One of the most difficult things to navigate in this world is enjoying yourself when you hear of something that actually hurts your heart. While I enjoyed, as I always do and always will, the time with my daughter and wife today at Busch Gardens it was a bit awkward of a situation. We got into the Pantopia Theater to watch a little animal show and as we're sitting in our seats waiting for the show to begin I decided to look at my phone. I really wish I hadn't done that, it was a moment filled with instant regret, immediately upon opening up Facebook I saw the terrible news. It still doesn't seem real, I know it is but I truly don't want it to be, even now as I sit in my chair I want someone to tell me this is some cruel joke. In this business you're going to lose people, we all expect that, and when it's someone over the age of 60 you almost look at it as someone having lived a fairly full life, but it doesn't seem right when it's a legend. Today we lost one of the cornerstones of the business of pro wrestling with the loss of Virgil Runnels, The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes.
Anyone who is a fan of the business owes a thanks to Dusty Rhodes, he was so important to wrestling yet some people tend to forget that at times. The most obvious points being that Dusty is actually the reason we have one of the all time greats in the industry, Ric Flair. Back in the day Flair was such a fan of Dusty he actually wanted to use the last name Rhodes in order to get over, until Dusty told him he didn't need that, he could make it on his own. I'd say that one worked out fairly well, thanks to the likes of Flair we've seen people like Shawn Michaels and Triple H rise to the top of the industry as people who wanted to be Flair. We also got to see a man in WCW named Sting face off against his biggest rival in Flair, all of this thanks to the man we came to know as The Dream. Dusty has touched this business so deeply that you could honestly argue that if not for The Dream what we know now may have never come to pass. It just doesn't feel right that someone so important could be gone.
The one thing that hit me more than anything else today, thanks to being out with family, was that you never know when the end will come so you need to enjoy every moment you have with those you love. While it still hurts to think of such a great loss to a business that's been a part of me since childhood, it was just another one of those reminders that none of us should ever need, but somehow always do, of just how much we should cherish every minute we have on this planet. I made sure to pay a little extra attention to everything going on today thanks to this tragic situation, you never want to think about leaving behind those you love, your significant other, your children, and today I made sure to keep my attention even more on those around me. Feeling such warmth inside because you're able to have fun with people who matter so much to you is usually great, but then the thought crept in that two other people are left behind. Dustin and Cody now have to face the rest of their life without their father, I can only imagine how difficult that must be, and once again you go from feeling thankful to feeling a bit saddened.
I grew up on pro wrestling, it's been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and one of the most common parts of that trek has been the inclusion of Dusty Rhodes in various shapes and forms. From the days of the black and yellow polka-dots and Sapphire to the days of his sitting in the booth beside the likes of one Silver Tongue Tony Schiavone, it almost seems like The Dream was always there. We all give Dusty credit for his ability to cut a promo, nobody will deny that he was one of the best in that regard, but you never hear people giving him credit for his time in the booth. I remember sitting at home at 7 on Saturday nights to watch WCW Saturday Night because I would get to hear about some team and their clubberin' of their opponent in the corner. It was almost always a tag team scenario because, as Dusty explained, you needed two people to do some clubberin' baby. Well, it took two people unless you were named Meng, that's the only time I remember hearing about the ever important one man clubberin' that you were seeing. I loved when Dusty would call a match, especially when we would get Dusty and Tony together, he may not have been Heenan, but he was still damn good in his role.
Today is one of the saddest days in the history of the business of pro wrestling, the loss of a superstar is one thing but the loss of a legend, the loss of an icon, it's tough for everyone involved. The fans, the stars, the entire industry was hit in the guy with the hardest body blow imaginable today. It sucks, every bit of wind we ever thought we held has been taken from us and there's no telling when it'll come back. It's such a cliché these days to say we're not going to mourn the loss of someone but celebrate their life, only to mourn for a couple days then ignore the passing. As a fan I will never forget The Dream, he will be part of this business for all eternity, as he should be. We're all facing hard times now, there's no two ways about it, but at the end of the day we need to remember the great things he brought us in his career and keep those we love just a little closer. The most uncommon of the common men has left this world today leaving behind an untouchable legacy. So long Dusty, you will be missed, it still doesn't seem real. I can only hope we're watching Money in the Bank or Raw coming up and suddenly a mysterious masked figure appears, the biggest rib of all time is unveiled with the return of the Midnight Rider, unfortunately we know this won't happen.