Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bad-Mannered







Here is the "Ravishing One" Rick Rude in multiple shots over a sixteen-year career in pro wrestling. Smooth or hairy, mop-topped or clean-cut, champion or challenger, mustache or no mustache, he was fun to watch. He carried his six foot three (or four) inches splendidly. 

He hit upon his trademark gimmick in 1984, about the same time as Brutus Beefcake emerged, on the heels of Randy Savage and Jake "The Snake" Roberts, two other cartoon-like uber-macho types who had emerged in the previous decade. In turn, Rude influenced Val Venis, Scott Steiner, and Alex Wright, as well as, I suspect, Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk, Rhett Titus, and Mike Bennett. 

One rumor held that he was a gay-for-pay hustler before he made it in wrestling. Much more evidence supports the claim that he turned a lot of young wrestling fans gay (or, conversely, a lot of gay men into wrestling fans). In the 1980s, along with Kevin Von Erich, he was It as far as I was concerned. 

He died too soon, at age forty, thirteen years ago. But wherever there's a stripper gimmick, Rude is there. Wherever there's a heel who insults the fans for being doughy lard-assed losers and barks out music cues to the invisible deejay, Rude is there. Wherever men in neon-colored tights (especially ones emblazoned with their own likenesses) promise to show the crowd what a "real man" is like, Rude is there.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god, that last picture...! I've never seen rude without a moustache! NICE!

    ReplyDelete

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