Saturday, February 24, 2007

WCW - Dustin Runnels

Virgil Riley Runnels III (born April 11th, 1966; often called Dustin Runnels) is an American professional wrestler who has competed in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He is probably best-known for his WWE character Goldust, a sexually ambiguous movie star. He has also wrestled as Dustin Rhodes in WWE, WCW, and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). He is the son of Dusty Rhodes, one of the best-known wrestlers of the 1970s and 1980s.

Dustin Rhodes received his first National exposure in The World Wrestling Federation in the later part of 1990. In December of 1990, Dustin Rhodes defeated Ted DiBiase in a 10-minute challenge match on WWF television. Then at the Royal Rumble on January 19, 1991 Dustin Rhodes and his father, Dusty Rhodes were defeated by Ted DiBiase and his kayfabe bodyguard, Virgil in a tag-team match.

In February 1991, Runnels went to World Championship Wrestling, where he feuded with Larry Zbysko at the mid-card level. In April, Alexandra York offered him to join her heel York Foundation stable, but he turned her down. This started a feud with Foundation member Terrence Taylor that lasted several months. York, in reality, was Runnels' first wife, Terri.

At different times, he had Barry Windham, Sting, Ricky Steamboat and Nikita Koloff as his tag partners.

October 1992 saw him reform his team with Windham to again win the Tag Team Titles. In November, Windham turned on him and started a brief feud.

In January 1993, he won the United States Title and also began a feud with Rick Rude that would run through August. In October, he started feuding with Paul Orndorff and Steve Austin over the title, eventually losing it to Austin in December.

He became involved in a feud with Bunkhouse Buck and Col. Robert Parker in March 1994. Parker eventually brought in Terry Funk and Arn Anderson to feud with Dustin. Dustin brought in his father, Dusty, who had a previous long lasting feud with Funk, to help him. This feud lasted until December when Parker brought in The Blacktop Bully to feud with Dustin. Dustin and the Bully were both fired in March 1995 when they both "bladed" (cut themselves) during the King of the Road Match at the Uncensored 1995 PPV after they were told not to.

WCW - Dustin Runnels

In September 1995, Runnels made his debut in the WWF as Goldust. He would wear a gold colored jumpsuit and face paint along with a platinum blonde wig (over his short platinum blond hair) and play "mind games" with opponents. His primary psychological tactic was to make opponents think he was homosexual, usually by groping them and expressing affection. At the same time a major rift had grown between him and his father, supposedly over his marriage to Terri.

When Runnels left WWF he took some time off, patched up his differences with his father (the two had not spoken for years) and rejoined WCW, starring in several vignettes (in August 1999) as a strange, white face painted dream villain, Seven. After seeing several of the promos that aired for the Seven character, Turner Standards and Practices thought that people would mistake his gimmick for that of a child predator, so they dropped the gimmick before he even wrestled. When he actually debuted in the ring, he took the Seven suit off and cut a promo on stupid gimmicks. He became Dustin Rhodes again and feuded with Jeff Jarrett. During this time he referred to himself as "The American Nightmare", a play on his father's "American Dream" nickname.

He feuded with Terry Funk in early 2000 after turning on him and was given time off due to differences with Vince Russo. He had gotten himself into trouble with Russo while appearing on the Internet radio program, WCW Live! when he made many disparaging remarks towards the WCW Creative team and Russo in particular, calling him a "sawed-off midget" and an "asshole". He came back in February 2001 to help his father feud with Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett. When Vince McMahon bought WCW a month later, he did not acquire Dustin's contract.

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