WWE is deeply saddened that Virgil Runnels, aka “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes — WWE Hall of Famer, three-time NWA Champion and one of the most captivating and charismatic figures in sports entertainment history — passed away today at the age of 69.
Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews and his indomitable spirit. Moreover, Runnels was a dedicated father to WWE Superstars Goldust (Dustin Runnels) and Stardust (Cody Runnels), a caring husband and a creative visionary who helped shape the landscape of WWE long after his in-ring career had ended.
WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Runnels’ family, friends and colleagues.
For me, a child of the '70s, you didn't have Flair without Rhodes. Sting was the later feud, and that was also engrossing for a young Tracker, but Dusty and Flair -- incorporating Dusty vs. the Horsemen -- was THE blood supply of NWA. He also got worked over by the Road Warriors in a horrifying moment at the Atlanta studios. And he came back. Dude always came back. And the baby Doll angle was so, so good.
His WWF run was an aberration. It never looked right, even if it gave us a fantastic entrance theme.
But the man is my favorite talker in the business, to this day. I mean, all of us can trade Dustyisms all day long. He was far from eloquent, but he was a powerful speaker. The promo where he begged Dustin to let him join the fight against Col. Parker's guys is mandatory viewing. I DON'T NEED NO HANDSHAKE.
I mean, JESUS.
(edited by Matt Tracker on 11.6.15 1205) "To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
Originally posted by Matt TrackerBut the man is my favorite talker in the business, to this day. I mean, all of us can trade Dustyisms all day long. He was far from eloquent, but he was a powerful speaker. The promo where he begged Dustin to let him join the fight against Col. Parker's guys is mandatory viewing. I DON'T NEED NO HANDSHAKE.
When people who weren't Letterman fans were talking about not getting the hoopla around his retirement, I tried to explain to them that even if they didn't personally like Letterman, they almost surely liked someone who was influenced by him.
Same goes for Dusty. He impacted so many guys, that even if you didn't grow up with him (and I didn't, really), you surely grew up having felt his influence. It would be almost impossible not to.
A whole new stratosphere is reserved for Dusty now. RIP.
(edited by Hogan's My Dad on 11.6.15 1304) Quiet, Or Papa Spank!
Aw, I'm sorry to hear that the Dream is gone. I wasn't yet a wrestling fan back in his heyday, but I have heard so many Dusty stories from just about everyone in the business that I almost feel as if I had been.
To be honest, the few times I saw him wrestle I wasn't very impressed. But whenever he had an interview or a promo, I was captivated. it didn't matter if it was a serious bit like the 'hard times' promo or 'the view never changes' or if it was goofy stuff like when he was an announcer gushing about "he's got a bicycle!", Dusty Rhodes was always entertaining to listen to.
It's interesting (to me at least) to note that on Instagram there were plenty of tributes among the young WWE & NXT wrestlers who probably got into wrestling after Dusty's heyday, especially among the divas like Summer Rae and Lana among others. They really went into detail about how Dusty was a great presence for their development. I think it speaks to his influence that even to the very end, he wasn't just a legendary wrestler but he was also a man who was very involved in creating wrestling into what it is today. He may be gone but his teachings and ideas will stay alive and be an important part of how we view wrestling for a long time to come. RIP and godspeed on your trip back home to the mothership, Dusty.