Fans have been clamoring for Rude’s induction for years. Long considered a world-class worker, Rude traveled the territories for years, and early on became World Class Championship Wrestling’s first WCWA World Heavyweight Champion. He would go on to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship with Manny Fernandez while in Jim Crockett Promotions, before making his WWF debut.
It’s Rude’s WWF career that he is widely best known for, spending 1987-1990 with WWF. He developed his “Ravishing” character, insulting the men in the crowd, and making the ladies swoon. Rude famously had a feud with Jake “The Snake” Roberts after trying to kiss his wife in the crowd. Rude also feuded with The Ultimate Warrior over the WWF Intercontinental Championship, winning it at Wrestlemania V, but losing it to Warrior later that year at Summerslam.
After leaving WWF, Rude headed to WCW for a number of years, winning the United States Championship and having a high-profile feud with Ricky Steamboat. However in 1994, while defending the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship in Japan, Rude injured his back, forcing him to retire from wrestling temporarily.
Rude came back to the squared circle in 1997, participating in a brief ECW feud with Shane Douglas. He joined the color commentary team, and later made a one-off return to the ring in a six-man tag match. Later, Rude went back to WWF as part of D-Generation X, as their “insurance policy.” He never wrestled, but stayed at ringside as part of the stable until leaving the company after the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series. Because Raw was filmed in advance at the time, Rude was able to appear on both Raw and WCW Nitro on the same day. He left WCW in early 1999, and died that April due to heart failure.
Rick Rude built a legacy throughout his career, as one of the best heels in the business, but also as a top worker. It goes without saying that Rick Rude’s induction into the Hall of Fame is long overdue, and I am excited to see him take his place where he belongs.