UPDATED: WWE Issues Statement on “Outlaw” Ron Bass’ Passing
UPDATE: WWE issued the following statement on Tuesday night in regard to the death of Outlaw Ron Bass at sixty-eight:
WWE is saddened to learn that Ronald Heard, known to sports-entertainment fans as “Outlaw” Ron Bass, has passed away at the age of 68.
Debuting in 1975, the tough Texan performed in several NWA territories, including Jim Crockett Promotions and Florida Championship Wrestling.
It was in 1987 that Bass rose to national fame in WWE. With his ruthless attitude and dreaded bullwhip, Bass battled against classic fan favorites like Junkyard Dog and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. He even claimed a pinfall victory over a young Shawn Michaels in the 1988 King of the Ring tournament.
Following his retirement from the ring in 1991, Bass earned a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas State University and became a successful construction equipment salesman.
WWE extends its condolences to Heard’s family, friends and fans.
ORIGINAL: Former WWF and NWA star “Outlaw” Ron Bass has passed away. PWInsider reports that Bass, real name Ronald Heard, died at the age of sixty-eight. The site notes that Bass had been hospitalized after suffering a burst appendix and hadn’t realized what had happened, waiting a week before he got medial help. The delay was too much and he passed as a result.
Bass began his wrestling career in 1975 in the NWA as Ron Bass, working several of the organization’s territories. He also worked as Sam Oliver Bass and, in the 1980s, teamed up with Black Bart to form the Long Riders in Florida Championship Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions. He feuded with Barry Windham in FCW and beat him in a loser-leaves-town match, only to have Windham come back under a mask as Yellow Dog. He moved on to the WWE in 1987 and worked as a midcard heel, eventually feuding with Junkyard Dog where he choked JYD and dragged him around the ring with his signature whip “Miss Betsy.”
Bass moved on to feud with Brutus Beefcake in 1988, gouging the babyface’s head open with his spurs and forcing him out of his scheduled Intercontinental Title match with the Honky Tonk Man at the first SummerSlam. The Ultimate Warrior took his place and ended HTM’s record run as champion. Beefcake returned and the two feuded until January of 1989, when Bass lost to Beefcake in a hair vs. hair match. He left the WWF shortly after then and worked the indies, retiring in 1991. He would occasionally return to the ring for events, including an appearance at the first WrestleReunion show in 2005.
Bass was part of the current class-action lawsuit filed against WWE in summer of 2016, which claims that the company concealed risks of traumatic head injuries. That lawsuit is still ongoing.
On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends and fans of Mr. Heard.