Let’s take another big name off of the list.
As broken by Ryan Dilbert at Bleacher Report, the late “Ravishing” Rick Rude will be inducted into this year’s class at the WWE Hall of Fame. Dilbert was granted an exclusive interview with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, who has been given the honor of inducting Rude this year.
Born Richard Rood in 1958, Rude grew up in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, where he went to the same high school (at the same time with fellow future professional wrestlers, Curt Hennig, Nikita Koloff, John Nord and Barry Darsow. Rude would become a professional wrestler in 1982, after getting a college degree in Physical Education (Anoka-Ramsey CC) and would bounce around from varying territories, and with each jump, he would rise up the card.
Rude would find himself working for Fritz Von Erich in World Class Championship Wrestling, where he would become the promotion’s champion. The year after, the would move to Jim Crockett Promotions, where under the management of Paul Jones, he would begin a tag team with Manny Fernandez and would become the NWA World Tag Team Championship. Rude would be lured by the World Wrestling Federation, and he lost the tag team title in a phantom title switch to the Rock and Roll Express.
Now aligned with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Rude’s first feud when he entered the WWF in ’87 was against former Heenan client, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, though that would be replaced by a much hotter feud with Jake “The Snake” Roberts the following year. That program started when Rude tried to give the “Rude Awakening Kiss” to Jake’s wife, Cheryl, who was sitting at ringside. Rude would then move on and feud with the Ultimate Warrior, and would win the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania V, a match that to date was the best of the Warrior’s career and showcased Rude’s ability to make his opponent to look good.
Warrior would reclaim the championship at that year’s Summer Slam, which would then see Rude feud with a returning Roddy Piper. Following Warrior’s WWF World Championship win over Hulk Hogan, Rude was named the #1 Contender and though he received many world title shots, he was not able to wrest the belt against him. Following his last major championship shot at SummerSlam, Rick Rude would leave the WWF shortly after.
Rude would make a major return on the national stage, debuting under a mask (a very bad one) as the Halloween Phantom at Halloween Havoc 1991. He would unmask near the end of the show and would become the cornerstone of the Dangerous Alliance, a heel stable led by Paul E. Dangerously. Rude would promptly take the United States Title from Sting and embroil in a long feud with Ricky Steamboat and later Dustin Rhodes.
Following this, Rude would go after the NWA World Heavyweight Title, which was back under the fold of WCW. Rude would defeat Ric Flair for the belt, but it following the withdrawal of the NWA from WCW, the belt would be renamed the WCW International Title. Rude would become a three-time champion, the last of which he never lost, due to Rude suffering a career ending injury in Japan where his back crashed into a raised platform while receiving a suicide dive from the ring.
The ravishing one would retire and cash in on his Lloyd’s of London insurance policy, though the wrestling bug would come biting once again.
In 1997, Rude would make sporadic appearances in ECW in a brief program with Shane Douglas, but he would be a surprise return aligning himself with the new faction, D-Generation X. That too was brief, as he would join WCW following the Montreal Screwjob and in one night he appeared on both RAW (which was taped) and Nitro as a member of both DX and the New World Order. He would leave WCW in 1999 and was allegedly training for a potential return to the ring.
That would never happen as Rude would pass away at the age of 40 due to heart failure.
With Steamboat’s announcement, the Dragon is the only known presenter for this year’s Hall of Fame Class.
This will necessitate the removal of Rick Ride from our list where he was ranked #20 on our list. Following the induction ceremony, we will work on redoing our new Notinhalloffame.com wrestling list.
The ceremony will take place on Friday Night, March 31, two days before Wrestlemania.