Before He Was Rude and Ravishing
Rick Rood vs Rip Rogers, Mid-South Wrestling
Here's a look at Rick Rude before he was a heel, or even "rude," making his debut at Cowboy Bill Watts's Mid-South Wrestling against "Hollywood" Rip Rogers. This was in 1983, when side headlocks filled the first two or three minutes of every match, which was okay by me. In those days a good wrestler clutched an opponent's head against his heart and refused to let go. If only the tradition had survived, maybe we wouldn't be swamped with high-flyers and endless mic rants today.
We also see the beginnings of the Rude style of combat--using his body as a bludgeon, catapult, and torpedo and assaulting his opponent with equal measures of strength and speed. But then it's back to the side headlock again, wrenching the neck more vigorously, draining the fight out of his seasoned opponent.
Naturally, Rogers resents this upstart stomping on his turf and fights back. We get a whirlwind of near pinfalls on both sides. Then things get bumpy, as fuses burn short, and the new guy grows confident that he can beat this out-of-shape slob. The action escalates in Rossini-like storms and flourishes (with bodies instead of French horns and bass drum), ending with a clean, elegant finish that leaves no question as to who the true Hollywood star will be.