WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017: Ravishing Rick Rude

Rick Rude1

Ravishing Rick Rude

Class of 2017

What A Real Man Looks Like, Mustachioed Masterpiece

rick-rude

Hall of Fame Ranking

8 out of 10

Legend

Ravishing Rick Rude is going into the Hall of Fame. FINALLY!

Rick Rude was the first predictive article as part of my “Future Hall of Famer” series from 4 years ago. I knew it would happen, and am pleased to be correct.

In wrestling, we always talk about the total package. A superstar who can speak, get a reaction, is either hated or loved, has charisma, has the look and can put on an entertaining match. These men are few and far between. Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair are all main event prime examples of that. And most total packages, make it to the main event.

lex-luger-pec-flex-o

Not that kind of Total Package

It would have been hard to ignore Shawn Michaels, but it is possible. Case and point, Ravishing Rick Rude.

To say that Rick Rude is underrated is in itself an understatement. Rick Rude had all the elements. It is undeniable that he was word champion material and theoretically if he had not gotten injured in 1992, he would have been . ( I do not count the weird bastardized WCW International Championship, something it ran concurrently with the WCW Title)

Rude is the product of the 1980s. This was  one of the pinnacles of wrestling. It is after all considered to be the Golden Era of modern day wrestling. The territory system combined with competition between WWF/NWA/World Class/AWA gave us seasoned wrestlers with character, ability and charisma. Rude represents this. . And if you look at his work, it is obvious what he had.

The man could talk. Talking is a skill set that most performers, heel or face today, simply don’t have. A modern comparison to Rude is John Morrison, who talked with the charisma of an accountant referencing tax law.

And nonsensical

And nonsensical

However, this idea that everyone in the 70s and 80s knew how to talk is absurd. Managers’ prevalence existed for the sole reason that most performers didn’t know how to speak. And this is during the time when your promo put assess in the seats.

And Rude could do that. His entire WWF and WCW gimmick was based on a heel insulting the audience for being so damn fine. Now, he wouldn’t be the first to endow himself with physical superiority in wrestling (everyone to some degree does that), his biggest difference was he was threatening to steal the fans women and looked like he could. physical looks really only began to take form in the 80s (and became very overblown due to steroids) Still Rude had to the look and the charisma.

Both of these factors are needed for a main event performer, but that’s not it. A all around performer like Michaels or Flair had to be able to get into the psyche of the audience. The audience had to revile them. Rick Rude during his WCW stint had what I consider to be one of the best heel reactions at an event. Take a look.

That is heel heat. Ric Flair never got that heat. (John Cena does)

izzard

Main events also need to be able to wrestle well or to create stories with their matches (We all know Hogan & Warrior couldn’t wrestle) Rude was more than capable in this field. He was one of the top three “heels who sell” in the late 80s (Dibiase, Perfect & Rude) He made the Ultimate Warrior look like a million dollars.

Feud wise, Rude also was incredibly engaging and entertaining with his work with Jake Roberts. Who can forget Jake Roberts’ wife, Cheryl on Rick Rude tights. This feud, if you haven’t watched it, is everything that is great about professional wrestling. It was the perfect mixture of Rick Rude characters with a popular number 3 baby face which got both more over in the process. It is these types of feuds which WWE is missing today.

So how does a man who can talk, who can wrestle, who plays his role and makes the crowd hate him not become a world champion?

Well in the 1980s, it was completely possible. Dibiase, Piper & Perfect never attained the gold in the WWF. No heel did (except Sgt. Slaughter). Which is why Rude left WWF. He knew what he had, and what he could offer and decided to try to become a main event star down south (back to his roots as well in Texas/WCCW). And the funny thing is Rude did actually succeed in WCW in breaking through the glass ceiling. He held the US Heavyweight and the International Heavyweight Champion.

What's That?

What’s That?

The original Big Gold Belt which lasted for a very short period of time in between Ric Flair leaving for WWF and 1992.  And rick Rude had that belt. He reached a pinnacle which would have lead to other pinnacles and maybe even an eventual return to WWF if he had not gotten injured in 1992.

Rude’s career trajectory was looking high until this match

Rude got a serious back injury. (yet finished the match) The type which ends your career. And it did. Rick Rude never wrestled for a major promotion again in his life. Like Magnum TA before him, this was a tragedy. Rick Rude was in his prime when he was injured.

If Rick Rude hadn’t gotten injured in 1994, he would have eventually succeeded in his quest to become the WCW World Heavyweight Champion. He had the skill, the organization  believed in him and his trajectory was obvious.

For all injured wrestlers, the sudden end is painful and jolting. Modern fans only have to look at Edge to see a hefty example of sudden, changing and complete. Many, including Edge, went off into the sunset or some became announcers or agents and retired.

Rude didn’t do this. He succeeded still in his injury. He went and refound himself in ECW. Both s an announcer and on camera personality. However, his real contribution in the late 90s was the one of the top five events of the Monday Night Wars. He appeared on Nitro/RAW in the same night.

WWF brought Rude back in to be the enforcer for DX. His presence helped add credence and character to an already strong act in DX. Yet when Bret Hart was screwed by Vince, Rude jumped ship to WCW which gave us this interesting night.

Rude is also one of only two men to appear in DX and NWO, which for all intents and purposes are the WCW/WWF versions of the same idea.

Rude tragically died in 1999. He died during his training and rehabilitation to return to the ring. His great friend Curt Hennig returned after a similar injury (as did Shawn Michaels). Unfortunately, due to his 80s steroid and drug use, his body had weakened to the point where it couldn’t withhold the strain and he had a heart attack.

Who knows what kind of effect Rude may have had on WWF or WCW for years to come if he had returned in 1999/2000. Another tragic death of the list of deaths between 1998-today. The 80s gave us so much and sadly many of them were taken away, including the great Rick Rude.

Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Ravishing Rick Rude.

Why 2017?

Rick Rude is super past due in to be included in the Hall of Fame. (How were the Godfather, and the Big Boss Man in before this man)

WWE has been on a regular path of adding the glaring missing people, especially if they are deceased. 2015 gave us Randy Savage, 2016 gave us the Freebirds, 2017 gives us Rick Rude. Thank the lord!

 

Opens Door For?

Possibly anyone else who pissed off Vince McMahon during the Attitude Era? Jeff Jarrett? (Well, when he is dead)

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

Uh, I guess Rick Rude made Vince McMahon angry 20 years ago. Maybe Vince couldn’t handle his manliness?

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WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Razor Ramon

razorramon

Razor Ramon

Class of 2014

Scott Hall’s WWF Alter Ego; The Bad Guy

hall

Hall of Fame Rating

8 out of 10

Legend

 As the rumors started to surface of a possible Hall of Fame nod for Scott Hall, thoughts went to just how far Hall’s health had progressed in such a short time. Only a year and a half ago, Scott Hall was on death’s door. He had been featured on ESPN E60 and looked like a man who was at best, a shell of his former self.

Kevin Nash is on record as saying that he was waiting for Scott Hall to die. Hall’s battles with addiction are not only documented, but an major facet of his legacy. Scott Hall is a drunk and messed up. More messed up than Jake Roberts even…

That’s why Scott Hall’s recovery and induction here in 2014 is not only surprising. It is shocking. Scott Hall was not supposed to live to see his WWE Hall of Fame induction. One probable result was that he’d be inducted as part of the Outsiders after his death. That’s is if Kevin Nash ever allows himself to go in or could make it to the building….

Prerequisite Nash Quad Joke

Prerequisite Nash Quad Joke

Hall has had a long, storied career, which is an easy way of saying he’s done a lot of different things. In the mid-late 1980s, he was a product of the tail end of Verne Gagne’s AWA. Say want you want about Verne Gagne’s lack of business sense or ability to compete with Vince, he knew talent…

Uncle Verne knows what he likes

Uncle Verne knows what he likes

Hall was poised to be AWA’s answer to Hulk Hogan and began his career green around the ears but with the power of the 3rd largest promotion in the country behind him. Heck, Big Scott Hall, looked more like Tom Selleck that Magnum TA….

Only in the 80s...

Only in the 80s…

Scott Hall had star written on him from the get go and his pairing with Hall of Famer Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig brought both a modicum of success in the tag ranks (back when tag ranks mattered) and also begot a strange video where Hall and Hennig shined with their great rapping skills. If you haven’t seen Wrestlerock….you owe it to yourself….

As AWA began to die, Hall moved about through the NWA (where he was saddled with with Gator Scott Hall…whatever that is.) Wrestling Council and WCW as the Diamond Studd before he finally reached a stable footing in 1992. His debut in the World Wrestling Federation was one of the best done series of vignettes. Not since former teammate, Mr. Perfect, had WWE encapsulated a character so perfectly (pun intended) in the short promos.

Who pushes a kid into a fountain? The Bad Guy, that’s who. Hall’s creation of Razor Ramon was pure genius. It worked on the 1992 level of charactery gimmicky and also on a more believable side, which would be beneficial for Ramon as the “New Generation” began to take hold.

Razor Ramon, while an obvious villain and rule breaker, got over with the fans in popularity and within a year and half of joining the WWF, he turned baby face and began what would be his most successful turn with the company. Ramon became the first 4 time Intercontinental Champion in history while trading the title back and forth with Jeff Jarrett, Goldust and Shawn Michaels. Ramon, could arguably, be the last GREAT IC champ.  His reigns were the tail end of  IC title prestige.  As WWF entered its Attitude faze it faded into obscurity and importance. (Another casualty of the “best era”)

Ramon’s pinnacle point has been regularly been considered (by WWE) to be in 1994, with Wrestlemania 10 and the “first ladder match”

While a definite highlight of Wrestlemania 10, it’s status as “Top Ten in History” has mostly faded as the years have gone on. It also happens to represent an image which haunts the entire New Generation Era. Now, I have been very critical of the Kliq (Michaels, Ramon, Nash , HHH & Xpac) in previous articles for their attitudes, and specifically, ability to hold down other talent and manipulate backstage. Now Hall himself has very rarely if ever accused of throwing his weight around, however the aforementioned ladder match went long (mostly due to Hall/Michaels going long and ignoring calls to end match), which then bumped the 10 man tag match and cost those involved a Wrestlemania paycheck. This is just one example of the group that Hall remained part of during his tenure with the WWF. In my mind, it is the only tarnish on an otherwise good run.

I really don't like Shawn Michaels

I really don’t like Shawn Michaels

The Kliq dictated the void after Hulk Hogan’s departure in late 1993. There are lists of talents from Bam Bam Bigelow to Shane Douglas and even Bret Hart himself who deride and despised the group Hall was part of.  Still, I wonder if Hall was only in it for friendship and drug partners….

Hall, along with Nash left the WWF in early 1996. Hall’s last appearance as Razor Ramon was a glorified squash match at an In Your House against Vader.

Ramon’s appearance in 1996 on Monday Nitro was one of the largest turning points in history.  Scott Hall was the  catalysts to the future of the wrestling business. Austin/Bret at Wrestlemania 13 is another example of a moment where the game just changed. The minute that Scott Hall walked onto WCW programming, the battle between the organizations became real and tangible. Hall was no slouch. He was not a WCW made guy who was “Going Back Home” like Sid, Flair or Luger. This was WWF’s Razor Ramon and he was on Nitro, talking and acting like Razor Ramon. Razor Ramon became a part of Scott Hall, integrated it into his character to such a degree that they are inseparable. You cannot mention one without mentioning the other.

Scott Hall was the spark that lit the fire caled the NWO. The NWO needed Hulk Hogan for sure, but it also needed Attitude. Hall was pure Attitude and pure “machismo.”  His success as a founding member of the NWO is a very important and defining feature of Scott Hall’s career. Without the NWO, Scott Hall was a midcard act who would probably be rated much lower on our friendly scale up top.

Scott Hall helped to redefine the wrestling business financially. He was one of the first guaranteed contracts (a must in today’s corporate landscape). He even had a level of creative input and control, while not the aforementioned “Danger Zone” levels of  Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan. His business acumen is all large part of how the Attitude Era/ Monday Night Wars went. Money Makes the world go round and Hall changed the money setup.

Plainly, Hall cannot be overlooked for his importance is fostering, focusing and being the real wrestler of the NWO. It is sometimes forgotten that Scott Hall was actually a good hand. In the NWO, he was the one who would take the fall, because frankly he didn’t care. He was making more money than most anyway, because he understood the business.

Sadly, there was one thing he didn’t understand and that was his own demons. Coming off an amazing win at World War 3 (and winning a WCW world heavyweight shot), Scott Hall faded quickly in wrestling. He became unreliable,; a death sentence for any wrestler.  As his demons began to take hold, his abilities in the ring and in promos diminished. By 1998, Hall was basically a non entity and by 1999, he had faded out due to his alcohol abuse.

Hall is an example of demons getting the best of him. His inclusion in the Hall of Fame is a must. Scott Hall’s  welcome home….unless…

I have to mention a fear surrounding this induction. In a strange move, WWE is inducting Scott Hall as Razor Ramon. While known as Razor for a four year chunk, Razor Ramon was a part of his career and most definitely not the most prolific. That honor goes to his NWO run. Now, WWE has always been known to celebrate the aspects of careers as they like to see them. Everyone knows Barry Windham was not an original Horseman or that Koko B. Ware sucks, but WWE does what they want with these inductions.

However, Scott Hall is a little different. His career spans too much and the NWO is too important to ignore. i could be going crazy, but take a look at the induction video:

This induction video basically is the induction video for Razor Ramon, the character. It has nothing to do with the career of  Scott Hall,. Scott Hall the AWA champion, Scott Hall the first member of the NWO and Scott Hall the changer of the way business is done, none of these are mentioned in the video above. To induct Scott Hall, all parts (ESPECIALLY THE NWO) need to be included to do him justice.

Now regardless, this induction is extremely important. I don’t care what they call him. They could call him Gator Scott Hall, as long as the breath and importance of his career are out in the open.

I, like all look forward to his speech and his inclusion in the WWE Hall of Fame

I'm sure he would attend....

Unless he comes… Uh Oh

 

Why 2014?

Same as Jake the Snake. WWE wants to get him in while he is healthy and strong. He’s back!

regaldancing

Opens Door For?

Kevin Nash to have his own solo induction…most likely as Diesel. Other 90s new generation like Sid, Vader, Owen Hart & British Bulldog.

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

His first big event back in spotlight since quitting drinking and using the power of DDP and DDP Yoga. Perhaps too much

WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Jake the Snake Roberts

roberts

Jake the Snake Roberts

Class of 2014

Trust Him

roberts2

Hall of Fame Rating

8 out of 10

Legend

Professionally wrestling history is filled with great triumphs of athleticism, charisma and magic in and out of the ring. It is also plagued by the worst tragedies known to man.

Worse than these two combined.

Worse than these two combined.

The early death rate of professional wrestlers, whose heyday was in 1980s is staggering. We all know the list of childhood heroes who perished at a ridiculously young age. Their deaths can be attributed mostly to the culture which existed for those men. They were thrust into success without limits or controls. The 80s was when wrestling went mainsteam and no one was prepared for it, especially the wrestlers.  It is that reason that it begot more drug addicts and miserable men than any era before or since.

Cut to Jake Roberts. Roberts is the poster boy for the most deceased generation in the history of the sport. And he is not even dead. He represents both all that is amazing with professional wrestling and counters it with all that is horrible and depressing.

Now this is not to disparrage Jake the Snake Roberts. He deserves his Hall of Fame induction. His redemption is one of the greatest in the history of the business. Roberts should have been dead. No one else ,who did the amount of drugs and drank the amount of alcohol that was Roberts calling card, is even alive to compare him to, excluding Scott Hall. Roberts recovery is miraclous and a testament to the deep down character of the man. Yet it is still undeniable that this induction is somewhat bittersweet. Jake the Snake Roberts as he currently stands is a shell of man compared to what he could have been, that is if the drugs were not part of his life.

Jake has been called a talent who didn’t need a championship to be over. This is such a rare occurance. Even Main Eventers sometimes get lost in the shuffle without titles; Bret Hart wasn’t as interesting without the title involved; he was missing something. Randy Orton grew boring without title matches in 2011-2012 (or in the case of today, titles)

orton2

I am the fac…zzzzzzzzz

Jake didn’t need it. He didn’t need to be near a belt and in WWF, never actually was. His presense was enough. His slow, methoidical nature, his sharpness in the ring and his amazing promos. The Snake has everything necessary to have a long and storied in ring career and to have something more behind the screen. Look at Triple H today. His legacy is cemented due to his position backstage. Perhaps Roberts would never have been Triple H, but easily could have existed in a Michael Hayes role in today’s WWE.

And we'd be spared this...

And we’d be spared this…

All of this is just speculation, of course, but potential is potential. No one was more believable in his role than Jake Roberts. When he was a villain, he was evil. Why did he have the snake bite Randy Savage? Because he was evil. Why did he betray the Undertaker? Because he was evil.

elizabeth-punched

Plus he punched Elizabeth?!?!!!

Despite all his positives, from 1987 on, Jake was in a spiral. And it all started with this…

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A back and neck injury was the catalyst into a downward spiral for Roberts. He started with pills and coke and he was hooked. He was an addict. And it ruined his career. Roberts lefted WWF in a huff in 1992 and popped in WCW for one match with Sting in the main event. But Roberts in 1992-1993 was not the same man. He was sloppier and not as dynamic. His senses had become numb, again due to his drug and alcohol abuse. Addicts put addiction first.

wcwwheel

Drunk Roberts vs. Sting in a match chosen at random. What could go wrong?

Potential aside, Roberts also takes the cake when it comes to living an unhealthy mental life. He has been quoted in many interviews talking about how everything he does is a work. See an example below in the Real Sports interview….

How healthy is that? If I said to you that everything I do every single day was a lie, you would think I was a psychopath. Roberts was a such good liar that he lied to himself. He lied about his addictions and their effect. He lived in a fantasy land. If you ever want to be sad for an evening watch Beyond the Mat where Roberts not only makes a fool of himself, he creates this reality which feels partially real and partially a work, but a work on Roberts, who in reality never admitted his problems long enough to actually get help.

Apparently until now. Roberts has been mostly clean for over a year and has no officially appeared back on WWE programming. His redemption is complete….probably. I hope for Jake, for Jake to remain clean and sober. Perhaps then we can truely see the real man who is Jake the Snake Roberts.

robertstransformation

Looking good Jake.. Keep it up

Why 2014?

Because Jake got his shit together. It could only have happened either with a sober Jake or a dead Jake.

And he does deserve it. Roberts was one of the most over upper mid card acts in the history of the company. He was that good. WWE has been waiting for the year in which they could do this, and DDP has been pushing for it.

On a side not, expect DDP to induct Jake Roberts, as he is the main source of redemption here.

 

Opens Door For?

Scott Hall. Roberts now proves that WWE will welcome you back once you have your personal life in order. Too bad Sunny is already inducted…might be good motivation to get normal again….

sunnymugshot

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

Other than sobriety, there was nothing keeping Jake Roberts out of the Hall of Fame.