Monday, February 26, 2007

WCW: "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, Part 2

He was fired from Jim Crockett Promotions because of a taboo on-screen bloodletting during an altercation with The Road Warriors. Rhodes bladed himself while Road Warrior Hawk took a spike from his outfit and "jammed" it in Dusty's eye. It looked very vivid at the time (even though it was planned out), and it infuriated then-owner of WCW, Ted Turner. Rhodes was then fired from WCW. Following this, Rhodes returned to Florida to compete in Florida Championship Wrestling, where he captured the PWF Heavyweight title, and also returned to the AWA for a few appearances.

Rhodes came to the WWF as the yellow polka-dotted "Common Man" Dusty Rhodes, a gimmick some felt was intended to humiliate him. He was managed by Sapphire. During his time in the WWF, Rhodes was embroiled in a heated feud with Randy Savage and his manager/partner Sensational Queen Sherri who in turn found a rival in Sapphire. After a particularly intense confrontation between the two couples, Savage's girlfriend Miss Elizabeth allied herself with Rhodes and Sapphire and was instrumental in helping them win the WWF's first mixed tag-team match during WrestleMania VI. However, Sapphire left Rhodes during SummerSlam 1990 for The Million-Dollar Man's money, which resulted in a feud with the latter.

Rhodes later returned to WCW and joined the broadcast team, usually working with Tony Schiavone on WCW Saturday Night. He would be paired with Schiavone and Bobby Heenan on pay-per-views.

Rhodes was originally on the side of WCW in its battle with the nWo. At Souled Out 1998, Larry Zbyszko asked Rhodes, who was working the PPV broadcast, to accompany him to the ring for his match against Scott Hall. Zbyszko won the match by disqualification due to interference by the nWo, but in the postmatch melee Rhodes turned on Zbyszko and joined the nWo in a shocking moment that actually forced Schiavone off the broadcast in shock; he would later return, ripping Rhodes for his actions for most of the rest of the night (kayfabe).

He eventually left WCW and went to ECW where he put over former ECW Champion, "King of Old School" Steve Corino. Rhodes returned once more to WCW, re-igniting his feud with Ric Flair.

He appeared on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling shows, becoming the Director of Authority at their November 7 pay-per-view, TNA Victory Road 2004. At the same time, Rhodes became a true powerhouse behind the scenes of TNA, acting as head booker and writer. In May 2005, TNA President Dixie Carter asked Rhodes to move onto a creative team, which would have included several other names, including Jeremy Borash, Bill Banks and Scott D'Amore. Rhodes balked and resigned as booker, waiting out the rest of his contract with TNA, which expired soon after.

For several years, Rhodes operated Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling, a small Georgia-based promotion. Rhodes' son, Virgil Runnels III, known in wrestling as Dustin Rhodes, followed his father into the business, most notably as the eccentric WWE character Goldust.

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