"Ravishing" Rick Rude, who was raised in Robbinsdale and became one of America's professional wrestling stars of the late 1980s and early '90s, died Tuesday in his suburban Atlanta home of a heart condition, family members said Thursday. He was 40.
In September 1993 Rude defeated Ric (Nature Boy) Flair, an Edina native, to win the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) world heavyweight title.
The wrestler, whose real name was Rick Rood, was known for his colorful clothing and a signature move he called the "Rude Awakening."
At 24, he finished sixth in the world light-heavyweight arm wrestling championship in Las Vegas. He was second in the nationals in 1980.
Rude came into the national spotlight in April 1989 when he defeated the Ultimate Warrior for the World Wrestling Federation's (WWF) Intercontinental Title.
Eddie (the trainer of champions) Sharkey, said on the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) Web site Wednesday that "Rick Rude never forgot where he came from . . . he was planning a comeback of some sort."
In March 1994, Hiroshi Hase beat Rude for the WCW World Heavyweight title, but Rude won it back eight days later.
A neck injury in the mid-1990s forced him to retire.
He later returned to wrestling as a manager and commentator, according to the WCW Web site.
According to the Chatterbox News Web site, Rude is survived by his wife, Michelle; his daughter, Merissa; sons Richard and Colton, all of Alpharetta, Ga.; his mother and stepfather, Sally and Larry Chiaferi of Las Vegas; his father and stepmother, Richard and Penny of Minneapolis; four sisters, Sherry of Robbinsdale, Nancy of Champlin and Cathy Carder and Marcy Wheeler, both of Las Vegas; a brother, Michael of Minneapolis, and two grandparents.
Services will be held Saturday in Georgia.