2017 is already off to quite a Ravishing start! Word leaked late last week that iconic ‘80s wrestling bad guy (or "Heel") "Ravishing" Rick Rude will finally be inducted as part of the 2017 class into the WWE Hall of Fame. Known for his unbelievable physique, flamboyant in-ring agility, legit tough-guy aura and airbrushed trunks (which drew the ire of everyone from Arsenio Hall to Kathie Lee Gifford) made him one of the most memorable personas during some of sports-entertainment's biggest years.
But what's gone somewhat unsung about Rude (real name Rick Rood, some people are just born into wrasslin'!) is how consistent and immediately recognizable his entrance music choices have been. Fans all through the ‘80s and ‘90s knew by the first note that they were about to have their physique insulted and be told what a "Real Man" looks like. With music that evolved along with his character as he made his way up the card into stardom and successfully adapted to the changing times, something that made him a go-to reference for hip-hoppers almost two decades after his death, Rude's legacy in wrestling is also a musical one. Prepare to find a new alarm tone (guaranteed for a Rude Awakening) as this is our Ravishing musical journey through the career of Rick Rude.
Sade - "Smooth Operator"
In 1985, one year after creating his "Ravishing" character, Rude hit Texas' white hot WCCW (World Class Championship Wrestling), notoriously one of the first wrestling promotions to utilize entrance music to set the tone for their characters. As opposed to the fast southern rock that set the pace for the majority of the rest of the roster, Rude strutted to the ring to the tune of Sade's "Smooth Operator." Most people typically don't hear this song before a beatdown, but most people typically didn't have to go one on one with the toughest Minnesotan to ever have a perm. This would also begin Rude's career-long association with the sounds of saxophones.
Jim Johnston - "The Stripper (V 1)"
Two years later, Rude found himself beneath the bright lights of the WWF just as Wrestlemania had become a nationwide institution. With his slow robe removal into his chiseled chest becoming his signature entrance, he started his WWF career with an in-house produced new arrangement of David Rose's "The Stripper." Of course, as his star began to shine he could only use this version for so long in order to make way for...
Jim Johnston - "The Stripper (V 2)"
...A NEW version just dripping with saxophones! Have you heard as much sax in any song in your life? This arrangement of "The Stripper" just oozes sax from every note. Just flagrant saxophone soloing throughout its entirety perfectly signifying how Rude was sax-ing his way to the top of the card. You can't be associated with this much sax without being an absolutely reviled human being, making it just the optimal amount of sax for a top-of-the-card wrestling villain.
Kosinus Music - "Big Brother"
When Rude made the jump from WWF to rival WCW, he needed a tune to show he's still not to be messed with. Who was harder in the early ‘90s than Rhythm Nation-era Janet Jackson? While he didn't get her "Black Cat" song, per se, he did get its non-union stock music equivalent in Kosinus Music's "Big Brother," one of the many WCW musical knock-offs that scored our royalty-free grappling memories. But, if you know Rude like we know Rude, this is missing a certain element that we need in order to keep the music totally Ravishing. Of course, we're talking about.
Owwww! Somehow every instrument on here becomes a saxophone. Don't ask us how it happens, but the vocals, the synths, the drums, the bass, it all coagulates into a magical chiseled saxophone of a track. "Simply Ravishing" came from a time when WCW put a lot of money into hiring studio musicians to create in-house original themes that described everything about the wrestlers in graphic detail. "Simply Ravishing" was probably the best of these ("The Man Called Sting" is a close second. Deal with it.) as it really effectively captured his swagger, his amazing body, and how he carried himself. You new in seconds you were about to see some mean twisted steel and sex appeal. Or maybe sax appeal.
Autograph - "Turn Up the Radio"
Of course, when it was time for Rude to fully revamp himself for extreme Philadelphia-based promotion ECW, nothing screams gritty late-’90s reboot than using the most obnoxious of ‘80s hair metal in Autograph's "Turn Up the Radio." While the song does have a fairly distinct lack of anything sax-related, it does make for the perfect track to yell "CUT THE MUSIC" to interrupt before openly coveting somebody's wife.
Rude would then bounce back to the WWF and WCW, joining factions and using the famous DX and nWo themes at the time before his untimely passing in April of 1999. Following his death, he's been referenced over the years by some of our favorite MCs. These are some of our favorites:
Method Man on Ghostface's "Paisley Darts"
"It's them dudes, drug slingers, 1-6-Ooh /
Crime figure, rhyme spitter, his gun spit too /
Call 'em Sex Pistols, ravishing, n*gga, I'm Rick Rude /
And ain't many mothafuckas could fit up in Rick's shoes"
Mac Lethal - "Shotgun"
"My signal spins around until my rhapsody kiss you /
I tragically rip through and stick another catheter in you /
I grip 'em with a ravenous grip too /
with rhythm in my hips like I was Ravishing Rick Rude"
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Sean "Ruck" Price on Heltah Skeltah's "D.I.R.T."
"Yo, right now, I'm in the I don't give a fuck mood /
Fuck you, courtesy of Ravishing Ruck Rude"
Wale - "Hold You"
"Now I’m getting it everything lavish
I’m ballin' LeBron, lil poncho is Maverick
Ravishing, Rick Rude of rappin you bastards"