Singles Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Singles Match for the WWE Championship
An occasional feature in which the Masked Man, Deadspin's pro wrestling correspondent, honors the sport's fallen and examines their legacies. Today: "Ravishing" Rick Rude, who died in 1999 of heart failure possibly caused by a drug overdose.I will just do a teaser of sorts on here, if you want to read the rest of it, you should click right here:
The Super Posedown at Royal Rumble 1989 wasn't much of a bodybuilding expo, but it was probably close to the average person's idea of one: On one side stood "Ravishing" Rick Rude, flexing and diabolically gyrating his hips; across the ring loomed the Ultimate Warrior, the WWF's musclebound comer, grunting and shaking and nominally "posing" for the audience.
Warrior certainly had the crowd on his side, but then, so did anyone standing opposite Rude, arguably the most loathed bad guy of his era. It's not hard to hate a guy with his own face airbrushed on the crotch of his pants, after all. But Rude's act — the classic Lothario with the volume turned up to 11 – wasn't as simple as it seemed.
Rude was born Richard Erwin Rood in Minnesota at a time when the state was a fertile ground for wrestling talent. He went to high school with Tom Zenk and Nikita Koloff and trained with Eddie Sharkey, who also trained the Road Warriors, Curt Hennig, and Barry Darsow.
Rude worked early on in Canada, Georgia, and Memphis, mostly as an insignificant babyface, but his turn as an evildoer in Jim Crockett Promotions in 1983 determined his life's purpose. He made a return to the Memphis territory in '84, and it was there that Jerry Jarrett gave him the nickname "Ravishing" and helped define the role Rude would inhabit for much of the rest of his life.
Rude came along at a cultural moment when image — read: physical perfection — was at a premium. But he wasn't all mustache and muscle: Contra most of the statuesque brutes of his day, Rude was actually a considerable in-ring technician. His sojourn through the South saw him birth a new archetype for the pretty-boy bad guy. Early playboys of that sort were bleached, tanned jerks who projected their churlishness broadly, in the manner of the oversized masks of ancient Greek theater, so that they would be at least as detestable from the back row as from the front. Even into the first couple of decades of televised wrestling, wrestlers played exclusively to the live crowd; they were as likely to turn their backs to the TV cameras as address them directly.
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks – No one (including me) is giving the Seahawks much of a chance against the defending champions. Part of it has to do with the fact that they came out of the horrid NFC West with a 7-9 record (the worst in the playoffs) which has sparked a raging debate concerning the seeding system of the playoffs. It’s not even the fact that the Seahawks were 31st in the league when it came to running the football, since that can be overlooked. However, what cannot be glanced over is that Seattle has a QB controversy……in the playoffs. Yes, a playoff team is actually not sure of whom (Charlie Whitehurst or Matt Hasselbeck) they are going to play at the most important position of their team. On the opposite side stands, Drew Brees, a man who outdueled Peyton Manning to win Super Bowl XLIV. If Pete Carroll picks veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck, who has proven that he can adequately handle the blitz, Seattle has a better chance at handling the New Orleans defense. Consequently, Seattle will end up making the game interesting, but the Saints’ explosive offense (read = 300 yards and 3 TD’s for Brees) will prove far too much for Seattle to handle.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets – If it were not for the Sunday afternoon game, the rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game would be the marquee match up this Wild Card Weekend. It’s tough to forget the classic chess match between Rex Ryan and Peyton Manning as the former attempted to put a stop to the Colts’ aerial assault. For a while it seemed as if the Jets would succeed with their defensive scheme but it was only a matter of time until Manning threw a TD pass to WR Austin Collie to break open the game. Haunted by their defeat last year, the Jets sought to improve their secondary and running game (both of which failed against the Colts) and acquired Pro Bowl CB Antonio Cromartie along with Pro Bowl RB LaDanian Tomlinson. With an improved secondary, the Jets have a far better chance at stopping an injury ridden Colts offense. Moreover, with Shonn Greene and LT running the football, the Jets should be able to keep Peyton Manning off the field and their defense well rested. Barring an awful game by Mark Sanchez, the New York Jets should be able to pull off the upset.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs – Led by QB Matt Cassel, the Chiefs are the feel good story of the playoffs. This is the team that no one expected to win the division since every expert was ready to hand the AFC West to the San Diego Chargers. Proving the experts wrong, the young Chiefs are hosting a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, which is arguably the toughest stadium for an opposing team to play in. Nevertheless, these are the playoffs, the land of crushed dreams and hopes. The feel good story of the Chiefs will get derailed by the burgeoning train that is the Baltimore Ravens. Led by Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata, the experienced Baltimore Ravens defense will feast upon the inexperienced offensive trio of Cassel, Charles and Bowe. Making matters even worse for the Chiefs are reports that Dwayne Bowe (leading WR) might not be completely healthy. Though the game may be close, it will ultimately be the Ravens that pull this one out.
Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles – The Green Bay Packers irrevocably changed the course of the Eagles season in Week 1. It was Clay Matthews’ sack of Kevin Kolb that gave Michael Vick the opportunity to start once again, and the rest as they say is history.