The Cody/Dustin topic has led me to looking at a shed load of Dustin Rhodes work throughout his career. Dustin has had such an odd career, full of peeks and troughs. Dustin has been fantastic to watch and then at times been absolutely shit in some of his work when he cannot be arsed. Still though, its one hell of career and often I think Dustin is overlooked by most people.
'Son of the Dweem'
Dustin's early years was in JCP in 1988. He teamed with master counter fitter and rhythm guitar in the West Texas Rednecks, Kendall Windham as 'The Texas Broncos' and were sold on TV and the sons of two famous legends. Admittedly usually they got jobbed out to fuck and that was a really good thing. The idea of Dusty doing a George Gulas with his kid in his debut year would have been appallingly shite because like all rookies, Dustin was green as grass, as was Windham. Still the team there job of getting the lads on TV and at least building them up for something in the future. This did not happen because Dusty got the shitcan and Kendall and Daddy Windham went around Victoria with shitty Ben Franklin's and did time. Dustin arrived back on TV (after a stay in the Florida territory) in 1990 working alongside Big Dust against Ted DiBiasi. Still very green, Dustin got some promo time in the WWF and for some ungodly reason spoke with a slightly put on lisp to imitate his father. It was balls. Dusty by this time was ready to fuck off anyway. The polka dots were gone, Sapphire went back to driving the lads around Kansas and 'The Dream' began wearing a top hat with a crows foot around the rim. He was ready to fuck off but not after Dustin had a lovely little TV match with DiBiasi, where they did the "I can beat your kid in ten minutes" gimmick. The Rhodes Family then looked liked shit at the Rumble, by then the angle had been eclipsed by the evolving DiBiasi/Virgil split.
Texas Broncos Vs Emory/Jackson
Texas Broncos Vs Original Midnight Express
Dustin Rhodes Vs Kendall Windham (Florida)
Dustin Rhodes Vs Ted DiBiasi
Dusty/Dustin Rhodes Vs Ted DiBiasi/Virgil
'They call him The Natural'
So Dusty got the chance to book back in 'Altanta' and took his boy with him. This is probably the least I've ever enjoyed Dustin Rhodes. His push seemed to be entirely based around his dad being there and it's really the only time I've felt Dustin really got a nepotism vibe about his run. He was still getting there in the ring and he was to his credit, growing in progress with each month. He did have the good lads around with him though. Buddy Landel. Brad Armstrong dressed like a bird, The Freebirds and Steve Austin. Austin and Dustin had a lovely match at Halloween Havoc 1991 that shines really bright when you consider Rhodes had only been in the ring since mid-'88 and 'Stunning' only got in the ring in October 1989. The work in that match is fantastic and it's great to see both of them slowly blossoming in the promotion. They would meet again over the years as well. Dustin then worked in a team with Steamboat and got the Tag Titles. Tag specialist was on the agenda for Rhodes for the next year.
1992 was much better for Rhodes. As a viewer as well, I am much more comfortable watching him as he doesn't feel as mega pushed as he was in 1991. Part of this is because he spent most of the year working in tag matches and also because he was working usually with Big Bazza. Barry Windham did fuck loads of good for Dustin in 1992. He really helped him come along as a performer. They had a great look. Two big blonde 'Texicans' who flew around the ring like blokes half there size with Dustin comfortably swapping playing blue-eye in peril and hot tag merchant. He had a straight run of good PPV matches on all six supershows that year. He put a proper fucking shift in at WARGAMES~!!1!!111 and then had some bobby dazzlers with Windham against Zbyszko/Austin, Gordy/Williams and Steamboat/Shane Douglas. He worked his craft in the singles matches too, 1992 was just a brilliant year for him, he genuinely got over on his hard work as a performer and was for his nicknames worth a real natural in 1992. Just brilliant work. It might be from an in-ring standpoint the best work of his career as a whole.
1993 and 1994 were good for him as well. He got another singles push and for my money, he was ready this time. He had some absolutely sterling matches with Vader and a really fun series against the always brilliant 'Ravishing' Rick Rude over the US Title in which Rhodes got a US title reign and then another run of matches with Steve Austin. The matches were even better this time now that both lads had matured as performers. Austin was much better now as a heel hanging out with Tennessee Lee and Dustin knew how to work a good long singles match now as well. Great stuff, just brilliant. 1994 had Rhodes still smacking Col. Parker about and getting to work with vets like Terry Funk and Double A. His Spring Stampede match with Bunkhouse Buck is absolutely magical. A fucking full on brawl with men just smacking the shit out of one another. Classic stuff, Bunkhouse Buck brought out the great brawling side of Rhodes (which he was damn well at, he did some great brawls). He even got back with his Daddy and Dusty cut THAT brilliant promo with Dustin and they went and headlined at the WarGames again. Then he feuded with Blacktop Bully (minus Hole in One Darsow, it was the last relevant thing Repo Man ever did beside trash talk to the Nitro camera in the late 90's which always got a kick out of me) and they clashed on the back of a truck. No idea why, WCW was trying to make Uncensored to be a wacky PPV concept and both men bladed, and then got fired for it, as did the agent for the match Mike Graham (a fucking shame, since Graham brought in Hogan, pitched the nWo and then later helped the AOL/Time Warner merger).
Dustin/Windham Vs Austin/Zbyszko
Dustin/Windham Vs Gordy/Williams
Dustin/Windham Vs Anderson/Eaton
Dustin/Windham Vs Steamboat/Douglas
Dustin Rhodes Vs Vader
Dustin Rhodes Vs Rick Rude
Dustin Rhodes Vs Steve Austin
Dustin Rhodes Vs Bunkhouse Buck
Dusty & Dustin reunite
'What the fuck is that?'
"Look at that! What the fuck is that". That is what my dad said when he first saw Goldust. I must say my opinion was similar (considering I was eight at the time). What can you say about Goldust. It's just an absolutely mental character, truly groundbreaking when it first came on the scene in late '95. Regardless to what some would say, barely any fucker had a clue it was Dustin when the character debuted. Goldust as a character was absolutely superb. Fuck the film quotes and what-not (even though they were a genius touch to his promos) it's the mind games aspect of him. Goldust was never a big mincer, and the fact that he wasn't made his a proper fucking dangerous bloke as a character. You knew he was actually tough as nails in some ways and that the fact he was touching up Razor Ramon just to gain a psychological advantage in a match was just class. It made Goldust in WWF land one of the smarter wrestlers, because of what he would do to win. It seemed that didn't transcend backstage. Rhodes got all sorts of shit for doing the gimmick and Scott Hall said "I don't fuck around with queers, chico" and it could have been one reason why he wanted to GTFO when his contract was coming up.
He had a good early run it must be said, his ring-work was not up too much but the psychology played more into his character, he did not have to be doing WCW southern brawling with the characters like this. He beat Marty Jannetty, then boffed Bam Bam Bigelow to the unemployment line before taking the belt from Razor. Then he added his then smoking hot missus as his 'Director' and did that brilliant angle with Roddy Piper. I love the Piper angle (hokey OJ footage aside). Piper's promos were great and Goldust even sent-up the Piper's Pit segment where he preceded to imitate oral sex with a set of bagpipes... NEW GENERATION!!!! The Hollywood Backlot Brawl was the blow-off () match, and christ was it nasty. It was a bit gimmicked at the end but the Street Fight aspect was nasty as what you could get in Bumblefuck, CT WWF in 1996. Piper smacked the shite out of Dustin and Dustin gave it all back. It's still great to watch even today, it's just a really nasty fight. For the rest of 1996 Dustin did seem to coast along. He had matches with Undertaker, Ahmed Johnson, Marc Mero and put his shift in at Survivor Series. Then Jerry Lawler asked him if he was a big queer and he said 'Am I bollocks lad' and turned face. Goldust as a face, did it work.
Course it bloody worked. It worked damn well. 1997 was almost a perfect year for Dustin. He had a nice series of matches with Triple H and was good enough to be put in the Canadian Stampede match where everyone and I mean everyone (that includes Jim Neidhart) worked there balls off in that mother of a match. Like Mankind they also began to humanize the character, acknowledging him as Dustin Rhodes and the son of 'The Dream' and Marlena being his missus. Dustin's work-rate got a lot better as well and in the ring he probably had his strongest showings since 1994. Then he had that angle with Pillman. Who knows where that angle could have gone until Pillman sadly passed away, I still think they may have done away with the Goldust character and had Dustin be himself had Pillman lived and Terri do a heel turn. Still THAT never happened and instead we got Goldust telling Marlena to fuck off for some reason and probably for my money one of the shittest run's of his career.
Goldust Vs Marty Jannetty
Goldust Vs Razor Ramon
Hollywood Backlot Brawl
Goldust Vs Hunter Hearst Helmsly
Goldust Vs Brian Pillman
'The Shit Years'
What a fucking heap of shit this was. I understood why they were doing it. This was around the time of Attitude and Goldust needed a revamp. They ran with an angle where everyone cried that Dustin was mad at his daddy for everything and began dressing like a proper Nathan. He paired up with Luna and bored me to tears at the DX PPV reciting Dr. Seuss while no-one gave an absolute shit about it. Then he began dressing up as different people. Gimp mannequins, Sable, Marilyn Manson, A giant baby, 'The American Dream', you name it, he dressed up as it. He also got his arse handed to him by everyone from Marc Mero, Sable, The Headbangers, Bradshaw, the works. Then he burned the outfit, got noticeably chubbier and FOUND THE LORD.
No one really gave a toss about that gimmick either. Dustin was lost in the shuffle to be fair, and spent most his time working matches on the b-shows. He did have the one feud of note with Val Venis. Val decided to really fuck with Dustin's head he would smash Terri Runnels like a jackhammer through a pavement. So Terri returned in 'The Preachers Wife', she returned to TV and looked like absolute filth and Dustin got his arse handed to him before going back to the Goldust gimmick. It must be said that the Goldust gimmick did work on the short term comeback. Rhodes seemed to try a bit harder again. It did run out of steam eventually and he was soon fucking about with the Blue Meanie and X-Pac's bird before he fucked off TV again (It was always rumored that he would be behind GTV but he buggered off before they ran with anything to do with it). Dustin probably needed to go, if he did not there was a good chance he would have been dumped in 1999 anyway.
DustyDust Vs Bradshaw
Dustin 'ditches' Goldust
Dustin Runnels Vs Val Venis
Goldust Vs BlueDust
'The Shitter Years'
Because his Dad was back down in WCW and he was in tight with Vinny Ru, Dustin then went to WCW, and in his first appearance told his new gimmick to do one. Seven (the gimmick he was penned to portray) was a bloody oddball of a character even for WCW standards. I still do not quite understand what it was meant to be. It appeared he was some sort of pedophile who rode around on a horse and spied on children. I am sure with Russo at the helm if he wanted to it would have been even sicker than that had Turner not said, fuck this kids. Instead he shot the gimmick down and became Dustin Rhodes again. His WCW run is really naff all to write home about. He wore gaudy red leather pants with 'TEXAS' buckles on them and a shirt to hid his gut. He did have Curt Hennig and Barry Windham's awesome WCW theme and he did some brawls with Terry Funk, then he and his dad made Ric Flair kiss a donkey. Not much to write about, beyond a miracle of a match with Rick Steiner at Superbrawl Revenge. Then WWF bought WCW and it seemed we would not see much of Rhodes again as he seemed to be on Vince's 'Fuck Him' list. So Dustin worked for Dusty's TCW promotion and several other indies before Vince came calling again.
Seven is HERE
Dustin Rhodes Vs Hulk Hogan
Dustin Rhodes Vs Terry Funk
Dustin Rhodes Vs Rick Steiner
OH YEAHHHH... Goldust circa 2002. Maybe the highlight from an overall standpoint of Dustin's career. Admittedly it's amazing it took off. His Rumble return was nothing really to shout about, and good vignettes aside his match with RVD was pretty pants as well. It was only being paired with Booker T did Dustin start to shine again. Goldust was a riot on both scales in 2002. He was funny as hell dressing up as Steve Irwin, Darth Vader, admitting he would sleep with a dead boy, Half Goldust/Half Rock, Booker & Goldie at the movies, Booker the lumberjack. Pretty much everything they did was fried gold. It just clicked and worked so well and so naturally that the fans were just into everything. Considering how moribund Raw was at times in 2002, Booker and Goldie might have been the best thing on the show. The other scale to Goldust being great in 2002 was the sympathy he garnered. Goldie was incredulously sympathetic to support in 2002. The angle where he tells Booker to find another partner because he feels he just is not good enough and holding Booker back is a great final push before they took the Tag Title at Armageddon. That title win was over like rover when Book and 'the Weak-link' took the gold. The shit hit the fan in 2003 though. First there was the 'Tourette's gimmick', which I know most people love but I think they could have gone a different way with Goldust at the time. The joke wore thin eventually and he started to trying to make Lance Storm seem less boring. That did not work predictably and eventually Goldie pissed off at the end of 2003. He was going to work another angle with Booker but plans changed.
Booker, Goldie & The Rock
At the Marriot
BookDust Vs Storm/Regal Vs Dudleyz Vs Jericho/Chrisitian
BookDust Vs Storm/Regal
Goldust gets electrocuted
Dustin and his 'lost weekend' waded into TNA when his dad had the book and Dustin began dressing like a spanner in chaps again. 'The Lone Star' to his credit did have some decent matches in TNA with Kid Kash and Raven and then buggered off again to the WWE to form the weirdest stable ever with Coach and fat wobbly Vader. I have no idea why that happened and knowingly neither did anyone else. Dustin then fucked off again to the indies and even worked some stuff in AJPW against Muta. Then TNA came calling again.
I must say, I found Black Reign to be a guilty pleasure. Dustin looked terrible and way overweight when he did the gimmick but at least he tried something different. He palled around with Johnny the Bull (playing Rellik, that is killer backwards) who also worked hard to go for a new gimmick. Dustin usually just fucked around killing Chris Harris push with some shit matches, the standard garbage brawls with Abyss and the rest of the ECW clingers in TNA, working with Kazarian and Eric Young and carrying a rat around with him who this time was not his wife. He did some more indie work after TNA could not be arsed keeping him on before Vince accidentally dialed his number and ended hiring up out of embarrassment*
The Naturals Vs Dustin Rhodes & Cassidy Riley
Black Reign Vs Abyss Vs Raven Vs Rhino
Black Reign & Rellik Vs Abyss & Raven
*Not true, the fucker STILL had another good few runs left.
From the lost weekend to the Indian Summer. Goldust returned to WWE and began looking as sharp as a tack on his return. Dustin slimmed down, moved faster than he had in years and was motivated to god knows what, seemingly to prove a point out there. He had a face off with lil' bro Cody at the Rumble, and then he worked on ECW putting all the new lads over and doing the best he could with Big Zeke, Lance Hoyt (he WAS in WWE), Mike Knox, Yoshi Tatsu, The Miz, you name it. Then he had that lovely little TV match with Chris Jericho on Superstars where everyone lost there shit and realised that Dustin could still go, and go well. Then he was on NXT, fucking about with Llama girl and being duped into a green card marriage (if he was smart enough, he nailed Aksana on the road as well, go on Dustin lad, show ya bro who da man).
After working a series of matches with Ted DiBiasi over the Million Dollar Anchor, Dustin has sadly for the most part vanished from TV. He does his road agent shizzle now , but last year he even turned up as plain old Dustin to talk some sense into Cody. They might have a match at Wrestlemania, most people would like that and without a doubt putting his brother over in a Brother Vs Brother clash on one of the biggest PPV's in history would not be a shabby way for Dustin to bow out to the ring.
Goldust/Yoshi Tatsu Vs ShoMiz
Goldust Vs Sheamus
Goldust Vs Sheamus
Goldust Vs Chris Jericho
Dustin Rhodes was wizard, wasn't he?