Former WWF and NWA wrestler "Outlaw" Ron Bass (real name Ronald Heard) has passed away, PWInsider.com is sad to report.
Bass had been hospitalized after suffering a burst appendix, which at the time, he was unaware had happened. The story we are hearing is that Bass, not realizing what had happened, waited a week before going to get medical attention. While he was hospitalized, that delay made it impossible for him to recover. He was 68 years old at the time of his passing.
Bass broke into the business in the mid-1970s working for a number of Southern territories under the National Wrestling Alliance umbrella as Ron (and sometimes Sam) Bass. He and Black Bart teamed as the Long Riders and he had a memorable feud with Barry Windham for Championship Wrestling from Florida that saw Bass defeat him in a loser leaves town match, only to be befuddled by the masked Yellow Dog that then debuted in the area. It was obviously Windham. Years later, WCW would somewhat recreate the story with Windham now tormented by a masked Yellow Dog, who was Brian Pillman.
Bass debuted for the WWF in 1987, where he worked as a heel. He was initially brought in to do a feud of dueling cowboys with Blackjack Mulligan but Mulligan left the company. With no defined story, Bass instead worked as a heel who beat low level babyfaces but lost to rising stars.
Bass' first major angle and feud was against the Junkyard Dog after he used his bullwhip (coined "Miss Betsy") to choke and drag JYD around the ring, but the one he will likely be remembered for took place prior to Summerslam '88. Brutus Beefcake was slated to challenge The Honkytonk Man for the Intercontinental championship but during a TV angle, he was attacked by Bass with the idea that his face was ripped open by the spurs on Bass' boots. WWF went as far as to put a giant red "X" graphic over the footage with the idea that it would be even more gruesome in the eyes of viewers who couldn't really see it than it might be in reality. Beefcake was pulled from the PPV due to injury, leading to The Ultimate Warrior substituting and winning his first WWF championship belt.
When Beefcake returned, the two feuded, culminating in Bass losing a hair vs. hair match on Saturday Night's Main Event. That was his last major storyline in the company, although he worked the undercard for some time after that.
Bass' career ended on a major league scale in the early 1990s when he left the WWF, although he occasionally would return to the ring. As late as 2005, he was wrestling, as I remember him working the first WrestleReunion card promoted by Sal Corrente in Tampa, Florida. He worked in the construction industry following his retirement, becoming a sales representative for a major supply company.
Bass was one of the plaintiffs named in the class action suit against WWE in the summer of 2016, alleging wrong-doing in regard to concussions and brain injuries.
On behalf of everyone associated with PWInsider.com, we'd like to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends and fans of Ron Bass.
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