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Superstar
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As reported by PWinsider...

WWE.com just reported the following. 

"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."

Stu and I were in the middle of recording our show when the news came in.  We are both devastated to hear of the passing of one of the all time greats.  We here at PWInsider.com sent along our deepest sympathies to his friends and family.  Stu and I will be talking about The Dream.  RIP Dream.

Last edited on Thu Jun 11th, 2015 10:04 pm by Superstar

srossi
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WTF happened?  He was on TV until fairly recently and seemed to be in good health. 

R.I.P.

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aw man... :(

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Ugh. RIP.

Sad day.

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RIP Dream

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Rest in Peace Big Dust

srossi
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This is getting incredible mainstream coverage.  FOX Sports, ESPN, ABC, TMZ, etc. all covering it.  Dusty is the top trend on Facebook and Twitter right now.

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I think this is my favourite promo by any wrestler, Hard Times - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9py4aMK3aIU

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Damn that sucks. R.I.P.  He was looking a little frail to me when they were doing the whole Goldust vs. Stardust thing.

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This is terrible news... RIP Dream

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Angelic Assassin wrote: Damn that sucks. R.I.P.  He was looking a little frail to me when they were doing the whole Goldust vs. Stardust thing.
Yes he did not look good.
RIP to a great entertainer. Saw him a handful of times in person (pre Common Man thank goodness) and always gave your money's worth.

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Terrible loss, he was one of the all time greats...RIP Big Dust

bpickering
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Wow Shocking...Sad day for the wrestling world.

RIP Dream



Attachment: 11389994_848973075156396_3345789909404568410_n.jpg (Downloaded 147 times)

Last edited on Thu Jun 11th, 2015 11:34 pm by bpickering

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Loved to hate him, hated to love him, an irreplaceable part of us all has gone.
RIP Big Dust

bpickering
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Dusty's death is getting reported by the major news groups. CNN. NBC news and so on.

bpickering
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Kevin Owens

Dusty...

These past few weeks, I kept telling myself that I had to find time to stop by the Performance Center and talk to Dusty. I wanted to thank him for all of his help in the last year and make sure he knew how grateful I was for the chance I got to work with him. But I've been very busy and just couldn't find the time.

Well, today, I learned that Dusty Rhodes has passed away.

There are no words to express the sadness I feel, not only because I won't get to see him or talk to him or laugh with him again, but because I didn't get to tell him how special he was to me.

So today, I invite you all to make time to tell the people in your lives how much they mean to you...You never know what tomorrow will bring.

I can only hope that even though I didn't get to tell him directly, Dusty knew how much I appreciated and valued his help, wisdom, support and friendship. He was unlike anybody I've ever met in this industry and to say that I will always remember him and be thankful for the honor of having known him is an understatement.

In the meantime, the entire NXT crew is on its way to Pittsburgh where we will do what we do best. And you can bet every single second of tonight and every other NXT show this week are dedicated to the memory of the legendary, one-and-only Dusty Rhodes.

My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time...especially his children. Your father was an incredible coach and an even better man. He will be greatly missed.

Dusty used to call us "his NXT kids"... Well, I think I speak for all of us at when I say that tonight and every other night from here on out, we will give it our all for you, Dusty.

We'll make you proud, Dream.

Thank you for the memories...thank you for everything.

Much love,

Kevin

bpickering
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bpickering
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pwinsider.com

TMZ is reporting that emergency personnel responded to the home of Dusty Rhodes, in Orlando, FL, yesterday morning at 5:56 AM. They responding to a call that Rhodes had fallen there.

He was hospitalized and according to TMA suffered "numerous complications" that led to his passing this morning

Once again, we pass along our deepest condolences to his friends and family.

srossi
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Ric Flair:


“Today, I lost one of my greatest opponents and greatest friends. He was the definition of heart and soul and I’m honored to have shared the ring with him countless times.  He became the ‘American Dream’ because wrestling needed a hero they could respect, and he was the man for the job. Dusty Rhodes, I will miss you my mentor and friend.”

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Love him or hate him, he was mainstream. RIP Big Dust.

bpickering
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HBF wrote: Love him or hate him, he was mainstream. RIP Big Dust.
Just by the posts on FB and twitter alone you would think the President died. All 3 network news, CNN,  all 3 of my local news stations and many other news outlets posted  about Dusty's death.

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Where did Kevin Owens post his tribute to Dusty ?

bpickering
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lobo316 wrote: Where did Kevin Owens post his tribute to Dusty ?Twitter

bpickering
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Wonder if the Network did a breaking news like they did for Gagne. If they did its not on demand yet.

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rip dream, sad times. i can only hope they may now as a token give cody or stardust some actual direction?

regardless, still very unfortunate.

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Definitely sad.  Rest in peace.


bpickering
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Is there a major promotion did not work in. AWA,NWA,WCW,WWF,ECW,TNA,ROH worked in them all.

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Dusty was one of those workers that was larger than life.

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Yeah, this one hurts.

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Not a fan of his ring work, but I loved his Promos.

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freebirdsforever2001 wrote: Not a fan of his ring work, but I loved his Promos.

Same here. 
I have always wanted to see "The Dealer" promo, again, from NWA days.  If anybody has it or finds it, please post it here.  That is in my Top 10 of Best Promos.  
RIP Big Dust and the Splotch 

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R.I.P.

I'll take Dusty Rhodes in his prime over any of the vanilla midgets or high flyers of past 15-20 years

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RIP

As big a name as there was when I was growing up.

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This one sucks big time. HUGE part of my childhood. Watching the Dream on TBS every Saturday.

For a time Dusty was probably the number 2 most influential person in the sport. He booked JCP to a great run no matter the final result. 85 - 87 was a magical period.

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Boz1515 wrote: Yeah, this one hurts.

Exactly what I was going to say.  This one stings.

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Dusty was on the first card I ever saw in person, teaming with JYD vs. Kamala and King Kong Bundy. Only other time I saw him in person was a WWF show, I think against Savage.
RIP

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I was in total shock this afternoon when I logged on facebook & saw that Richard 'O' had posted the link to TMZ. The guy was larger than life & so many wrestlers that came after & made money in the business probably owe Big Duss some sort of gratitude. He was all he was cracked up to be & more. For me, there was nothing like a Dusty blade & sell job. I used to stare at his photos in the magazines of him & his Rand McNally roadmap forehead as a kid & imagine the pain & abuse this man endured at the hands of guys like Jos Leduc, Mark Lewin, Abdullah The Butcher, Bruiser Brody, Pak Song, Ole Anderson, Ivan Koloff, Kevin Sullivan, Bob Roop, Billy Graham, The Sheik, The Spoiler, The Funk Brothers, The Zambuie Express, King Curtis, etc, etc.

I used to put any color picture of him where he was bleeding & his bleach blond hair was soaked in blood on my wall lol. One of my favorite color posters as a kid was a big 35" × 25" pic of him & Superstar Graham in their infamous MSG Bullrope match blowoff all covered in blood.

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bpickering wrote: Is there a major promotion did not work in. AWA,NWA,WCW,WWF,ECW,TNA,ROH worked in them all.
No.  Dusty worked everywhere.  He was basically the #2 draw worldwide behind Andre from '76 to '86, and after he retired from full time ring work, he was still in demand amongst any promotion that would work with him and could afford to pay him.  NXT is the biggest promotion in the last 30 years that he didn't wrestle in, but he did so much behind the scenes that it pretty much counts as "work".  

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srossi wrote: WTF happened?  He was on TV until fairly recently and seemed to be in good health. 

R.I.P.


It's funny. If you saw a regular guy looking like Dusty Rhodes did, and didn't know any better, you would think you were looking at a guy with one foot in the grave. Dusty looked horrible in his recent appearances, but he looked horrible for the last 20 years. He looked horrible when he was an active wrestler, but he was an anomaly. He was that athletic guy who looked completely nonathletic. 

I'm shocked he died. I kinda thought he would live forever.

Sad day. 

Last edited on Fri Jun 12th, 2015 07:16 am by TXM

bpickering
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The passing of Dusty Rhodes was covered tonight by WPIX channel 11 in New York City during their 10 PM broadcast during the sports coverage.

Sports anchor Scott Stanford (the WWE announcer) had Jim Ross on discussing Rhodes' passing earlier today.

The segment opened with clips of Dusty Rhodes' WWE Hall of Fame induction. Stanford noted Rhodes was a "pop culture icon."

Ross commented that Dusty was a larger than life pop culture hero and people recognized him because he sounded different, he looked different and was a trailblazer who did things that wrestlers before him had not done.

Ross said that Rhodes showed that with charisma and heart, you could connect with the audience and that you didn't need to be a bodybuilder to make it in pro wrestling.

He noted Rhodes was the son of a plumber in Texas and always portrayed himself as a "blue collar hero."

Stanford closed the segment noting Dusty was gone "way too soon."

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By the way, I reported this to the board, but didn't say anything about it myself at that time. The reason is, I was pretty much not able to give any opinion or feeling because I was so stunned.

People keep saying that "Dusty doesn't look good" after every appearance. What everybody doesn't realize, anybody over 50 that gets the lap band to lose weight NEVER looks good afterward. Big Dust dropped about 120 lbs in the last four years of his life and did it the healthy way. He was fucking OLD in not only wrestler years, but in 'overweight by 75+lbs for his entire adult life' years. I hate to say this, but I fully expected to be mourning the loss of Ric Flair long before I ever had to be upset about losing Dusty Rhodes. I started watching WWF in 1982, and got cable in 1984. I started watching Dusty on World Wide Wrestling, then in '85 on TBS (which was like bizarro world when I saw Flair cheered on WWW and booed on TBS). Dusty was my favorite NWA wrestler at that time. Listeneing to him talk, and watching him take beatings, bleed, and come back to win or lose by DQ was always believable to me. I ALWAYS liked Dusty Rhodes, even (and maybe more so) when he came to the WWF as the Americana ________ every week. From plumber, to gas station guy, to pizza delivery guy, to garbage man pre Duke Droese...I LOVED the idea of Big Dust coming to the WWF to at least fight for the IC belt. It didn't work out great, but it was fun.

When Dusty went back to the NWA, he only wrestled on the Japan PPV, and I thought it was over...but when he showed up in ECW to fight Corino, I legit paid for the PPV that they were in just to see the match. Not to mention the half assed attempt at turning him heel in WCW the year before that got me interested just because of the dynamic he built with Scott Hall. I even enjoyed his time in TNA when things were all over the place - I could feel his fingerprints on some of the product and wished he had full control on the booking.
I haven't felt this shitty about a wrestler dying since Eddie Guerrero...and he was still active. Dusty was the best of his era, wrestling ability aside, and nobody has replaced him since retirement. It's a really REALLY bad day. RIP to the original Stardust.

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RIP to Dusty- a true legend of wrestling.

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Superstar wrote: By the way, I reported this to the board, but didn't say anything about it myself at that time. The reason is, I was pretty much not able to give any opinion or feeling because I was so stunned.

People keep saying that "Dusty doesn't look good" after every appearance. What everybody doesn't realize, anybody over 50 that gets the lap band to lose weight NEVER looks good afterward. Big Dust dropped about 120 lbs in the last four years of his life and did it the healthy way. He was fucking OLD in not only wrestler years, but in 'overweight by 75+lbs for his entire adult life' years. I hate to say this, but I fully expected to be mourning the loss of Ric Flair long before I ever had to be upset about losing Dusty Rhodes. I started watching WWF in 1982, and got cable in 1984. I started watching Dusty on World Wide Wrestling, then in '85 on TBS (which was like bizarro world when I saw Flair cheered on WWW and booed on TBS). Dusty was my favorite NWA wrestler at that time. Listeneing to him talk, and watching him take beatings, bleed, and come back to win or lose by DQ was always believable to me. I ALWAYS liked Dusty Rhodes, even (and maybe more so) when he came to the WWF as the Americana ________ every week. From plumber, to gas station guy, to pizza delivery guy, to garbage man pre Duke Droese...I LOVED the idea of Big Dust coming to the WWF to at least fight for the IC belt. It didn't work out great, but it was fun.

When Dusty went back to the NWA, he only wrestled on the Japan PPV, and I thought it was over...but when he showed up in ECW to fight Corino, I legit paid for the PPV that they were in just to see the match. Not to mention the half assed attempt at turning him heel in WCW the year before that got me interested just because of the dynamic he built with Scott Hall. I even enjoyed his time in TNA when things were all over the place - I could feel his fingerprints on some of the product and wished he had full control on the booking.
I haven't felt this shitty about a wrestler dying since Eddie Guerrero...and he was still active. Dusty was the best of his era, wrestling ability aside, and nobody has replaced him since retirement. It's a really REALLY bad day. RIP to the original Stardust.


Always believable to me too.  He didn't wrestle a ton of holds, but I don't get the hate for his in-ring work that so many feel.  I always felt he was one of those guys that could make anyone look good and every match was very good.

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Yesterday my father passed away with his four children, my daughter and his wife of 38 yrs. he was our hero and the greatest father in the world. He is the reason why I am who I am today. He taught me so so many lessons in life. He had 1 thing that he wanted to be and that was he wanted to be forever young. Now he is. Now he is dancing with angels in heaven. He was my mentor, my hero and a dad that I strive to be like. I love you dad. Thank you for all the overwhelmingly amount of love and support. He would have been on cloud 9 with this. Thank you all. Dustin Runnels

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CNN obit:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/11/entertainment/dusty-rhodes-obit/index.html?sr=tw061115dustyrhodes4pStoryGallPhoto


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The NXT kids seem to be taking this harder than anyone.  Here's a really long piece by Sami Zayn:

Earlier today, I was devastated to hear about the passing of Dusty Rhodes. Words like ‘shock’ and ‘sadness’ come to mind, but don’t truly capture the whirlwind of emotions that take place when you are blindsided by news like this. It was particularly shocking to me because I had seen him almost every day this week at the WWE Performance Center when I went in to rehab my shoulder. He appeared to be in good health and so it was really hard for me to believe that the news was true. But as I read more and more about it, and tears filled my eyes, I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I came home and decided to just write a little bit about Dusty. Many mourners referred to Dusty as a great mentor and a great teacher, which he absolutely was. But I would like to share with you the little things about Dusty that I greatly appreciated in my time with him. He was a great guy.

I need to start by stating that Dusty was a particularly huge influence and a great help to me when I first arrived at WWE. I started with the WWE in February 2013, reporting to FCW in Tampa, FL, the developmental territory at the time and predecessor for the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Despite coming to WWE with 11 years of experience already under my belt, the idea of “cutting a promo” terrified me when I first got here. Though I had done a lot before getting to WWE, my interviews or “promos” had consisted of only a few words. I had relied on a lot of my non-verbal skills to get to WWE, but the jig was up now that I had signed. It was time to learn, and school was in session every Thursday at the FCW arena: promo class with Dusty Rhodes. 

I don’t know if you’ve ever had to do something that you weren’t good at, in front of someone who happened to be one of the best of all time at it, but needless to say it is intimidating. But Dusty washed away a lot of my fears very quickly, as he took a liking to me right away, and was very nurturing. He really encouraged me to speak in a conversational and natural manner. There is no greater confidence booster than getting a sign of approval from one of the greatest talkers in the history of our industry. As my confidence grew, so too did my interview skills. After every interview, we would tell me what he liked, what not to do, and would frequently remark how I “reminded him of a young Robin Williams”. It made me laugh every time, and it still does, because I still don’t see it. 

Dusty is also responsible for my name and character upon my arrival to WWE. After dropping my previous persona from the independents upon signing, I had to choose a new name and a new identity; a new character. It was Dream’s belief in me as a more natural, conversational speaker that helped my decision to more or less just be myself. Picking a name proved to be difficult though, as I had submitted three separate lists of names, all of which had been rejected. Finally, I was asked to narrow it down to 3-5 names and I had a private meeting with Dream to make the big decision. Well, that meeting lasted about a minute. 

“So, which name do you like?” Dusty said, in his unmistakable and frequently imitated lisp. “Uh, I don’t know…I kind of like Sami Zayn”, I replied sheepishly. Bear in mind, I had kept this name on each of the lists, and so the name Sami Zayn had been rejected three times at this point. “Hmm…Sami Zayn……Sami….Zayn….” he said, as he slowly waved his arm laterally, as if visualizing it on a marquee. He paused, and nodded dramatically. “Yeah, that’s the name. You tell them Dream said Sami Zayn is the name.” And so it was, just like that. Even now telling that story, I have a grin on my face from ear to ear.

I grew so much as a performer thanks to Dusty and my two and a half years spent with him learning to communicate. But for as much as he did for me professionally, the lessons I took from him as a person resonated with me even more.

WWE developmental is a place where you need to learn to navigate the waters of a very unique business, and there are times it can feel like a political minefield. Perhaps what I found most refreshing about Dusty Rhodes is that he was a true life cowboy and sincerely did not give a damn. He spoke his mind. He was defiant. He rocked the boat. He was unapologetic where people were often worried about voicing opinions that differed too much from the norm. In short, he was himself. I can’t tell you how much that resonated with me. And while I don’t aspire to be the cowboy that Dusty was (I could never pull it off any way) he solidified my own faith in myself. He taught me about standing by your convictions and having an opinion of your own, whether it was the popular one or not. For a man who was such a great speaker, it was his actions rather than his words that made the biggest impact of all on me. 

In my entire time with Dusty, I honestly don’t remember seeing him in a really bad mood. He was always very lighthearted around the Performance Center, and cracked jokes every single time he would see me. I laughed a lot around Dusty Rhodes. He was very funny, sometimes when he wanted to be, and sometimes just because he was.

One of my favorite things that Dusty would do that would make me laugh, was brag. I absolutely loved it when he would brag. He was just completely unapologetic; he knew exactly how good he was, and he would tell you about it. He would just tell these great stories about himself in his prime; about this amazing promo he cut, and how it sold out the building the next time they came to town. It was done in such honesty, that it was almost humble in a very twisted way; the opposite of someone you can tell thinks they are great but are obviously trying to downplay it. It’s hard to explain, but trust me, it was amazing.

Another thing he did that would make me laugh a lot is he would call people by the wrong name. I still don’t know if he did it on purpose or not, but it was just hilarious. For example, Enzo Amore, one of his star students in promo class and arguably the best talker on a week to week basis in promo class for the last three years…and Dream would still call him “Enzio”. This would make me laugh, every single time, without exception. I’m laughing right now just thinking about it.

My favorite of his wrong names though is undoubtedly when Kevin Owens first showed up at the Performance Center. Kevin came into WWE as Kevin Steen. Usually when a new talent arrives to the PC, his/her first week is only observation, and sometimes just a quick getting to know you. However, on one particular night when many important guests were in attendance (“Luminaries”, as Dream would call them), Dusty decided to surprise everyone and put Kevin on the spot by calling up “Kip Stern” to cut a promo. Kevin just stared blankly because his name was Kevin Steen, not Kip Stern. This awkward silence filled the room for a good 10 seconds until William Regal, who was sitting next to Kevin, nudged him with his elbow and said, “You should probably go up there.” Good God, I still laugh about that one all the time. There’s a road here in Orlando called Stern Street and every single time I drive by it, I do my best Dream impression and say, “Let’s see Kip Stern”. Then I laugh.

As I recount these little anecdotes, I can’t help but feel so lucky to have gotten the past two and a half years to work with Dusty. This man had seen it all, done it all, watched generations come and go, and had a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the business that literally no one else on earth possessed. I got to share in that and that’s just amazing to me. 

A few days ago in the trainer’s room at the PC, he was sitting around talking to someone and I said, “Hey Dream, you got put over again by Paul Heyman on Steve Austin’s podcast the other night. Heyman was talking about how you helped him learn how to cut money promos.” And he smiled and in true Dusty form he replied, “There is no one in this business that the Dream hasn’t influenced”. The best part is that he was right. Thank you, Dream. They don’t make people like you anymore. I’m so glad I got to know you.

You will never be forgotten.

Last edited on Fri Jun 12th, 2015 09:40 pm by srossi

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Picture of the day.  A young Stephanie with Dusty and Sapphire..

Attachment: Dusty.jpg (Downloaded 200 times)

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PWInsider has put together a few pages worth of tweets remembering Dusty, everyone from Steve Corino and King Kong Bundy to Dale Earnhardy Jr. and Larry the Cable Guy. 

http://www.pwinsider.com/ViewArticle.php?id=94344&p=1

ROH and TNA also have brief mentions on their home pages.

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The WWE Network will air a special titled "Celebrating the Dream" this Monday 6/15 following Monday Night Raw, celebrating the life of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, who passed away yesterday.

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Some of the NXT wrestlers paid tribute to Dusty at last night's NXT show: 




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2 time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair joined Doug Mortman and Dave Lagreca on Busted Open to talk about the passing of Dusty Rhodes. You can hear Busted Open on SiriusXM 92 and on the SiriusXM app. Also go to Busted OpenNation.com for all the details.

Flair’s initial reaction to Dusty Rhodes: "If Dusty Rhodes came on the scene tomorrow at 25 years of age Vince McMahon wouldn’t have enough money to pay the guy. He was that good… in the ring and on the mic. They don’t make them like him anymore – he was that good. And he was a genius. I used to say “Hey what are you doin’ man?” and he used to say “I’m genius-ing”(laughs) It used to crack me up the things that came out of his mouth. He was genius-ing so… that’s it, you know? We made music for 30 years together. I started my career idolizing him and … the good thing about this, if there is a good thing to it, is that I spent about 4 hours with him on Tuesday at the Performance Center in Orlando when I was done there visiting my daughter and the last thing he said to me was ... pissed off that I was going to see LeBron James and he wasn’t, ha. He was like “Get out of my office… go see LeBron man, I don’t care (laughs). I said “I’ll wave to you from courtside … and then I got the call yesterday so … we had so much fun together. He loved John Elway, I like Lawrence Taylor. He liked the Celtics, I liked the Lakers. He liked the University of Texas and I liked Oklahoma. We just went round and round on everything, it was tremendous. He loved sports and he loved life."

Talks about his first memories with Dusty: "I idolized him. I was being trained by Verne Gagne but Dusty and Dick, his partner Dick Murdoch were in Minneapolis wrestling and the charisma was too much and he liked me. I had just gotten married and I wasn’t even booked in the towns and I would drive all the way ... 300 miles… somewhere in South Dakota just to hang out with those guys and I wasn’t even booked. No wonder I couldn’t stay married. “How much money did ya make?” “Well, uhhhhhh” (laughs). Jesus, I just couldn’t get enough of him. He was too much man. Then he moved into an apartment, he and Murdoch did. The nicest apartment complex in Minneapolis at the time .. 3 blocks from my mamas house. Ah jeez, it was just the best. All they had was two saddles, some blankets and they kept their mule in the apartment. It was the best. I was in the business 3 weeks and I went to Japan with them and they made me carry their bags with them everywhere for 3 solid weeks. Threw my clothes out the window of the top story of the hotels… took a fire extinguisher to my room. Murdoch stabbed me for taking one of his French fries. And we would get on a train or driving or riding the bus and all Dusty would go “Dear John, I hate to write you…” as if my wife was leaving me or something (laughs). Nobody can say I didn’t pay the price when I started man."

His thoughts on Dusty as a wrestler: "They are never going to say he was a great technician but he could work! He knew his limitations but I’m gonna tell you right now… I wrestled Dusty Rhodes at least 300 one hour draws. Dusty wasn’t a 10 minute guy. We wrestled hour draws and I think the defining moment in our careers was that I was Charlotte and Dusty was from Tampa Florida… Originally from Texas ... but our careers were established in Southern parts of the world and I wrestled Dusty in the Checker Dome in St. Louis for Sam Muchnick’s retirement… 20,000 people, it wasn’t the ‘Briscos and the Funks’ … It wasn’t Harley … it wasn’t Brody and me. It was me and Dusty Rhodes --- that’s how big that feud got. It got World-Wide attention on TBS. And the Horsemen against Dusty and The Road Warriors – Dusty and Nikita and Sting… The War Games … all of that stuff he created. Starrcade... he created all that stuff. That was all Dusty Rhodes, nobody else thought of that. And those War Games, man, we did 42 of them in a row. That’s cuttin’ yourself every night 42 days in a row. Of course me and him… we did it every day anyways, so it didn’t matter but it was work but we had so much fun that it didn’t seem like work … and everything was sold out."

Dusty’s influence on the younger generation: "The reason he was at NXT, which worked out being a huge advantage for people going through it is, because of his phlebitis, which was, you know, he’s been iIl with different things off and on for years but whatever caught up with him this time was much more severe than phlebitis, but he couldn’t fly more than an hour at a time without landing and walking around, even when he came to WrestleMania this year he had to go through Dallas and walk around for 3 hours before he could fly the last 3 hours. He would be up in Stamford, right. Him and Vince healed everything and Vince… there’s no doubting Dusty’s genius. His main direction was teaching the kids, helping them learn how to be confident and helping them learn how to carry themselves and be fluid on the microphone. Some kids never get that but it wasn’t because he wasn’t there and, I mean, he was the best. My daughter is so crushed, of course she has known Dusty since she was born, you know, when we were living together in Charlotte. He bought a car, I bought a car. He bought a new house, I bought a new house. That was living the dream. Anyway… my daughter is just crushed over it so she’s up in Cleveland tonight, where I was last night, then she is in Columbus tomorrow and I’m on my way right now to Orlando from Tampa to do a documentary on Dusty right now at the Performance Center. I think they are going to have the funeral Wednesday in Tampa and I would expect a huge turnout. He’s the guy… everybody loves Dusty Rhodes, that’s just the way it was and I wouldn’t expect anything less."

How’s Dustin holding up? "Dustin sounded OK. He was there. He moved from Gainesville to Orlando several months ago. I thought that, down the road, Dustin will be an instructor at NXT, which is great for him. And I think that he and his dad had really gotten tight. He sounded OK, I mean, how do you ever sound? I went through something like this a couple of years ago with my son, I mean, how do you ever sound? And what do you ever say? You never know what’s the right thing to say, know what I mean? I’ll get a better feel of how they’re all doing when I see them in person."

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WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross joined Doug Mortman and Dave Lagreca on Busted Open to talk about the passing of Dusty Rhodes. You can hear Busted Open on SiriusXM 92 and on the SiriusXM app. Also go to Busted OpenNation.com for all the details.

Jim’s first reaction to the passing of Dusty Rhodes: "I choose to celebrate his life rather than to mourn his death. I knew for several weeks that there was something wrong and of course Dusty would never admit it. I compared him to John Wayne in his last movie – he knew that something was wrong, but he didn’t want to talk about it, and he wanted to go out on his terms, and his style and that’s what happened, and as quickly and as suddenly he was taken from us. I was up pretty much all night, and I just decided that as the day has gone on that I choose to celebrate his life, my fun that I had with him, the confidence he put in me. When Bill Watts sold Jim Crockett promotions, Dusty put great confidence in me to get the storylines over on NWA Pro and UWF. He kind of indirectly got a little heat on me because he said to some guys that I announced a match, I think it was Dr. Death vs Big Bubba Rogers he said that was an announcing clinic to all the announcers that worked for us and they should listen to this match. It didn’t do him any favors – but all it did was give me great confidence that my work was OK and Dusty facilitated my break to get on TBS and begin some somewhat relevance on national cable. I’ll always owe him for that. I’ll never owe him that $100 that I lost on the game of horse that we played at 3 in the morning after drinking beer all night because I paid my debt… But I just choose to remember him as the human being that he was and the great times that we had, and not the man that had lost all that weight and you could see him virtually vanishing before our very eyes. It is a sad day and we do need to mourn, but we also need to celebrate what he brought us and what he brought to the dance. He played himself in the ring, that character. He was the American Dream. He was that blue collar guy. I loved him and I will miss him but I choose to celebrate his life as opposed to mourning here today as best I can."

Dusty’s chemistry with the fans: "He had what every wrestler in the business wants to have… the ability to connect with the audience. Dusty made the audience care about him. Dusty made the audience feel for him. He was a 300lb man, not just another pretty face, as he would say, with a non-body builder’s body, that can sell and make people care. He was a 300lb baby-face that was so good at the dramatic art of selling that he could make people care. And sometimes, and often times, vs a villain that was much smaller and that was a tremendous art form to be able to pull that off. He was the blue collar guy. More people could identify him than a lot of the quote on quote super heroes that are quote on quote bigger than life. He was bigger than life in many ways. There are more people walking around that look like The Dream than look like a super hero with big muscles and a body builder’s physique."

His thoughts on Dusty’s mind for the business: "The great thing about Dream was that he was a fan as a kid. He watched wrestling and territories in Austin as a child and he became a huge fan. There was a special hour each week that was destination TV for him. He was an excellent athlete. He was probably a better baseball player than he was a wrestler or a football player – he was very good at both those. The innovations as far as War Games and the stars that he made…Nikita Koloff by all intents and purposes never really had any right at the time to be the superstar that he was … but he was a creation, his image, his persona was a creation of Dusty Rhodes… and how Dusty was able to create around the tragedy that Magnum T.A. was involved in. People want to look at glass half full too often. Dusty had a brilliant booking mind… much much longer than people like to give him credit for. He had great teachers. Bill Watts made him do the angle to turn him baby face in Florida. Gary Hart needs some credit for that. He also got his PHD under Eddie Graham. I will go to my grave and say, when motivated, and when used in the right way, the Texas Outlaws of Murdoch and Rhodes were as good a tag team as I have seen. They don’t get the credit other teams get but when you look at them or watch them on YouTube or something, they were absolutely incredible… the things that they could do in that era. Creative genius. War Games, I loved. How he built to the big match … the destination match. Which is lacking in the business today because there are so many quote on quote big matches … the destination match that he did, the tours, the big events, the Starrcades, things like that … Clash of Champions. He gave me my break, he wanted me on the Clash of Champions team. Tony Schiavone and I we called that first clash. Big break for me on free TV – prime time on TBS against WrestleMania – big opportunity that both Tony and I seized – neither of us were heels but he broke that tradition. He didn’t want a 3 man booth he wanted the two of us out there and we were able to be a part of a history making event as far as TBS and WCW was concerned and that was because of The Dream and his vision. He had great visions and I will never be able to thank him enough. His birthday is October 12th, same day as my wedding anniversary… and many October 12ths, while my wife was sleeping in, he got the birthday call… almost every year. It is also the same weekend that Oklahoma plays Texas and we would argue about Oklahoma and Texas all year – that was our thing. And when people would say “gosh its only football season guys” and we would both look at them and say “mind your own business… this is our argument… this is what we love to talk about”… and we did. We shared our love of BBQ and we shared our love of John Wayne. We have much more in common than people will ever know. He did much more for me than people will ever know. When he would go into his diatribes and using all the Southern South-Western colloquialisms to describe what he wanted in a match… I got it. I was raised in it. I understood it. So he trusted me to get his angles over and the talent that he was pushing over. He gave me that trust and gave me a chance to go on a national stage to do what I did for so many years. He is certainly going to be missed and yes I mourned but I just choose to celebrate the man that I knew, and that I loved, and that taught me so much, and was a great mentor for me, and a great supporter of my work and I think that’s the healthy way of looking at Dusty. He would rather us laugh at his humor, his dancing, his “Funky Like a Monkey” – he heard him talk one time and you never forget it. He loved that. And we talked probably every couple of weeks. I sat behind him at the Hall of Fame… I saw how hard it was for him getting up. He had some issues with his legs… I don’t know what it was. He had a hard time keeping his balance. He had a hard time getting up and down. I still don’t know what the cause of death was. And does it really matter except that there is another TMZ news story? He’s gone, but his memory will never be forgotten."

His lasting memory of Dusty: "The last match that he and I called together was William Regel vs Dean Ambrose in FCW in Tampa a couple of years ago. And we approached that just like a Clash of Champions, and we were so fired up to go out and call that match. And when it was over, we both realized that we were both too Southern to probably ever work again on a National basis. We knew that the handwriting was on the wall but it didn’t scare us and it didn’t bother us. We got to go do that last one. We had a lot of fun and some of my best work… and people can go back and listen and be selective… the Dusty Rhodes /JR combination of where I followed him along on these storytelling journeys that he booked, and he did color on were some of the most fun times I ever had in broadcasting. Some of the things we said to each other, and he said and words he would invent were just absolutely hilarious, and I owe him a lot and I will never be able to repay him but some day our paths will cross again."

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This really is the first wrestling death that got to me. All the other's that have died before, big names like Macho Man, Andre, even Owen the way he died, eh, it was sad but it didn't hit me as a "loss" like it did their family members. Dusty though, this one hit hard when I heard. He and Flair were literally the 2 that I grew up on and made me a wrestling fan. With Dusty gone, now a legit part of my childhood is gone..

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WWE will be paying tribute to Dusty Rhodes over the course of tomorrow's Money in the Bank PPV with special video tributes to the former NWA World champion, creative force and WWE Hall of Famer.

WWE will also be playing video highlights of Rhodes' magnificent career over the course of Raw.

Following Raw, WWE will debut a new documentary "Tribute to A Dream" looking at Dusty's life and career on the WWE Network. WWE began filming new interviews for the documentary yesterday. Ric Flair was among those interviewed.

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Married Jo wrote: This really is the first wrestling death that got to me. All the other's that have died before, big names like Macho Man, Andre, even Owen the way he died, eh, it was sad but it didn't hit me as a "loss" like it did their family members. Dusty though, this one hit hard when I heard. He and Flair were literally the 2 that I grew up on and made me a wrestling fan. With Dusty gone, now a legit part of my childhood is gone..
This. JYD would be the only other one but I did not find out immediately about that.

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Married Jo wrote: This really is the first wrestling death that got to me. All the other's that have died before, big names like Macho Man, Andre, even Owen the way he died, eh, it was sad but it didn't hit me as a "loss" like it did their family members. Dusty though, this one hit hard when I heard. He and Flair were literally the 2 that I grew up on and made me a wrestling fan. With Dusty gone, now a legit part of my childhood is gone..I can agree for the most part.  At least Dusty wasn't in his 30's but it still has hit hard.  Definitely one where the term "larger than life" is appropriate.  If I went through my wrestling mag collection -the 70's through 90's portion I bet I can't find more than a handful of issues where Dusty isn't mentioned in some way.

Andre had lived past his life expectancy as a man with acromelagy and while Macho Man dying was a "damn, not another one" moment not a "oh, fuck no" moment.  I grew up watching the AWA so saw more of Dusty than some other wrestlers who have passed.

Owen's death made me physically ill but  he and Bret are admittedly 2 wrestlers I mark out on.  I think in some cases the circumstances and/or timing of a wrestler's death are more of a shock than the death itself.  Ultimate Warrior is a recent example coming so quickly after his WWE HOF speech and the apparent healing of old wounds.

Verne Gagne's death was sad but it wasn't really Verne anymore and had long been expected.  I expect I'll be considerably  sadder when Greg passes away.  Like I was when The Crusher passed.  
The Von Erich deaths were tragic and almost unbelievable in a sense but outside of Kerry and a little bit of David I don't have much of a recollection of seeing them wrestle at the time.  Later on tape sure but nothing live or on TV really.

The Chris Benoit tragedy was incredibly sad   and I remember thinking "what a waste" when I heard Miss Elizabeth had died.  The same can be said of the many wrestlers who let drugs or their personal demons overpower them.  Pillman, Davey Boy, Guerrero, Hennig etc but those were preventable IMO.

Much like Hollywood personalities we expect our wrestling heroes to live forever.  You watch a movie and see a favorite actor die but you know he's not dead and suddenly the actor does die and you're like WTF.  John Wayne is a prime example for me and more recently being shocked and saddened when hearing Robin Williams had died.  Or John Ritter(that one came out of nowhere) and Robert Urich who had always been one of my favorites because I can't even remember reading that he had been ill.

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(Tampa Tribune Obituary)
RUNNELS, Virgil, Jr. (aka Dusty Rhodes), left this Earth on June 11, 2015. He was surrounded by his four children and his loving and devoted wife. He was preceded in death by parents, Virgil Runnels, Sr., Katherine Trefell and step-father, Mike Trefell. Dusty is survived by his wife, Michelle Rubio Runnels; children, Dustin (Ta-rel), Kristin Ditto (Don), Teil Gergel (Kevin), and Cody (Brandi); grandchildren, Dakota Runnels, Dalton and Dylan Ditto, and Maris and Kellan Gergel.
Also survived by brother, Larry (Denay) of Louisville, CO; and sister, Connie Jones (Gary) of Pensacola, FL. Dusty and Michelle spent 37 years of devoted marital bliss. He was the ultimate provider and a legend for all the right reasons. The family would like to extend its deepest gratitude to Dr. Joe Chiaramonte and Brandon Health Management for their loving care and support. The family requests donations in Dusty's memory to Connor's Cure (givetochildrens.org/connorscure) and Joe Torre Safe At Home (joetorre.org).

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Greg Oliver's article on SLAM



http://slam.canoe.com/Slam/Wrestling/2015/06/11/22447606.html

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lobo316 wrote: Greg Oliver's article on SLAM



http://slam.canoe.com/Slam/Wrestling/2015/06/11/22447606.html

First time I heard he had stomach cancer. [size="+0"] 

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https://www.facebook.com/ShannonKRose/videos/10153534540176282/

News report on the Dream

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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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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.

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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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TNA led off Impact tonight with a brief video of Dusty.

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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.

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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."

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."

bpickering
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bpickering
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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.

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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The Blackjacks and Heenan with Dusty is an incredible shot. I'm guessing 1973.

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

srossi
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bpickering wrote: 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

That might be the most positive piece on wrestling on a mainstream sports show in the history of television. 

bpickering
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Last edited on Fri Jun 19th, 2015 07:11 am by bpickering

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Is Ric Flair wearing jeans there?  I remember him doing a shoot interview a number of years ago wearing jeans, which looked bizarre, and he said he had never worn them before in his life. 

bpickering
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http://mlwradio.libsyn.com

Jim Cornette Experience #82: JJ Dillon

Great podcast talking about Dusty.

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How many pages did Meltzer write about Dusty?

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TerryWWWF wrote: How many pages did Meltzer write about Dusty?
He's not finished yet.  Of course, the Verne Gagne bio still isn't finished, either.

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tofu_chipmunk wrote: TerryWWWF wrote: How many pages did Meltzer write about Dusty?
He's not finished yet.  Of course, the Verne Gagne bio still isn't finished, either.

I'm betting the Dusty obit begins with his ECW run against Corino, moves on to his bad booking in WCW, discusses a couple of appearances he made in Memphis, is followed by 13 paragraphs of fond memories of Ray Stevens, interrupted by fantasy booking Dusty vs. Ronda Rousey in a UFC fight (Rousey reverses a bionic elbow attempt into an armbar submission in 36 seconds of round 1), before finishing the thought on Stevens, and then lists a record book stolen from Claw without credit given.  Just a guess.  I've read enough of them to know. 

Last edited on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 08:10 pm by srossi

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I hope they do an autopsy so we can find out what the splotch really was.

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