There are few men in the world that when they pass, it truly makes the world seem colder. Dusty Rhodes was one of those men, if at least, to me. His kind spirit seemed to radiate out of him like light from the sun, and warm all those around him. Dusty Rhodes passed away today at the age of 69 years old. Dusty touched so many lives, it’s still a shock to the system to know that he is gone. First and foremost I want to send my love to the Rhodes family through this extremely difficult time, my prayers are with you. Dusty was the American Dream; today, though, feels like a nightmare.
Rhodes actually started his career in American Wrestling Association (AWA) as a heel. He partnered with Dick Murdoch in the tag team known as The Texas Outlaws. It wasn’t long, though, before Dusty turned on is partner, becoming the ultimate babyface character. Rhodes referred to himself as the “White Soul King”, “Stardust” (something that Cody Rhodes now pays homage to in his on-screen character), and most well known, “The American Dream.” Rhodes wrestled for many promotions in his life, such as the AWA, NWA, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), WWF(E), FCW, TNA, ECW, and many more regional promotions. During his time in WWE, Dusty represented the “common man” and often was seen sporting yellow polka dots. While in WWE, Rhodes was managed by Sapphire, who represented the “common woman.” Rhodes ended up in feud with “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri, in turn, had a rivalry with Sapphire. Rhodes and Sapphire vs. Savage and Sherri was the first ever mixed gender tag team match, at WrestleMania VI. Though, Rhodes best work was always with Ric Flair. Rhodes rivalry with Ric Flair in NWA was some of the best in industry history. Their rivalry spanned many matches, many states, and many years, but their work was always must see. Rhodes has said that his rivalry with Natch was the best of his career, and that the chase alone was what keep fans coming. He was pulled aside by Eddie Graham and told that he didn’t even need to put the title on Dusty because the chase is what’s best. It lead to him getting “short spurts” as NWA Heavyweight Champion.
On top of being an in-ring performer Rhodes was also used quite frequently in many other roles. He very often managed other performers including Ron Simmons, Larry Zbyszko, The Outsiders Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, and of course he has managed his two sons, Goldust (Dustin Rhodes) and Cody Rhodes. In WCW, Rhodes ended up joining the broadcast team, alongside Tony Schiavone, on WCW Saturday Night and on pay-per-views. Rhodes worked as a booker for several wrestling organizations and worked as part of the creative team for WWE as a creative consultant. In 2007, Dusty was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his two sons, Dustin and Cody. It’s easy to tell just how many lives Dusty has touched by the amount of people who he ended up inducting into the WWE Hall of Fame. Rhodes has inducted his mentor Eddie Graham, The Funks, The Road Warriors, and The Four Horseman all into the WWE Hall of Fame. It’s clear that Rhodes was a man who touched the lives and hearts of the people around him.
On top of having his hand in many pots on screen, Rhodes was helping the next generation of workers become the best they could be down in NXT. Rhodes was the head writer and creative director down in NXT. Many, many workers have taken to their twitter accounts today to pay their respects to Dusty, and numerous workers not only thank him, but they refer to him as a mentor. Workers like Enzo Amore, Baron Corbin, Xavier Woods, Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, Neville, Sheamus, William Regal, and current WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. Even Ric Flair called Dusty his mentor on Twitter. There are so many more people who thank Dusty for what he’s done for them, but I won’t waste your time with long lists. Dusty was a man who combined a love for the business with a love for people and life. In doing so he became a teacher, mentor and leader to those around him. If you watch WWE, or any professional wrestling for that matter, what you are watch has been affected by “The American Dream.”
The professional wrestling industry has suffered a great loss today, but the world itself has taken an even bigger loss. The wrestling industry lost a mentor, a teacher, and brilliant mind for wrestling, but the world has lost someone whose heart, spirit, and light spread to millions. Dusty was referred to as the “Common Man” because people could relate to him. When he was happy, we were happy. When he was frustrated and angry, the fans were right beside him in frustration. It took me until today to realize the irony in Dusty being called the “Common Man” because there was nothing common about this man. He was so much more than common, he was extraordinary. Personally, it was Dusty who got my dad hooked on wrestling, who then in turn got me hooked. Without Dusty Rhodes, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I am sure there are hundreds of thousands of people who can say that in one way or another, Dusty touched their lives. One man, who spread so much light and love and joy into the world. In order to truly honor him, we should live our lives like he lived his, helping others and spreading light, joy, and laughter. Dusty, may you rest in peace. Right now you are surely wining and dining with kings and queens.
Please, let's all share our favorite Dusty Rhodes moment in the comments and celebrate this man's great life and career.