WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2007: Dusty Rhodes

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Dusty Rhodes

Class of 2007

The American Dream, Son of a Plumber; Father of Wacky

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Hall of Fame Rating

9 out of 10

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The Common Man Boogie is the perfect theme for the American Dream Dusty Rhodes.  Whenever I think of Dusty Rhodes, this theme just pops into my head.  It encapsulates the energy, and power infectiously found in the man and in all incarnations of his face character.

Dancing!!!

Dancing!!!

Dusty,The Dream was not known for his in ring ability (only pass-able for his time period) Rhodes got over because of his character, which was stronger, better and more relatable than most stars of his generation.

Rhodes was so good, he was the first real doesn’t need the belt face in history. His status was that of an ICON, in the time period where ICONS were few and far between.

He did commercials, sold action figures and was a brand in a time before wrestling created brands. When did you ever see Harley Race, Bob Backlund or even Ric Flair do these? It was all Dusty Rhodes and his drawing power.

It is easy in the WWEized world of “sports entertainment” to miss the historical importance of a man like Dusty Rhodes. In land of territories or the world before WWF, Rhodes was a major star wherever he went. He even had a feud in 1970s WWWF, facing then champion Superstar Billy Graham in a series of matches where Rhodes’ sheer semi-national presence was on display.

WWE tends to miss or under report that in late 1970s, Dusty was huge. He was bigger than Backlund; Bigger than Ric Flair. He had a run with the NWA world heavyweight title, which although it didn’t last long, one of the first and best examples of the modern “face chase”. Rhodes perfected the chase, but wasn’t a good enough technical wrestler to be the 1970s NWA champion. He likely would have been a great WWWF champion or WWF champion if he had decided to pursue that. Rhodes instead choose to pursue the behind the scenes to make his mark on wrestling. In this area, the WWE rarely gives Dusty the credit he deserves.

If you need to find anything which showcased Rhodes at is his best, it has to be the WCW staple, War Games. In its time, War Games was considered to be one of the most deadly, intense and spectacular specialty matches. A 5 man team fought a 5 man team in the “match to end all matches”.li Its an awful shame that War Games has never appeared at a WWE event. Another case of Vince McMahon being uninterested in ideas which weren’t his (see Goldberg, NWO, literally anything WCW).

As a booker, Dusty Rhodes can be given some of the credit for the Four Horsemen, Lex Luger, Sting, Barry Windham, Sid Vicious and many other successful talents. He can also be blamed for one of the greatest terrible ideas. That’s right! Dusty Rhodes came up with the Shockmaster!

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Well, nobody is perfect….

At the tail end of his in ring career, Dusty had a falling out with the new owners of WCW (He was fired)Dusty finally looked north and jumped for his first full long-term stay with the WWF in 1989.

By the late 80s, Vince McMahon controlled most of wrestling. He had just put Verne Gagne and his AWA out of business. At the same time, WCW was struggling to compete, having issues deciding if it was a wrestling organization or if it was going to embrace the “sports entertainment” aspect fully. WWF could do whatever it wanted.

This is why it was surprising when Vince brought Dusty Rhodes in. Dusty remained Dusty. He wasn’t even changed character wise a  real deal. Vince was notorious for doing what he wanted and for putting people in their place once joining the WWF.

Really, this is what you do with Harley Race?

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While being lucky enough to keep his name and general gimmick, Dusty Rhodes still had to be “punished”. He was saddled with something very notorious.

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Polka Dots!!!!!!

This was an insult. This was a way of putting Dusty in his place. This was all about control. Dusty can work for the WWF, but he has to look stupid.

That's a great idea

“He will be made a fool and prove once and for all that WWF s the best”

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You got it

 

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 oh honey, I’ll get over anyway

 

And he did. He did! Polka dotted and  saddled with Sapphire, a non wrestling “common woman”, Dusty still got over. IT is a testament to the charisma of Dusty Rhodes.

He is one of the greatest talents in the history of wrestling. Both for in ring and for his contributions to the business (or as he would say, to the Industry)

Dusty’s last great effect on the business of wrestling was with the developmental system and amazing wrestling brand, NXT.  His involvement as the head of NXT, head of promos at NXT, coach and GM cannot be understated. When he died, the NXT groups in particular came out to thank him. More than anything Dusty Rhodes will be remembered as a lover of the business.

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And as the reason for this:

Finally, Dusty will always be remembered as the beginning of a dynasty….a dynasty of weird. Goldust was a groundbreaking talent in the mid 90s WWF. Dynamism did not fall far from the tree and Goldust has proved again and again to be the Dream’s more than capable son.

The Dream’s second son, Cody Rhodes has also become a premier and regular talent in the WWE. He too has recently taken a tilt towards the crazy as Stardust.

Two of the most dynamic, strange and best actors in wrestling. Following “the Dream to wrestling success.

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Dusty gave us fans so much. He was beloved and he will be missed.

 

Why 2007?

WWE has always had a headliner problem when it comes to Hall of Fame. After Bret Hart in 2006, they had three options: Macho Man. Warrior or Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes was the easiest to secure (as he worked for the company) Easy timing during the Johnny Ace led years of the WWE Hall of Fame.

Very deserved, but I will always be bitter of the headliners between 2007-2011. They were all in the way of us seeing Randy Savage get inducted in person.

Opens Door For?

The Four Horsemen, (2012), and eventually other NWA/WCW talents like Sting, DDP and Lex Luger. They like Rhodes had most of their success outside of the WWE.

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

First headliner to have the majority of his career outside of the WWF. IF WWE decided to do a WWF/WWE only Hall of Fame, this wouldn’t have made sense.

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