Published on June 12th, 2015 | by Bryan


The Death Of The American Dream – Dusty Rhodes Dies Aged 69

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….And hard times are when a man has worked at a job for thirty years, thirty years, and they give him a watch, kick him in the butt and say “hey a computer took your place, daddy”, that’s hard times! That’s hard times!

“Hard Times” is seen by many as one of the best ever wrestling promos.  Coming out of the mouth of any wrestler other than Dusty Rhodes, would it still have been seen that way?  Who knows.  But what is known is that nobody would have been able to put more heart or emotion in to the promo like Dusty could.  He had the ability to draw anyone in.  Young or old, wrestling fan or non-wrestling fan and take them on a journey through that promo.

Unfortunately those journeys have came to an end after the sad, and sudden, death of Virgil Runnels aka “The American Dream” aka “The Son of a Plumber!” aka the original “Stardust”, Dusty Rhodes. If you’ve also recently lost a loved one, don’t be afraid to seek help such as from this list of the best online therapy providers.

Dusty was far from the perfect man (there are stories of wrestlers who were never paid in promotions where he was booker, he admitted he should have been there more for his son Dustin, aka Goldust and did his best to make up for it whilst Cody was growing up) but even then, it’s hard to find too many people that actually held grudges against the man because he was so damn charismatic and likeable.

His smile made you smile, his lythp was unmistakeable (“He’s got a bythicle!!”) and even if some of his wrestling ideas were a bit out there, you couldn’t say that they weren’t at least a little entertaining!  Shockmaster?  Need I say more?

He left his mark on the business after hanging up his boots and even then he continued to help shape the future of it as part of the staff at the WWE Performance Centre in Florida.  What class did he teach?  Promo class.  What else could it have been?  This is the man who gave us lines such as:

“The man of the hour, the man with the power. I am the hit-maker, the record-breaker. I got style and grace, a pretty face. I’ll make your back crack, your liver quiver. If you ain’t into this match, you’re at the wrong address. Superstar, when the other wrestlers are smilin’ and jokin, The Dream be — WOO! — cookin’ and smokin’.”

“I’ve dined with kings and queens, and slept in alleys and eaten Pork ‘n’ Beans.”

His students at the Performance Centre were keen learners.  Even if they weren’t always sure if he was talking to them or not!  What does that mean?  This story from Sami Zayn (part of a longer, lovely piece about Dusty) tells us more:

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.

So baybay, if you will, please seek out the NXT and WWE stars, as well as others in the wrestling industry, on Social Media to see more of the glowing tributes and stories about “The Common Man”.

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