Rick Rude announced as sixth inductee into WWE Hall of Fame's 2017 class

The WWE Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 just got a bit more “Ravishing.”

Former WWE and WCW superstar Rick Rude, who died in 1999 at the age of 40, was announced as the sixth member of this year’s class. WWE will hold the induction ceremony on March 31 during WrestleMania 33 weekend in Orlando, Florida.

WWE confirmed the news, which was first reported Monday by Bleacher Report.

Rude will join a star-studded 2017 class that includes Kurt Angle, The Rock ’n’ Roll Express, “Diamond” Dallas Page, Theodore Long and Beth Phoenix. 

WWE announced that Rude will be posthumously inducted by 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, who engaged in a memorable feud with Rude in WCW. The two met in a classic 30-minute iron man challenge at WCW’s Beach Blast pay-per-view in June 1992.  

Rude, whose real name was Richard Rood, was raised in the wrestling hotbed of Robbinsdale, Minnesota, the same town that produced “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, Smash of Demolition and Nikita Koloff. At 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, he was an in-ring technician who perfected the role of cocky heel, helped by his chiseled frame and good looks, which included a bushy mustache and brown curly hair. 

Rising to his highest fame with WWE in the late 1980s, Rude took his “Ravishing” persona to new heights by insulting the overweight male members of the audience before gyrating his hips inside the ring to entertain “the ladies.” He would often then choose a member of the crowd to enter the ring and take part in a passionate kiss.  

Rude, a former WWE intercontinental and NWA United States champion, would add insult to injury against his opponents by airbrushing their face onto the front or back of his wrestling tights. During a heated feud against Jake “The Snake” Roberts in 1987, Rude revealed the image of Roberts’ wife Cheryl across the groin of his pants. 

Working with manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan in the WWE, and later serving as a member of Paul Heyman’s Dangerous Alliance faction in WCW, Rude was one of the most respected workers worldwide. Outside of occasional one-off matches later on, Rude’s in-ring career came to an abrupt end in 1994 when he suffered a devastating lower back injury against Sting during a match in Japan.

Rude stayed involved in the wrestling business, however, as a mouthpiece and enforcer. After a brief reunion with Heyman’s ECW as an announcer in 1997, Rude made his presence felt in the “Monday Night Wars” era by joining WWE’s D-Generation X as a bodyguard. 

On Nov. 17, 1997, he made history by appearing on both “WWE Raw is War” (which had been pre-taped) and “WCW Monday Nitro” on the same night after signing with WCW to join the New World Order. The surprise defection to WCW was made more dramatic by the fact that he shaved the full beard he wore in WWE to simply a mustache for his nWo debut.

Rude, whose hangman’s neckbreaker finishing move was dubbed “The Rude Awakening,” died of heart failure two years later. 

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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