Written by DJ Aaron Omar
My first memories of Dusty Rhodes are from his days as a commentator for WCW during the late 90's. I was in Junior High at the time with no knowledge of any of his in-ring work or the classic promos that would cement his legacy as one of the greatest ever. I just knew the guy that sat next to Tony Schiavone and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan; the guy with the the southern accent and the lisp who was entertaining as hell to listen to. He had a great sense of humor and he seemed to know what he was talking about but what made Dusty GREAT on the mic was the authenticity he exhibited. You never felt as if anything he said wasn't the absolute truth and when he got excited about something, you got excited too because it was "real."
It wasn't until I got older that I went back and learned about Dusty's career before he called matches from the broadcast booth. One of the names that he will forever be linked to is Ric Flair and that's because their feud was simply as good as it gets in Pro Wrestling. By comparison, for anybody my age, they were the Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock of their era. In both cases, you have 2 huge personalities spewing some of the most off the wall and over the top monologues that you'll ever see in the entertainment business period. And in the ring, there was a Master's-level chemistry that bred classic match after classic match on the biggest stages around the globe.
When I think about Dusty's legacy, a few things immediately come to mind: First, his children that followed him into the business, Goldust and Cody Rhodes (Stardust). What better teacher and mentor to have if this is the path you choose. Goldust is a legendary character and performer in his own right; etching his name in the lights during the mid-90's as an androgynous, Hollywood obsessed competitor with a mean streak. Cody has gone through many character incarnations, with Stardust being the latest, and as great a performer as he is, I still get the feeling that we haven't yet seen the maximum level of greatness that he's capable of. He's a Rhodes after all.
The other thought that immediately follows: Dusty Rhodes was a teacher and a creator. Scrolling through Twitter earlier, I read a load of tweets from today's Pro Wrestling stars and the one thing they all had in common was the fact that Dusty Rhodes taught them something. The man gave back to the business that made him a star by coaching younger talent in every company he's been in. His most recent lessons were taught in NXT. From Finn Balor to Kevin Owens to Charlotte to Enzo Amore and everybody else there, they all conveyed the feeling of losing not only somebody that entertained them but somebody that educated them. He also came up with the Bray Wyatt character and WCW's popular War Games event. Simply put, the man was a genius because he wasn't afraid to try something different.
Heartbroken to read that the man that made me, Dusty Rhodes, has passed away. I didn't say it enough, but thank you Dream.— Steve Corino (@KINGCorino) June 11, 2015
He will be missed. His emotion, style, wit, sense of humor, and realism are all traits that made Dusty Rhodes a 1-of-1. Long live The American Dream.