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Rising through the ranks of professional wrestling requires a combination of athletic abilities and microphone prowess, and there's no doubt that "Outlaw" Ron Bass boasted both of those qualities and then some. Sadly, the world won't get to hear any more of his stellar tales from wrestling's good ol' days, as Bass passed away this week. He was 66 years old.
Death is always untimely, especially when it comes to wrestlers, but it appears Ron Bass' possibly could have been prevented in some way. According to PWInsider, Bass unwittingly suffered a burst appendix recently, and without realizing what had occurred, he didn't seek a physician until after a week had passed. By the time he was admitted into the hospital, the situation was reportedly bad enough that recovery wasn't possible, and he died on Tuesday, March 7.
Born in Arkansas on December 21, 1948 under his real name of Ronald Heard, Ron Bass first made his splash in wrestling back in 1975, at which point he worked through different National Wrestling Alliance promotions across the South, using the long-lasting gimmick of being a brutal Texan outlaw. Bass fought alongside other recognizable names like Black Bart and Barry Windham in those years, but it was in 1987 when he joined the then-WWF and his popularity exploded.
During his short but memorable tenure, Ron Bass and his bullwhip Miss Betsy teamed up with familiars like Honky Tonk Man, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and more. He had memorable feuds with babyface superstars such as The Junkyard Dog and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, with the latter offering up two of the most memorable moments in The Outlaw's career. First was the match where The Barber's face got insanely bloody after it was seemingly torn open by the spurs on Bass' boots - take a look at the video on YouTube to see how the situation was dramatized with "censored" markings - and second was the Hair vs. Hair match that served as something of a final act for his mainstream time in the WWF. Relive some of those moments below.
Retiring from the wrestling world in 1991, minus a later-in-life appearance at the semi-annual WrestleReunion event, Ron Bass was most notable in recent years for taking part in a class action lawsuit against the WWE alleging the company hid the complete risks of potential brain injuries from its employees. The situation is similar to the NFL's current problem with concussions and CTE cases, and ex-wrestlers have long been known to face problems after ending their careers. While Bass thankfully didn't seem to go the irreversibly damaging route that other WWE vets took, the problem is still a troublesome one.
Interestingly, fans will get to see Ron Bass on TV once more in the future, as he and fellow wrestling alum Brian Blair both filmed parts for the independent movie Silent Times, directed by Geoff Blanchette and Christopher Annino, which is set to be released in 2018. The role of a coach was Bass' only scripted part, as he didn't follow in the acting footsteps of so many other wrestlers.
We at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Ron Bass in their time of mourning. Nobody will pull off a sneak attack quite like Outlaw.