In a revealing episode of the "ARN" podcast, wrestling legend Arn Anderson delved into why he believes Rick Rude, another standout talent of his generation, never reached the pinnacle in either WWE or WCW. Anderson hypothesized that Rick Rude's career may have been overshadowed by the omnipresence of Hulk Hogan, particularly during Hogan's epoch-making World Championship reign from 1984 to 1988.
Rick Rude entered WWE in 1987, during the latter part of Hogan's near-unprecedented 1,474-day championship stretch. While he achieved prominence as the Intercontinental Champion—a title often viewed as a precursor to a World Championship run—Rude never managed to capture the ultimate prize.
Anderson opined that Hogan's enduring popularity and lengthy title reign could have sidelined Rude's opportunities to ascend to the top.
"Hogan's long, drawn-out reign probably derailed a number of deserving talents, Rick included," Anderson said.
"There were a lot of talented guys standing in line, waiting for a shot that just never came because Hogan was the immovable object at the top." However, other factors might have contributed to Rude's stalled ascendance.
Wrestling icon Ric Flair has alleged that Hogan found Rude to be reckless in the ring, casting doubts on his championship suitability. Flair pointed to an altercation between Rude and The Ultimate Warrior as a likely source of Hogan's reservations.
This viewpoint wasn't isolated to WWE alone; Rude faced similar challenges in WCW. There's a well-documented incident involving an awkward exchange between Rude and then-WCW executive Eric Bischoff. Rude had allegedly demanded the top spot, leading to a tense moment where Bischoff had to retrieve a championship belt from the back of his car, all while a visible gun lay within sight.
While many questions linger, one thing is clear: Rick Rude had the talent and charisma that should have propelled him to greater heights. Whether it was the towering shadow of Hulk Hogan or other backstage politics that kept him from reaching the zenith, Rude's legacy as a wrestling great who never quite 'made it' continues to be a topic of debate among fans and industry insiders alike.