Thursday, June 11, 2015

R.I.P. Dusty Rhodes: Pro Wrestling loses a true LEGEND!

Dusty Rhodes being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame

There's a lot of words that get thrown around so much in pro wrestling that they eventually lose their of those words is 'legend'.  The word sometimes gets attached to wrestlers who just manage to have longevity without really contributing anything to the sport.  "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes was the definition of what a wrestling LEGEND is...he has given more to the wrestling business over the years than anyone can really comprehend.  Besides his talents as a wrestler in the ring and on the microphone, the mind of Dusty Rhodes gave birth to many of the things that helped pro wrestling evolve into the multi-million dollar industry it grew to be.  While Vince McMahon did create and conceive a lot of the things that brought pro wrestling into pop culture......One has to wonder would there have ever been a Wrestlemania in '85, if there hadn't been a Starrcade in '83? Would there have ever been a 'Hell in the Cell' or 'Elimination Chamber', if there hadn't been a 'WAR GAMES'?  Dusty Rhodes was always a pioneer behind the scenes seeing pro wrestling as more of an epic movie than a smoke filled sports event.

The Famous "Hard Times" Promo- One of the Best Ever!!

Virgil Runnels was exactly what he always told you he was...."the son of a plumber from Austin, Texas."  From humble beginnings and an athletic background, Virgil Runnels would go from the football field of West Texas State to the Main Event in Madison Square Garden and other arenas all over the world.   Dusty Rhodes was not just a "rassler", Dusty Rhodes was a force of could not ignore him when he was on your had to listen to what he was fans could relate to him....this wasn't some 6'9 muscle bound super hero, this was a guy that they felt like they knew....a guy who understood what they were going through.....a guy who was literally living their "American Dream."  While Dusty didn't look like the classic athlete no one could take away from his ability as he could go in the ring and go 60 minutes every night with Harley Race and Ric Flair and often work in two different towns in the same day.  He had the respect of his peers for being able to go in the ring and back up the talk from his now famous promos.   Dusty Rhodes, 'the Common Man' made the perfect rival for the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair....they had the perfect chemistry and the two characters balanced each other out.....selling out arenas all over the country to see them do battle. 

Dusty Rhodes: Three time NWA World Champion

Dusty Rhodes proved over the years to be very versatile.....though often knocked for "booking himself on top" when he was in control of the booking....Dusty proved over the years that he could "get over" regardless of the circumstances.....when he went to work for the WWF in 1989, Vince McMahon put him in a polka dot outfit and had him tape silly vignettes to build to his debut...however, in what for most would be an impossible situation....Dusty Rhodes did what he did best and made it all entertaining and still managed to get over with the fans of the WWF.  That will be a big part of the Dream's legacy is he entertained the fans at all times.....whether he was having a classic match with Tully Blanchard or Ric Flair, or sporting polka dots against the Big Boss Man or the Honky Tonk Man, or doing color commentary in WCW...Dusty was always entertaining.

Dusty at NXT in Orlando w/Ric Flair, HHH, and Pat Patterson

Besides his obvious accomplishments in the ring and outside of it during his career, one of Dusty's greatest legacies is the lasting impression he's left on the wrestling business that will be evident for years to come.  If you are in the pro wrestling business today you have been influenced by Dusty Rhodes, if not directly then by the fact the person who influences YOU was influenced by Dusty Rhodes.  For the past few years Dusty has been teaching a "promo class" in Florida for the upcoming wrestlers in NXT and has been instrumental in developing new characters that are now some of the WWE's top stars like Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins, and most recently Kevin Owens.   Of course two of Dusty's most obvious contributions to pro wrestling are his sons Dustin and Cody who have gone on to have successful careers and have made their father proud.

Cody, Dusty, and Dustin: The Rhodes Family

Today on June 11, 2015....Virgil Runnels passed away at the age of 69.  Not a lot of details are known about his death at this time and it's not really relevant to this story.....the details don't change the fact that there's a hole left in the pro wrestling business that will never be filled.  No matter who comes along in the future there will NEVER be another "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.  He's one of a kind and can never be duplicated.  His legacy will live on with his sons, and the wonderful memories we are fortunate enough to be able to relive anytime we choose to through the magic of the WWE Network, YouTube, and DVDs.  I was fortunate to get to meet my hero Dusty Rhodes last summer at the NWA Legend's Fanfest in Charlotte, North Carolina.  I'm lucky I've gotten the chance to meet a lot of my heroes over the years but I can honestly say I can't think of any I was more excited to meet than 'the Dream'.  He was super nice to my wife and I and it's an experience We'll never forget.

ISC Editor Gene Jackson, Dusty Rhodes, and Rose Jackson

Rest in Peace Dusty.....the hard times are over.....thanks for a lifetime of memories!

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