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The W - Pro Wrestling - Just how big of a star was Dusty Rhodes?
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Trunzo
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Since: 25.7.03
From: New York City

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.72
So this thread is kind of uncharacteristic for this board, since much of our discussion revolves around current news and weekly TV. However, as a 24 year old wrestling fan, I have always kind of wondered this: How big of a star was Dusty Rhodes at his peak?

I was born in 1987 and started watching wrestling in 1990 with my older brothers. WWF was our product, so growing up all I got to see of Dusty was The Polka Dot American Dream.

I came to learn later on that in the late 70s and most of the 80s, he was a pretty big player in the NWA. However, I also learned (and this might be some internet misinformation) that he was the booker most of the time, so I attributed a lot of his runs/reigns at that time to that fact. So to me, Dusty was a guy who was a main-eventer for a few years in the 70s and 80s, and thats basically it. My question, however, comes from a quote of his I read about Savage after Savage's death:

“There’s probably five or six of us, with Andre (the Giant) and (Hulk) Hogan and thankfully myself and (Ric) Flair, that, when their names pop up, even if you’re not a fan, you know who in the hell these people are,” Rhodes said.

Is he just being a revisionist/total scumbag and using Savage's death to include himself as one of the biggest names in wrestling history, or was he ever this big of a star? Like a "OH LOOK PAY ATTENTION TO ME NOW" kind of thing. At the time I read it and still now I think that this quote is absurd and that Dusty is a piece of trash looking for attention, so I've been itching to see if someone could talk me out of feeling this way.

(edited by Trunzo on 24.10.11 1031)

(edited by Trunzo on 24.10.11 1032)
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Lexus
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Since: 2.1.02
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.19
    Originally posted by Trunzo
    “There’s probably five or six of us, with Andre (the Giant) and (Hulk) Hogan and thankfully myself and (Ric) Flair, that, when their names pop up, even if you’re not a fan, you know who in the hell these people are,” Rhodes said.

    Is he just being a revisionist/total scumbag and using Savage's death to include himself as one of the biggest names in wrestling history, or was he ever this big of a star? Like a "OH LOOK PAY ATTENTION TO ME NOW" kind of thing. At the time I read it and still now I think that this quote is absurd and that Dusty is a piece of trash looking for attention, so I've been itching to see if someone could talk me out of feeling this way.


I think it's somewhere in the middle. He really does think very highly of himself, true, and frankly when myself and some certain friends get together and start doing wrestler impersonations EVERYBODY can pick up I'm doing Dusty, but at 29 that's mostly because of "Dubya Thee Dubya Thataday Night, on tha Muthathip, Tee Bee Eth"; but I don't think he's whoring Savage's death in the name of self-promotion, per se. He'd be saying this even if Savage were alive, and I think he's acknowledging Savage the only way he knows how, which is bittersweet.

I mean, if he really wanted to do the "OH LOOK PAY ATTENTION TO ME NOW" thing he'd be in TNA.



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lotjx
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Since: 5.9.08

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.08
I am just going to ignore the Savage thing, because it can lead to nowhere good. I would say Dusty was popular during his time, but I am going to say a lot of has to do with Flair. Dusty had a good, great career prior to facing the Horsemen then he went to mega stardom. The storyline was built for anyone from Dusty to Magnum to the Rock N'Roll express to Sting to be a major star. He did nothing when he went to WWE and even when he came back to WCW, he was more of announcer and figure head. I actually think Dusty has actually become more famous for his booking than his wrestling. They even cracked on it during his one night GM run.



The Wee Baby Sheamus.







Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Trunzo
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Since: 25.7.03
From: New York City

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.72
    Originally posted by Lexus
      Originally posted by Trunzo
      “There’s probably five or six of us, with Andre (the Giant) and (Hulk) Hogan and thankfully myself and (Ric) Flair, that, when their names pop up, even if you’re not a fan, you know who in the hell these people are,” Rhodes said.

      Is he just being a revisionist/total scumbag and using Savage's death to include himself as one of the biggest names in wrestling history, or was he ever this big of a star? Like a "OH LOOK PAY ATTENTION TO ME NOW" kind of thing. At the time I read it and still now I think that this quote is absurd and that Dusty is a piece of trash looking for attention, so I've been itching to see if someone could talk me out of feeling this way.


    I think it's somewhere in the middle. He really does think very highly of himself, true, and frankly when myself and some certain friends get together and start doing wrestler impersonations EVERYBODY can pick up I'm doing Dusty, but at 29 that's mostly because of "Dubya Thee Dubya Thataday Night, on tha Muthathip, Tee Bee Eth"; but I don't think he's whoring Savage's death in the name of self-promotion, per se. He'd be saying this even if Savage were alive, and I think he's acknowledging Savage the only way he knows how, which is bittersweet.

    I mean, if he really wanted to do the "OH LOOK PAY ATTENTION TO ME NOW" thing he'd be in TNA.


That makes sense. I guess my question should've been posed more in a way to emphasize that I was genuinely curious about his fame during his heyday and his status in wrestling history than to show me being mad at how he was exploiting the Savage situation.

To me, that quote is the same as say, Shawn Kemp or Jerry Stackhouse saying "There are a handful of names that really made the NBA in the 90s, and we're 2 of those names." Or to make it wrestling related, someone like XPac one day talking about how he was such a huge part of the nWo and was responsible for changing wrestling. Its like - Yea, you were there around the same time, and maybe you hung around with those guys - but you couldn't shine their shoes on their worst day.

Thats how I think of Dusty. Yea he had a nice career and a good run, but to put himself in the class of Hogan/Andre/Savage/Flair just because they were his contemporaries is like the waterboy of the football team talking about how the team couldn't have won without him.
Cerebus
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Since: 17.11.02

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.41
My fondest memory having to do with wrestling is a Dusty Rhodes moment. It was a Saturday evening and I was flipping through the channels because John Byner's Bizzare was a rerun. I landed on a wrestling show and saw this fat guy yelling at the Road Warriors. (I was young at that time and I wasn't the wrestling fan I am today, I knew who the Road Warriors were but I wasn't all that familiar with Dusty yet.) The charisma coming from the fat guy was mesmerizing to me. His slurred speech pattern strange, but it sucked me in cause he didn't sound or look like the normal person I would usually see on these wrestling shows that my dad watched. This guy looked like my next door neighbor, he looked like the guy who worked in the back of the grocery store we shopped at, he looked like the plumber who came and snaked the toilet when it clogged up... he didn't look like a 'wrestler' to me, he looked like some dude off the street. An average, everyday guy you see every day, not a superhero character like Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan or the Road Warriors. Then I saw the Road Warriors beat the shit out of the fat guy and stab his eye out with one of their shoulder spikes! HOLY FUCKING SHIT! I was already a bloodthirsty little bastard and loved horror films at this time and this was the greatest thing I had ever seen on TV cause there was blood and a fucking spike in the guys eye. Back then, it was 'real' to me.

The following week (I think?) I made sure to watch the show again to see if the fat guy, who I learned was Dusty Rhodes, was dead. He wasn't. He was alive with a bandage over his eye and he was staring into the camera telling me what he was gonna do to get back at those bastard Road Warriors for blinding him. Again, This guy who should be delivering a new washer and dryer from Sears to our house and asking for a couple bucks for a tip, this average joe guy with the lisp was like magic to me. I was fascinated by him. It was he was the Pied Piper and I was a rat, following his every word and wanting to see more and more of him.

Dusty Rhodes is the guy that finally got me hooked on wrestling. My dad, who was already a fan, did not like him, but was happy that I had finally come around to enjoying the sport.

When Dusty compares himself to Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant... I agree 100%.



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shawnpatrick
Kishke








Since: 31.7.07
From: Leesville SC

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.95
Agree with the others. Dusty was never the #1 guy. Think of him like you do the JYD when it comes to the WWF.
CHAPLOW
Morcilla








Since: 14.5.04
From: right behind you

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.40
Whether Dusty Rhodes is well remembered today is one thing, but you can tell he had an impact because he's mentioned in a song by Outkast...

"Time to drop these bows, like Dusty Rhodes / Then I yell ho!"

That's how *I* know he's important!



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Mr Heel II
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Since: 25.2.02

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.48

    “There’s probably five or six of us, with Andre (the Giant) and (Hulk) Hogan and thankfully myself and (Ric) Flair, that, when their names pop up, even if you’re not a fan, you know who in the hell these people are,” Rhodes said.
In the context of this quote, he's right. Just understand that he's not saying he was a great wrestler or anything else.

But the guy is a name everybody knows.
JustinShapiro
Scrapple
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.24
He was one of the biggest stars in wrestling in the '70s and early '80s in Florida and Georgia. Some people remember him more for late '80s JCP on national TV when he was old and fat(ter) and people had gotten sick of him and he was killing the territory as booker. Or in WWF when he was completely washed up. I only ever saw polka dot Dusty myself (born in '82), but in his prime, like '74-86, he was definitely in the mix he's talking about.

(edited by JustinShapiro on 24.10.11 1520)
JayJayDean
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Since: 2.1.02
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.83
I remember as a WWF-raised kid getting wrestling mags with bloody images of Dusty in bullrope matches with Billy Graham and winning the NWA title a couple of times, and then the Midnight Rider angle where he lost a "Loser Leaves Town"-match (for you kids out there, "getting fired" didn't ALWAYS mean "you'll be back next week like nothing happened") and came back as the Midnight Rider, and (according to the mag) they pulled the Ultimate Dusty Finish with the "Rider" winning the title, only being unable to accept it when you wouldn't sign his real name to the paperwork.

When we finally got NWA TV in our house Dusty was getting obliterated by the Road Warriors and the Koloffs and the Horseman on seemingly a weekly basis. However, Dusty *did* seem to emerge victorious in Bunkhouse Stampede battle royals, where the goal was to throw the guy over the top of the cage, IIRC.



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Scottyflamingo
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Since: 23.6.10
From: Auburn, AL

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.06
I don't think Dusty is quite on the main stream level that Hogan and Andre are. Hell, I'd say Piper is considerably better known. But I'm looking at it as guys that non-fans know. Hogan, Andre, and Piper all had movies. Savage had the Slim Jim thing.
kentish
Andouille








Since: 19.8.05
From: My Old Kentucky Home

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.62
    Originally posted by Scottyflamingo
    I don't think Dusty is quite on the main stream level that Hogan and Andre are. Hell, I'd say Piper is considerably better known. But I'm looking at it as guys that non-fans know. Hogan, Andre, and Piper all had movies. Savage had the Slim Jim thing.

In terms of being a star, I am not sure that Savage or Flair (as much as I love them) belong in the same category as Hogan and Andre. That’s Mt. Rushmore of Wrestling level, and I think only Rock and Austin belong in that same discussion. Savage, Flair, and Dusty were just big stars, not true icons.

Dusty was more of a huge regional star. I started watching wrestling in the early 80s, and knew Dusty was a big deal in the Apter mags. But he was past his prime for the most part, even though he was booked on top in the NWA. However, I went to a WWF house show in late 1989 in Nashville, right after Dusty arrived. This was so early he wasn't even wearing the polka dots yet. Anyway, the pop he received blew the roof off, and to date is the biggest pop I have ever heard at a live event. On a related note, Hogan was also on that card, but the pop he received (while big) was not as loud.




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Matt Tracker
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Since: 8.5.03
From: North Carolina

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.23
I grew up in the Mid-Atlantic region so my perspective is skewed, but before the ascension of Sting, Dusty was the top face in the Four Horsemen era.

He might have lost that if Magnum had not been injured. He could talk, he could brawl, he could work the crowd in a match, and given his size he could work against anyone.

For a time, you couldn't talk about Flair without mentioning Dusty. I still regard Dusty as Flair's archnemesis more than Sting because of the perfect contrast of their gimmicks.



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DJ FrostyFreeze
Knackwurst








Since: 2.1.02
From: Hawthorne, CA

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.93
Read it and weep, fella


    Originally posted by The American Dream, eef you wheel
    “There’s probably five or six of us, with Andre (the Giant) and (Hulk) Hogan and thankfully myself and (Ric) Flair, that, when their names pop up, even if you’re not a fan, you know who in the hell these people are”
This quote wouldnt come off nearly as douchey if he hadnt added "myself" to the list. Keep "us" in the first sentence, but take out "thankfully myself" and it would sound so bad.

I grew up in L.A. on 100% WWF programming. I read about these "other guys" (Steiners, Flair, Anderson, Dusty, etc) in magazines, but I never saw them on TV until they jumped to WWF in the early 90's.

I'm trying to picture all the non-wrestling fans I know, and I dont think any of them would know the name Dusty Rhodes at all.



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JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.24
I would think most of Dusty's lasting cultural impact is in the south. Like kentish said, a huge regional star, ingrained in the area. Same with Flair and the Carolinas, but he has sort of transcended his regionalism to become the grand old crazy man of wrestling.
Trunzo
Cotechino








Since: 25.7.03
From: New York City

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.72
    Originally posted by DJ FrostyFreeze
      Originally posted by The American Dream, eef you wheel
      “There’s probably five or six of us, with Andre (the Giant) and (Hulk) Hogan and thankfully myself and (Ric) Flair, that, when their names pop up, even if you’re not a fan, you know who in the hell these people are”
    This quote wouldnt come off nearly as douchey if he hadnt added "myself" to the list. Keep "us" in the first sentence, but take out "thankfully myself" and it would sound so bad.

    I grew up in L.A. on 100% WWF programming. I read about these "other guys" (Steiners, Flair, Anderson, Dusty, etc) in magazines, but I never saw them on TV until they jumped to WWF in the early 90's.

    I'm trying to picture all the non-wrestling fans I know, and I dont think any of them would know the name Dusty Rhodes at all.


This is what I believe as well. I can say Hogan, Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Macho Man, and to an extent even Ultimate Warrior and Bret Hart to several of my non-wrestling fan friends and they instantly know who I am talking about. If I said Dusty Rhodes, I'd get blank stares.
CRZ
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Since: 9.12.01
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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.39
    Originally posted by Trunzo
    This is what I believe as well. I can say Hogan, Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Macho Man, and to an extent even Ultimate Warrior and Bret Hart to several of my non-wrestling fan friends and they instantly know who I am talking about. If I said Dusty Rhodes, I'd get blank stares.
The original question was "How big of a star was Dusty Rhodes at his peak?"

The answer is "Yes, he *was* THAT big."

We can discuss how big he is in 2011...or to wrestling fans in 2011... but I hope we don't. It's irrelevant, and would just turn into a generational argument.



BigDaddyLoco
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Since: 2.1.02

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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.52
    Originally posted by Trunzo


    To me, that quote is the same as say, Shawn Kemp or Jerry Stackhouse saying "There are a handful of names that really made the NBA in the 90s, and we're 2 of those names." Or to make it wrestling related, someone like XPac one day talking about how he was such a huge part of the nWo and was responsible for changing wrestling. Its like - Yea, you were there around the same time, and maybe you hung around with those guys - but you couldn't shine their shoes on their worst day.




Oh, I don't know if I'd sell X-Pac that short. He actually had to put in a lot of the ring work for the guys he hung around with and people forget it was a very big deal when he went from nWo to DX.

He also brought that X-Factor (yeah I used it) to the early nWo that they sort of lacked. Hall was cool, Nash did some cool things but would be a little embarrassing when it came to his older pop culture references and Hogan was Hogan. X-Pac just by being there bobbing his head and making hand signs brought something to the other three that they would have looked goofy doing by themselves. He was like Sam Cassell a solid guy that puts in the work on a star studded team until he got washed up. Your point was it would be foolish for him to call himself a mega star, and it would, but I just like to argue the merits of X-Pac whenever I see an opening.

... and Shawn Kemp was a beast.

redsoxnation
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Since: 24.7.02

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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.29
You could argue that Dusty had finally run out of gas in Crockett when the crowd popped for Ron Garvin turning on him against Barry Windham in the summer of '88 after he tried to revive the Midnight Rider one last time.
The fans would emotionally invest in Dusty. Having Dusty as the main target was a key component to the Horsemen becoming what they were. When it came to crossover names, Dusty probably doesn't qualify. When it comes to names wrestling fans associate with decades, Dusty is definitely in the top of the conversation for the late 70's and throughout the 80's. And, though many things can be said about his booking, he did devise Wargames: The Match Beyond.
Also, it could be argued in the time period until late '87 or early '88 Dusty was a bigger name than Savage.



(edited by redsoxnation on 24.10.11 1640)
odessasteps
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Since: 2.1.02
From: MD, USA

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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.07
Dusty would not have been NWA champion in the early 80s (before Crockett took control of the NWA) if he was not a big draw and a big star.

I'm also pretty sure he was not a booker for most of his big successful runs. Ole was booker in GA and Eddie Graham in Florida, though Dusty likely had a ton of input.





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