So in 1987, Rick Rude took his sex appeal and arrogant attitude to the WWF. It could have worked out better for him. The WWF was riding high after WrestleMania 3 and had become arguably the top promotion in the country. Rude was immediately met with success if your goal is to hated by joining up with the likes of the Heenan family. At the time, the Heenan family had never been stronger or more hated as the group consisted of top heel acts like Andre the Giant, Harley Race, and King Kong Bundy. You add Rick Rude to the mix and you’ve certainly got dynamite. While still establishing his over-the-top character to the national audience, Rude had yet to be involved in any kind of memorable angles until one day he decided to give what he called a rude awakening to the wrong lady. Just watch and see.
The match is unimportant (Rude wins via Rude Awakening at 1:50 or so), but what you see after the match is Bobby Heenan picking out a lady in the front row for a different kind of Rude Awakening. Rude had done this a hundred times before, but this was the first time he had received a resounding, “no thx” from a lady. It turned out she was here to see a different wrestler: her husband Jake Roberts. Rude feels that Jake is garbage and therefore so is his wife. She tends to find that comment to be rather mean and slaps Rude across the face. Now before it becomes a domestic abuse issue, Jake Roberts comes down for the obligatory pull-apart brawl. There ya go. Your hot summer feud of 1988 for the WWF had begun. From further attacks on Jake to airbrushing Cheryl’s likeness on his tights, Rude would do everything he could to get under the skin of Jake and Cheryl Roberts all because one woman on earth REFUSED him. He lost all the power!
- Rick Rude & Andre the Giant (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake Roberts & Hacksaw Jim Duggan – (Maple Leaf Gardens, 5/22/88)
After already recapping all of the PPV and SNME matches between Rude and Roberts, it looks like I’m left with CHV exclusives. Andre shuts up Duggan to start choking him real good. Tag to Rude, he misses a flying fist drop and Duggan tags Roberts. He unloads on Rude and knee lifts Andre who falls back into the ropes and gets tied up. Duggan comes in and helps Roberts run Rude into Andre for the LULZ. Once Andre breaks free, he headbutts Roberts and heads back onto the apron. They cut the ring in half controlling Roberts with chinlocks and such. Rude goes up top, but Duggan shakes the ropes and causes Rude to crotch himself. Seeing his partner is in trouble and could cause a hot tag, Andre heads inside and bounces Jake’s face off a turnbuckle. Tag to Andre, he corners Jake and tries splashing him, but Roberts moves and HOT TAGS DUGGAN! He pounds away on Andre, but Andre cracks Duggan’s head over his knee and tags Rude. He swivels the hips and rakes the face. What a DOUCHE. Double KO ensues as Rude staggers into the wrong corner and eats a right hand. Duggan needs a tag, but can’t get away from a chop by Andre. However, Duggan dives for the tag and reaches Roberts. Rude begs for mercy, but gets none. He nails Rude with the Short-Arm Clothesline and knee lifts Andre as he comes inside. Jake wants the DDT, but Andre stops him with a chop from behind. While the ref is with Andre, Duggan grabs his 2×4 and whacks Rude to interrupt the RUDE AWAKENING. Jake covers Rude for the 1-2-3. (9:52) Pretty fun little match. **½
- WWF Intercontinental Champion Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Ultimate Warrior – (5/16/89, La Crosse, WI)
Another Coliseum Home Video exclusive. Once his feud with Jake Roberts had ended, Rude set his sights on WWF Intercontinental gold. He defeated the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 5 (CHEAT TO WIN!) and looked forward to a long reign. In typical WOYAH fashion, he runs down to the ring with guns blazing and clotheslines Rude out for some ringside violence and a suplex. Back inside, Warrior drops a flying double sledge for two. Warrior delivers a slam and hooks on a bearhug, but Rude rakes Warrior’s face to break loose. Too bad WOYAH no-sells and starts whipping him from corner to corner before hanging him up in the tree of woe for a bunch of weak kicks. After Warrior misses a corner charge, Rude comes off the top and lowers the boom on him. He tries for the weirdest pin ever with Warrior’s feet on his chest obviously intended to kick Rude away. Rude heads up again and gets slammed to the mat. WARRIOR SPLASH, but Rude brings up the knees to block. Rude lays a beat down in the corner and tries to whip Warrior, but he no-sells and holds strong. Instead, Rude drops him with a piledriver for 1-2-NO! Of course not. Rude sits down on a rear chinlock for a while. As Rude jumps down on Warrior’s back, he decides to pose. All Warrior does from there is get back up and run his head up into Rude’s balls. HERE COMES THE WOYAH! He shoves Rude around and launches him up into the air. Clotheslines follow and there’s a GREAT piledriver. While Warrior is gorilla pressing the air, Rude rolls out and heads up the aisle. Warrior follows after him and gives him a good punch, but heads back into the ring to win via countout. (7:42) Not too shabby for a Warrior match. They have done better on PPV though. *½
- Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Roddy Piper – Cage Match (12/28/89, Madison Square Garden)
As a big fan of both guys, this is a match I’ve wanted to recap for a while and never took the time to do until now. You get the chance to hear Rude’s famous pre-match speech. Rude attacks as Piper gets in the cage. Piper reverses a whip, which sends Rude back first into the cage. Piper takes off his belt and lays into Rude. The ref makes him give it up, so Piper switches to biting Rude. VINTAGE PIPER! Rude tries to escape the cage, so Roddy bites him on the behind. Piper goes up, but Rude crotches him. Rude knees him in the nuts and goes for the door. Piper grabs Rude’s leg and gets in a tug-of-war with Heenan. Roddy pulls Rude’s tights down and pulls Rude back in by the leg. They slug it out, and Rude gets the Rude Awakening. Rude goes for the door, but Piper leapfrogs him. Rude pulls him back in. They both climb over the top and down to the floor, but they both hit at the same time so the match continues since there MUST be a winner. Back in, Rude knocks Piper down and hits a fist drop from the top of the cage. It only gets two. PULL YOUR PANTS UP, RICK. Rude gives him a piledriver and goes up again. He’s about to come down on Piper, but Roddy shakes the cage and causes Rude to crotch himself. Piper ties him up in the cage and tries to walk out when Bobby Heenan slams the door in his face. Heenan slips Rude some brass knuckles. That plan backfires, as Piper nails Rude first, grabs the brass knuckles, and BLASTS Rude with them. That will do as Piper walks out of the cage for the win. (12:58) Way too much of Rude’s butt, but still an entertaining match. **¾
Since I’m unable to find anything on YouTube worth recapping of Rick Rude in 1990 that doesn’t involve copy and pasting from PPV recaps, up above here is his interesting appearance on Arsenio Hall, a great promo leading up to his SummerSlam cage match with the Ultimate Warrior for the WWF title, and his last appearance (as a wrestler) in the WWF. CHECK IT OUT!
So through a combination of the steroid charges placed against Vince McMahon and ultimately (no pun intended) that he would never be *the* guy in the company, he parted ways with the WWF after three years. After being on the road constantly since he got into the business, another year would pass before we would see Rick Rude on a national scale again. However this time, he would show up in WCW as step one in Paul E. Dangerously’s master plan to get revenge on WCW and all its top stars for mistreating him. While Paul E was certainly the leader, Rick Rude was the top threat in the Dangerous Alliance stable alongside legendary figures like Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, and Bobby Eaton.
- WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Rick Rude (w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Brian Pillman – (WCW TV, 2/15/92)
Both men heading into Superbrawl II with big matches as JR hypes them both. Rude defends his US title against Ricky Steamboat while Pillman looks to regain the light heavyweight title from Jushin Liger. Pillman slaps away a handshake to start. He pays for it with a forearm smash and a headlock on the mat. Pillman rallies back with a drop toehold and crimps the leg. Rude fights out and kicks Pillman out to the floor. He limps over to the corner, but Pillman trips him up and posts the knee a couple times. Back inside, Rude launches Pillman into the air to get him to stop. He follows up with a suplex and a cocky cover gets two. Now Rude continues to work the back with some power moves. Pillman escapes a bear hug and tries a crucifix, but Rude falls back on him for two. Rude comes off the top, but meets a dropkick on the way down. Even so, Rude is the first man up. He wants the RUDE AWAKENING, but Pillman jumps through the ropes before Rude can execute the move. Pillman chops Rude and delivers the ten-count corner punch. Next thing you know, he hits Rude with AIR PILLMAN! Cover, 1-2-NO! Rude rolls out only to be met with a pescado. Pillman sends Rude back inside and levels him with a Flying Bodypress while Paul E has the ref’s attention. Delayed count only gets two. DARN YOU PAUL! Off a corner whip, Pillman tries a crossbody, but he’s caught and given a hot shot. RUDE AWAKENING! Pillman isn’t getting up from that. (9:51) Just another exciting weekend match with WCW having the top talent pool in the world at the time. ***
- Rick Rude vs. Dustin Rhodes – Best of 3 Series: Match #1 (WCW Saturday Night, 8/28/93)
After a controversial finish in a match between Rude and Rhodes back in May, the US title had been vacant now for three months with no decisive winner and there NEEDS to be a champion. The only way to settle this once and for all was to have a best of three series between the two. Dusty Rhodes gives his thoughts on this three match series. OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS, IF YOU WEELLLLLL. Rhodes refuses to be intimidated to start. Rude tries to wear him down with a headlock though. You can already tell they are going to be going long. Rhodes finally escapes and knees a hammerlock on the mat. Rude reaches the ropes and rolls out to regroup. Back inside, Rude wants a test of strength, but can’t lift his arm up high enough to meet Dustin, so Rhodes kicks the arm and applies an armbar. Eventually, Rude nails Rhodes with a forearm smash to break loose. More head violence to ruin Dustin. Rude tries to swivel those hips, but can’t pull it off. The arm hurts too much! Rude grabs a chinlock as we sail into commercial. When we return, Rhodes now has Rude in a chinlock. During the break, Dustin bit his way out of a Rude Awakening and delivered one of his own. He even swivels the hips, but leave that business to the pros, Dustin. Back to live action, Rude escapes the chinlock with a back suplex and lowers the boom on Dustin from the top rope. He even nails Rhodes a second time for two. Rude now moves to the back with forearm smashes and whips Dustin hard into the buckle before sitting down on a rear chinlock. Rhodes rallies back with an electric chair drop, but misses a charge and goes flying over the top rope. He always takes the best bumps to the outside. Back in, Rhodes tries to fight out of a bearhug and gets leveled with a belly to belly suplex instead. Never seen Rude do that before. Back to the bearhug. Rude decides to change things up with an abdominal stretch and pulls the tights. Eventually, ref Nick Patrick catches him and calls for the break. Back to the rear chinlock now. Rude tries jumping down on him, but Dustin changes position at the last second and knees him in the balls. Now here’s the comeback. Rhodes elbows Rude and delivers the BULLDOG for 1-2-NO! They trade sleeper holds, but then Rude kicks off the corner and falls on top of Rhodes to take match #1. (21:57 shown) Very slow-paced, but I appreciated the old school finish and overall style of the match. Afterwards, Rude says Dustin has one foot in the grave and one foot on a banana peel. Excellent! ***
- Rick Rude vs. Dustin Rhodes – Best of 3 Series: Match #2 (WCW Saturday Night, 9/4/93)
So Rude takes the first match cleanly pinning Rhodes. Can Rhodes come back after such a long, grueling match to win, or will Rick Rude beat Rhodes in two straight and take back the U.S. title mere weeks before his WCW International World title shot at Fall Brawl? We’re going to find out right now. This was filmed on the same night as the first match. Rhodes changes tights, Rude doesn’t bother. Match starts similar to how the first one did with Rude grabbing a headlock. Rhodes goes on the offense and concentrates on the leg. With the knee barred, Rude leg drops out and sends Rhodes headfirst to the mat with a DDT. Rude fights for a pinfall holding Dustin’s wrists to the mat, but can’t get the three-count. Backbreaker and a gourdbuster follows. Still manages to take us to the gun show. He tries another gourdbuster, but either he drops Dustin or his “knee gives way”. Rhodes counters another gourdbuster for one of his own. Big Steamboat splash hits knees though. VINTAGE STEAMBOAT! Then out of nowhere, Rhodes slips under a swing and backslides Rude for the 1-2-3! (8:39) Never really got going considering they had already wrestled close to thirty minutes that night, but I like the quick win there. Rhodes needed the pinfall and he got it by any means necessary. **
- Rick Rude vs. Dustin Rhodes – Best of 3 Series: Match #3 (WCW Saturday Night, 9/11/93)
This one will settle everything. Rhodes and Rude have one match a piece and after this night, a U.S. champ will be crowned. You can tell this one was filmed on a different day. Rude shaved his chest and you KNOW that was an all-day affair. Plus, he’s got on different tights! Rhodes locks up with Rude and pushes him back into the corner. Now he wants a handshake. What a guy! Rude goes low and starts smashing on Dustin’s lower back. Ric Flair joins Tony and Jesse for color commentary. He puts over Dustin Rhodes as being out of the top guys in the industry. His only weakness is he’s never been the main event guy. Meanwhile, Rude has a bearhug applied. Rhodes pounds his way out and backdrops Rude to set him up for a rear chinlock. In an ironic moment, Rhodes tries jumping down on Rude who changes direction in the nick of time to disrupt Dustin’s “Natural” section. Rude stalks Rhodes and atomic drops him out of the ring. Back inside, Rude starts verbally berating Rhodes as we go to commercial. AND WE’RE BACK! During the commercial, Rude gets a nearfall off a DDT. Back to live action, Rude goes all Randy Orton on a chinlock. Rhodes elbows Rude and escapes with a back suplex. He tries another Steamboat splash and hits knees. Of course! Rude lowers the boom off the top, but once again can’t shake those hips like he normally can. Rhodes runs into a knee in the corner and takes another shot from the top rope. Rhodes wins a slugfest and backslides Rude for two. He ducks a clothesline and O’Connor rolls Rude for 1-2-NO! He goes for the BULLDOG, but Rude pushes him off into the referee. With no ref to watch what he does, Rude finds a chair. As he reaches back to nail Dustin, Flair grabs the chair away and Dustin rolls up Rude for the 1-2-3. (12:37 shown) I like it when they play off other matches like that and this was the right match to do that in. Good stuff! Dustin Rhodes wins the U.S. title and Rick Rude captures the WCW International world title that following Sunday at Fall Brawl. Everything really worked out for the best for Rick there. ***¼
- WCW International World Champion Sting vs. Rick Rude – (Fukuoka Dome, NJPW, 5/1/94)
Oddly, they play the American national anthem after both entrances. Eric Bischoff even comes in to make this match an official sanctioned title match. Rough tie-up to start with Rude being on the losing end and curses Sting. Sting works a headlock for a while. Rude escapes and hits Sting with a clothesline so he can swivel those hips. The crowd eats it up. Sting blocks a hiptoss and takes Rude down for a clothesline of his own. A big slam is followed up by THREE jumping elbow drops, causing Rude to roll out to safety. I forgot to mention that Rude has a lady friend with him here, as he usually does in Japan. He seeks her comforting embrace on the floor, which draws I believe from the crowd. Meanwhile, Sting is swiveling his own hips inside. Back inside, Sting backdrops Rude and sits down on a rear chinlock. As Rude reaches the ropes and retreats to the floor, Sting planchas out and lands Rude’s lower back onto the edge of the stage! That’s basically the high-risk move that cost Rude his career. From there, Sting gives Rude a suplex onto the elevated runway. As he stands up, Sting leaps from the top with a flying clothesline. Next, he runs half way down the ramp and then runs Rude down with a clothesline. One more time! Rude spills off the runway, so Sting takes him over to the railing where he misses the Stinger Splash. Back in, LIKE A BOSS, Rude flies off the top with a clothesline. Makes you wonder how much pain he’s in right now, or if it’s all adrenaline keeping him from cracking. Once again, Rude lowers the boom on Sting and slaps on the rear chinlock for a while. He then releases the hold and heads up top where Sting crotches him for a suplex. My gosh, all these moves incredibly damaging to the back. A splash from Sting hits knees as Rude blows a snot rocket on him in the corner, which disgusts the crowd. After Rude works a bearhug, he counters a suplex and drops Sting on the top rope. They go to the floor where Rude drops Sting on the concrete with a suplex. Back in, another snot rocket pisses off the crowd. Sting starts to mount his NO-SELL comeback, but Rude cuts him off with a sleeper. Sting will not die though and breaks free with a jawbreaker. He wins a slugfest and Rude shows us a bit of his backside after a few atomic drops. A series of clotheslines and Sting launches Rude. Sting presses Rude and then THROWS HIM TO THE FLOOR. Holy crap. Now Rude starts to get desperate. He grabs his belt and gets into a tussle with ref Tiger Hatori who gets knocked down. Sting clotheslines Rude out onto the runway and considers another flying clothesline, but Rude pulls his woman in front of him to make Sting reconsider, which he does. This isn’t ECW. As Sting walks over to him, Rude shoves the girl into Sting and hits him with the Big Gold Belt. Sting tumbles back inside the ring and Rude lays on top for the 1-2-NO! Piledriver by Rude gets two as well. Rude then decides to put him away for good with the Flying Knee Drop for the win. (22:48) You never could even tell Rude was done for in this match. He’s either the toughest SOB ever, or possesses an abnormal amount of adrenaline. Either way, real good match. Not a classic, but it gets the job done. ***½
Here’s the last two major moments of Rick’s Rude career. One of them can never be duplicated, both together are just plain awesome. Check ‘em out.
Other Rick Rude matches to check out that were not seen here:
Anything with Rick Rude in Memphis is interesting
Rick Rude v. Hulk Hogan in Boston Garden 1/9/88
Rick Rude v. Tom Zenk on WCW Saturday Night 2/1/92
Rick Rude v. Dustin Rhodes on WCW Worldwide 5/30/92
Rick Rude v. Masa Chono in NJPW 8/12/92
Rick Rude & Steve Austin v. Sting & Brian Pillman on WCW Saturday Night 1/8/94
Rick Rude v. Hiroshi Hase in NJPW 3/16/94
Rick Rude v. Sting on WCW Worldwide 5/14/94