Friday, February 23, 2007

WCW: Renegade

Ring name(s) Rio, Lord of the Jungle,Renegade
Billed height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Billed weight 255 lb (116 kg)
Born October 16, 1965,Atlanta, Georgia
Died February 23, 1999
Billed from Parts Unknown
Trained by Terry Taylor,Jody Hamilton,WCW Power Plant
Debut 1992

Richard C. Williams (October 16, 1965 - February 23, 1999) was an American professional wrestler, better known as Renegade.

Rick Williams began wrestling in 1992 after a stint as a male stripper. He went by the name Rio, Lord of the Jungle but achieved no real success on the independent circuit.

Williams's career peaked in 1995 when he was hired by World Championship Wrestling. During early 1995, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were involved in the main-event feud with a group called the Dungeon of Doom who consisted of various wrestlers. For a big upcoming tag team match Hogan and Savage began claiming that their mystery partner would be "the Ultimate Surprise" and showing a silhouette of a man with long hair and tassels tied to his arms, implying that the Ultimate Warrior was the man in question. When the day arrived out ran a very familiar-looking man to very familiar-sounding theme music. He was called The Renegade, billed by Hogan as "the man that's gonna bring Hulkamania into the 21st Century", and wrestled in the exact same style as the Ultimate Warrior.

Managed by Jimmy Hart, Williams soon overran many heels and eventually won the WCW Television Championship from Arn Anderson. By this stage, however, the real Ultimate Warrior had appeared in several wrestling magazines, dispelling the belief of some fans that Williams was the Ultimate Warrior, forced to wrestle under a new name (like John Tenta, Ed Leslie and Ray Traylor) due to his original name being trademarked by the World Wrestling Federation, which the court sided in favor of Warrior. Renegade's fanbase quickly evaporated, he dropped the Television Championship to Diamond Dallas Page. During the November 6, 1995 edition of Nitro, Renegade was buried on TV by a heel Jimmy Hart when Hart "re-possessed" the gimmick saying, "You're not a Renegade! You're just plain Rick!". He then receded into the background.

Over the next two years, Williams was steadily de-pushed, eventually languishing as a jobber on the WCW "b-shows" WCW Thunder and WCW Saturday Night and put in a feud with former tag team partner and jobber Joe Gomez that went nowhere. He was used as a stunt double for the Ultimate Warrior when he joined WCW for a short period in 1998. WCW opted not to renew Williams's contract in late 1998 and Williams, severely depressed, committed suicide in February 1999. Arn Anderson, who initially put him over, would lament his death in an interview saying that too much was expected of him by WCW being where he was in his wrestling career to be pushed to the level of Hogan.

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