Remembering the Ravishing One
June 8, 2003 - by "Primetime" Glen
One particular match that stands out in my mind is the
Iron Man match against Steamboat. This match went
back and forth the entire thirty minutes. It was, of
course, Rude's arrogance that cost him the match.
During this period of wrestling, it was illegal to do
any moves off the top turnbuckle. Today's wrestling
fans are so used to seeing people like Jeff Hardy and
Rey Mysterio Jr. fly off the top turnbuckle that this
rule seems absurd, but that is how things were then.
Another rule then was if you throw someone over the
top rope, you were disqualified. About halfway
through the match, Rude decided to test the referee,
and he did a splash off the top rope. That
automatically gave Steamboat a pin fall, but the logic
did seem pretty clever. Rude, at this point, was
already in the lead by about three pin falls. So
losing the lead by one would not hurt much, but the
move itself would further injure Steamboat, and thus
make Steamboat more open to be pinned to regain that
three pin fall lead. In the end this arrogance, and
his seemingly bright idea, became his undoing as he
lost to Steamboat.
Being that this is my first editorial, let me first
say hello to all the wrestling fans out there. Now
that I got that out of the way, it's time for your
Rude Awakening. That's right, I am going to do
something that WCW and WWF should have done a long
time ago. Right here, in this very editorial, I will
relive some of the greatest moments involving one of
the greatest heels ever. So as Michael Buffer would
say, let's get ready to rumble. I'll start this
editorial off with a match that I remember as being
the beginning of Rick Rude's career in the WCW.
It happened on Halloween Havoc, and he appeared as a
masked wrestler. As he hit his opponent, whom I
cannot remember at this time, with the Rude Awakening,
it became the beginning of something that would last
for many years. Rude had always had this way of
making you hate him. Whether it is his arrogance, or
his swagger. He seemed more arrogant than even the
Nature Boy, if that's possible. His microphone skills
were, and are, unsurpassed in quality. Some people
have to go the extra mile to get the attention of the
people, and hold it. When Rude was in the ring you
knew it, and you listened. Whether he was spouting
out about his perfectly sculptured body, or the women
in his presence, people listened.
Now Rude wasn't a man of few qualities. He could not only talk the
talk, but also walk the walk, as Flair would say. His
memorable feuds with the likes of Ricky "The Dragon"
Steamboat and Sting will always be etched in my mind.
In his stay in the WCW, Rude had
won numerous titles, and became involved in some of
the best rivalries of all time. Though he was never
given the World title, he has definitely worked his
ass off for the people, and will always be considered
among the greatest ever. His reign in the ring did
not stop in the WCW. He has also paved a path of
destruction in the WWF as well. Most notably he was
involved in something that has only happened once in
the history of both WCW and WWF. Though it happened
due to erroneous timing, it will still be remembered
as a first. It happened on a Monday night where Rick
Rude became the first person to be seen on both WCW
Nitro and WWF Raw, simultaneously. The only other
occurrence that came close to this was when Shane
McMahon was seen on both Raw and Nitro. Even then, he
wasn't physically at both locations as Rude was.
Towards the end of his career, and life, he was seen
with another notable wrestler no longer with us, "Mr.
Perfect" Curt Henning. He was also seen, just before
his passing, with the Degeneration X. He was supposed
to make the jump to the WWF, and join the likes of
X-Pac, HHH, HBK, and the New Age Outlaws. That move
would make him the second person to jump from one
major heel group, the nWo, to another, DX.
Unfortunately at the time of his jump, he was found
soon thereafter in a hotel, dead.
I have been a wrestling fan for many years, and believe me when I
say that when a man like Rude dies, it hurts as if it
was someone I knew personally. Some people look at
wrestlers merely as actors and wrestlers. Some view
them as nothing more than Hollywood glitz and glimmer.
While that may be so, when you become a wrestling fan
and watch these people on television as long as I
have, their deaths touch you. These people almost
become part of your household as you see them almost
as often as you see some of your family. The people
who actually knew these departed wrestlers, I mourn
for them too. For all the Pillmans, Rudes, Hennings,
Harts, and all the others that we have lost, there
will always be a spot in my heart for you. So as I
close this editorial, allow me to do something that
the major wrestling companies have chosen not to do in
most cases. Let me have a moment of silence for all
the wrestlers, known and unknown, that we have lost.
by "Primetime" Glen
Dan Bryan wrote:
I've been watching wrestling for the past 20 years (I'm 25). I completely agree with your article and would like to add one or two points. Rude did in fact hold the World Heavyweight Title in early 1993 (or possibly the end of 1992) after defeating Ric Flair with a pair of brass knucks. WCW had just withdrawn from the NWA (again) so the belt was called the World title (but it was the old NWA belt that Flair sported for so many years). Secondly, Rude was also very memorable in the WWF from 1987 - 1990. His greatest achievement in the WWF, I feel, was getting a decent performance out of the Ultimate Warrior at Summerslam 89, (the only other decent match the Warrior was in was at WM VII against Savage). Well done for the article, I'm glad to see someone else appreciates one of the many true talents in the 80s and early 90s. If it wasn't for Rude, Dibiase, Hennig and a few other great workers, then wrestling would not have seen the successes it has. By the way, it was Tom Zenk who was creamed by Rude at Halloween Havoc 1991, (in case it was bugging you).
It will continue to be one of the greatest tragedys in the business that Rude was one of the greatest, but most underrated, stars in wrestling. As far as heels go he may have been the absolute peak of that talent, leaving us with so many who emulate his style. I will miss seeing his ring entrances only slightly less than I will miss his stellar in-ring performances.
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