It was shaping up to be another week where I didn’t really have anything to say. Nothing major had happened, so I was either going to recap a random Pay-Per-View, give an analysis of the next Match of the Year Candidate, or talk about how great NXT is some more. While I was planning what to do, new dropped that Dusty Rhodes, the American Dream, had died. And while that gives plenty of blogging fodder, I really wish I was still struggling to come up with a topic.
Dusty will go down as a legend. First, the basics. Dusty Rhodes was a staple of the NWA in the 70’s and 80’s. He was arguably their most popular babyface for large periods of time, and one of the few who could stand up to Ric Flair and the Four Horseman. He was the exact opposite of the jet-flying, limo-riding Ric Flair. Whereas Flair looked like a champion, Rhodes looked like a plumber. In fact, as he so often reminded us, he was the son of a plumber. He had a short, unremarkable stint in the WWF before spending the rest of his TV career in WCW. After WCW folded, Dusty did backstage work for WWE, eventually becoming a promo coach in NXT.
Promo coach was a perfect job for Dusty Rhodes. Very few people were better at promo’s then The American Dream. You could make an argument for Mick Foley (and I would), but Dusty is hard to beat. If, for some inane reason, you haven’t seen this yet, here is possibly the greatest wrestling promo ever done, “Hard Times”
Emotion pours from Dusty Rhodes, and he channels it to sell his upcoming match with Ric Flair. in 1985, there was no 24-hour media. Dusty couldn’t reach fans through Twitter. They didn’t have an overlong weekly television show to set up and sell the Pay Per View. He had two minutes of promo time, and had to make people care about him enough to spend their hard earned money to watch him beat Ric Flair.
I was less a fan of Dusty Rhodes as a wrestler. I’ll admit that I didn’t “get” him. I’ve never gone out looking for Dusty matches, because the ones that I watch kind of bore me. I’m a fan of old-school wrestling, but Dust never did anything for me. Those who grew up with him though, and watched him live, are huge fans, so your mileage may vary about the quality of his in-ring work.
I was very happy to watch him during his last WWE run with his two sons. Goldust and Cody Rhodes beat The Shield to end their reign as tag champions, and the crowd went crazy as he celebrated with his children, including hitting his final Bionic Elbow on Dean Ambrose. It was special for all involved, including the thousands of fans watching and celebrating.
I’m sure Money in the Bank and the following nights Raw will be dedicated to Dusty. I hope they go all out for it. If any legend deserves a Raw devoted to their memory, it’s The American Dream.