R.I.P “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes; Goodbye to a Pro Wrestling Original; From the Archives, Our Conversation from 2003

CYInterview is saddened to hear of the passing of pro wrestling legend, The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. He was 69. Today, World Wrestling Entertainment public relations representative Tara Carraro sent me a release on the passing of Mr. Rhodes. You can read it below:

“WWE is deeply saddened that Virgil Runnels, aka “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes — WWE Hall of Famer, three-time NWA Champion and one of the most captivating and charismatic figures in sports entertainment history — passed away today at the age of 69.

Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews and his indomitable spirit. Moreover, Runnels was a dedicated father to WWE Superstars Goldust (Dustin Runnels) and Stardust (Cody Runnels), a caring husband and a creative visionary who helped shape the landscape of WWE long after his in-ring career had ended.

WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Runnels’ family, friends and colleagues.”

There are only a handful of people who ever experienced what Mr. Rhodes had in the world of professional wrestling: from being a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion to working in WWE, WCW, ECW, TNA Wrestling, Championship Wrestling from Florida, as well as having toured the rest of the wrestling territories, Japan and the entire world. Beyond his career in the ring, Dusty worked outside the ring in creative (the creative side of the business,) as a booker and a broadcast announcer, among other things. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.

I was fortunate to speak with Dusty two times, but one of the two conversations was truly special. Back on November 28, 2003, I welcomed Dusty to my then weekly wrestling program for a 40 minute conversation. What made the conversation great was a handful of fans who had the opportunity, on the program, to speak with the American Dream.

At the end of the conversation, Mr. Rhodes said it was the fans that made his American dream come true:

“It’s an honor to be able to perform, but what you guys need to understand is, and I say this a lot and they say it’s corny, but it is not corny, that the reason that I have whatever I have today, my children have went to school and college and all this stuff, if it hadn’t been for you all, there would not be no American Dream and that’s in any walk of life and if you ever forget where you come from, it’s just, it’s no good.”

Rest in Peace Dusty Rhodes. It was an honor to hear you talk so passionately about the world of professional wrestling and hearing your insights on a profession you were part of for more than 40 years. You can listen to the entire 40 minute conversation below or read the highlights of what was discussed:

Listen to the entire Dusty Rhodes conversation:

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Highlights from the Dusty Rhodes chat include:

A discussion of the glory days of the territorial pro wrestling scene

Reflecting on what it meant to have the NWA Board of Directors, with Sam Muchnick at the head, decide if you would be world champion

Thoughts on his sons Dustin and Cody Rhodes

Working for the McMahons

Thoughts on Hulk Hogan, Magnum TA, Terry Funk, Tully Blanchard, Eddie Graham and others

The state of wrestling at that time

Being a broadcast announcer for World Championship Wrestling

Why he turned down being a bad guy, even when offered more money

His independent wrestling company Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling

What it takes to make a wrestling promotion successful

WWE buying purchasing WCW and why WCW ended

What he would say to the younger guys when he toured the independent wrestling scene, when they wanted advice on success

And finally, what the wrestling fans meant to him

Goodbye Champ! You will be missed!

Photo credit: WWE

You can email Chris Yandek at ChrisYandek@CYInterview.com

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