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RIP American Dream Dusty Rhodes  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Mon Jun 15th, 2015 07:24 pm
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bpickering
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News report on the Dream



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"22 years of my fucking life just got fucking ruined!!!!"---Fan outside Wrestlemania XXX

PRO WRESTLING HALL OF FAME: http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/old (updated September 2 2018)

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 Posted: Mon Jun 15th, 2015 09:38 pm
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OUmillenium



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In 1984, I was 12 and the news of David Von Erich dying was like a knife in the heart to me as he was my fave wrestler at the time.

The news of Dusty's death was the hardest wrestler death I have dealt with since 1984. I'm 43 now and other than some late 90s wcw, haven't watched much wrestling since 1988 or so.

I bought lots of wrestling mags 1982-1984 and Dusty was all over those. Got to watch him a little on MidSouth and finally a lot on TBS/WCW in the 80s.

Like so many have said, this one stings



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 Posted: Tue Jun 16th, 2015 09:25 pm
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bpickering
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http://www.WWNLive.com has released a 60 minute DVD titled "Dream" hosted by Dusty Rhodes featuring matches from his Championship Wrestling from Florida era for free for those using their Roku channel. It can be found in the free Preview Channel section.



____________________
"22 years of my fucking life just got fucking ruined!!!!"---Fan outside Wrestlemania XXX

PRO WRESTLING HALL OF FAME: http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/old (updated September 2 2018)

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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2015 01:40 am
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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2015 06:57 am
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bpickering
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Dusty Rhodes was laid to rest in Florida this afternoon.  His son Cody posted the eulogy he gave on his Twitter account, @StardustWWE.  You can read it below.


Attachment: cody.jpg (Downloaded 114 times)



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"22 years of my fucking life just got fucking ruined!!!!"---Fan outside Wrestlemania XXX

PRO WRESTLING HALL OF FAME: http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/old (updated September 2 2018)

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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2015 07:51 am
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srossi
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TNA led off Impact tonight with a brief video of Dusty.



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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2015 04:14 pm
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bpickering
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AMPA — Virgil Runnels Jr’s funeral Wednesday at St. Lawrence Catholic Church was a fitting representation of his career portraying professional wrestler Dusty Rhodes.

Those in attendance spanned the more than four decades he spent in the industry, from retired wrestler Gerald Brisco, who performed alongside Runnels in the 1970s, to Colby Lopez, who portrays current World Wrestling Entertainment champion Seth Rollins and was trained by Runnels at the WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando.

Then there was Tampa as the host of the celebration of his life.

For many who knew him, the city was the perfect setting.

Runnels’ wrestling persona of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes was loved around the world but was born and crafted in Tampa. The city’s residents identified with his blue-collar roots and unabashedly supported his message that the American Dream could be attained with hard work.

Runnels most recently split his time between residences in Marietta, Georgia, and Orlando and was born in Austin, Texas.

But Runnels considered Tampa to be home, said his longtime friend and fellow WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross.

“He had Texas roots and pride and was just as proud to say he was from Tampa,” Ross said.

Runnels’ wife, Michelle Runnels, also has roots in Tampa and the family considers Monsignor Lawrence Higgins of St. Lawrence Catholic Church to be a good friend and spiritual advisor, Ross said.

Runnels died June 11 at the age of 69 due to complications from a fall.

The funeral was a private affair at the request of the family, and fans and media were not allowed inside the church.

On television, the larger-than-life scripted grapplers are never at a loss for words. But on Wednesday, the dozens who attended the funeral were somber and silent when met with the real-life death of their beloved friend.

“We are truly grateful for the outpouring of love and support from Dusty’s colleagues and fans around the world,” said the Runnels family in a prepared statement distributed to the press through the WWE. “Our family appreciates that you continue to respect our privacy at this difficult time.”

Among the well-known members of the wrestling community in attendance were Pat “Patterson” Clermont, Dory Funk, Jr. and Ata Johnson - the daughter of “High Chief” Peter Maivia and mother of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Current stars included Bryan Danielson and Mark Henry.

Two buses filled with future stars who had been learning under Runnels at the WWE Performance Center arrived an hour before the funeral’s 4:30 p.m. start.

Runnels was primarily known to fans as an in-ring performer who won dozens of championships around the world, said Runnels’ biographer, Howard Brody. But while still active, Runnels also became a wrestling “booker,” the title given to the person who scripts the match outcomes and storylines, Brody said.

He later became a broadcaster and finally a trainer at the WWE Performance Center.

“I’m not sure if any other wrestler has had such a diverse impact over such a long period of time,” Brody said.

Still, Runnels first achieved celebrity status in the 1970s with the Championship Wrestling From Florida promotion. He performed in weekly Tuesday night shows at Tampa’s Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory when the city was the southern epicenter of professional wrestling.

“It’s where he became the star we now all know,” said Brody. “Really, it’s where the American Dream was born.”

It was May 14, 1974 at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, to be exact.

Runnels – who had the been known as the bad guy grappler “Dirty” Dusty Rhodes since his first match in Texas in 1968 - was booked on that night’s wrestling card in a tag team match. His partner was fellow evildoer Pak Song; their opponents were the beloved Mike and Eddie Graham.

Midway through the scripted match, Song accidentally knocked Dusty Rhodes from the ring. He thought it was done purposely and attacked Song. The fans sided with Dusty Rhodes and a good guy was born.

“He had been getting cheers for weeks at that point,” Brody said. “The fans loved him despite him being a bad guy. So it was time to turn him.”

In the television interviews that followed that match, Runnels played up a blue-collar persona and said he was living the “American Dream” through his success in the professional wrestling business.

That self-description caught on with the Tampa fans. They chanted “American Dream’’ whenever he performed and it became the nickname that adorned his wrestling stage name.

When Runnels’ career took him out of Tampa in the 1980s and around the world, the name stuck.

Historians have often associated the wrestler’s popularity in Tampa with the fact the city had no professional sports franchises at that time so professional wrestling, even though it was scripted, was the only mainstream athletic competition offered.

“When Tampa needed a sports hero, Dusty fit the bill,” said friend Ross.

But there were dozens of others who fought scripted battles in Tampa for the Championship Wrestling From Florida promotion.

What catapulted Runnels to the position of top star, said Rodney Kite-Powell, curator of the Tampa Bay History Center, was that the Dusty Rhodes character connected with the Tampa demographic of the time.

He was billed as the son of a plumber who spent his childhood digging for employment.

“Tampa was not brimming with tall office towers that offered white-collar jobs back then,” said Powell. “It had mostly manufacturing jobs. It was a city with a lot of workers who punched time clocks. I think fans looked at him as symbol of someone who came up and made something of themselves.”

Further connecting Rhodes to the Tampa fans, said biographer Brody, was that like them he was imperfect as compared to other grapplers whose physiques and faces appeared to be chiseled out of granite.

Dusty Rhodes was more comfortable in jeans and a cowboy hat than a suit. And he had a pot belly and a lisp.

“They lived vicariously through him because they saw themselves in him,” Brody said. “But he was also a great athlete. Dusty could wrestle for an hour. Not many people can do that.”

Runnels was not portraying a character, said friend Ross. There was little difference between who he was and his alter ego.

Runnels’ father was actually a plumber. And Runnels did indeed come from humble roots and earned success largely through his tireless work ethic.

“He was really living the American Dream,” said Bruce Mitchell, a wrestling historian and columnist with Pro Wrestling Torch newsletter. “He very much believed in his character and the message it portrayed. While it was a performance, it was real to him and came across that way to the fans in a city that associated with who he was.”

Even the way Dusty Rhodes spoke was how Runnels spoke - in a charismatic manner that was one part Southern preacher and one part Muhammad Ali.

“It was not an act,’’ Mitchell said. “He was very unique and that personality was perfect for wrestling.”

Jody Simon - the son of late-wrestler Lawrence Simon who portrayed the evil Russian Boris Malenko in Tampa from the 1950s through 1970s - said when he was a kid and would run into Runnels in the locker room, small talk would turn into a kind-hearted lecture.

“He always made sure I was studying and working hard and listening to my parents,” Simon said. “He earnestly cared that all the kids in Tampa - not just me - grew up right.”

Simon is leading the charge to raise $250,000 for a memorial wall in honor of all the professional wrestlers who once performed in Tampa. The wall would be in the future Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center that will be built inside the armory building that hosted the matches.

“The outpouring of sadness from Tampa to the news of Dusty’s death is a sad reminder of how much wrestling once meant to Tampa,” Simon said.

“Dusty was lucky to have Tampa,” Ross said. “And Tampa was even luckier to have Dusty.”

Runnels is survived by his wife, Michelle Rubio Runnels; children Dustin, Kristin Ditto, Teil Gergel, and Cody; brother, Larry, sister, Connie Jones; and five grandchildren.



____________________
"22 years of my fucking life just got fucking ruined!!!!"---Fan outside Wrestlemania XXX

PRO WRESTLING HALL OF FAME: http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/old (updated September 2 2018)

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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2015 05:15 pm
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bpickering
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"Well, I've got to run to keep from hidin',
And I'm bound to keep on ridin'.
And I've got one more silver dollar,
But I'm not gonna let 'em catch me, no,
Not gonna let 'em catch the Midnight Rider."

- The Allman Brothers

Dusty Rhodes was laid to rest earlier today as I write this and I am shocked it's taken me this long to wrap my head around the passing of The "American Dream" but the reality is, I still don't know what to say.

From the Thursday where I learned of his passing a week ago, every night I sat down at the end of the day, hoping to write the perfect words to truly convey what a tragedy Dusty's passing is. The reality is that at the end of the attempt, I simply deleted what I wrote and turned off the laptop and went to sleep, because not only could I not get the job done right, all I did was get more and more upset about his passing.

I wondered for a long time about why Dusty's passing bothered me so much. As sad as it is to admit this, I've written about the deaths of a lot of people since writing about wrestling became my full-time profession in 2004, including people I genuinely liked and a few I considered friends. As troubling as all of those were, none of them prevented my from being able to do my job, but the death of Dusty seemed like some task that couldn't ever, truly, be explained properly.

Tonight, my writing process began anew but after 35 minutes of trying to write about his career and why I personally liked his work so much, again I got frustrated and began to say the hell with it all, but then I started jotting down a list of all the reasons why this was impossible, and in doing so, maybe I'll provide some insight into why Dusty was so important and why his passing was, to me, the closest thing professional wrestling could have to the passing of a Head of State.

For me, personally, learning of Dusty's passing was learning that someone who you really owed something to had passed before you had the chance to pay him back. I've told the story before on audio, but growing up I was a WWF fan and that was it. Perhaps due to Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper (or more likely, the association of Mr. T) or the fact that it was on the same channel as Saturday Night Live. but for whatever reason, 9-10 year old Mike Johnson believed that WWF was the "real wrestling show" and everything else was just a knockoff. Then, one fateful holiday (my mind says Thanksgiving, but that can't be right, so perhaps a Christmas), we went to visit my Great-Aunt Jessie in Belleville, NJ (meaning I visited there before there was a Balls Mahoney) and she had this new thing called cable TV. There was a listing for wrestling on and after dinner, as the adults talked, I snuck into the living room and put it on.

I expected, for some reason, to watch WWF. It was Jim Crockett Promotions and the first thing I saw was a Jim Cornette promo. It was nothing like I had ever seen and as I continued to watch amazed, Dusty Rhodes came on the screen. It was as if a new chapter in my love of pro wrestling had officially begun.

Remember this was the era of The Hulkster and everything in WWF was big and larger then life and flashy. Out comes Dusty Rhodes in denim and a bandanna, scarred forehead, heavyset, bleached blonde hair. "Who was this?" I thought when he came out. By the end of the promo, I knew. He was the American Dream. I immediately asked my parents if we could get cable. It would be a year or so before it was available where I lived but as happy as I was to be watching the first Survivor Series on PPV, Saturdays on TBS were as important an institution to me as church on Sunday.

Where Hulk Hogan might have been Superman, Dusty Rhodes was Captain America. He wasn't invulnerable, but even when he was hurt, he kept on fighting. His spirit was unconquerable. He spoke with the charisma of three men. Unlike Hogan, he could lose but every time he did, he promised he would keep fighting as long as the people were with him. Hulk Hogan was a real life animated character, Dusty was a grizzled professional fighter.

Before Dusty Rhodes, cowboys were things that to me, existed in old movies. I was from Queens, NY and all I knew after watching Dusty, is that cowboys were badasses and so were the wrestlers in Jim Crockett Promotions. Where WWF was fun, the NWA was about men going to war to see who was better, who was the champion and who was going to get revenge. Those three unspoken tenants still define how I believe pro wrestlers should be presented on TV today.

Of course, little did I know at the time, Dusty was not only commanding my attention as a viewer, but commanding the entire ship that was, to me, the National Wrestling Alliance. I had no idea what a booker was, but once I learned, I was even more blown away - not only was Dusty the guy I loved to watch fight off the bad guys, but he was responsible FOR the same bad guys I loved, the ones who were too cool not to respect, like Tully Blanchard or too great not to enjoy, like The Midnight Express and he was responsible for what I still feel (sorry, Royal Rumble) was the greatest gimmick/stipulation/attraction match I've ever seen, The Wargames.

Dusty was the river that everything ran through and that's sort of appropriate because it wasn't just Jim Crockett Promotions but the entire history of professional wrestling over the last few decades that ran through River Dusty. The man's career took a path that no one else in the history of the genre could have, because he worked EVERYWHERE. If there was a wrestling promotion of note, Dusty walked it's halls at some point. The AWA, Memphis, The WWWF, all over Texas, Championship Wrestling from Florida, Jim Crockett Promotions, WCW, The WWF, MLW, ECW, Ring of Honor, WWE, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Mid-South/UWF, 3PW, his own promotions PWF and TCW, TNA, WWE developmental, countless independent professional wrestling events and a few promotions I am probably forgetting. That's how massive his body of work was.

The best part of that body of work is a lesson that Dusty left for a lot of others to try and learn from as they study his tapes today. Everything that he did, for the most part, felt real. There was a credibility to him. Sure, he was playful at times with that smile and during his WWF run, the polka dots replaced the blue denim, but you take any Dusty Rhodes promo, any brawl, any championship win, any match and Dusty makes you do something that not everyone in today's pro wrestling can do - he makes you believe. There was no Dusty Rhodes character - he was simply a man that at times, took over Virgil Runnels' body when the red light of the camera turned on.

If anyone was a walking testament to what was great about professional wrestling - it's credibility, it's creative spirit, it's realism and the pure fun that is pro wrestling, the art form, it was Dusty Rhodes. He was not only lucky enough to learn from a Bill Watts, a Fritz Von Erich, an Eddie Graham and so many others, but he was in the position to try and give it back, as a booker, as an opponent in the ring, as a TV producer, as a creative force, as a Coach in NXT and beyond. When you try to make a list of everyone Dusty booked into a position to either be a star or to become a nationally known performer, its an endless list. You may as well count to infinity. Not every idea was the greatest, but they were unique and different.

Dusty as much as anyone, was the yin to WWF's yang. Some will look at Eric Bischoff and I can't argue that for a time, he certainly was Vince McMahon's equal but Dusty fought the good fight for Jim Crockett Promotions, during a time where the majority of fans thought the way I did - that it was WWF and everything else - and with limited resources, often went head to head drawing good to great crowds, with wrestling that blew WWF away, promos that blew WWF away and who knows, had finances and timing been different, it might still be a two company race today. Ric Flair once said at a Mid-Atlantic Legends convention that had Crockett Promotions remained East of the Mississippi River and never ventured past that point, no one could have blown them out with dynamite. He might be right, but we'll never know. What we do know is that when Crockett was at it's strongest as a nationally televised promotion, Dusty was a major component in why it was working in front of the camera, and no amount of "Dusty Finishes" should ever detract from that.

Dusty was, as oft-quoted, fond of "making movies" when it came to how he presented professional wrestling and on his best days, he created materpieces. Everyone looks upon the Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes feud as genius. Everyone remembers the Horsemen attacking Dusty in the parking lot. Dusty screaming "an eye for an eye and violence for the sake of violence" after The Road Warriors turned on him. Dusty defeating Harley Race for the World title. Dusty leading his team into The Match Beyond, the night Nikita Koloff came out and formed The Superpowers....these are endless movies that he wrote, that he performed in and that he produced. There's also some clunkers, to be sure! I'll allow you to track down "Cactus Jack Lost in Cleveland" on your own. You won't thank me, I assure you, but to me at least, those were few and far in between and more of a by-product of how ridiculously mismanaged WCW was at times.

I love that WWE kept Dusty around as NXT evolved. He was immediate credibility when they needed him on TV and behind the scenes, was so important as a fatherly figure and as a promo coach that the sense of loss in and around the Performance Center last week was immeasurable. There's a huge void in that building that can never, ever be filled, because there will never be another Dusty Rhodes.

That same void will be felt throughout the wrestling industry. There is a huge link in the chain that is now gone forever, along with all the intelligence, history, love and passion that Dusty carried with him. The wrestling business isn't built for another Dusty to come along and become a massive star and perhaps his last lesson will be to remind everyone that what's missing in wrestling today is the chance for there to be another Dusty Rhodes, as opposed to the next guy who looks like he came off the pro wrestler assembly line. Wrestling is always best when it's like a circus, with all sorts of shapes and sizes...and Dusty, well, he was and always will be, the Ringmaster, to me.

But Dusty was a lot of things to a lot of people and that's part of his magic. He was the corporate cowboy, the master of the bionic elbow, the man with the lisp that you always understood, the heart of wrestling in Florida, the creative force behind the magical years of Jim Crockett Promotions, the three time World champion and yes indeed, The Midnight Rider.

"No, I'm not gonna let 'em catch me, no
Not gonna let 'em catch the Midnight Rider."

The chase is over and no one will ever catch The Midnight Rider, but make no mistake, The American Dream lives on, forever, in the heart of professional wrestling, where he was always and always will be, home. I can think of no better Valhalla for the "Bull of the Woods, baby."



____________________
"22 years of my fucking life just got fucking ruined!!!!"---Fan outside Wrestlemania XXX

PRO WRESTLING HALL OF FAME: http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/old (updated September 2 2018)

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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2015 08:47 pm
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bpickering
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Dustin "Rhodes" Runnells posted his eulogy for his father online today:

"Thank you all for being here today. I know dad is looking down right now on this and us, and i truly believe he knows just how loved he really was. Our father would have loved all this attention. What can i say about the worlds greatest dad? Pops was honorable, he was kind, he was more than fair, he was sweet, charismatic, he was gentle, he was so loving and giving. He cared with a passion unlike anything that I have ever seen. To me when times were tough he told me on a daily basis to keep steppin. He worked hard at everything he put his hands on and created magic. He touched so many. Dad was an incredible man. He loved life and he loved us, his family so much. I know we have all heard this before and I hadn't really realized it until now, that Life is a lot shorter than any of us realize and you just don't know what you have until it's gone. He was greatness and I miss him terribly. I loved the time that I spent with pops whether it be hunting, or at the house, or at the office, there were always lessons to be had. When he told stories he captivated a room. My father was simply put the greatest man I ever knew. He was an incredible husband an incredible father to us kids, an incredible grandfather, an incredible teacher and an incredible friend. He taught me so so many lessons in life. I never stop moving and try to stay busy because of him. It is sad that he is gone but I know he is not in pain now and now he is getting funky like a monkey with the angels in heaven. I miss you dad. I love you dad. You are and forever will be my hero. God loved you and now you're home. I will see you again someday. Thank you pops! And to my family. Luke 1:37 says For with God, nothing shall be impossible. If we as a family can put our trust in god, we can and will get through anything. While on the ride called life, you have to take the good with the bad, smile when you are sad, love what you've got and remember what you had. Always forgive, but never forget. Learn from your mistakes but never regret. People change. Things go wrong. Just remember, the ride goes on. I love you guys, and I love you dad."



____________________
"22 years of my fucking life just got fucking ruined!!!!"---Fan outside Wrestlemania XXX

PRO WRESTLING HALL OF FAME: http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/old (updated September 2 2018)

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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2015 10:58 pm
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bpickering
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"22 years of my fucking life just got fucking ruined!!!!"---Fan outside Wrestlemania XXX

PRO WRESTLING HALL OF FAME: http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/old (updated September 2 2018)

RIP UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1776-2016
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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2015 01:55 am
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bpickering
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"22 years of my fucking life just got fucking ruined!!!!"---Fan outside Wrestlemania XXX

PRO WRESTLING HALL OF FAME: http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/old (updated September 2 2018)

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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2015 02:00 am
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lobo316
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Thanks to all of you for posting such great pics of Dusty, many of which I've never seen before.

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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2015 02:31 am
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srossi
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lobo316 wrote: Thanks to all of you for posting such great pics of Dusty, many of which I've never seen before.
Ditto. These last 2 are great. 



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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2015 03:54 am
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WongLee
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The Blackjacks and Heenan with Dusty is an incredible shot. I'm guessing 1973.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2015 06:40 am
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bpickering
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ESPN's tribute on Dusty

http://pwinsider.com/article/94510/espn-pays-tribute-to-dusty-rhodes.html?p=1



http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=13104511

Last edited on Fri Jun 19th, 2015 06:45 am by bpickering



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"22 years of my fucking life just got fucking ruined!!!!"---Fan outside Wrestlemania XXX

PRO WRESTLING HALL OF FAME: http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/old (updated September 2 2018)

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