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This Day in Wrestling History (Dec. 7): Happy Birthday Dean Ambrose!

this day in wrestling history

29 years ago today, WWF taped the fourteenth edition of Saturday Night's Main Event (WWE Network link) at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland.

The show would air on January 2, 1988.

  • Strike Force (Tito Santana & Rick Martel) defeated The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zuhkov 2-0 in a best of three falls match to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • Jake Roberts defeated Sika.
  • Hulk Hogan defeated King Kong Bundy to retain the WWF Championship.
  • Greg Valentine defeated Koko B. Ware.

28 years ago today, WCW presented Clash of the Champions IV: Season's Beatings (WWE Network link) from the UTC Arena in Chattanoga, Tennessee.

It was the first major event to be presented under the WCW banner, though they were still very much affiliated with the NWA.

  • The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) defeated Eddie Gilbert & Ron Simmons to win the vacant NWA United States Tag Team Championship.
  • Steve Williams defeated The Italian Stallion.
  • Ivan Koloff defeated Paul Jones. Koloff had one arm tied behind his back.
  • Road Warrior Animal defeated Dusty Rhodes by disqualification to gain possession of the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship. The Road Warriors dumped Rhodes and chose Genichiro Tenryu as their new partner.
  • The Four Horsemen (Barry Windham & Ric Flair) defeated The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane).

27 years ago today, William Dee “Haystacks” Calhoun died in home in Collin County, Texas. He was 55.

Born on August 3, 1934 in McKinney, Texas, Calhoun grew up on a farm about 30 miles north of Dallas. Calhoun was an unusually large child; a regular breakfast would often include a dozen eggs . By age 14, he weighed over 300 pounds; he doubled his weight by his early 20s. His weight was not a burden at first; manual labor on the farm was a breeze for Calhoun as he had the strength of several men. Legend has it that he was discovered by some wrestling promoters that saw him literally pick up and move cows across a field.

He broke into the wrestling business in 1955 under local promoter and first NWA World Champion Orville Brown, competing primarily in Houston, Kansas City, and Canada. His national breakthrough would come on the variety show Ark Linkletter's House Party, where Calhoun demonstrated his immense strength, including tossing bales of hay into a high loft. His appearance would bless him with the nickname "Haystacks". Billed from Morgan's Corner, Arkansas, he went with a hillbilly gimmick, complete with beard, white tee, blue overalls, and a horseshoe necklace. Though he was quite imposing, he was also mild-mannered and charming, making him a fan favorite. Calhoun also has an uncredited role in the movie version of Requiem For A Heavyweight in 1962.

However, due to his size, he was seen as a special attraction and would be booked as such (Calhoun rarely lost a match, and was largely restricted to handicap matches and battle royals). William was determined to not be seen as simply an attraction; he possessed some technique, putting him far ahead of other super heavyweights at the time, including Happy Humphrey, who weighed over 800 pounds. Only one man was able to lift Calhoun: Bruno Sammartino. At the height of his popularity, he was at times more sought after than the world champion. Calhoun teamed with Mountain Man Mike when he wrestled out west. At a combined weight of over 1,200 pounds, the duo made up the second heaviest tag team in professional wrestling history.

Though he had never won a world singles title, he won tag team championships in the United States and Canada, and was briefly one half of the WWWF tag team champions in 1973. Calhoun's weight and declining health (at the height of his career, he weighed about 640 pounds) forced him into retirement. He would sadly lose his leg to diabetes in 1986 and would be confined to a double-wide trailer for the remainder of his life. It would be diabetes that ultimately claimed his life at age 55.

20 years ago today, ECW presented Holiday Hell from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the fourth Holiday Hell event, but the next to last in the series; the last one would take place four years later just before ECW’s closing.

Highlights and selected matches from the show aired on the December 10, 17, and 24 episodes of ECW Hardcore TV (WWE Network links).

  • The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray & Spike) defeated Davey Pazano & Little Guido.
  • Balls Mahoney defeated Devon Storm.
  • Gary Albright defeated Rick Rage.
  • Brian Lee defeated Louie Spicolli.
  • Taz defeated Rob Van Dam.
  • The Gangstas (Mustafa & New Jack) defeated Axl Rotten and D-Von Dudley to retain the ECW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Francine and Shane Douglas defeated Beulah McGillicutty and Tommy Dreamer.
  • Sabu defeated Perry Saturn.
  • Raven defeated The Sandman in a Barbed Wire Massacre match to win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

19 years ago today, WWF presented D-Generation X: In Your House (WWE Network link) from the Springfield Civic Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. 6,358 were in attendance, with 159,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 121,000 for the December 1996, In Your House: It's Time.

The show is noted for the finals to crown the first WWF Light Heavyweight champion of the modern era, the first appearance of Owen Hart since the infamous Montreal Screwjob, and the first singles match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock on PPV.

  • Taka Michinoku defeated Brian Christopher to win the vacant WWF Light Heavyweight Championship.
  • Los Boricuas (Miguel Pérez, Jr., Jesus Castillo, Jr., and Jose Estrada, Jr.) defeated the Disciples of Apocalypse (Chainz, Skull, and 8-Ball).
  • Butterbean defeated Marc Mero by KO at 10 seconds of the fourth round.
  • The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg) defeated The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Sgt. Slaughter in a Boot Camp match.
  • Jeff Jarrett defeated The Undertaker by disqualification.
  • Steve Austin defeated The Rock to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
  • Ken Shamrock defeated Shawn Michaels by disqualification in a WWF Championship match.

17 years ago today at a Thunder taping in Madison, Wisconsin, Bret Hart & Goldberg defeated Creative Control (Gerald & Patrick) to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

9 years ago today, WWE taped Tribute to the Troops (WWE Network link) from Tikrit, Iraq. The show aired as a special edition of RAW on Christmas Eve.

  • Chris Jericho defeated Randy Orton by disqualification.
  • Jeff Hardy defeated Carlito.
  • Kelly Kelly & Layla versus Maria & Mickie James ended in a no contest.
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Mark Henry.
  • In a dark match, Ron Simmons defeated Hardcore Holly.
  • D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels & Triple H) defeated Mr. Kennedy & Umaga.

8 years ago today, TNA presented Final Resolution from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando. It's actually the second Final Resolution that year following a decision made a few weeks earlier to move the event to December from January.

  • Curry Man, Hernandez, Homicide, and Jay Lethal each won a Feast or Fired briefcase. Other participants were Sonjay Dutt, Alex Shelley, BG James, Chris Sabin, Consequences Creed, Cute Kip, Jimmy Rave, and Lance Rock. Jay Lethal’s briefcase contained the tag title match, and he successfully cashed it in for the tag team titles on the December 16 Impact when he and Consequences Creed defeated Beer Money for the titles. Hernandez cashed in his world title briefcase in January 2009, but was unsuccessful when he won via disqualification against Sting. He would have his briefcase returned to him, only to have it stolen from him in April by the debuting British Invasion. Hernandez won it back at Hard Justice in August and cashed it in a second time at No Surrender in September. He was unsuccessful when he was defeated by AJ Styles in a five-way match for the world title. Homicide also had his case, an X-Division Championship match, stolen by the British Invasion in April. He would win it back in July on Impact, defeating Douglas Williams in a ladder match. On the next episode, he would defeat Suicide for the X Division title. Curry Man got the Fired briefcase, meaning he was fired.
  • ODB, Roxxi & Taylor Wilde defeated The Beautiful People (Angelina Love & Velvet Sky) & Sharmell.
  • Eric Young defeated Sheik Abdul Bashir to become the new TNA X-Division Champion.
  • Christy Hemme defeated Awesome Kong in a TNA Knockouts Championship match.
  • Beer Money Inc. (James Storm & Robert Roode) defeated Abyss & Matt Morgan to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
  • Kurt Angle defeated Rhino. Mick Foley was the special referee.
  • The Main Event Mafia (Booker T, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner & Sting) defeated The Front Line (AJ Styles, Brother Devon, Brother Ray & Samoa Joe). As a result of the win, Sting retained the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

6 years ago today at a TNA Impact taping at Universal Orlando, Jay Lethal defeated Robbie E to win the TNA X Division Championship.

2 years ago today, AAA presented Guerra de Titanes (War of the Titans) from Auditoria Benito Juarez de Zapopan in Zapopan, Mexico.

  • Dinastia defeated Mini Charly Manson retain the AAA World Mini-Estrella Championship.
  • Sexy Star & Taya Valkyrie defeat Fabi Apache & Ivelisse.
  • Los Perros del Mal (Joe Lider & Pentagon Jr.) defeated Angelico & Jack Evans and Fenix & Myzteziz in a three-team match to win the AAA World Tag Team Championship.
  • The Psycho Circus (Monster Clown, Murder Clown, and Psycho Clown) defeated Los Hell Brothers (Averno & Chessman) in a 3-on-2 handicap match to retain the AAA World Trios Championship.
  • Aero Star defeated Super Fly in a mask versus mask match.
  • El Patron Alberto defeated El Texano Jr. to win the AAA Mega Championship. The win ended a two-year run as champion for El Texano, the longest in AAA history (the belt was introduced in 2007). Alberto, who became the first man to win both CMLL's and AAA's heavyweight titles, would hold the title until surprisingly re-signing with WWE in October 2015.

2 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Final Battle from Terminal 5 in New York City.

  • In a preshow dark match, Brutal Burgers (Bob Evans & Cheeseburger) defeated BJ Whitmer & Mikey Webb.
  • Hanson defeated Caprice Coleman, Jimmy Jacobs, and Mark Briscoe in a Four Corner Survival match.
  • Roderick Strong defeated Adam Page.
  • Michael Elgin defeated Tommaso Ciampa.
  • ACH & The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) defeated Cedric Alexander & The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian).
  • Moose defeated RD Evans.
  • Jay Lethal defeated Matt Sydal to retain the ROH World Television Championship.
  • reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) defeated Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA) to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
  • Jay Briscoe defeated Adam Cole in a Fight Without Honor to retain the ROH World Championship.

It's a happy 31st birthday for Jonathan Good, known to wrestling fans these days as Dean Ambrose. In a past life, he was Jon Moxley.

Good from his debut in 2004 to 2011 was one of the most successful independent wrestlers in the world, most notably winning the Combat Zone Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship twice and the Full Impact Pro World Championship once, and the Heartland Wrestling Association Championship three times. He also won championships for Insanity Pro Wrestling and the International Wrestling Association. On the independents, Good has also competed for Ring of Honor, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, Evolve, and Dragon Gate USA.

In 2011, Good signed with WWE and debuted for their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling as Dean Ambrose. Ambrose made his main roster debut at the 2012 Survivor Series as one-third of The Shield, a trio fighting WWE's "injustices". The group was successful, particularly Dean. He held the WWE United States Championship for 351 days, the longest reign since WWE took over the championship following the purchase of WCW in 2001. In June 2016, Ambrose became just the 47th man to hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and the last before the WWE’s second brand extension. He held the title for nearly three months before being defeated by AJ Styles at Backlash this past September.

Good's wrestling persona, that of a "lunatic fringe", is largely based on his childhood on Cincinnati's East End, where he lived in public housing and used wrestling to escape his woes. Last year, he got his first movie role, as John Shaw in the third edition of 12 Rounds. Good, now residing in Las Vegas, is in a relationship with WWE announcer Renee Paquette, best known as Renee Young. The Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Popular Wrestler award winner two years running is ranked by the publication as the ninth best singles wrestler in the world in the most recent annual PWI 500.

Today is the 44th birthday of Tamara Lynn Sytch. Known sometimes as Tammy Lynn Sytch, she achieved her greatest success as WWE diva Sunny.

Born in Matawan, New Jersey, Sytch got her start with Smoky Mountain Wrestling with her then-boyfriend Chris Candido. She managed Brian Lee to the SMW Heavyweight Championship and Lee and Candido to the tag titles.

Tammy joined the WWF in late 1994 as Tamara Murphy, who did Live Event News segments for WWF's syndicated shows. Chris Candido would soon join the company, and the two would be paired as Sunny and Skip, the Boddydonnas. With Zip, Sunny would manage the duo to the WWF Tag Team Championship at Wrestlemania XII. She would then go on to manage the next two tag champions as well, The Godwinns and the Smoking Gunns, becoming the first manager to manage three consecutive champions in company history.

Sytch was wildly popular in 1996 and 1997, winning AOL's most downloaded woman and Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Manager of the Year awards. She also appeared on Singled Out and Entertainment Tonight. Her skyrocketing popularity led to many to consider Sytch WWF’s first “Diva”. In 1997, Sytch appeared for ECW's Hardcore Heaven alongside her boyfriend Candido. Around that time, Tammy would also host several WWF shows, including Livewire and Shotgun Saturday Night. Also around that time, she was approached by Playboy to pose nude for the magazine, but she declined; Rena Mero, best known for her time as Sable in the WWF, disputes the claim, saying the magazine never contacted Sytch (Tammy would pose nude a few years later for Wrestling Vixxxens, a site ran by former manager/valet Missy Hyatt; Sytch in a 2007 interview said she regretted the decision).

She briefly managed Legion of Doom 2000 in 1998 before being released that summer due to a number of factors, including no-showing several events, fighting with Mero, and a growing addiction to painkillers.

Sytch returned to ECW on a permanent basis at Heat Wave 1998 under her real name with Candido, feuding with Lance Storm and Dawn Marie Psaltis, aka "Tammy Lynn Bytch". Sytch took two breaks from the company, the first when rumors of her drug use resurfaced late in 1998, and again in 1999 when Sytch was arrested for filing a restraining order. Tammy openly talked of her past drug issues and reformation on an October 1999 episode of ECW on TNN, but Tammy would be gone from the company for good (with Chris) after she was allegedly found passed out in a locker room.

After a brief stop at Southern California-based Xtreme Pro Wrestling in early 2000, she and Chris briefly joined WCW in the spring, feuding with Paisley and The Artist Formerly Known as Chris Iaukea and Crowbar and Daffney. They wouldn't stick around long, as Tammy's drug abuse again contributed to her release.

Tammy largely had been on the independent circuit following her release from WCW, appearing for XPW again and World Wrestling Council. Following the death of Chris Candido, Tammy briefly stepped away from the wrestling business, but returned a few weeks later, appearing for NWS, the ECW reunion show Hardcore Homecoming, NWA Cyberspace/Shockwave, Women Superstars Uncensored, Ring of Honor, and Dynamite Championship Wrestling.

Tammy made just three appearances for WWE in the 2000s, first at the RAW 15th Anniversary Special in 2007, in the Wrestlemania 25 diva battle royal in 2009 (she was eliminated by Beth Phoenix), and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.

In 2012, the embattled Sytch was arrested five times in a four-week span spanning September and October 2012; the charges included three counts of violating a protective order, third degree burglary, and disorderly conduct. She was arrested again in January 2013 for violating a protective order. She was sentenced to 114 days in jail in May 2013; during her time in prison, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She underwent a hysterectomy and was diagnosed as cancer-free.

After being arrested three times on DUI and driving with a suspended license in May and June 2015, Sytch pled guilty to the charges in January 2016. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but never served a day as her 97 days in rehab counted as jail credit. Sytch was arrested in September for violating her parole.

In January 2016, Sytch signed a deal with adult film company Vivid Entertainment and released a film with them soon after. In February, she released an autobiography, A Star Shattered: The Rise & Fall of Wrestling Diva Tammy “Sunny” Sytch. Sytch was voted by Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers as Manager of the Year for 1996 and was honored that same year by the Cauliflower Alley Club.

Today would have been the 58th birthday of Richard Erwin Rood, best known to wrestling fans as “Ravishing” Rick Rude.

Born in St. Peter, Minnesota, he attended Robbinsdale High School with Tom Zenk, Brady Boone, John Nord, Barry Darsow, Brady Boone, and close friend Curt Hennig (all of whom went on to become pro wrestlers).

After graduating Anoka-Ramsey Community College with an associate’s degree in physical education, Roode began training to become a wrestler under Eddie Sharkey. He made his debut in 1982 as babyface jobber Ricky Rood. Starting with Vancouver-based NWA All-Star Wrestling, he would wrestle for Georgia Championship Wrestling, Continental Wrestling Association out of Memphis, and Jim Crockett Promotions before returning to Memphis in 1984 as “Ravishing” Rick Rude, an overconfident, arrogant heel. Under management of Jimmy Hart, he feuded with Jerry Lawler and one-time tag team partner King Kong Bundy.

He wouldn’t stay in Memphis long; Rude joined Championship Wrestling from Florida in December 1984. He was there less than a year, but he had a pretty successful stint, winning the NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship twice and the Florida version of the NWA United States tag titles with Jesse Barr.

In late 1985, Rude joined his manager Percy Pringle in World Class Championship Wrestling. He would win the NWA America Championship in November 1985. In February 1986, WCCW withdrew from NWA and became the World Class Wrestling Association. His NWA America title became WCWA’s new top title, the WCWA World Heavyweight Championship, essentially making Rude their first world champion. He held the title until July 1986 when Chris Adams defeated him. Shortly after, he fired Pringle and would be managed by his sister Raven. He briefly teamed with the Dingo Warrior before he turned on him and became a babyface.

Rude briefly returned to Jim Crockett Promotions in September 1986, teaming with Manny Fernandez as the Awesome Twosome. Under management of Paul Jones, the two would defeat the Rock ‘n Roll Express for the NWA World Tag Team Championship in December. They would feud with the Rock ‘n Roll Express until Rude suddenly left JCP for the WWF in April 1987. To cover for the departure, JCP showed a non-title match where the Express defeated Rude and Fernandez while claiming Rude was injured during the bout.

Rude made his WWF in July 1987 as the newest member of the Bobby Heenan Family. He feuded with the man he replaced in the group, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff before famously feuded with Jake “The Snake” Roberts. It was during this feud the Rude gimmick was molded. He would wear specially airbrushed tights, make a show of removing his robe, and insult the men in the crowd, calling them fat, out of shape sweathogs, then would kiss a woman post-match. One of those kisses was once directed at Cheryl Roberts, Jake Roberts’ wife (though this was not explicitly stated initially). Cheryl slapped Rude after she refused to kiss him. Rude got angry and grabbed her by the wrist, prompting Roberts to run out and make the save. Other key points in the feud include Rude having Cheryl’s face airbrushed on his tights and Roberts running to rip off said tights, leaving him with nothing but a g-string on (though he had appeared to have been stripped naked to the home audience). The feud ended at Survivor Series in November when Roberts DDT’d Rude.

Rude’s only WWF championship in the WWF came at Wrestlemania V in April 1989 when he defeated The Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental Championship. He lost the title back to Warrior at Summerslam with interference from Roddy Piper. After feuding with Piper, he resumed his feud with Ultimate Warrior, this time over the WWF Championship. Ultimate Warrior defeated Rude in a steel cage match at Summerslam. It was his last high-profile feud with the company; just as he was set to feud with Big Boss Man after he had made degrading comments towards his mother, Rude left the WWF.

Rude spent most of the next year on the independent circuit and All Japan Pro Wrestling, Rude, initially masked as the WCW Phantom, returned to the company at Halloween Havoc in October 1991. After unmasking, Rude would be the crown jewel of the Dangerous Alliance, led by Paul E. Dangerously, and including Madusa, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko, and “Stunning” Steve Austin. Rude quickly gained gold, winning the WCW United States Championship from Sting in November 1991. He held the title for the next fourteen months, forfeiting the title in December 1992 when he had suffered a neck injury. Rude returned in April 1993 and feuded with Dustin Rhodes over the title. The two went to a series of non-finishes and a 1-1 draw in a 30-minute Ironman match at Beach Blast in July. Eventually, the title was held up, with the winner of a best-of-three match series on WCW Saturday Night to be crowned champion. Rude won the first match, but would two straight to Rhodes.

Rude turned his attention to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship after the series ended. He defeated Ric Flair for the NWA world title at Fall Brawl in September 1993. Shortly after, WCW had withdrawn from the NWA, meaning the company had lost the rights to use the NWA world title. WCW in response created their own title, the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship. He lost the title to Hiroshi Hase in March 1994 in Tokyo, but would regain it just eight days later. He lost the title again just three weeks later to Sting at Spring Stampede, only to win it back at Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoka, Japan just two weeks later. During that match, Rude injured his back on a suicide dive, landing on the corner of a raised platform surrounding the ring. Incapacitated, Rude was stripped of the title; he would retire shortly thereafter.

Rude would collect on a Lloyd’s of London insurance policy for over two years before returning in 1997 for ECW as a masked man taunting Shane Douglas. He eventually unmasked and became a color commentator for the promotion before aligning himself with Douglas’ Triple Threat. He made a one-off return at Heat Wave ’97, initially teaming with Tommy Dreamer and Sandman in a six-man tag team match against Rob Van Dam, Sabu, and Jerry Lawler before Rude turned on Dreamer and Sandman as part of an interpromotional war involving ECW, Lawler’s United States Wrestling Association, and the WWF.

While continuing to appear for ECW, Rude returned to the WWF in August 1997 as the “insurance policy” for D- Generation X (Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna). Rude never wrestled, but he interjected himself in matches as needed. Rude was on a per-appearance deal until leaving the company in the wake of the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series. Rude called Eric Bischoff on the evening of the Screwjob informing him that what went down was real. As he was not under a full-time contract to the WWF, Rude was technically a free agent, free to negotiate (and eventually get a deal) with WCW.

Rude returned to WCW on November 17, 1997 on Nitro. Rude with a mustache appeared live and did a worked shoot promo on the WWF, referring to the company as the Titanic, while a full-bearded Rude appeared on a taped episode of RAW is WAR. As Rude also appeared on the prior weekend’s ECW Hardcore TV (also taped in advance), Rude became the only man to appear on all three promotion’s television shows in the same week.

Rude, like many ex-WWF stars at the time, joined the New World Order, primarily managing his childhood friend Curt Hennig. Hennig followed Rude to the nWo Wolfpac following the mega-stable’s split in the spring of 1998. Hennig and Rude turned on Konnan after he had failed to defeat Goldberg for the WCW United States Championship. Hennig and Rude joined nWo Hollywood until both men disappeared from television late in the year (Hennig due to a leg injury, Rude to misdiagnosed testicular cancer; it turned out to be a spermatocele). Hennig returned at Starrcade without Rude, while Rude left WCW in early 1999.

“Ravishing” Rick Rude, a gimmick that could loosely be described as that of an adult film star, became one of the most successful heel superstars of his era, and is often cited as influential for those looking to adopt a similar gimmick. He was also one of the toughest men in the wrestling business; Rude along with Tom Billington, aka the Dynamite Kid, were bodyguards for Macho Man Randy Savage when they were out on the road during Savage’s time as WWF Champion. Savage went to a bar frequented by NWA wrestlers. Savage, knowing that someone would attempt to make a name for themselves by beating up the WWF champion, enlisted Billington and Rude to watch his back. Savage enjoyed his evening without incident. Allegedly, Hulk Hogan refused to wrestle Rick Rude. Rude was also noted for his strong grip; that came from his arm wrestling background. In 1983, Rude finished sixth in the world championships among light heavyweights.

On April 20, 1999, Rude died in Alpharetta, Georgia. He was just 40 years old. He was survived by his wife of eleven years, Michelle (Rude, a devoted family man, never took his wedding ring off—not even during matches; he had his ring finger taped), and three children; his youngest son Colton died in a motorcycle accident in September 2016 at age 19. Though the initial diagnosis was heart failure, an autopsy later revealed that he had died of an overdose of mixed medications. Rude at the time of his death was training for a comeback.

Rude was a part of one five-star rated match by Wrestling Observer Newsletter (the WarGames match at WrestleWar ’92) and was the publication’s winner of Best Heel. That same year, he won Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Most Hated Wrestler award. He was ranked the #4 singles wrestler in the world by the magazine and was ranked 57th among singles wrestlers in the PWI Years in 2003.

The best of cSs on this day:

2015: Report: Changes coming to WWE Raw, possibly in response to results of NXT survey (Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio says changes may be coming to make RAW look a little more like NXT)

2014: WWE wishes CM Punk 'the best of luck in his newest endeavor' (WWE gives an official fourteen-word statement on Punk signing with UFC: "WWE wishes Phil Brooks (aka CM Punk) the best of luck in his newest endeavor.")

2013: WrestleMania 31 location: Santa Clara beats Philadelphia as host city (PWInsider and Wrestling Observer Newsletter report Santa Clara will host Wrestlemania 31; the San Francisco 49ers new home in Levi’s Stadium may have sealed the deal)

2012: Booker T wants to see Ryback vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 29 (The WWE Hall of Famer on Monday Night Mayhem wants a Ryback-Brock hoss match for Wrestlemania 29—spoiler; Ryback got Mark Henry, while Lesnar got Triple H)

2011: WWE mystery return man on Jan. 2, 2012, update: Chris Jericho or Undertaker? (Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports the cryptic promos for January 2 are for either Chris Jericho or the Undertaker—spoiler; it was Chris Jericho)

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