Remembering The American Dream

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

Dusty (2)

WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes passed away on June 10 at the age of 69.

Known as “The American Dream,” Rhodes broke out as a superstar in the mid-to-late 1970s portraying the character of a working class hero. This gimmick won over the fans, as Rhodes became a top star in various wrestling territories.

Notably, Rhodes competed in the main event of two World Wide Wrestling Entertainment’s events in 1977, competing for their World Heavyweight Championship against then champion “Superstar” Billy Graham.

Rhodes built his brand as a wrestler through the National Wrestling Alliance, feuding with wrestling legends such as Harley Race, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Terry Funk.

Later in his career, Rhodes became a wrestling booker and was credited for many of the Pay-Per-View names and gimmicks in World Championship Wrestling. One wrestling gimmick, The Dusty Finish, is named after Rhodes. In a Dusty Finish, a match ends in controversy after a referee is knocked unconscious.

On March 31, 2007, his sons Cody and Dustin “Goldust” Runnels inducted Rhodes into the WWE Hall of Fame. Since then, Rhodes had made occasional appearances on various episodes of RAW while working with the developmental talents in NXT.

Various talent within the wrestling world offered their condolences through Twitter.

“I was ever so fortunate to be a friend to this man, to learn from him as a performer and as a human being. #RIPDusty,” said WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins.

In the photograph that accompanied his tweet, Rollins stood with the NXT Championship around his waist while Rhodes and WWE COO Triple H held his arms up.

Rollins NXT (2)

According to various reports, Rhodes loved working with up and coming talent and he was considered a mentor and a beloved friend of the developmental stars.

Another notable Tweet was a tribute by WWE Superstar Kevin Owens. In the tweet, Owens added polka dots—which were part of Rhodes’ gimmick during his tenure in WWE—to his T-Shirt that he wears during his matches.

“This one’s for you, Dream…#NXTPittsburgh,” said Owens.

“The American Dream” will be forever remembered as a pioneer in the wrestling business, a mentor to wrestlers and managers alike, and as a beloved friend.

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