After obtaining his degree, Rick Rude began training as a wrestler under Eddie Sharkey. He made his TV debut on 6 November 1982, against Jos LeDuc, in which he was defeated. He later competed for Georgia Championship Wrestling, and also at the Continental Wrestling Association.
On 28 May 1983, he made his debut for World Championship Wrestling. He faced Pat Rose, whom he was able to defeat with a dropkick. He left the promotion shortly after, and joined the National Wrestling Alliance. In his first match against James Harris, aka Kamala, he was defeated. For some time, he also played for Jim Crocket Promotions.
In 1984 December, he was hired by Championship Wrestling from Florida. He won the NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship, after he beat Pez Whatley in January 1985, but he soon lost it after being beaten by Brian Blair. He won the championship once more after a few months, after he beat Mike Graham, in a Southern title tournament final.
He hold the championship till October 2, 1985, when he was defeated by Wahoo McDaniel. During this time, he also teamed up with Jesse Barr, and won the NWA Florida United States Tag Team Championship, in April 1985. They managed to hold the championship till July, after being beaten by Wahoo McDaniel and Billy Jack Haynes.
In October 1985, he made his debut in the World Class Championship Wrestling. During this time, he was able to win the NWA American Heavyweight Championship, in November. While he was holding the title, it was renamed to the WCWA World Heavyweight Championship. In 1986, he made his return to Jim Crocket Promotions, and formed a tag team with Manny Fernandez. In December, they won the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
In July 1987, he made his debut on World Wrestling Federation, on ‘Superstars Of Wrestling’. He joined the Bobby Heenan Family, after Heenan dropped Paul Orndorff. This caused a feud between Rude and Orndorff. He next also had a big feud with James Hellwig aka The Ultimate Warrior.
In 1989 Royal Rumble pay-per-view, he attacked the latter with a metal pose bar, and with help from Heenan, Rude defeated him and won the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania V.
He lost it in the same year to The Warrior, at SummerSlam, due to interference by Roddy Piper. This caused a feud between him and Roddy and the two had several matches, including one in a steel cage. After Warrior won the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, Rude began training to face him. The two faced in Summerslam 1990, inside a steel cage, in which Rude was defeated. He eventually had to quit the WWF, after he had a dispute with Vince McMahon, owner of WWF.
He next joined WCW, and led The Dangerous Alliance, which consisted of himself, Madusa, Paul E. Dangerously , Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Steve Austin, Larry Zbyszko.
On 19th November 1991, Rude defeated Steve Borden, aka Sting, and won the United States Heavyweight Championship. He challenged Ron Simmons, who was the reigning World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons, several times, but he failed to win.
He also spent some time at the Extreme Championship Wrestling, and also made a return to the WWF for a while. He returned to the WCW for a third time, but after some time, in 1999, he left WCW,
Family & Personal Life
Rick Rude’s first marriage was with Cheryl Holler from 1980 to 1982. It ended in a divorce.
Rude married his second wife Michelle Brown in 1988 and they remained together till he passed away in 1999. They also had three children named Richard Jr., Merissa and Colton. Colton passed away in a motorcycle accident at the age of 19, on 3rd September 2016.
Rick Rude passed away on April 20, 1999, due to heart failure. According to the autopsy, it was caused by overdose of mixed medications.
Years after his death, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, in 2017.