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The Renegade: If You Can’t Get The Original, Create A Ripoff

By early 1995, World Championship Wrestling was transforming itself into the land of where WWF superstars from the 1980s were debuting and taking over the television time. The likes of Hulk Hogan, Brutus Beefcake, Avalanche (Earthquake), Big Bubba Rogers (Big Bossman) and many others had appeared on WCW television within an eight month timeframe.

Dating back to 1993, WCW attempted to sign the real Ultimate Warrior but they weren’t able to reach a contract agreement. WCW still wanted to have the Warrior to go along with recent acquisitions of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage in 1994. So, if they couldn’t get the real one they would just have to settle for creating their own.

Thus, WCW signed Rick Wilson to portray the “Ultimate Surprise” that Hulk Hogan had promoted for the UnCensored 1995 pay per view. Wilson was given the Renegade character and was clearly a cheap ripoff version of the Ultimate Warrior.

Following UnCensored, Renegade kept a close alliance with the likes of Hogan, Savage and Sting to battle the heel trio of Ric Flair, Vader and Arn Anderson for a few months. By June at the Great American Bash, Renegade won the WCW Television Championship from Arn Anderson. I’d have to think long-time WCW/NWA fans were not so thrilled about that one.

Renegade wasn’t really getting over very well with the crowd and it became increasingly noticeable by the Bash at the Beach pay per view in July. At the event, Renegade successfully defended the WCW Television Championship against Paul Orndorff. During the match, the fans in Daytona Beach, Florida could be heard chanting “wannabe” directed towards Renegade. To be fair, was Renegade really ever going to be successful? Especially when WCW attempted to make it seem like the real Ultimate Warrior was originally going to come into the promotion?

Interestingly enough, around this time the real Ultimate Warrior made appearances for a few wrestling promotions. That actually led to Renegade’s push dwindling rather quickly. Renegade had been presented in strong fashion winning his matches quickly. Once the real Warrior was publicly making appearances, it was pretty much over for the Renegade.

Renegade lost the WCW Television Championship to Diamond Dallas Page at Fall Brawl 1995. A month later, he lost to Paul Orndorff in two minutes on the pre-show for Halloween Havoc. Following the title loss, Renegade wouldn’t do much on television.

That is until November 6th, 1995 on WCW Nitro. Renegade lost a match to Kevin Sullivan. That bigger story is that Jimmy Hart, the former manager for Renegade, wiped off Renegade’s face paint and proceeded to say, “He’s just plain old Rick, he’s a nobody.” Many fans have considered it to be a cheap shot and unnecessary. It certainly didn’t help Renegade at all.

Renegade would form a tag team with Joe Gomez and they had zero success. They were mostly used as enhancement talent for most of 1996. Renegade turned heel after a tag match with Scotty Riggs in 1997, and was used as an undercard wrestler for the remainder of his WCW career. His final match came against Wrath on the December 7th edition of Nitro in 1998. Renegade was released by the end of the year.

On February 23td, 1999 Renegade committed suicide. It’s been speculated that Renegade did not take the release well and shot himself a few months afterward.

What did you think of the Renegade?

Thanks for reading.

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