Rick Williams, more commonly known as The Renegade, made a splash in his debut for World Championship Wrestling. It was the spring of 1995, and Hulk Hogan was WCW’s top face. Partnered with Macho Man Randy Savage, Hogan was locked in a feud with the Dungeon of Doom. A strap match was announced for Uncensored that year that would see Hulk Hogan take on Dungeon member Big Van Vader. Leading into the match, Hogan teased that an “Ultimate Surprise” would be joining him at the event, and a silhouette of a man with long, flowing hair and tassels hanging from his arms was seen during a vignette. Naturally, speculation that The Ultimate Warrior would be joining Hogan & Savage was running wild.
When Uncensored arrived, however, it was not the Warrior who debuted. Instead, it was The Renegade. During his first few months, The Renegade adopted many characteristics of the Warrior. In addition to the similar face paint and ring attire, Renegade used nearly identical theme music and mimicked the Warrior’s entrance to a tee. His mannerisms mirrored those of the Warrior, and he utilized many of the same moves, even finishing opponent’s off with a running splash. Due to the many similarities between he and the Warrior, along with Warrior’s absence from wrestling, many fans speculated that the Renegade was actually the Warrior, having undergone a name change.
Renegade found some early success using the Warrior gimmick, winning the Television Title from Arn Anderson at the Great American Bash shortly after his debut. Within months, however, the real Ultimate Warrior spoke out in a number of wrestling publications, announcing that he and the Renegade were not the same person at all. As a result, the Renegade’s momentum was lost, and he eventually dropped the TV Title to Diamond Dallas Page. A combination of his identity being revealed, real life heat between he and Warrior, and a cease and desist order from the WWE led to the character being scrapped altogether.
After a long absence from WCW programming, Rick Williams returned, using the Renegade name but without any of the character’s Warrior-like trademarks. For the most part, he was relegated to the role of an enhancement talent, never again sniffing at the main event scene. In late 1998, World Championship Wrestling released Williams from his contract. Williams officially announced his retirement soon after and fell into a deep depression. In February of 1999, Rick Williams committed suicide at the age of 33.