Dustin Rhodes: Finally Appreciated

Becoming a fan in the early 21st century has its perks. One of which is the internet and discovering pro wrestling matches, segments and sometimes, full shows on YouTube to consume for hours on end only to stop at the hour-and-a-half mark after witnessing the Katie Vick segment. 

The match that caught my attention was Goldust’s match with The Undertaker at the In Your House: Beware Of Dog show in a casket match. 

Now, I was familiar with Goldust at that point. He appeared on various episodes of ECW in 2009 and he came across too much of a goofball for my young taste which is ironic considering that I laughed at fart noises. 

What made this character an attention grabber amongst the rest in 1995 (the same year that had more gimmicks than Fast And Furious sequels) was his commitment to being so cunning with the gold face paint, the entrance music and the duplicitous promos. 

The idea itself is bizarre to say the least but Dustin and ONLY DUSTIN made it work. You could almost say that he’s natural. 

Because of it, Goldust or Dustin Rhodes possess something that’s rare in professional wrestling at that time or even in today’s landscape. Great character performer (which is also a trait that his younger brother has. You may or may not know the guy. He’s trying to finish the story that’s taking as long as George R Martin). 

While wrestlers are known for their in-ring work and their mic work, their persona is mostly an exaggerated version of themselves but very few of them can adapt to other personas outside of that box labelled “basically you but turned the volume by 100%” Dustin was one of those guys.

Speaking of Goldust, the only two chef’s kisses that came out of his tenure in WWE were both tag team related. His tag team run with Booker T, a “buddy cop” style pairing straight out of a Shane Black movie that worked so well, they were one of the best things about Monday Night RAW at that time whether it was the movie reviews or the various backstage segments.

The other one 11 years later was a little more serious in that it had him teaming up with his little bro Cody Rhodes against The Shield for the tag team titles because *Vin Diesel’s voice* family. 

The older Rhodes brother is also pretty darn good as a worker especially if you’ve watched his run in WCW (the first time of course not the second). 

His tag team match with Ricky Steamboat against Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko at Clash Of The Champions 17 as well as his match with Vader in the same show 3 years later and the various war games matches he’s been in like Sting’s Squadron vs. the Dangerous Alliance and Dustin Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes, and the Nasty Boys vs. the Stud Stable. 

Those are the matches that come to mind when I think of Dustin’s initial run in WCW.

Obviously, I can’t talk about the guy without noting his best match and that is his bout with brotha Cody Rhodes at Double Or Nothing. Unlike their encounter at WWE Fastlane 2015, it’s memorable and you know, good that personified why I love pro wrestling. I’m actually getting emotional thinking about it, especially the hug at the end *grabs the tissues*. 

Now, why am I suddenly talking about the guy? Well, his contract is up soon and in a recent interview with Busted Open Radio, Dustin teased that he’s hanging up the boots soon (from WrestlingInc): 

I made the decision that ‘Hey man, at the end of July, my contract is up. And I’m going to be done with the in ring, or at least tone it way, way down,'” 

“I don’t know if that’s going to be it, because when we say we’re retiring, we always come back. And we never say never. But that’s what I’m looking for, an end date for my in-ring wrestling career” 

Dustin Rhodes’ commitment to this industry across various eras of the business should not be avoided. While his ride hasn’t always been easy, Rhodes deserves his gold medal for how consistent he’s been which is something not a lot of his peers can say. To me, Dustin Rhodes will always be appreciated. 

Check out Omar’s podcast “Best Things About Pro Wrestling This Month” where he highlights the best of wrestling in any particular month.