Beginning in the early 1980s and extending well into the next decade, dead wrestler and celebrated personality Richard Erwin Rood, known to connoisseurs of televised grappling as Rick (sometimes “Ravishing Rick”) Rude, performed during his brief life for many major and independent promotions, including World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Rude’s many professional attainments included (but were not limited to) becoming four time WCW International World Heavyweight Champion, as well as the one time WCWA World Heavyweight Champion. In addition, Rude also occupied on occasion the WWF Intercontinental and WCW United States Championship titles. Billing himself as the “Sexiest Man Alive”, Rude’s chiseled physique and smooth ringside patter vied for fan recognition alongside his membership in the initial incarnation of D-Generation X, alongside performers such as Chyna, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels.
After graduating high school, Rood attended Anoka Ramsey Junior College, acquitting himself with a degree in physical education. Rood then began his storied wrestling career in 1982, performing as babyfaced jobber Ricky Rood. His television debut on the November 20, 1982 episode of NWA World Wide Wrestling consisted ignominiously of a loss to Mid-Atlantic Champion Paul Jones. However, Rude bounced back to debut on the May 28, 1983 episode of World Championship wrestling, defeating opponent Pat Rose with an infamously well-timed dropkick. Notorious ringside announcer Gordon Solie interviewed Rood the next week, with televised excerpts of the encounter featuring Rood discussing a largely fictitious transition from arm wrestling to pro wrestling, accompanied by a radical loss of weight in order to increase performing speed. Rood then abruptly left to join the upstart National Wrestling Alliance affiliate Jim Crockett Promotions where he, sometimes accompanied by an ad hoc assemblage of temporary tag team partners, feuded interminably with the Road Warriors. Afterward, his performing persona having undergone a considerable transformation, Rood arrived in Memphis having declared his intention to be known henceforth as “Ravishing” Rick Rude, an arrogant, supremely egocentric and overly confident heel, whose management was swiftly undertaken by legendary loudmouth Jimmy Hart. Wasting no time establishing his new found heel persona, Rude soon established long running professional feuds with Jerry Lawler and King “Kong” Bundy.
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Ricks’s Middle Name Was “Edwin”
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Competing for some time within the ranks of the WWF and establishing himself as a major headlining personality, Rude collected on a Lloyd’s of Londoninsurance policy and refrained from wrestling for several years, subsequently joining Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) in 1996, appearing spasmodically as a masked competitor who harassed Shane Douglas, at one point subjecting Douglas’ ringside companion Francine to a humiliating public spanking. Rude later unmasked and became a ringside commentator, later assisting Jerry “King” Lawler to defeat resident ECW crown pretenders Tommy Dreamer and the Sandman.
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Having previously testified to using anabolic steroids to lessen the debilitating effects of pain in his joints as well as increasing muscle mass, it was perhaps less of a surprise to longtime fans than to the general public when Rude’s death at the age of 40 was listed as “heart failure”.