Repost: Wrestler of the Day – July 4: Dusty Rhodes

On the Fourth of July, who better than the American Dream? Today is Dusty Rhodes.

Dusty got his start in 1968 but we’ll join him in 1977 as a big star who is visiting the WWF. From MSG on December 19, 1977.

Stan Stasiak vs. Dusty Rhodes

Ok we’ve heard FOREVER about Dusty being a different kind of worker in the 70s. Let’s see if that’s legit. Stasiak was world champion for like 8 days and no one remembers it at all. His son is more famous as Meat/Shawn Stasiak in WWF. Rhodes is borderline thin here too which is odd. Dusty isn’t popular here but isn’t really hated either. He does his stupid dancing stuff to get out of a hold and then just ducks his head out of it. Well that was either brilliant or idiotic.

What is with so many people using wristlocks tonight? Stasiak is a very ugly man. Rhodes blocks the Heart Punch and starts busting out the elbows. I wonder if he ever hurt himself doing that. We hit a facelock and waste some more time. This is pretty weak to say the least.

The future fat man busts out some punches and hits, you guessed it, a chinlock. DO SOMETHING! I MEAN DO ANYTHING! Dusty drops an elbow and his boobs bounce like Trish’s would. Heart Punch misses again and Dusty pounds on the hand. If you didn’t get it the first three times they do it two more times before a pair of elbows from Dusty ends it. Can he do ANYTHING else? At least it’s over.

Rating: F+. Oh MAN this was boring. Dusty used a ton of rest holds. Yeah I’m stunned too. This never went anywhere at all and needed to be about half as long. This got 12 minutes and never was any good. Dusty is boring as all goodness and Stasiak wasn’t helping anything at all. At least it’s over though.

Another MSG match from August 28, 1978.

Dusty Rhodes vs. Billy Graham

This is a Texas Bullrope match and it’s pin or not being able to answer an 8 (yes 8) count. Jay Strongbow is referee for some reason. Graham doesn’t want to be tied up so Strongbow grabs him and ties him up anyway. Graham keeps running and Dusty keeps pulling him in. The elbow to the head puts Graham down and he tries to run again. Another elbow stuns Graham but he rakes the eyes to get a break.

Dusty gets choked by the rope but Billy misses an elbow drop. The Dream is busted open and Graham hooks his bearhug. That doesn’t last long for some reason so Billy goes up top. That’s REALLY FREAKING STUPID in a bullrope match as Dusty pulls him down to the mat. Billy is busted too and Dusty pounds away. Apparently this is the rubber match in a series. Graham comes back but Strongbow breaks it up for some reason. Dusty elbows him in the head and that’s enough for the 8 count and the win. That was a really abrupt ending.

Rating: C. This was fun while it lasted but unfortunately that wasn’t too long. There’s something cool about letting two guys beat the stuffing out of each other and that’s what happened here. I still don’t get what Strongbow had to do with this but maybe it was Graham’s next feud. Dusty never did much in the WWF but he did enough elsewhere to make up for it.

One last time at the Garden on December 17, 1979.

NWA World Title: Harley Race vs. Dusty Rhodes

Why am I not thrilled to see this? Race is champion here. Rhodes is listed as 261 pounds. That’s just hilarious. Race had the title and then Dusty beat him for it and vice versa, leading to the rubber match here. Dusty hits his elbow drop for two because it’s not the end of the match and since IT’S AN ELBOW DROP it doesn’t work here. This was back in the final days of the WWF being in the NWA so these wouldn’t happen much more often.

This is fairly basic and Vince keeps trying to tell us how great Rhodes is in the ring. On the mic yes but in the ring not so much. They fight over a suplex and this is definitely a different style than the rest of the show has been as it’s a more NWA style of slow building. Race is bleeding from the head. Race gets launched to the floor as this thankfully picks up something resembling steam.

Dusty hits a piledriver but the feet are on the ropes again. Race comes back with his standard stuff as this is pretty clearly coming to a close. Dusty makes his comeback which lasts about 8 seconds. Race drops a bunch of knees and Dusty is busted open too. His is a lot worse than Race’s though. Dusty makes his real comeback but the referee stops it because of his cut for a CHEAP finish. LOUD bull chant afterwards.

Rating: C. This was boring as all goodness for the most part but it picked up a lot near the end. The finish was clearly going to be screwy but I can live with that as this was just a token title defense. Also that means Race wins here instead of a draw or a no contest. Nothing great at all here but pretty watchable.

Here’s Dusty in Mid-South in 1983.

Dusty Rhodes vs. King Kong Bundy

This is a taped fist match in the New Orleans Superdome. Dusty gets pounded down to start as Bundy uses a wide variety of forearms to the back. Some big right hands put Bundy down and Dusty goes up top. A big shot to Bundy knocks him into the referee, drawing in Ted DiBiase to throw in a foreign object to knock Rhodes silly. The referee gets back up and Dusty Bundy answers a ten count for the win.

Rating: D. Dull match with a bad ending, especially when the match was billed as No DQ. Why bother having the referee get bumped when Ted’s cheating was legal? To be fair that’s a trope of wrestling but it doesn’t make a ton of sense. Nothing to see here either as this was really short.

It was soon off to the NWA and Dusty becoming the biggest face in the world. After challenging the winner of the main event of Starrcade 1983, Dusty would get his shot at Starrcade 1984.

NWA World Title: Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair

Dusty is challenging and the winner gets $1 million. Flair is in pink and Dusty is in purple here which is a weird sight to say the least. Remember Joe Frazier is guest referee. Oh and Dusty is one half of the world tag team champions. Flair is the face here due to the hometown crowd but would be turning heel very soon. Thankfully only Dusty’s robe was purple and he has black trunks underneath. Dusty backs him into the corner to start and runs Flair over with a shoulder block. Off to a headlock by Big Dust before Flair takes him into the corner.

They trade punches and chops with Dusty taking over again with a headlock. We hear about Dusty trying pro football but not liking the team aspect of it. That’s hilarious when you think about it. Some elbows take Flair down as this has been almost all Rhodes so far. Ric goes to the eyes to escape and drops a knee to the head for two. Dusty will have none of this selling stuff though and puts on his terrible Figure Four.

Flair gets to the rope so it’s time for Dusty to lay on Flair’s leg for a bit. We’re five minutes in according to the ring announcer and Dusty puts on a top wristlock. Flair takes it into the corner as this is still going slowly. A bad press slam puts Flair down and Dusty chops away for no cover. Dusty pounds away in the corner and sends Flair into the corner for the Flair Flip. Frazier tries to break up a suplex back into the ring by Dusty but Rhodes does it anyway for a very slow two.

Flair elbows him in the face to take Dusty down, only to go up and get slammed down. Even in 1984 that didn’t work at all. The champion puts on a sleeper but since standing up is too much for Dusty, he rolls forward and sends Flair to the floor. They head to the floor for some brawling and Dusty goes into the post, busting him open. Oh man it’s a BAD one too, right above Rhodes’ eye. The referee looks at it but Flair starts pounding away at the cut, and that’s good enough for Frazier to stop the match. Seriously. In the main event of Starrcade.

Rating: D+. What a perfect way to end a terrible show. The match never got going and it doesn’t even reach thirteen minutes in total. What kind of an ending is that anyway? Here’s how you end this match if that’s what you’re going to do: have Flair either DESTROY Dusty to the point where Frazier stops it to save Dusty’s career or have Dusty blacking out from blood loss. Dusty was up and throwing punches when the match was stopped, making it look like a technicality than anything significant.

Here’s the rematch from Starrcade 1985.

NWA World Title: Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair

This is the rematch from last year, but this time with a much better story. Dusty had his ankle broken by Flair and the Andersons after saving Flair from the Russians. Leading up to this, Dusty gave one of the greatest promos of all time, as he talked about how Flair and the Andersons put hard times on the American Dream. Dusty talked about how the people of the country were in hard times and he would be the man that would fight for them and stop people like Ric Flair at Starrcade. It’s arguably the best speech in wrestling and is still talked about twenty seven years later.

Flair is defending and this is the definition of a main event. Dusty is introduced at 275lbs, which is what The Rock was billed at for many years. For some reason I think they’re lying about Dusty’s weight here. Rhodes dances to start and it’s time to throw the punches. Dusty takes him down with a series of right hands and Flair bails out to the floor for a breather.

Back in and Dusty pounds away with elbows to the head and a big one to drop him down to the floor again. Back in again and Dusty puts on a hammerlock to take Flair to the mat. We’re four minutes into this match and Dusty already needs a rest hold? Why am I surprised by this in the slightest?

Flair takes it into the corner and fires off some right hands to the face followed by the knee drop for two. Dusty bails to the floor and is already limping on his bad leg. Or maybe he just wants a pudding pop. Flair tries to jump Dusty on the apron but gets caught in the back of the head by some elbows to put Flair in trouble again. Back in and Dusty goes after the leg with a leg lock on the mat for more resting.

Ric escapes with a rake to the eyes but can’t suplex Dusty. Instead it’s Rhodes taking Flair over with a suplex and it’s back to the leg lock. Back up and Flair puts on a sleeper hold but Dusty falls forward, sending Flair into the buckle to escape. Now Flair’s leg is wrapped around the post and Dusty stomps away but the champ pokes him in the eye to escape.

Back in and we get a somewhat famous moment as Dusty tries a snapmare but basically lays Flair down instead. It’s so embarrassingly bad that it’s hard to believe such a move exists. Anyway, Flair goes up top and if you’ve seen one Flair match over the years you know what’s coming: Dusty slams him down but Ric gets in a shot to the leg. The Figure Four is blocked but Flair goes back to Dusty’s bad leg.

Back up and Flair is whipped into the corner and goes up and over to the floor. Dusty stalks him like a big juicy hamburger with onions and sends Flair into the barricade. Back inside and the referee gets poked in the eye, allowing Flair to throw Dusty over the top. The referee gets his vision back and counts two off a cross body from Rhodes, followed by some right hands to the head.

Flair is busted open as is his custom so Dusty pounds away with rights and lefts. Ric backs away from the Bionic Elbow and there’s another Flair Flip in the corner, only to have Ric run the corner and dive into a punch to the ribs. Dusty goes for a kick but hits the rope and there goes the bad leg again. There’s the knee drop onto Dusty’s leg and it’s Figure Four time.

Dusty is in BIG trouble but he hangs on and screams at the referee to not stop the match. With the power of the fans Rhodes turns the hold over to escape and the big elbows crack Flair’s head open even more. A clothesline puts him down for two but the referee gets taken out on the kickout. Dusty accidentally throws Flair into the referee, knocking him out to the floor for good measure.

Now Dusty puts Flair in the Figure Four but here’s Arn Anderson. Dusty kicks him in the head with the bad leg with no pain in sight but we’re almost done so I can’t complain. Anyway Ole Anderson comes in and knees Dusty in the back to give Flair a near fall from a fresh referee. They get back up and Dusty small packages Flair for the pin and the title to blow the roof off the place.

Rating: B. This was a WAY better match that I remember it being. It’s far from a technical masterpiece or anything like that, but the match tells a good story and has the absolute correct ending. Dusty gets to fight off the men that hurt him and beats Flair in the middle of the ring as the fans wanted to see. Good stuff here.

Granted none of that mattered because the next week on television, Flair was given the title back because of the interference. This is known as the Dusty Finish, as Dusty, the booker at the time, was famous for having the match end and then change it later due to some technicality. At least it was a week later and not here though.

This led to Dusty’s feud with the Horsemen, including this match at Starrcade 1986.

TV Title: Tully Blanchard vs. Dusty Rhodes

This is a first blood match as the gimmicks continue. Tully is challenging and has JJ Dillon with him here. The referee stops JJ from putting either protective gear and Vaseline on Tully’s head. Instead Dusty elbows Dillon in the head to bust him open. That’s quite the message. Tully misses a knee in the corner to start and they circle each other a bit. Both guys go after the others’ head but no contact is actually made.

They circle each other even more until Dusty hits a headbutt to put Tully down. As expected the referee checks both guys because using a headbutt in a first blood match is a stupid idea. Rhodes pounds at the ribs in the corner before hitting the Bionic Elbow to the head. Dusty lays down on the leg, because leaving your head exposed like that could NEVER backfire on him at all. Blanchard rolls to the floor and we stall again.

Back in and Tully drops an elbow and rakes at Dusty’s head only to have Rhodes come back and drop a knee. The referee goes down (AGAIN) and JJ throws in his signature shoe. Rhodes throws it away and elbows Tully in the head. A bunch of right hands bust open Blanchard’s head but there’s no referee. Tully is knocked down, allowing JJ to rub Vaseline on the cut to stop the bleeding. He also hands Dusty a roll of coins to knock Dusty out cold and bust him open for the title.

Rating: D-. This was about seven minutes of stalling and covering heads before the overdone ending. The referee bumps are getting really old at this point as there have been what, five or six so far on this show? Dusty continues to not have much in the ring aside from one good match with Flair last year. This was very little to see due to all of the stalling.

What better way to cap off the feud than the ultimate team match? From July 4, 1987, in the first time ever.

Dusty Rhodes/Road Warriors/Nikita Koloff/Paul Ellering vs. Four Horsemen/JJ Dillon

The Horsemen in this case are Flair, Anderson, Blanchard, Luger and JJ Dillon. Flair’s music is epic as they crank the music WAY up. This is the Atlanta main event and it’s the debut of WarGames. For those of you uninitiated, WarGames is the mother of all gimmick matches. You have two teams of five and each team sends in a member. Those two fight for five minutes and there’s a coin toss.

The winning team gets to send in the third man to have a 2-1 advantage. That lasts two minutes and then the team that lost the toss gets to send in its second man to tie it at 2-2. That lasts two minutes then the team that won the toss sends in its third man. You alternate like that every two minutes until it’s 5-5 and then it’s first submission. No pins allowed.

Arn and Dusty start us off and remember this can’t end until all ten are in. There are two rings side by side with one huge cage over them if I didn’t mention that. They feel each other out a lot as they’re not entirely sure what to do here. Dusty walks on the second rope and then swings across the top of the cage to kick him in the ribs. Now they’re going and Dusty pounds away including a low blow which is perfectly legal.

There’s a DDT by Dusty and the crowd is red hot. Arn is cut open about two and a half minutes in so Dusty rakes it across the cage wall. Everyone hates everyone on the other team so this is a huge blood feud all around. Dusty sends him into the cage and has dominated the entire time. After a quick comeback by Arn Dusty gets his bad Figure Four on and then lets go of it because….well just because I guess.

The Horsemen win the toss (the faces literally never won the thing) and it’s Tully in next. The Horsemen beat him down but Dusty is booking so he knocks them both down with elbows. And scratch that as Tully gets in a knee shot and the double teaming begins. Tully puts on a Figure Four as they work over the knee. The clock seems to skip ahead a bit (no sign of clipping though) and Animal comes in to tie it up.

He starts launching Horsemen everywhere and sets Tully up for a slingshot which he rams three straight times. Shoulder block takes Tully down and Dusty destroys Anderson. I think Blanchard is busted and he gets double teamed a bit. Anderson looks dead. Animal is like screw that and rams him into the cage a few times. Flair is in to make it 3-2 and chops at Animal which doesn’t work. The number catch up with him as Anderson is back up quickly.

Sorry for a lot of play by play here but it’s the only thing you can do in matches like this one. Animal is busted. Dusty tries to fight back but he’s almost on his own. The fans are so loud that you can’t hear Tony and Jim. Dusty is bleeding and here comes Nikita. Flair grabs him as he comes in but the power of RUSSIA breaks up the Horsemen. The double ring thing here is very nice as they have room to move around. Animal sends Flair into the cage and he’s bleeding now. Dusty is gushing blood.

Nikita and Dusty work on the knee of Anderson but Nikita goes to get Tully stuck between the two rings and hits him between the ropes in a slingshot thing. Flair begs off Nikita and that doesn’t end well for the champ. A double dropkick puts Anderson down and here’s Lex. This is literally non-stop. Powerslam plants Koloff and Lex is dominating. There’s a spike piledriver to Nikita and then a second one just to kill him deader than dead. The Horsemen are in control but they’re starting to fall from exhaustion and blood loss.

Here’s Hawk and the fans erupt all over again. He destroys everything in sight and if you’re not bleeding already you will be now. Nikita’s neck is messed up and he can barely stand. JR is in Heaven with this much carnage. Flair gets a Figure Four on Dusty but it doesn’t count yet. The Horsemen only have JJ Dillon left and he’s a manger. He goes after Hawk and that’s just dumb.

Flair saves JJ’s life and they’re getting tired. Flair is bleeding a ton as if you expected anything else. JJ is taking a beating but Animal is getting triple teamed. Here’s Ellering to get us all tied up and now the match can end. Ellering has an LOD spiked pad on his arm. Dillon is bleeding BAD so Ellering JAMS THE SPIKE INTO HIS EYE. The LOD circles in on Dillon as the rest of the team runs interference. The Warriors spear his head into the cage and load up the Doomsday Device. JJ lands on his shoulder, legitimately hurting it. With Animal running interference, Hawk beats him half to death until he gives up to finally end this.

Rating: A+. This runs 26 minutes and there is literally no stopping in the whole thing. There isn’t some period where they chill because they’ve done enough. This is about brutality and violence and it works very well. There’s a ton of blood and JJ looks like he fell out of a building (for some reason in wrestling attire) at the end of it. It’s well worth seeing and still works today. Great match.

Dusty was booker around this time and came up with a concept to put himself over: a battle royal…..inside a steel cage. Yeah. From Bunkhouse Stampede.

Bunkhouse Stampede

Dusty Rhodes, Tully Blanchard, Ivan Koloff, The Warlord (wearing a Lifeguard shirt for no apparent reason), Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, The Barbarian, Animal.

Dusty gets a big entrance of course with all his accomplishments listed. Did I mention he was booking at the time? Seriously, ONLY DUSTY had anything listed about him, including the match he won to qualify here, his world title reigns, his US Title reigns, and his TV Title reigns. No one else got anything but their normal entrances. This could get bad fast. All eight are in there at once. There aren’t any weapons like promised or anything.

Remember, it’s a battle royal in a cage where you have to throw them over the ropes or through the door. My goodness this is idiotic. Apparently it’s unheard of for someone to win three straight Bunkhouse Stampedes. That could be because this is THE THIRD ONE! Wow Dusty lowered some IQs. Everyone is in some screwed up street clothes of some kind and this is just idiotic.

Apparently the referee has to determine if a guy goes over the cage or through the door, since that’s overly complicated I guess. Wow shoving people OVER A CAGE looks stupid. See, when it was a regular battle royal, IT MADE SENSE. Blanchard and Anderson work together of course. Barbarian, Warlord and Koloff are in the same stable mind you so they’ll likely work together. Koloff and Dusty climb the cage due to idiocy.

I’m watching people try to throw PEOPLE over a cage. Does that sound stupid to you or is it just me? How hard would it be to throw someone that is fighting back over a cage wall? Because to me, IT SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE. Also, there are a lot of people walking around on the top ropes which is just freaking stupid too. No one is out or anything yet.

Arn saves himself from being thrown out the door as I realize how much this sounds like a really bad comedy sketch. Koloff is bleeding. Winner gets half a millon dollars. Not sure if I said that or not but I don’t want to stop the tape long enough to go back and read it. I feel sorry for Ross and Caudle trying to make this sound interesting or intense or whatever it’s supposed to be.

Luger and Dusty just go off as we’re supposed to believe that a guy that is built like Dusty is supposed to be in the same kind of condition as a stallion like Luger. Right. Oh yeah, and keep in mind this whole cowboy southern thing is in NEW YORK CITY. They continue to try to make this sound good and it’s just failing. Wow this was ten days before I was born and 12 before Hogan lost the world title to Andre. Holy goodness that’s weird to think about.

Still no one out and we’re almost 15 minutes into this. It’s mainly just people in jeans hitting people with belts and boots. Yeah it’s riveting in case you can’t tell. Dusty’s arm is bleeding from being worked over with a belt. Make this stop please. Animal tries to shove Anderson over the top. I want to break this match.

Koloff, like an idiot, although at this time he’s one of two former world champions in there somehow, climbs over the cage to get away from Animal and gets knocked out to take us down to seven. Oh sweet mercy kill me now. So let’s just keep the camera on Koloff FOREVER as we see the EPIC DRAMA of him standing up. Animal and Warlord fight to the door and Warlord gets knocked to the door. Animal gets kicked in the head by Barbarian and it knocks both guys out in a stupid looking spot.

We have Dusty, Luger, Anderson, Blanchard and Barbarian left. Blanchard gets put in the Rack which at least hurts him. Some fan shouts about how freaking gay this is. Thanks for that. Luger takes a Gourdbuster and the Horsemen try to throw him out. Since Luger didn’t have any gourds on him though, he was fine and stays in.

Anderson, Luger and Blanchard fight by the door and they all go out after like three minutes of fighting. Arn at one point stood on the third step and choked Luger. Yeah he deserved to lose. So we have Barbarian vs. Dusty. Any bets on who wins here? Barbarian gets some brass knuckles and pops Dusty with them. Barbarian hits like three of his top rope headbutt finishers but Dusty fights back baby!

They climb to the top rope for the epic move known as the OH DANG THIS MATCH MAKES NO SENSE SO LET’S CLIMB UP SO WE CAN HAVE A REASON TO GET THROWN OVER THE CAGE! Yep, Dusty wins by hitting the elbow to the head and we’re done. Earl Hebner is the referee here but would be in WWF in 12 days for the famous twin angle. Dusty gets a big bronze cowboy boot. Give me a FREAKING BREAK!

We hear about Dusty was considering retiring before this but came back “for the people.” So he was about to leave and came back for the people. So apparently by coming back for the people, he just had to come up with a PPV for himself and put himself over in it. Sure why not.

Rating: F. There was a cage match with a battle royal going on. This was a MASSIVE love letter from Dusty to Dusty. This was all about getting him even FURTHER over and making things look even stupider. Somehow Dusty was the wildcard and the favorite at the same time. He’s US Champion already but was going to retire. I give up. Just a joke of a main event and a show.

Dusty would team up with Sting to challenge for the Tag Team Titles at Clash of the Champions II.

World Tag Team Titles: Sting/Dusty Rhodes vs. Arn Anderson/Tully Blanchard

Sting and Rhodes are challenging of course and Dusty is nearing the end of his run with the promotion. Sting starts with Anderson and counters the wristlock in the same way he did to Flair at the first Clash. Arn bails to the floor for a breather and the fans are WAY into Sting here. Back in and Anderson throws Sting to the floor, only to miss a charge into the post. Sting wraps Arn’s arm around the post and cranks on it back inside for good measure.

The champions tag to bring in Tully but Sting slams him down twice in a row and tags in Dusty to an even bigger ovation from the crowd. Rhodes cleans house with punches to the face and Blanchard is in trouble in the corner. A big elbow to the head puts him down and Dusty puts on his pretty bad looking Figure Four. The hold is short lived though as a JJ Dillon distraction lets Anderson make the save and send Dusty to the floor.

Sting immediately comes over for the save and Dusty gets back inside, only to take a beating from Tully. Rhodes scores with a shoulder block and a dropkick without much air under it. Back to Sting to take over with a Stinger Splash to Blanchard but Anderson breaks up the Deathlock attempt. The Horsemen drop Sting onto the barricade to stop his momentum and Anderson drives an elbow into his back for two.

A middle rope splash hits Sting’s knees but more Horsemen double teaming stops the hot tag to Rhodes. Tully can’t get a sunset flip but Arn clotheslines Sting down to the mat for two. Blanchard sends Sting back to the floor and Anderson gets in a quick DDT on the concrete to knock Sting out cold. Dillon throws Sting back in but the referee is with Dusty, allowing Sting to kick out at two.

A backslide gets the same on Arn but he’s able to tag out while still being counted. It’s amazing how efficient the Horsemen were at teaming and that’s a great example of their skill. Sting catches Tully in a hot shot and now Dusty comes in off the tag. The fans suddenly believe the championships are in trouble and everything breaks down. The referee gets bumped and Barry Windham and Ric Flair run in for the disqualification.

Rating: D+. The fans helped this a lot but it wasn’t a great match from a technical standpoint. There was a good chance of a title change here given what happened at the previous Clash, which sets a good precedent for future shows in this series. It’s also a good sign that Sting is in another main event here and is being treated like a big deal and threats to titles.

After being fired for going insane as booker, Dusty would start his own promotion in Florida. Here’s the main event of their Homecoming show on March 11, 1989.

PWF World Title: Big Steel Man vs. Dusty Rhodes

Big Steel Man is Tugboat/Typhoon/Shockmaster. Dusty comes out to Old Time Rock And Roll. Well at least he has good taste. Oh apparently Page is the manager of Big Steel Man. That sounds like something a 4 year old would come up with. Steel Man shoves Dusty around a lot to start. Dusty comes back with an elbow. That sequence took over a minute somehow. Dusty jumps (yes, jumps) into a bearhug two minutes into the match. This match is really looking down in a hurry.

Dusty elbows out of it and goes to the floor, only to have his shoulder rammed into the post. Back inside Steel Man works over the arm with a wristlock. The guy is 370lbs and he’s using a move that a cruiserweight could use. That’s not a compliment in this case. The arm goes into the buckle and Big Steel drops four legdrops in a row followed by a missed top rope splash. Dusty rolls over quickly and gets the pin and the title out of nowhere.

Rating: F. OH COME ON! After this horrible show, the big star’s match for the world title isn’t even eight minutes long? There was no build at all and the ending didn’t do anything for the crowd, as they didn’t have a chance to get ready. Also, Dusty looks like a weak champion as all he did was move out of the way instead of hitting a move of his own. Horrible main event to a terrible show.

After that, Dusty would head to the WWF with his first major match taking place at Summerslam 1989.

Honky Tonk Man vs. Dusty Rhodes

Dusty recently stole the Boss Man’s hat and nightstick after debuting early in the summer. We start with a dance off before Dusty takes him into the corner for a clean break. Honky bails to the floor to avoid the Bionic Elbow but comes back in for Dusty to grab his arm. Instead of driving an elbow into the shoulder though, Dusty messes with Honky’s hair to really get on his nerves. An atomic drop and the Bionic Elbow put Honky down with Dusty in full control.

Ten right hands in the corner drop Honky to the mat and it’s off to Dusty’s totally lame leg lock (meaning he stands there and turns Honky’s foot) fills in some time. Honky fires off some right hands but drops down to avoid a running Dusty. Jimmy Hart trips Dusty up and Honky just lays on the mat instead of going after Rhodes as Jimmy is stalked. Honky gets Jimmy’s megaphone for a shot to Dusty’s ribs and finally takes over with a chinlock.

It’s the long form version as we’re still in the hold about two minutes later. Dusty fights up and misses an elbow so it’s back to the chinlock. Rhodes fights up again and pounds away with right hands but Honky sends him into the referee to make this match go even further. Jimmy accidentally knocks Honky silly with the guitar and Dusty drops a big elbow for the pin.

Rating: D-. Who in the world thought this deserved ten minutes should be carried into the street and shot. Between the leg lock and the WAY too long chinlock, this could have been cut in half and nothing would have been lost. Honky was fine as a jobber to the stars at this point and he would maintain that position for months to come. This was way overbooked for what it was worth, but the fans loved Dusty which is the point of the match.

Another of Dusty’s feuds was against Big Boss Man, including this match at Saturday Night’s Main Event XXIV.

Dusty Rhodes vs. Big Bossman

Dusty wants Slick thrown out but can’t get that. Bossman dominates to start with the help of Slick. Dusty gets to lay on his back for awhile so something must be working. A short fat woman at ringside yells at Slick. Dusty has gotten NOTHING in here at all. His comeback only lasts a bit as Slick gets the nightstick. Bossman yells at the lady from earlier and gets rolled up for the pin. The lady gets to dance in the ring and would become Sapphire.

Rating: D. Total domination here but Dusty got punches in and then a rollup to win the match. I hate that booking and always have. It makes Bossman look kind of weak since he managed to lose to a quick rollup like that and little of his offense did anything. This was just bad, but I’d put that on Dusty.

Then we hit the most logical feud ever: the common man vs. the Macho King. They would meet in the first mixed tag in WWF history at Wrestlemania VI.

Dusty Rhodes/Sapphire vs. Queen Sherri/Randy Savage

Savage is the King at this point. This is the first mixed tag in company history according to Fink. I don’t know if that’s true but I don’t know of another preceding it. Dusty and Sapphire are introduced at 465lbs. Jesse: “Are you telling me Dusty only weighs 200?” Dusty says cut the music because he’s got the crown jewel: Elizabeth. Savage FREAKS (I think. It’s kind of hard to tell with him) and Jesse is on one of his famous rants.

The genders have to match here so the guys start things off. Sherri tries to interfere but Sapphire makes the save. Dusty throws Sherri into Savage and we’re off to the women. Sapphire shakes her hips into Sherri and hooks an airplane spin for bad measure. Sherri tries a slam which goes as well as you would expect it to. Off to the men again with Sapphire getting in a few slaps from the apron.

The guys go to the floor but Savage runs back in for a top rope ax handle to the floor. He hits it again for good measure but Sapphire gets in the way of the third jump. Back in and Randy hits a suplex for two and drops Rhodes with a shot to the head with the scepter. Sherri hits a top rope splash for two on Dusty because the rules don’t matter I guess. Everything breaks down with Sapphire taking over on Sherri. Liz sends Sherri back inside and it’s a schoolgirl win for Sapphire on the Queen.

Rating: D. Another mess here that was there more for the spectacle than anything else. Most of this show isn’t that good all around and this was another good example. Sapphire continues to be pretty much there as a sight gag but thankfully she would be gone later on in the summer. Not much to see here for the most part.

And a singles version from Summerslam 1990.

Dusty Rhodes vs. Randy Savage

Before the match we hear a familiar laugh and cut to Ted DiBiase on the interview platform. He’s been spending the last several weeks telling Dusty that he has a price just like everyone else but Dusty has kept turning him down. Tonight, someone else had a price: Sapphire, Ted’s latest purchase. Ted’s latest gift to her is a bag of money which is hard to pass up. DiBiase brings up the most obvious point to the story: who else could afford to pay for all the gifts Sapphire has been getting?

Rhodes charges at DiBiase but Savage jumps him from behind to start the match. Back in and Savage hits a top rope ax handle for two. Dusty comes back with some elbows but his heart isn’t in this. He has to stop to chase Sherri though, allowing Savage to knock Rhodes out cold with Sherri’s loaded purse for the pin. This was nothing.

After bringing his son Dustin in at the 1991 Royal Rumble in a loss to DiBiase/Virgil, the Rhodes Family would head back to WCW. One of these matches was on January 4, 1992 at the WCW/New Japan Supershow II.

Dustin Rhodes/Dusty Rhodes vs. Masa Saito/Kim Duk

Well of course Dusty just had to grace us with his presence in a huge match like this. I mean it’s not like there’s some young guy that needed the exposure here or anything like that right? I’m sure there isn’t a guy that has never really gotten a spotlight before that could use a match on PPV in front of 60,000 people. Nah we’d rather have old fat men! Let’s get this over with.

I’ve never heard of Duk. Sweet merciful crap Dusty is a fat man. Saito is a big man but looks tough. Dusty simply doesn’t at all. Dustin and Duk start us off and we get a criss cross which Dustin controls. Ross REALLY likes the refereeing tonight for some reason. He’s complimented it in every match so far tonight.

Duk has been in two big spots so far: a head scissors and a back drop and both have looked very bad. The other guy was Dustin Rhodes who is usually very solid in the ring. I’m pretty sure I think I know who screwed up there. We hear about Saito being in the Olympic Games in 64. He refuses to tag in here, merely brushing him off. That’s rather funny.

The two fat men come in with Dusty gettinga nice round of applause. We fight to the ramp with Dusty firmly in control. Saito drops to his knees in front of Dusty. If he wants to blow him he’s going to have a lot of gut to hold up. Ross says Dusty has been inactive for a year or so. That’s very funny, as if Dusty has been active in his life.

Ross explains the difference between ring attendants and managers which is fairly interesting. Is there ANY reason why we have Dusty working the majority of the match here? Did anyone thought that was the right idea? We hit the nerve hold so we talk about the language barriers between Duk, a Korean and Saito, who is Japanese.

Saito misses a running kick and drills Duk to bring in Dustin again. Duk hits a Piledriver on Dustin for two. Back to Dusty vs. Saito which still isn’t incredibly interesting. Saito is good though so we have that to fall back on I guess. Thankfully Dusty isn’t in there long and Dustin walks into a Saito Suplex which is of course his namesake. It’s a modified belly to back.

They ram heads and both guys are down. Duk comes in but since he isn’t incredibly talented Dustin just beats the tar out of him, getting a dropkick for two and then after a few more seconds the bulldog (I can’t stand that move) ends this. The total lack of a reaction is still weird to me.

Rating: D+. Weakest match so far. Dusty and Duk weren’t worth much at all here. Ross saying he was funky like a monkey in total deadpan is hilarious for some reason. This was pretty bad but it could have been much worse. It got nearly 15 minutes and for some reason Dusty was in there more than his son. Odd.

Dusty would mostly be retired at this point but would come out of retirement to help his son in his war with the Stud Stable, including in WarGames at Fall Brawl 1994.

War Games: Stud Stable vs. Team Rhodes

Stud Stable: Robert Parker, Bunkhouse Buck, Terry Funk, Arn Anderson
Team Rhodes: Dustin Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes, Nasty Boys

So yeah, Dusty Rhodes is in the main event as are the Nasty Boys and Bunkhouse Buck and a manager. We can’t have Sting or Vader or someone interesting in there. Arn Anderson is the biggest star at the current time in there. For those of you that haven’t ever seen one of these, here are the rules. We start with one guy from each team and they fight for five minutes.

Keep in mind that it’s two rings and one cage over the whole thing mind you. After the five minutes are up, we have a coin toss which the heels literally never lost. Whoever wins (the heels) send in their second man and that team has a 2-1 advantage for two minutes. After the two minutes are up, the team that lost the toss sends in its second man to make it 2-2 for two minutes.

After that two minutes, it goes to 3-2 and alternates back and forth for two minutes each until everyone is in. Then and only then can you win the match and only by submission. In other words, you’re guaranteed seventeen minutes passing by before the match can actually end. This gimmick is by far and away my all time favorite and it really is a huge deal. Thankfully Dusty has a shirt on.

When the Nasty Boys name graphic comes up we see Dustin Rhodes. Nice one guys. Oh and Dusty is team captain despite not wrestling in years. We start with Dustin and Arn, who are the only two of reasonable age with talent so that’s the best choice I guess. They actually have a cameraman in the cage. I like that. Arn does the same spot he always does of having his head put between the rings.

They start off fairly generic as most of these matches did. Dustin gets a nice jump over both sets of ropes from one ring to another. Nice spot. You can see that in reality the heels lost the coin toss as they call tails and after the referee loses the quarter that it comes up tails but the heels win. Bunkhouse Buck comes in to make it 2-1.

Good night this is boring so far. And since Dusty wouldn’t book himself anything but last to save his fat life the savior is a Nasty Boy. That just doesn’t blow my skirt up. The heels put on a double Boston Crab because that sells PPVs dang it. Jerry Sags ties it up. I can’t believe this is actually main eventing a PPV. The crowd is hot as fire which stuns me. Oh looks it’s a sleeper.

Given the four guys left it’s pretty simple who goes in next for each team. Funk tries to throw a chair in but forgets there’s a roof. Funk is in and it’s 3-2. He hits people with his boot that he removed. Funk falls down through the rings and hits the floor, which means he could just crawl out under the ring but whatever. Of course Knobbs is next to tie us up. Brian Knobbs is making the save. How in the world does this make sense?

Oh Dusty has a shirt that says Nasty Dream. That has to be a porn chick’s name. If not it’s perfect. Parker is the only entertaining thing here and I usually can’t stand him. I wonder what they would do to him if he didn’t go in. There are no DQs remember. He finally gets in and hurts his hand throwing a punch. Dustin has a belt from somewhere. Everyone is just waiting around for Dusty to get in and take all the glory.

It was so painfully obvious that he would be the one getting the win because his name is Dusty Rhodes and he could rival Hogan as far as ego went. Of course he can fight off all three heel wrestlers with no issue. Heenan calls him a Brahma Bull which is amusing to me. About 40 seconds after he gets in he puts a figure four that completely sucks on Parker and the Nastys drop about 30 elbows on him for the submission. How Dustin is able to fight off all three guys isn’t answered but whatever. DUSTY REIGNS! That ends the show.

Rating: D+. They managed to screw up War Games. That’s just freaking impressive. Seriously, look at these people and realize that it’s 1994. That sums up the whole issue with this. If it were 1987 this would have been fine but get with the times people. Dusty and the Nastys? REALLY? Anyone that wants to try to convince me that this wasn’t Hogan’s doing, let me know.

Other than a few matches as part of the NWO, Dusty would retire from mainstream wrestling. He would however come back in ECW to face the King of Old School Steve Corino, including this match at Living Dangerously 2000.

Steve Corino vs. Dusty Rhodes

This is a bullrope match, meaning they’re tied at the wrist by a bullrope which has a cowbell that can be used as a weapon. The match is won by pin or submission. Dusty has to elbow him down to get the rope around his wrist. A cowbell to the head had Corino in trouble and they head outside with Dusty walking him up to the stage and into the crowd. Steve is bleeding and this has been all Dusty so far.

Corino finally comes back with a cowbell shot to the head and Jack Victory comes in for some shots as well. Dusty is bleeding as well but comes back with some signature elbows to the head. They finally get back to ringside with Corino biting Dusty’s cut. Victory slides in a chair but Dusty uses the rope to pull Steve face first into the opened chair. Dusty slices at Corino’s arm with the cowbell and nails him in the head with it for good measure.

Corino wedges the chair between the top and middle rope, only to be sent face first into it, as per wrestling custom. Steve comes back with punches and the big elbow to the head but Victory throws in another cowbell. The referee, who Corino and Victory attacked recently, tapes the bell to Corino’s head so Dusty can blast it with a chair. Dusty mostly hits Steve’s head instead of the bell and the Bionic Elbow gets the pin.

Rating: D. This was a brawl that spent about half the time in the audience, but what can you expect from an overweight man in his fifties that hasn’t wrestled full time in years? I have no idea why you would have Dusty win here though as it makes Corino look weak, which is the worst thing you can do when ECW wanted to push him as a big star. This was a somewhat fun match but it just wasn’t very good.

It was back to WCW for its dying days, including this match at Greed 2001.

Dusty Rhodes/Dustin Rhodes vs. Jeff Jarrett/Ric Flair

The losers have to kiss the winners’…..yeah. Flair is in a Hawaiian shirt as we talk about burritos. Something tells me this is going to be a comedy match minus the comedy. Animal is here too. Dusty’s music is a cover/parody of his WWF music of all things. Uh…sure why not. Jarrett is fighting on his own apparently. Ok never mind no he won’t be. Animal gets thrown out before we get started.

Dustin TOWERS over his dad. Jarrett and Dustin start us off. The faces are of course dressed in cowboy stuff since that’s all they can wear. Let the crotch grabbing begin! Flair comes in and beats up Dustin for a bit as we wait for the hot tag to the guy in the mid-50s. Dusty comes in and gets a standing ovation. Yeah Flair vs. Dusty, the main event of Starrcade EIGHTY FOUR is the biggest thing of the night. That’s a horrible sign for a wrestling company.

Dusty cleans house before Dustin comes in. Shattered Dreams is blocked by a low blow. It’s called the Dust Buster here to continue making my head hurt. Jarrett goes after the knee since everyone has to use a Figure Four. And there it is. Dusty of course does nothing about it because that would be naughty. Both guys get tags after the hold is broken and Dusty cleans house.

Dusty’s big elbow gets two. Flair shouts NO but doesn’t roll out of the way or anything like that. I guess that would make too much sense or something. A pair of low blows and the heels go for a double figure four, which fails. Dustin manages to screw up a small package but pins Flair anyway. Post match Dusty drops his pants and kind of does a Stinkface but it’s awful. Can we move on please?

Rating: D-. Somehow this was better than the previous few matches. Dusty is the high spot of the show though and that’s never a good sign. It says that no one buys the young guys and would rather see the old guys from like 15 years ago. It’s the worst thing you can have and the idea is to have the old guys put the young guys over. WCW never got that but whatever. Match sucked.

Dusty would head over to TNA and face Jeff Jarrett for control of the Asylum on November 26, 2003.

Dusty Rhodes vs. Jeff Jarrett

This is for control of the Asylum, which I assume means control of the company. It’s also billed as Fans’ Revenge, meaning there are “fans” at ringside with leather straps to act as lumberjacks. Jeff is world champion but of course this is non-title. The fans come out to Hulk Hogan’s WCW theme music (American Made) which made my head snap back to the monitor.

Jarrett offers to beat up all the fans and save Dusty for last. Tenay dedicates this match to recently deceased NWA World Champion Dick Hutton, which is a name you probably won’t hear more than five times ever in modern wrestling. Dusty scores with a quick Bionic Elbow and Jeff instinctively rolls to the floor, only to run back inside to escape the straps. Now Jeff runs from another elbow attempt and takes his chances on the floor.

More strap shots send him back inside to face the Dream as the fans (the real ones, not the indy workers at ringside) are getting into this. That same sequence happens a few more times as Rhodes just stands in the corner. Jeff finally realizes he’s fighting Dusty Rhodes and punches him down with ease but Dusty starts shaking. The Flip Flop and Fly sets up the Bionic Elbow to send Jeff out for more strapping.

Dusty takes one of the straps for some shots of his own but the referee gets bumped. Jeff gets the strap and beats on Dusty but Jimmy Hart and Don Callis (managers) come in to fight. This draws out Director of Authority Erik Watts to chokeslam Jarrett…and that’s that. The DVD just goes to another history package, meaning I guess it was a no contest?

Rating: D+. This falls under the category of you know what you’re getting. Dusty was fifty eight years old and hadn’t been an active wrestler in over ten years. The match was about the lumberjacks getting in some shots on Jarrett and giving the fans something amusing to see. Dusty would stick around as an authority figure four years.

Here’s one I doubt you’ve seen before. From an elementary school in Paintsville, Kentucky at the Bluegrass Boogie Bash on December 12, 2003.

Dusty Rhodes vs. Slash

Slash is Wolfie D of PG-13. Before we get started Slash grabs a mic and insults the fans with some gay slurs. A single elbow puts Slash on the floor and one to Sinn does the same as Dusty rules the ring for a bit. Dusty works the arm and even though he’s doing very basic stuff, you can see he knows exactly what he’s doing and is working the crowd every second.

Out to the floor now as Slash takes over with some right hands. They have ropes as a barrier here so Slash chokes away with that for a bit. Back into the ring and it’s a neck crank to the Dream. That goes on for a good while and then it’s some choking with the wrist tape. Asiatic Nerve Hold goes on as we waste WAY too much time here.

Literally this hold lasts about two and a half minutes. Flip Flop and Fly puts Slash down and Sinn interferes. That of course gets them nowhere other than on their backs as Dusty moves away and they collide. Dusty rolls up Slash and it’s over. Like he wasn’t going to go over here. That’s not a criticism mind you, merely an observation.

Rating: D-. Yeah Dusty worked the crowd well and the fans were into it, but when there are five minutes in a match and one goes to them walking around and two is spent in various rest holds, that’s not much of a match. Dusty had to win here which is fine but this was pretty weak nonetheless.

Back to WWE for two legends matches. We’ll start at Survivor Series 2006.

Team Legends vs. Spirit Squad

Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Ron Simmons, Dusty Rhodes
Kenny, Johnny, Nicky, Mikey

Slaughter is replacing a cancer ridden Roddy Piper. Actually he got very lucky as he got a concussion because of a Conchairto from Edge, and on the tests the cancer was found. Arn Anderson is here with the Legends and we get the awesome Horsemen music. The only member of the Squad still around is Nicky, more famous as Dolph Ziggler. Mikey is Mike Mondo in ROH at the moment.

Simmons and Mikey start things off and guess who wins the slugout. Simmons beats up all of them but Mitch, the fifth member of the squad not in the match, interferes and gets Ron on the floor. Mitch’s distraction leads to Simmons getting counted out. Mitch gets ejected but Simmons beats him up first. Anderson gets ejected as well for no apparent reason. The Philly fans are TICKED. Nicky comes in to face Sarge and he mocks the salute. Fan: “PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE!”

Sarge beats him up with ease and it’s off to Dusty for some gyrating and elbows to the arm. It’s off to Flair and you know the Philly fans are all for that one. A chop later and it’s right back to Slaughter who hooks the Cobra Clutch, but Dusty and Kenny come in to fight, allowing Johnny to kick Sarge in the head to give Nicky a pin. Off to Dusty who hits the bionic elbow for the immediate elimination of Nicky, making it 3-2. Dusty gets caught in the corner but he gyrates it off.

The Flip Flop and Fly takes Kenny down but another elbow misses, giving Kenny a rollup (with jeans) pin. It’s Kenny/Johnny/Mikey vs. Flair now with Mikey starting first. Flair chops him into the corner but Mikey starts punching away. Ric hits a quick atomic drop and gets a rollup with feet on the ropes (now THAT is vintage Flair) for the elimination. Kenny gets in some shots but ducks his head and gets cradled for the pin, leaving Flair vs. Johnny. Less than a minute later it’s a Figure Four to give Flair the win.

Rating: C-. This was exactly what it was expected to be and that’s all it should have been. The legends were there to have a feel good nostalgia moment and get eliminated so Flair, the only one who had been active in the last three years or so, could knock out all of the Squad and give the fans a feel good moment. Also it’s only about ten minutes long so it’s not like this was anything major. It’s not a good technical match, but if that’s what you’re expecting here, you missed the point entirely. Besides, the Squad was gone literally the next night.

And one last one from the 2007 Great American Bash. As far as major promotions, this is Dusty’s last match to date.

Randy Orton vs. Dusty Rhodes

This is the pinfall version instead of the touching all the corners version, making it a bit better. I can’t complain about hearing Common Man or whatever that song is called again. Randy doesn’t really want to get tied up to the rope and I can’t say I blame him. I think the bell rang and that this is counting. The problem is there’s a bell on the rope so it’s hard to tell. Blast it there’s the real bell. I was hoping we were almost half done.

Comedy to start as Dusty takes him down with the rope around his feet. Dusty elbows him down and crotches him with the rope. They go to the floor and Dusty misses a bell shot to the head against the post. There’s a long beating on the floor and back inside we go. Orton gets in a shot to the knee and here comes the booing. Orton hooks a long chinlock to fill in most of the match. Dusty comes back with the elbows but a bell to the head gets the pin for Randy.

Rating: D-. What in the world were you expecting here? At the end of the day, Dusty is an old man and he’s against a young superstar. That being said, at least they didn’t make this idiotic by doing something like making him a heel. I mean, can you imagine how stupid you have to be to make an old man attempt to be a big threat? I mean, can you imagine being intimidated of a guy in his early 60s?

I think it’s pretty well known that Dusty wasn’t all that great in the ring, but man alive could he talk people into the building. The feud with Ric Flair was as natural of a dynamic as you could ever ask for and their Starrcade 1985 match was as good as they ever got. His ego got him in trouble a lot of the time, but when he was just talking, Dusty was one of the best ever.

1 comment

  1. Bj says:

    R.I.P American Dream