Immediately following Raw on Monday night WWE aired a special shown in tribute to the late, great 'American Dream' Dusty Rhodes, who sadly and tragically passed away last week aged 69 years. The special program, entitled 'Dusty Rhodes - Celebrating The Dream' was WWE's way of celebrating the life and career of one of the wrestling industries biggest and most influential legends. Most of the special itself contained footage from the Dusty Rhodes Story DVD that WWE put out back in 2006, and this mostly saw commentary from Dusty on his early life, how how got into the business, and talking about some of his classic feuds and moments. This was a way of bringing new and old fans together and uniting them to learn more about the 'American Dream'.
For those who may have never seen Dusty wrestle before or were not very familiar with his body of work in the industry this was a great, inside look at the life and career of Dusty, which included some great stories about Dusty growing up, how he broke into the wrestling business and his time in the territories, and we were treated to some footage of some of his greatest promos, matches, and feuds which included three huge names of the industry in 'Superstar' Billy Graham, Ric Flair, and Harley Race, whom Dusty defeated to win his first NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1979. The title change was shown but the main feud that was highlighted was that between Flair and Rhodes. We saw Ric Flair reflecting on his feud with Dusty and talking about what Dusty meant to him personally. Just watching the highlights back of their feud the chemistry between these two was almost like lightening in a bottle. If there was ever a feud in wrestling that any aspiring wrestler, or any fan needs to watch it's the feud between Flair and Rhodes. It's one of the all time greatest feuds that will never be replicated again in my mind.
One of the things I really liked about this tribute production to Dusty was the addition of video comments from those within the industry who Dusty worked with over the years, including a video from Stephanie McMahon, who talked about what Dusty meant to the wrestling business, her memories of the promo that her and Dusty did on Raw in 2013, when Dusty's sons Cody and Goldust were looking to regain their jobs in WWE. We also heard from John Cena, who spoke about what he thought set Dusty apart from other stars of the industry was the fact he could talk and cut one hell of a promo. Cena said he felt Dusty was so connected to the fans because he was one of them, as he was the 'Common Man'. Cena sees Dusty as a symbol of inspiration and excellence for the business, and we were of course later treated to seeing Dusty's most famous promo, the 'Hard Times' promo. If you haven't seen that promo then you really need to go out of your way to find it, as it is without doubt one of the greatest moments in the history of this industry and a real treat to watch.
Triple H had one of the most moving video's of the lot which saw him talking about Dusty, and how he was seen by many, including himself, as a father figure that anyone could go to whether they needed help, advice, or just a shoulder to cry on. Dusty was described as being like a grandfather to many of the young talents he trained in NXT, and they were almost like his adopted children in his eyes. Triple H spoke of how Dusty was always there to help the kids improve and his impact and guidance toward those young men and women was one of Dusty's biggest achievements. Dusty Rhodes was always there when the NXT roster needed him and Triple H said he would be missed. The impact of Dusty on the younger generation cannot be understated, as it seems as if he was the rock of the group, always there when they needed someone to turn to.
To close out the special we saw final messages and thoughts from the stars of today, from NXT to stars on the main roster, with the likes of Seth Rollins, Summer Rae, Cesaro, Charlotte, Kevin Owens, Renee Young, the Miz, Kalisto, Joey Styles, Adam Rose, and Dolph Ziggler all giving their thoughts on the legends that is Dusty Rhodes, what he meant to them, and what their final messages to him were or would have been. We then saw footage show in 2014 of Dusty Rhodes talking about how he wanted to be remembered by the fans as a man who entertained them every night, and as a man that gave the fans their monies worth every time they saw him perform. I think it's safe to say that Dusty did more than that and then some over his historic career over the years. Dusty could easily still outshine a majority of today's talent on the microphone because Dusty was a natural talker and had a unique talent many will never possess or replicate.
Before the tribute started we heard the thoughts of Vince McMahon, who spoke fondly of Dusty and how much he would be missed. I thought a good way to end this would be with a great quote from Vince on Dusty, which was "Dusty lived the American Dream". Dusty truly was the common man, and was one of the stars that fans could easily identify and connect with. While the 'American Dream' has died, the 'American Dream' will live on in the hearts and minds of those he touched inside and outside of this industry. Whether you have seen the Dusty Rhodes DVD released in 2006 or not, I urge you to check out this excellently produced tribute to one of the all time greats in the industry. It was a truly moving and excellent tribute to one of the biggest and most influential personalities in the history of the business. Simply put, #ThankYouDusty.