Here’s ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude, giving us sweat-hogs in the audience a glimpse of what a real man looks like. I’m sure he means the tights, too!
Indeed, as he strutted to the ring and seductively found his way out of his big, sparkling robe to woo the women in attendance – ha, yes, the women – Rude never struck as the modest type. He would later go on to brand himself the world’s sexiest man. The whoops and screams from the audience as he did his thing – quite peculiar for very much a ‘bad guy’ – certainly seemed to endorse that proclamation.
Rude’s look and character was played to great advantage; one of the most memorable things about his matches is his tights. Rarely would you see any one pair twice; he had attire for seemingly any confrontation, often informing the storyline he was a part of at the time – they’d be adorned with his face, his adversary’s face, the title belt he was going after, or some other cleverly relevant motif. I can’t recall anybody else doing this as such a key part of their gimmick. As if he weren’t already distinctive enough, this put Rick across as not only a shameless show-off, but a master of the mind game. (If you’re interested in Rude in some tights, there’s even a Pinterest board which documents each unique sighting.)
Such glitziness and grandiosity might belie the fact that Rude was a fantastic wrestler and one of the legit tough guys. He had great chemistry with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts in their long rivalry, but after that he was mostly lumbered with carrying The Ultimate Warrior, and, to his credit, he made the unskilled rival look pretty darn good. Rude’s only real headline program in the WWF was with Warrior; it was a brief thing, culminating in a Steel Cage Match at SummerSlam 1990 when Rude already had a foot in the door of WCW. He would go onto have several prominent rivalries there with the likes of Sting and Ric Flair, whom he beat for the title in 1993.
Sadly, a back injury the next year would bring Rick Rude’s wrestling career to an abrupt end. He would later resurface in the WWF as a manager and founder member of their influential D-Generation X stable – which included a young Triple H – but the stay was brisk, and he soon went back to WCW, where he stayed until his death in 1999. Rick seemed to have it all – he had the look, he could talk, he could generate heat, and he could wrestle. Underrated is, once again, the word. It’s a real shame his career had to end so soon after a well-deserved big break in WCW, and one wonders what might have been – of course even more sad is his untimely passing. But, be it for his moves before the bout or during it, the show that Rick Rude put on was ever memorable; he was, as he so accurately insisted, simply ravishing.