Dusty Rhodes (wrestler)
|Ring name(s)||Dusty Rhodes
"Dirty" Dusty Rhodes
The Midnight Rider
|Billed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Billed weight||302 lb (137 kg)|
October 12, 1945 |
Austin, Texas, U.S.
|Trained by||Joe Blanchard|
|Debut||October 16, 1968|
Virgil Riley Runnels, Jr., better known as "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes (born October 12, 1945), is a semi-retired American professional wrestler currently working for WWE as the Commissioner of NXT. He makes occasional on-air appearances on other WWE television and pay-per-views and works as a backstage booker and producer in the NXT Wrestling developmental territory. Billed as "the son of a plumber", Rhodes' character was that of the working man.
Rhodes is a three-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion and has also won the NWA Georgia Heavyweight Championship once, the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship ten times, the NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version) seven times and the NWA National Heavyweight Championship one time. He has also won many other championships during his wrestling career. He is one of six men inducted into each of the WWE Hall of Fame, the WCW Hall of Fame, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame. He is the father of professional wrestlers Dustin Rhodes and Cody Rhodes, both currently working for WWE.
Professional wrestling career 
Jim Crockett Promotions (1985–1989) 
Rhodes became a booker for Jim Crockett Promotions after he won the Television Title in 1985. He is credited with inventing many of the WCW pay-per-view names and gimmicks, such as War Games, BattleBowl, and Lethal Lottery. The term Dusty Finish refers to one of Rhodes' favorite techniques, ending a match in controversy after the referee is knocked unconscious.
During his stint as booker, JCP were engulfed in aggressive competition with the World Wrestling Federation. When the WWF introduced Mike Jones as Ted DiBiase's bodyguard, Bobby Heenan suggested to name the character Virgil as an inside joke on Dusty's real name. Years later, when Jones appeared in JCP's successor World Championship Wrestling in a similar role, he was named Vincent, in reference to WWF owner Vince McMahon, reportedly again at Heenan's suggestion. The joke continued later in WCW when Jones changed his name again, this time to Shane, the same as Vince's son's, Shane McMahon. As the executive producer of JCP's programming, he was credited by his real name (Virgil Runnels) to avoid fans seeing that Dusty, still a top draw in the company, was actually running things behind the scenes.
Rhodes was fired from Jim Crockett Promotions after Starrcade '88, because of a taboo on-screen bloodletting (laid down by the Turner Broadcasting System following their purchase of the company) during a November 26 altercation with the Road Warriors. Furious with the interference, Rhodes booked an angle where Road Warrior Animal pulled a spike out of his shoulder pad and jammed it in Rhodes' eye busting it wide open. Rhodes was then fired from WCW. Following this, Rhodes returned to Florida to compete in Florida Championship Wrestling, where he captured the PWF Heavyweight title and also returned to the AWA for a few appearances.
World Wrestling Federation (1989–1991) 
In late 1989 Rhodes came to the WWF as the yellow polka-dotted "Common Man" Dusty Rhodes, a gimmick some felt was intended to humiliate him due to his synonymy with the rival JCP/WCW, although Dusty later admitted that the gimmick and outfit were his own ideas. He was managed by Sapphire, who was intended to represent the "common woman". During his early time in the WWF, Rhodes was embroiled in a heated feud with "Macho King" Randy Savage and his manager/partner Sensational Queen Sherri, who in turn found a rival in Sapphire. After a particularly intense confrontation between the two couples, Savage's ex-manager Miss Elizabeth allied herself with Rhodes and Sapphire and was instrumental in helping them win the WWF's first mixed tag-team match during WrestleMania VI. Sapphire, however, left Rhodes during SummerSlam 1990 for The Million-Dollar Man's money, Afterwards, Rhodes dropped the Polka dots and feuded with Dibiase and Virgil, which also resulted in the national debut of his son Dustin at the 1991 Royal Rumble. Both departed the WWF shortly after, marking the end of Dusty Rhodes' career as a full-time in-ring competitor.
When Ric Flair left for the WWF in 1991, taking the NWA World Heavyweight Title belt with him, Dusty's PWF Heavyweight Championship belt was used as a replacement at The Great American Bash for the title match between Lex Luger and Barry Windham until a replacement could be made.
Return to WCW and ECW (1990s) 
Rhodes returned to WCW shortly afterwards as a member of WCW's booking committee. He also served as the manager of Ron Simmons, from 1991 to 1992, and was in Simmons' corner on August 2, 1992 when he defeated Big Van Vader to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. He later joined the broadcast team, usually working with Tony Schiavone on WCW Saturday Night. He would be paired with Schiavone and Bobby Heenan on pay-per-views.
In 1994, Rhodes returned to the ring to team up with his son Dustin along with The Nasty Boys versus Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck, Terry Funk, and Col. Rob Parker. The angle occurred after Anderson turned on Dustin during a tag team match at Bash at the Beach '94 and Dusty, admitting to being an absentee parent who should have been at his son's side instead of Anderson, put on the trunks one more time in order to help his son gain his revenge.
Rhodes was originally on the side of WCW when its battle with the New World Order (nWo) began in 1996. At Souled Out 1998, Larry Zbyszko asked Rhodes, who was working the PPV broadcast, to accompany him to the ring for his match against Scott Hall. Zbyszko won the match by disqualification due to interference by Louie Spicolli. Rhodes entered the ring, delivering his trademark elbow smashes to Spicolli as Zbyszko stood and grabbed Hall. Rhodes went to elbow Hall, but seemingly inadvertently hit Zbyszko instead. Hall then pointed to Rhodes as he revealed an nWo shirt. The three began to drop repeated elbows on Zbyszko before Rhodes announced "That's tradition, WCW! Bite this!". Announcer Tony Schiavone left the broadcast booth in shock but later returned, kayfabe ripping Rhodes for his actions for most of the rest of the night. As a member of the nWo, Rhodes served as the manager of Hall and Nash.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2003–2005) 
Rhodes began appearing with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) in 2003, returning to the ring to feud against the villainous Sports Entertainment Xtreme faction, and later becoming the Director of Authority at their November 7, 2004 pay-per-view, Victory Road. At the same time, Rhodes acted as head booker and writer. In May 2005, TNA President Dixie Carter asked Rhodes to move onto a creative team, which included Jeremy Borash, Bill Banks, and Scott D'Amore. Rhodes resigned as booker, waiting out the rest of his contract with TNA, which expired soon after.
Independent circuit (2003–2006) 
Rhodes began taking independent circuit bookings in 2003, after the closure of Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling and during his run with TNA.
Rhodes made his first indy circuit appearance on April 12, 2003 for Ring of Honor, when he participated in the "I Quit Bunkhouse Riot" as a member of Homicide's team. On December 12, Rhodes defeated Jerry Lawler at an International Wrestling Cartel show that also featured Mick Foley as the special guest referee. The next day, Rhodes appeared at NWA Bluegrass and defeated Slash.
Rhodes returned to ROH on March 13, 2004, where he competed alongside The Carnage Crew in a Scramble Cage match against Special K, which the Carnage Crew won. On July 24, Rhodes made an appearance for ROH's sister promotion, Full Impact Pro, and defeated Gangrel. Rhodes would briefly disappear from the independent scene before resurfacing in October, appearing for Northeast Wrestling in a victory over Kamala. Later in the month, he appeared for IWA Mid-South in a tag team match with Ian Rotten in a victory over Chris Candido and Steve Stone.
Rhodes made three appearances for the Japanese promotion HUSTLE in 2004, the first being on January 4 in a six-man tag team match with Steve Corino and Tom Howard against Mil Mascaras, Dos Caras, and Sicodelico, Jr., which Rhodes' team lost. The second was on March 7, where he teamed with his son Dustin against Shinjiro Otani and Satoshi Kojima, which he also lost. The third was on May 8, where he defeated Steve Corino.
Starting in December 2004, Rhodes made regular appearances for Carolina Championship Wrestling, where his first match for the promotion saw him team up with The Rock 'n' Roll Express to take on Dennis Condrey, Bobby Eaton, and Stan Lane, all three of the best-known members of the Midnight Express. He also briefly resurrected his feud with Tully Blanchard in CCW, earning two consecutive victories over him, the second being in a Bunkhouse Brawl.
On March 12, Rhodes defeated Abdullah the Butcher where Mick Foley served as referee. On April 9, 2005, Rhodes challenged Jeff Jarrett (who was still contracted to TNA, but due to TNA's then-affiliation with the NWA, he was allowed to appear for other affiliated promotions) for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. In a match that featured Jimmy Valiant as the special guest referee, Jarrett retained the title after Terry Funk made a surprise appearance and interfered. This led to Rhodes challenging Funk to a Falls-Count-Anywhere Bunkhouse match, which Rhodes won. This would be Rhodes' final appearance with CCW until August, where he would team with his son Dustin against Phi Delta Slam.
On July 15, 2005, Rhodes participated in Ballpark Brawl IV in a victory over Kid Kash.
Rhodes participated in the first WrestleReunion, competing in an eight-man tag team match with D'Lo Brown, The Blue Meanie, and Tom Prichard against Steve Corino, Andrew Martin, Evil Clown, and the Masked Superstar.
On December 3, 2005, Rhodes returned to Carolina Championship Wrestling for one night only to face Terry Funk in an "I Quit" match, which Rhodes won.
Rhodes made his final major appearances on the independent circuit before returning full-time to WWE in mid-2006, defeating Jerry Lawler by DQ at a Southern Championship Wrestling Show on March 4,and defeating Steve Corino in a Texas Bullrope match at a Big Time Wrestling show on April 15.
Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling 
Return to World Wrestling Entertainment 
WWE Legends and Hall of Fame (2005–2007) 
In September 2005, Rhodes signed a WWE Legends deal and was brought onto the Creative Team as a creative consultant. He made an appearance on the October 3, 2005 WWE Homecoming in which he, along with other legends, beat down Rob Conway, to whom Rhodes delivered a signature Bionic elbow.
Dusty Rhodes was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on March 31, 2007 by his two sons, Dustin and Cody. During his acceptance speech, Rhodes asked Ric Flair and Arn Anderson to hold up the "sign" and induct him and Harley Race into the Four Horsemen.
During an interview on WWE's The American Dream DVD set, Rhodes claims that his most popular promo of all time was his "Hard Times" interview during his feud with Ric Flair. The promo—which references out-of-work steel workers, factory runners and other blue collar individuals—apparently resonated with wrestling fans that people came to him in arenas in tears to thank him for "honoring their plight."
Sporadic appearances and NXT (2006–present) 
A few weeks before Survivor Series 2006, Rhodes returned to WWE to be a part of Team WWE Legends, led by Ric Flair. The team, consisting of Sgt. Slaughter, Ron Simmons, and Arn Anderson (acting as manager) competed against the Spirit Squad at Survivor Series. Rhodes, along with the other legends, was eliminated early on in the match before Flair managed to become the sole survivor.
A few weeks before WWE's 2007 broadcast of the Great American Bash, Dusty Rhodes returned to WWE television to feud with Randy Orton. At The Great American Bash, Orton defeated Rhodes in a Texas Bullrope match after Rhodes was nailed in the head with the cowbell. The following night on Raw, after Orton defeated Rhodes' son Cody Rhodes, Orton delivered a vicious kick to Dusty's head while "The American Dream" was trying to tend to his son. On December 10, 2007, on the Raw 15th Anniversary special episode, Rhodes was at ringside to see Cody and Hardcore Holly defeat Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch for the World Tag Team Championship, and congratulated the two on their victory afterwards.
On March 29, 2008, Rhodes inducted his mentor Eddie Graham into the WWE Hall of Fame. Two nights later, on the March 31 edition of Raw, Rhodes was seen in the crowd of superstars paying their respects to Ric Flair during his farewell ceremony. Rhodes made an appearance on the 800th episode of Raw, where he was involved in an in-ring segment, which saw superstars including Kung Funaki, Hornswoggle, The Boogeyman, Jesse, Festus, and the commentators Jerry "The King" Lawler and Michael Cole, dancing in the ring. On April 4, 2009, Rhodes inducted The Funk Brothers (Terry Funk and Dory Funk, Jr.) into the WWE Hall of Fame. On August 31, 2009, Rhodes was the special guest host of Raw and booked a match between his son, Cody and Randy Orton for Orton's WWE Championship with John Cena as the special guest referee. Before the match began, he turned on Cena as all three members of Legacy took him out along with DX. After the assault, Orton shook hands and praised Rhodes, but gave him an RKO. He reappeared on June 7, 2010, to help Quinton Jackson and Sharlto Copley defeat I.R.S., Ted DiBiase, Jr., Virgil, and Roddy Piper. He reappeared on the November 2 edition of WWE NXT, during his son, Goldust's (kayfabe) wedding with his NXT rookie, Aksana. Rhodes showed up on the November 15, 2010 episode of Raw in a backstage segment with both of his sons Goldust and Cody Rhodes.
Currently, Rhodes is the head creative writer for the weekly NXT Wrestling television broadcast. On February 25, 2011 edition of Smackdown, Rhodes briefly turned heel when he helped his son Cody attack Rey Mysterio in a setup. Rhodes turned tweener when he inducted the Road Warriors in the WWE Hall of Fame. He appeared on the November 29, 2011 special holiday edition of SmackDown backstage with Roddy Piper and the rest of SmackDown roster. On April 10, 2012, Rhodes made an appearance on WWE Smackdown: Blast from the Past as a face, embarrassing his son Cody Rhodes.
On the March 4, 2013 episode of "Old School Raw", Rhodes was attacked by Jack Swagger during Swagger's match with Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He returned on the March 25 episode of Raw in a Hall of Fame panel Q-and-A session with John Cena and The Rock.
Personal life 
Rhodes is divorced from his first wife Sandra and is now married to a woman named Michelle. He has four children, Dustin, Cody, Teil and Kristin Runnels Ditto, a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. He has a granddaughter, Dakota, the daughter of Dustin and his ex-wife, Terri Runnels and two grandsons Dalton and Dylan, children of Kristin and her husband Don Ditto.
In wrestling 
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- "The American Dream"
- Entrance themes
- "Common Man Boogie" by Jimmy Hart and J.J. Maguire (WWF/E; 1989–1991, 2006–present)
- "Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Seger (WCW)
- "Rockhouse" by Jimmy Hart and H. Helm (WCW; Used while a part of the New World Order)
- "This Is Why (I Sing The Blues)" by Reckless Fortune (ECW)
- "Midnight Rider" by Willie Nelson (ROH)
- "Kakutougi Theme" by Ryuichi Sakamoto (NJPW / Hustle)
- "American Dream" by Freedom (NJPW)
- "You Can't Judge a book by the Cover" by Hank Williams, Jr. (NWA)
Championships and accomplishments 
- Central States Wrestling
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- NWA Brass Knuckles Championship (Florida version) (2 times)
- NWA Florida Bahamian Championship (1 time)
- NWA Florida Global Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Magnum T.A.
- NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (10 times)
- NWA Florida Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Dick Murdoch (1), Dick Slater (1), Bobo Brazil (1), and André the Giant (1)
- NWA Florida Television Championship (2 times)
- NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version) (7 times)
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (2 times) – with Bugsy McGraw (1) and Blackjack Mulligan (1)
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- International Wrestling Alliance (Australia)
- IWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Dick Murdoch
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling / Jim Crockett Promotions / World Championship Wrestling
- NWA Television Championship (1 time)
- NWA United States Heayvweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with The Road Warriors
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Mid-Atlantic version) (2 times) – with Dick Slater (1) and Manny Fernandez (1)
- NWA World Television Championship (2 times)
- Jim Crockett, Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament (1987) – with Nikita Koloff
- Bunkhouse Stampede (1985–1988)
- WCW Hall of Fame (Class of 1995)
- NWA Big Time Wrestling
- NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling1
- NWA Mid-Pacific Promotions
- NWA Tri-State
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI Feud of the Year (1987) with Nikita Koloff and the Road Warriors vs. Four Horsemen
- PWI Match of the Year (1979) vs. Harley Race on August 21
- PWI Match of the Year (1986) vs. Ric Flair in a cage match at The Great American Bash
- PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (1978, 1979, 1987)
- PWI Wrestler of the Year (1977, 1978)
- PWI ranked him #11 in the PWI Years in 2003
- World Championship Wrestling (Australia)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Best Babyface (1980)
- Best Booker (1986)
- Most Charismatic (1982) tied with Ric Flair
- Most Embarrassing Wrestler (1990)
- Most Overrated (1987, 1988)
- Readers' Least Favorite Wrestler (1987, 1988)
- Worst Feud of the Year (1988) vs. Tully Blanchard
- Worst Gimmick (1988)
- Worst Television Announcer (1997)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)
1This Mid-Atlantic promotion operates out of the same region as the original and has revived some of the championships that it once used. However, it is not to be confused with the promotion that was once owned by Jim Crockett, Jr. and sold to Ted Turner in 1988. That promotion went on to be renamed World Championship Wrestling.
- Autobiography: Dusty: Reflections of an American Dream (2005) ISBN 978-1-58261-907-1
- The American Dream: The Dusty Rhodes Story (2006) WWE Home Video
See also 
- "Dusty Rhodes' profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Rhodes, Dusty; Brody, Howard (2005). Dusty: Reflections of an American Dream. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-58261-907-1.
- Hornbaker, Tim (2007). National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling. ECW Press. pp. 329–332. ISBN 978-1-55022-741-3.
- Home > Superstars > Hall of Fame > Dusty Rhodes > Bio
- Rhodes, Dusty; Brody, Howard (2005). Dusty: Reflections of an American Dream. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-58261-907-1.
- Reynolds, R.D.; Bryan Alvarez (2004). Wrestlecrap and Figure Four Weekly Present...The Death of WCW. ECW Press. pp. 33–34. ISBN 1-55022-661-4.
- Rhodes, Dusty; Howard Brody (2005). Dusty: Reflections of an American Dream. pp. 127–128. ISBN 1-58261-907-7. Text "Sports Publishing LLC" ignored (help)
- neo-geo.com feb 8, 2005
- Perkins, Brad (2001). "On The Rhodes Again - wrestler Dusty Rhodes - Interview". Wrestling Digest.
- "A Stunning Homecoming". WWE.
- "Rhodes finds peace of mind".
- Noah Starr (2006-11-26). "Legendary survivor". WWE. Archived from the original on 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Andrew Rote (2007-07-02). "A matter of time". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
- Lennie DiFino (2007-07-09). "Bulldozed in the Bayou". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
- Corey Clayton (2007-07-16). "Orton’s audacity further fuels Rhodes’ anger". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
- Louie Dee (2007-07-22). "A Great American Nightmare". WWE. Archived from the original on 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Corey Clayton (2007-07-23). "One bad apple leads to Dominator destruction". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
- Corey Clayton (2007-12-10). "Rhodes and Holly golden on Raw’s 15th Anniversary". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
- Fritz, Brian (2009-05-29). ""The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes talks FCW". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
- "Kickin' It Up With... Kristin Ditto". Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
- Mooneyham, Mike (November 30, 2008). "Wrestling diva a woman for all seasons". The Post and Courier. Retrieved 2008-12-25.
- Dean Johnson, Steven (November 16, 2008). "Terri Runnels reveals brain, not body, in shoot DVD". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
- "Kickin' It Up With... Kristin Ditto". Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
- "Other Arena movelist".
- "N.W.A. Central States Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- NWA North American Tag Team Title (Central States version) history At wrestling-titles.com
- "N.W.A. Florida Brass Knuckles Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- NWA Bahamas Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Global Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- Florida Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- Florida Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Florida Television Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA United States Tag Team Title (Florida version) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA World Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Georgia Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA National Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA World 6-Man Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA World Tag Team Title (Mid-Atlantic/WCW) At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA/WCW World Television Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- WCW Hall of Fame history At wrestling-titles.com
- Gerweck, Steve (2011-11-14). "NWA Hall of Fame Class for 2011 announced". WrestleView. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
- NWA American Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- "N.W.A. Texas Brass Knuckles Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- NWA World Tag Team Title (Detroit) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA North American Heavyweight Title (Hawaii version) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA United States Heavyweight Title (San Francisco) history At wrestling-titles.com
- North American Hevayweight Title (Mid-South) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA United States Tag Team Title (Tri-State version) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWF World Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 - PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
- IWA World Tag Team Title (Australia) history At wrestling-titles.com
- WWF/WWE Hall of Fame history At wrestling-titles.com
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