In a decision long overdue, “Ravishing” Rick Rude was announced as the newest member of the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2017.
Rude, who passed away in 1999 at the age of 40, was one of the most gifted wrestlers and wrestled for the NWA, WCCW, Jim Crockett, WWE, WCW, and ECW.
Trained under Eddie Sharkey, Rude made his professional wrestling debut in 1982 in the NWA, before moving to Championship Wrestling from Florida two years later. He was managed by Percy Pringle, the man later known as Paul Bearer, while down in Florida. In 1985, along with Pringle, he moved to World Class Championship Wrestling and then jumped ship again to Jim Crockett Promotions in 1986.
In 1987, Rude’s big break in pro wrestling came when he joined the WWE and quickly aligned himself with Bobby Heenan and became part of the Heenan Family. Rude had some epic feuds in WWE, including two famous ones with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and The Ultimate Warrior.
Rude’s WWE journey was not long and in 1991 he joined WCW, making his debut as the masked Phantom at Halloween Havoc. Rude joined The Dangerous Alliance and had feuds with Sting, Nikita Koloff, Ron Simmons, and many others. In 1993, he defeated Ric Flair to become the new NWA champion, which is probably one of the best highlights of his career.
After a short stint in ECW in 1997, Rude joined the WWE again that same year and aligned himself with D-Generation X. He made history in November of that year by appearing on Raw and WCW Nitro at the same time, made possible due to Raw being pre-taped and Nitro being live, starting his second stint with WCW which ran till 1999.
While in WWE, he won the Intercontinental title once and in WCW he won the International World Heavyweight title three times and the United States title once.
Rick Rude died on April 20, 1999 after suffering form a heart failure which was caused from an overdose of mixed drugs. He has three children, but his youngest son, Colton, died in September of last year at the age of 19 in a motorcycle accident.