Thursday, June 11, 2015

Remembering the Dream

RIP Dusty 

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Just got the horrible news that "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes has died.  He was 69 years old.  Apparently he fell at home and  according to an article on TMZ, he had several complications that eventually claimed his life.

Bionic Elbow
Courtesy: WWE
Dusty is one of the first wrestlers I remember seeing on TV.  He graced the cover of numerous wrestling magazines, many times wearing a crimson mask or preparing to drop his famous Bionic Elbow.  His feuds with the likes of Ric Flair and the various forms of the Four Horsemen, and the Koloffs were legendary when I first started watching the NWA.  

Dusty vs. Flair
Courtesy: WWE
Dusty stood out for so many reasons.  He didn't look like a typical wrestler.  His forehead looked like a road map, scarred from years of bloody and brutal battles in the ring.  He tipped the scales at more than 300 pounds.  And his voice, so unique and probably the most imitated in the business.  Whenever anyone on a wrestling podcast tells a Dusty story, they do it in the Dream's voice.  

The champ!
Courtesy: WWE
I have so many memories of Dusty that I could write for days.  We all know he was special will leave behind a legacy of great matches, promos and of course his two sons Dustin and Cody.  I watched the Dream win the NWA World heavyweight title three times.  He was a tag team champ, U.S. champ, and multiple time winner of the Bunkhouse Stampede. His resume includes countless other title victories. Dusty was the king of promos too.  His "Hardtimes" one was recently replicated by Maria Menounos at the WWE Hall of Fame red carpet special.

Some of my favorite moments include the match between Flair and Nikita Koloff and Dusty came out to save The Nature Boy when the Russians attacked.  It was an unlikely partnership that ended quickly when the Horsemen hit the ring and broke Dusty's leg.  He'd eventually align with Koloff and form the Superpowers, winning the annual Crockett Cup tournament.  I also have a vivid memory of Ronnie Garvin sucker punching the Dream and turning heel and the Road Warriors planting a spike into his eye on the Superstation TBS.  

The Dream in the WWF
Courtesy: WWE
Because I was a WWF mark growing up, seeing him arrive in New York was a real dream (pun intended) come true.  I was too naive to realize the gimmick was a rib on Dusty.  He embraced those polka dots and cheesy vignettes like a pro.  Remember the butcher shop?  "You can't beat my prices, but you sure can beat my meat!"  

Dusty's time in WWF was short, but he had some classic matches against Big Bossman, Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase.  One of his biggest victories in the company came at Wrestlemania 6 when he and Sapphire teamed up and beat Savage and Sherri Martel.  Elizabeth was in the faces' corner.  Sadly now, all five people involved in that match are gone.

WWE Hall of Fame induction
Courtesy: WWE
Dusty helped groom both Dustin and Cody for the ring.  In 2007, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  He worked to train the men and women at FCW/NXT.  In one of his last appearances on TV he delivered a Bionic Elbow to Dean Ambrose.  Earlier this year, he was on Raw trying to convince his sons to reconcile.  The storyline ended soon after.  

Long live the Dream.  He may be gone, but his legacy goes on forever.  He was definitely more than just a common man.



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