Rick Rude's WWE news conference

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The Tragic Death of WWE Hall of Famer ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude

Rick Rude's WWE news conference

WWE Hall of Famer ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude Died Tragically

“Ravishing” Rick Rude may be one of the most underappreciated performers in professional wrestling history. Sure, he’s in the WWE Hall of Fame and has won titles in a variety of promotions over his career.

Nonetheless, his name is hardly mentioned in most debates of all-time greats, despite the fact that it should be.

Rude was one of the best heels in history, and he might have been considered one of the all-time greats if his career hadn’t been cut short by injury.

He was a versatile wrestler and performer who could do it all.

While The Ultimate Warrior had charm but no natural wrestling ability, Rick Rude had it all.

He could work the mic and then go on to win a five-star bout. That is not a skill that everyone possesses.

When his ring career was cut short, Rude turned to management and thrived in that job as well.

Tragically, he died at the age of 40 while training for a return to the ring, leaving many to ponder what may have been.

Here’s a look back at WWE Hall of Famer “Ravishing” Rick Rude’s life, career, and terrible demise.

Rick Rude’s WWE news conference stage in its early days

Richard Erwin Rood, better known as “Ravishing,” was born in St. Peter, Minnesota, in 1958.

Rick Rude was one of many pro wrestlers to come out of Robbinsdale High School, including his close friend “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig.

Rude graduated from a tiny institution in his home state with a degree in physical education but never used it.

Rick Rude's WWE news conference
Rick Rude’s WWE news conference Source: The Chairshot

He began training with famed wrestling trainer Eddie Sharkey in the early 1980s, according to Bleacher Report and has never looked back.

Rude made his debut in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in 1982 and rapidly rose to become one of the sport’s brightest new stars.

Over the next few years, he worked for promotions such as Georgia Championship Wrestling, the Continental Wrestling Association in Memphis, Tennessee, Jim Crockett Promotions, Championship Wrestling from Florida, and World Class Championship Wrestling, winning numerous titles before joining WWE in 1987, which was still known as the WWF at the time.

‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude rose to prominence in WWE

“Ravishing” Rick Rude made his WWF/WWE debut in the summer of 1987 and soon rose through the ranks to become one of the company’s top heels.

It didn’t hurt that he was managed by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, widely regarded as the best manager in pro wrestling history.

Rude’s persona was outrageously arrogant, and he played it flawlessly. He was perceived as a ladies’ man, although he was a devoted family man and husband.

The Tragic Death of WWE Hall of Famer ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude
The Tragic Death of WWE Hall of Famer ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude Source: WWE

After marrying Michelle in 1988, he refused to remove his wedding band during matches, instead covering it with tape.

Nonetheless, the role was so well-played and fascinating that people despised him, which implies he was doing an excellent job.

Rick Rude had epic feuds with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and The Ultimate Warrior during his first run in World Wrestling Entertainment and defeated the latter at WrestleMania 5 to win the Intercontinental Championship, his only title in WWE.

He wrestled for the WWF Championship a few times but never won it.

Rude resigned from the WWF for the first time in 1991.

In the 1990s, Rude alternated between WCW and WWF

Rick Rude joined WCW in October 1991 and defeated Sting a few weeks later for the United States.

He held the title for 378 days before being forced to relinquish it due to a neck ailment in December 1992.

Due to a back ailment that halted his in-ring career, he had to renounce the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship, which he had won three times.

Rude retired and stayed away from professional wrestling for several years.

Rude returned to the company in 1997 after collecting on an insurance policy and briefly worked for Paul Heyman’s ECW before rejoining WWF.

He worked with Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna and was a founding member of DX.

However, because he was on a “pay-per-appearance” arrangement with the company, he wasn’t bound to a contract and elected to defect to WCW following the events of the Montreal Screwjob.

According to Pro Wrestling Stories, Rick Rude returned to WCW on November 17, 1997, and appeared live on Monday Nitro.

He did, however, appear on Monday Night Raw for WWE because the episode had been taped the week before while Rude was still with the business.

Rude joined the nWo and remained with the WCW until March 1999.

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Rick Rude died in 1999, at the age of 40

Rick Rude was found unresponsive by his wife about a month after leaving WCW and died on April 20, 1999, at the age of 40, from heart failure.

An autopsy later indicated that he died as a result of an overdose of many pharmaceuticals.

Rick Rude was reported to be practicing for an in-ring comeback at the time of his death.

Rick Rude was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame posthumously in 2017 by Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.

In yet another tragedy, Rude’s youngest son, Cody, was killed in a motorcycle accident the year before he was inducted.

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