy" of the group that would become known as D-Generation X (DX) (Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna).[26] The D-Generation X name was first used on October 13, 1997. As a member of DX, Rude never wrestled, but stayed ringside during the group's matches. A few days after the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series, Rude once again left the WWF. According to Bret Hart, Rude stayed in the locker room during Bret's confrontation with Vince McMahon after the match in Montreal, and later called Eric Bischoff, informing Bischoff that what had happened was in fact real. As Rude was not signed to a full-time contract with the WWF, and was instead performing on a "pay-per-appearance" basis, Rude was able to negotiate a deal with Bischoff and WCW, in large part due to his anger over the Montreal Screwjob.[14][27]

Return to WCW (1997–1999)

Rude appeared on both the WWF's Raw Is War and WCW's Monday Nitro on November 17, 1997. A mustachioed Rude appeared on Nitro, which was live, and proceeded to criticize Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels, DX, and the WWF, calling the company the "Titanic" (a reference to Titan Sports, as WWF's parent company was then known, as the "sinking ship").[1] An hour later on Raw Is War (which had been taped six days earlier), Rude then appeared with the full beard he had been sporting during his last few weeks in the WWF.[1][28] Rude also appeared on ECW's Hardcore TV during that weekend (November 14–16 as the show was syndicated differently depending on the market). Rude was still making ECW appearances while he was in D-Generation X, as the WWF and ECW often co-operated in terms of talent.

In WCW, Rude became a member of the New World Order (nWo), managing his friend Curt Hennig.[11] Thus, Rude became the first wrestler to be part of both DX and nWo. When the nWo split, Hennig and Rude joined the nWo Wolfpac,[29] and they tried to motivate Konnan to defeat Goldberg, who was undefeated at the time. When Konnan was defeated by Goldberg, Rude and Hennig attacked him, later joining nWo Hollywood, the rivals of the Wolfpac. By late 1998, both Rude and Hennig were off WCW television due to injuries. Hennig had an ongoing leg injury that year, and Rude was thought to have had testicular cancer which later turned out to be a spermatocele. Hennig returned to the nWo from his injury at Starrcade without Rude, who was still unable to appear. Rude officially left WCW in March 1999.[30]

Personal life

Rood married his wife Michelle in 1988, and the couple remained together until his death in 1999. They had three children together, Richard Jr., Merissa, and Colton. His youngest son, Colton, died on September 3, 2016, in a motorcycle accident in Rome, Georgia, at the age of 19.

Bret Hart has stated that Rude was a devoted family man who never took his wedding ring off even during matches but instead covered it up with tape.[31] Hart also stated that Rude, along with Curt Hennig, was one of the greatest technical wrestlers of his era.


Rood died on the morning of April 20, 1999, at the age of 40 when he suffered from heart failure. He was survived by his wife, Michelle, and their three children. An autopsy report showed he died from an overdose of "mixed medications".[32] At the time of his death, Rood was in training for a return to the ring.[30]


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Rude became one of the most successful heel superstars of the WWF 1980s boom. Managed by Bobby Heenan, Rude became a pivotal member of the infamous Heenan Family.

Rude was widely known as one of the toughest men in the business and legitimately feared. It is said that Hulk Hogan refused to wrestle Rude, who had a brutally strong grip. In 1988, then WWF Champion Randy Savage, purposely chose Rude and the Dynamite Kid to watch his back at a bar when they were in NWA territory. The bar was a well known hangout for NWA wrestlers and Savage knew someone in the NWA could make a name for themselves by legitimately taking out the WWF Champion. With Rude and Kid being Savage's bodyguards, there were no issues that night.

Rude also was a noted arm wrestler, finishing sixth in the world championships in Las Vegas in the light heavyweight division in 1983.

On March 6, 2017, it was announced that Rick Rude would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.[33] Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat inducted Rude.[34] Michelle, Merissa, and Richard Jr. accepted on his behalf.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Wrestler Profiles: Rick Rude". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e ""Ravishing" Rick Rude". WWE. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Oliver, Greg; Steven Johnson (2007). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels. ECW Press. p. 208. ISBN 1-55022-759-9.
  4. ^ a b Fahey, Vince. "Rick Rude:Page One". Kayfabe Memories. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  5. ^ http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2017/0331/624711/wwe-hall-of-fame-live-coverage/
  6. ^ "WWF SummerSlam '90". Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  7. ^ "WCW Halloween Havoc '92". Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Oliver, Greg; Steven Johnson (2007). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels. ECW Press. p. 207. ISBN 1-55022-759-9.
  9. ^ Tributes II: Remembering More of the World's Greatest Professional Wrestlers. Sports Publishing. 2004. p. 62 pp. ISBN 1-58261-817-8.
  10. ^ a b Lawler, Jerry; Doug Asheville (2002). It's Good to Be the King...Sometimes. Simon & Schuster. p. 168. ISBN 0-7434-7557-7.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Powell, John. "Rick Rude dies". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  12. ^ a b Slagle, Steve. ""Ravishing" Rick Rude". The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on May 12, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2008. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  13. ^ a b Shields, Brian (2006). Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s. Simon & Schuster. p. 109. ISBN 1-4165-3257-9.
  14. ^ a b "Rick Rude Profile". WrestlingData. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  15. ^ a b "NWA World Tag Team Title (Mid-Atlantic/WCW) history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  16. ^ "Wrestler Profiles: Paul Orndorff". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  17. ^ "Wrestler Profiles: Jake Roberts". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  18. ^ a b c "History of the Intercontinental Championship: Rick Rude's first reign". WWE. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  19. ^ "History of the Intercontinental Championship: Ultimate Warrior's second reign". WWE. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  20. ^ a b Shields, Brian (2006). Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s. Simon & Schuster. p. 110. ISBN 1-4165-3257-9.
  21. ^ "SummerSlam 1990". WWE. Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2008. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  22. ^ "Bobby Heenan". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  23. ^ Lyon, Stephen (July 18, 2004). "WCW Wrestling Classics TV report featuring Steamboat-Rude-Madusa angle". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Archived from the original on January 18, 2009. Retrieved May 26, 2008. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  24. ^ a b "NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Title history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  25. ^ a b c d e f "WCW International World Heavyweight Title history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  26. ^ Fahey, Vince. "Rick Rude: Page 2". Kayfabe Memories. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  27. ^ Hart, Bret (April 24, 1999). "Heaven gains a champ". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  28. ^ Shields, Brian (2006). Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s. Simon & Schuster. p. 111. ISBN 1-4165-3257-9.
  29. ^ "The History of the New World Order". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on May 24, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2008. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  30. ^ a b "This day in history". PWInsider. April 20, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  31. ^ Hart, Bret (2007). Hitman: My real life in the cartoon world of wrestling. Ebury Press. p. 485 pp. ISBN 9780091932862.
  32. ^ "Ravishing Rick Rude – Former WWF Wrestler Rick Rude". Allwwewrestlers.com. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  33. ^ http://www.wwe.com/shows/wwe-hall-fame/wwe-hall-of-fame-2017/article/ricky-steamboat-induct-rick-rude-wwe-hall-of-fame
  34. ^ "Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat to induct "Ravishing" Rick Rude into WWE Hall of Fame". WWE.com. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  35. ^ a b "Other arena's finishing movelist".
  36. ^ "Dark Pegasus Video Review: PrimeTime Wrestling (08.03.87)".
  37. ^ "Dunn's Countdown To Summerslam: Summerslam '89".
  38. ^ "Jimmy Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved September 4, 2009.
  39. ^ "NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida) history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  40. ^ "NWA United States Tag Team Title (Florida version) history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  41. ^ "NWA/AWA Southern Heavyweight Title history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  42. ^ "NWA Mid-America/AWA Southern Tag Team Title history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  43. ^ "Nintendo Top Ten Challenege Tournament". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  44. ^ a b "Rick Rude: Awards". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. WrestlingData. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  45. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 1992". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  46. ^ "NWA American Heavyweight Title history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  47. ^ "World Class Television Title history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  48. ^ "WCWA World Heavyweight Title history". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  49. ^ ""Ravishing" Rick Rude to enter WWE Hall of Fame". www.wwe.com. Retrieved March 6, 2017.

Further reading