Thursday, August 5, 2010

Remember Your Classic Wrestlers: Dusty Rhodes

The American Dream

Who?: Dusty Rhodes
Promotions: WWF, JCP/NWA, WCW, TNA, ECW, AWA,
Nicknames: The American Dream, Son of a Plumber, The Midnight Rider, Stardust, White Soul King, Patron Saint of The Wrestling Blog
Classic Affiliations: Rhodes broke into the business in a tag team with Dirty Dick Murdoch called the Texas Outlaws. He's also teamed with the Road Warriors, Manny Fernandez, Magnum TA and Nikita Koloff before jumping to the WWF and getting Sapphire as his valet.

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 302 lbs.
From: Austin, TX

After the jump...Signature Maneuvers

I can't find any good footage of Rhodes dropping the Bionic Elbow, which sucks, because I love that move. Fuckin' Bionic Elbow, man. He also did a nice figure 4 leglock.

Classic Feuds:

- You can't talk Dusty Rhodes without talking about Harley Race. One of the great wrestling feuds of all-time, the two traded NWA titles, had classic matches and cut classic promos on each other.

- If Race was feud #1, then the feud Rhodes had with Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen was #1a. There were some really heated matches and exchanges, and again, the NWA Championship was usually at the heart of the matter, although Tully Blanchard did end up stealing Rhodes' valet Baby Doll from him at one point.

- Rhodes helped Magnum TA in his fight against Team Russia, consisting of Nikita Koloff, Ivan Koloff and Krusher Kruschev. This alliance held until Magnum's career tragically ended in a car crash. In the wake, Nikita joined up with Rhodes to help take on some of Magnum's other enemies.

- Some of Dusty's other classic feuds included Abdullah the Butcher, Kevin Sullivan, Terry Funk, "Superstar" Billy Graham, Ray Stevens and Blackjack Mulligan.

- In his WWF run in the late '80s, Rhodes' major feud was with the Macho Man Randy Savage, a real contrast of classes as at this point, Savage donned the Macho King moniker. The feud culminated in the first ever mixed tag match in WWF history between the team of Rhodes and Sapphire against Savage and Sensational Sherri Martel.

- Rhodes made an appearance in ECW in the later days to feud with Steve Corino. Corino represented the Old School Crusade trying to rid ECW of extreme. Though Rhodes represented the old school in his own way, he went to bat for ECW, and the two had some heated exchanges before Rhodes eventually put him over.

Titles Held:

NWA World Championship (3x)
NWA World Tag Team Championships (2x, 1x with Dick Murdoch, 1x with Manny Fernandez)
NWA Six Man World Tag Team Championships (with the Road Warriors)
NWA United States Championship (2x)
NWA Television Championship (3x)
Scads and scads of other regional singles and tag team Championships within the NWA
WWE Hall of Fame (2007)


The famous Hard Times Promo

He's wined and dined with kings and queens... (f/ a young Vince McMahon)

We talking half a million dollahs a year!

Post-Baby Doll's heel turn

Dusty Rhodes and DX on RAW last year (f/ SHOCKMASTER~!)

Rhodes' Legacy: Dusty Rhodes will live on in history for more than just being one of the most iconic and seminal wrestlers in the game. That won't change the fact that he was one of the all-time greats, despite being a fat guy with a lisp, questionable fashion sense and even more questionable looks. He played the blue collar aspect of his character up huge, and that really connected with crowds. It didn't help that he may have been one of the most epic promos of all-time, but hey, fans like to identify with people, and The Dust was one of the most identifiable wrestlers ever.

However, as much of a benchmark as he is for great wrestling, he's as far in the opposite direction for terrible booking in the mid-'80s in JCP/NWA. Rhodes is often regarded as one of the worst bookers of all-time, making heat-draining non-finish decisions like it was his job, a full decade before Vince Russo usurped his position as Shittiest Booker Alive. He was so bad at times that he has his own clusterfuck finish named after him.

Still, there are more positive attributes in Dusty's corner than there are negatives. He may have been a bad announcer from a technical standpoint, but the guy's quips and non-sequiturs rank among the most entertaining television around. He's done so much to help mold the WWE's superstars of the future in FCW, as he's instrumental as a teacher and booker down there (a much improved booker from his JCP days from what I hear). And of course, I'd be remiss for the fruit of his loins, the two sons he has in the wrestling business today who are among my favorites, Goldust/Dustin Rhodes and "Dashing" Cody Rhodes. Yeah, Dustin didn't meet the lofty expectations, but he had a solid run in WCW in the mid-'90s, and of course, classic Goldust is among the best characters ever in any fed. Cody, meanwhile, is looking like a future franchise heel. Good work, Dusty. Good work.

No matter how you slice it, Dusty Rhodes is a bona fide legend in this sport and a treasure. I wouldn't risk having to sleep on the couch via impersonating him (my wife HATES that) if I didn't respect and like him so much. God bless you, Dusty. God bless you indeed, son of a plumber.

Photo Credit:

Remember you can contact TH and ask him questions about wrestling, life or anything else. Please refer to this post for contact information. He always takes questions!