Remembering WWE Superstar Dusty Rhodes (October 12, 1945 – June 11, 2015)

Above: WWE superstar Dusty Rhodes -- famously known as "The American Dream" -- has died at age 69

The professional wrestling world was saddened on Thursday when news broke that Virgil Runnels, better known within the industry as “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, had passed away. He was 69 years old and is survived by his wife and four children, incluidng two sons that followed in his footsteps, WWE superstars Dustin “Goldust” Runnels and Cody “Stardust” Runnels.

Rhodes was “sports entertainment” before Vince McMahon took to referring to professional wrestling as such. Nothing about the man born in and billed from Austin, Texas was athletic. Throughout his career, his was anywhere from a little doughy to pretty well overweight, but his build never held him back because Rhodes was as good on the microphone as anyone in the business at the time.

Styled as a blue-collared common man – “The Son of a Plumber, baby!” – he spoke with a Southern drawl and a serious lisp that every wrestling fan has learned to mimic over the years and he delivered monologues, “promos” as they’re called, with such vigor and passion that you were automatically drawn in. Even if you were cheering for Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen during their classic rivalry with the likes of Rhodes, Magnum T.A. and The Road Warriors, the way Dusty commanded the microphone and sold their impending showdowns piqued your interest at the very least and might have even made you pondered switching allegiances.

He would strut around the ring with his white-blonde hair and scarred up forehead, a souvenir from years of blading, working a rudimentary move set in his cowboy boots, setting by on charisma and fan appeal more than anything else, boxing up opponents and using his signature “Bionic Elbow” to seal up victories.

His best days came with Jim Crockett Promotions and the NWA, where his rivalry with Flair and the Horsemen ran for years, while his in-ring run with the WWF (now WWE) is remembered because of his yellow polka dot attire and even more over-the-top persona.

In addition to his work inside the ring, Rhodes was often involved behind the scenes, working as a booker and part of the creative team in various organizations. Until his passing, Rhodes was the head of creative and an influencial force in NXT, the WWE’s developmental organization based in Orlando, Florida.

He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.

Rest in Peace, Dream – you’ll be sadly missed.

Related Posts

Previous Post Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *