Monday, October 8, 2007

Performer Analysis: "Ravishing" Rick Rude

Career Highlights:
1 time NWA Heavyweight Champion
2 time WCW US Champion
1 time WWF Intercontinental Champion
1 time WCW International (World) Champion
1 time NWA Tag Team Champion (w/ Manny Fernandez)
1992 Jesse "the Body" Award winner
2nd Class NHO Hall of Fame

And now, his analysis:

1) Innovation- (3/10)
Rick Rude has many wonderful and great attributes concerning the world of wrestling but as far as truly innovating the landscape, that wasn't one of them. Rude was always a great athlete and brought a lot of enthusiasm with him to the ring. He was part of WWF's awesome 80's era collection of heels and villains, probably the greatest collection of heels ever assembled in one promotion at any time. He was an innovative character and then there's his most famous asset, the airbrushed tights. Well, at least it inspired RVD later down the road (even though that's not worth much.)

2) Conditioning- (9/10)
Rude was always in magnificent shape, even in the beginning of his career in Texas. After a brief stint in the NWA, Rude came to the WWF and fine tuned his physique, feuding with the Ultimate Warrior over who had the superior one. Rude prided himself on his lean but muscular build and remained in fantastic shape through the duration of his career. He had tremendous stamina and great athleticism. He could come off the top rope quite well, even though he was over six feet tall. Rude even made some tours of Japan where cardio is put to the test on a nightly basis and he proved himself in that field. Rude's only hampering in this category seems to be everywhere now and that was his addiction to painkillers during the last years of his career and up until the time of his death. It could be speculated that he had taken some form of anabolic steroid during any part of his career, but I feel no need to spit on a man's grave and I suffice to say, Rude was in great shape.

3) Skill- (10/10)
Rude was one of those reliable hands during his career, someone you knew would probably have a good match with just about anyone on the card that night. And when he locked horns with the big names, you were in for a bigger treat. Rude sold well and took some hellacious bumps in the ring and out for his time. He had a passion for competing and you could see it in his work. He had a very basic move set, example being his finisher was a reverse neckbreaker, a common move nowadays, but one that Rude executed with devastating power and force.

4) Psychology- (10/10)
Psychology inside of a wrestling ring was the thing that, to me, was more kayfabed than who was heel or who was face or who's banging who on the road, or who's got the best stash of smack. Psychology was the thing you could verbalize but unless it worked in the ring precisely how you wanted it to, it was a myth. Rude was a master of psychology because before the match even started, with his little spiel (pretend we're in Philadelphia, like we will be in a few weeks when Misawa comes to the US) "okay, all you fat, out of shaped, lazy Philly sweathogs, close your eyes and let your women look at what a real man is Supposed to look like!" and then he would disrobe and everyone in the arena would hate him and boo and hiss but the women loved him! How irritating that must have been for these macho male fans. Rude had them eating out of the palm of his hand before the match even got started. And in the ring, he commanded the same level of attention and hatred that he had obtained before the match began. Rude was great at selling a body part and great at cutting off a face's comebacks.

5) Interviews- (10/10)
as I just demonstrated with the Rude speech (luckily you didn't see me disrobing at the side of my computer during it, hip swivel and all) Rude knew how to talk. Bobby Heenan was his manager, but he wasn't needed to get Rude over, he was there to make Rude a main event player because Rude was a great interview. He and Heenan were spectacular to play off of each other. His mic work got a little more serious in WCW because they actually gave Rude World Titles that he most definitley should have received in WWF, but that's another story. Rude was never at a loss for words and his hoarse voice was a distinct one.

6) Character- (10/10)
"Ravishing" stole guys' girlfriends. He mocked them for it. He worked out like a fiend and loved to show it off to the ladies. He had no shame and didn't care if the hot blonde in the front row was married or not. He loved to compete and he loved to beat a guy, then rub his face in it by immortalizing their visage on his crotch, in beautiful airbrushed colors. There was nothing like him and he was the perfect person to play that role. His hip swiveling was a classic taunt and he will be remembered for that better than anyone else to come through the business. "Ravishing" was so money!

7) Fans- (10/10)
As I explained earlier in great detail, Rude was the quintessential heel. He played off of every man's insecurity about his woman wanting a better option, more well built, makes more money, bigger cock, whatever and it worked to perfection. The fans booed Rude to death, only once, briefly in ECW, did he get a face push and at that time he was already retired. Rude garnered a reaction years after his retirement, still used in non wrestling roles such as DX and New World Order (this stupid text program won't let me use the initials) and fans still booed him, even though he was fully clothed in a suit at that time. I think Rick Rude will long be one of the best heels to have worked in this business, but I would guess that fans would not boo him anymore.

8) Basics- (8/10)
You wouldn't think so off the top of your head, but Rude was as simple as a wrestler as you could get. He used a lot of wear down holds, implementing his superior strength over most opponents, as well as forearms and over hand blows. He was a good transition wrestler too, and if you look back at old tapes, he was well ahead of the game in that regard. Rude never really threw a "wrestling" punch, so he mostly was a wear down type of wrestler, liking longer matches. He also comes from the old generation of wrestling, so the basics were more relevant in those types of matches.

9) Feuds/Opponents- (10/10)
The famous one is when Rick Rude started hitting on a woman in the crowd with a pink t-shirt and frills on the sleeves( I made that up for humor) and it turned out to be Jake Robert's wife, Cheryl. But, the thing was, Rude didn't care. He continued to hound Cheryl and hit on her at every turn. This incensed Roberts and a blood boiling feud started immediately between the two. Rude would also go on to have historic feuds with the likes of the Ultimate Warrior (one of his career best opponents; Warrior can't say that for anyone really), Sting, Ricky Steamboat, and Ric Flair. Rude faced every top face WWF and WCW had to offer during the mid 80's to early 90's and produced great matches with all of them. He's competed in Royal Rumbles, Steel Cage matches, Iron Man Matches and the dreaded War Games. He's seen and done it all.

10) Gutcheck- (7/10)
Rude, while on a tour of Japan wrestling his old rival Sting, broke his neck in 1994 and that injury led to his early retirement. You could tell he had a huge desire to compete again, becoming a major player in ECW despite not being allowed to wrestle. He also made waves in WWF and WCW before his untimely death. When he would talk about Sting ending his career, even if it was a storyline, you could hear the anger and frustration in his voice, and you knew how passionate he was about competing. Rude had been a major star, made lots of money and could have left in the night and stepped away from wrestling, but like so many others, it was in his blood and he gave back until it was possible for him to.

Final Score: 87
Ranking: Legend
PO: Thumbs Up

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