Dustin Rhodes has certainly had one of the more interest careers in pro wrestling. The former WWE intercontinental champion most known for his role as Goldust is entering the 25th year of his career and gave a rare and fascinating interview to the Wrestling Observer website.
I certainly won’t spoil Gary’s hard work and copy and paste the entire interview here. I will however pick out a couple of highlights that I found fascinating. Dustin is no stranger to controversy. Most associate him and controversy with Goldust. Yet he found controversy way before that in WCW.
The story about his firing from World Championship Wrestling in the early part of his career is well known, yet I don’t recall ever seeing him open up about it. Dustin was wrestling Barry Darsow (although the interviewer incorrectly says it was Bunkhouse Buck, it was certainly Darsow) on a taped WCW Uncensored pay per view. Dustin bled in the match and was fired. I interviewed Barry before so I got his side of the story but here is what Dustin had to say on the match.
“Well, I think it was a number of things. What was said to me was that we had a rule at that point that there was no bleeding to be involved, and if you were going to bleed you were going to get fired. Then it came to the table, and I was asked if I wouldn’t mind doing it (bleeding), and I never have, I think it’s good business. So, I made sure to call all the right people and get it okayed – it was okayed – and we did our thing and I got fired the next day for it. And this was two weeks before the actual Pay-Per View. They had time to edit it, or we could have scratched it all together or whatever. But there were some other top names coming in and things like that. I think they (WCW) were looking to find an excuse to rearrange some money, but I don’t know. I was mad at the time, I was frustrated, but I didn’t pursue it in a court of law. I have a good heart – and sometimes I don’t have the best business sense in professional wrestling – but it worked out and it came around, and Bischoff made up for it when I went back. He made up for it in a big way and I’ll never forget that. I’ll never forget Eric taking good care of me. Even though the circumstances when I got released (in 1995) weren’t the best, and I didn’t see clearly why, it came back around.”
What a joke that whole deal was! Unfortunately for Barry, he never had the same kind of success after this that Dustin had. It just goes to show you how poorly mismanaged WCW was at the time.
That wasn’t the only controversy Dustin encountered with WCW. Dustin had a second round of controversy when he came back and appeared briefly as an odd character, Seven. I am sure if you watched WCW you remember the gimmick but it came and went quickly. Dustin breaks down the history of the gimmick.
“Well, you know, I was pulling for the Seven character. It was my creation and Vince Russo came in at the time of its debut and shut it down. He did give me the option and, for whatever reason, he kind of swayed me into “Let’s kill this gimmick.” I can’t remember why I did what I did but we killed it. I made the interview as straightforward of a shoot as possible – that I could get away with – because to see stuff with my father happen and to see stuff with my characters over the years, I just felt like saying certain things. It just happened. Nothing bad has come from it, or anything like that, it was just one of those in the moment things. I was kind of pissed off about it, but also I got a job so if you don’t want to do this Seven character, fine, let’s do this. But I’m going to make you rethink it, you know?”
Another topic that Dustin is constantly asked on his Twitter account is about a match with his brother Cody Rhodes. They went at it in the Royal Rumble and most presumed that it was the set up for a WrestleMania showdown between brothers. It never happened. Will it happen and is Dustin interested?
“I always hope that, because the Royal Rumble this year was very special to me. It’s probably the best moment I’ve had in my career. A very close second would be the Roddy Piper “Backlot Brawl”. To get that reaction – I had no idea I was going to receive that kind of welcome back, being a surprise or whatever – but it was like “Holy shit!” To get in there and we get a little piece of each other it kind of set the stage, but it could be my path. All I can do is keep trying. I’ve tried for two years now – last year’s WrestleMania and this one – to get this match. The interest is definitely there as far as the fans are concerned. I don’t know how many fans want to see it. I know my fans on Twitter and things like that want to see it. I don’t know why Vince doesn’t think that that would be good for the company and good for business. It’s a story driven angle. It’s not a main event match, it’s a story driven fight between brothers.”
It’s interesting that the Rumble deal wasn’t to set up the match. It seemed like a natural and it wasn’t as if the company had big plans for Cody at Mania. Unfortunately I think that if they didn’t capitalize on it after the Rumble, they never will. It is very odd when you think about it since it appears to be a natural match.
There is a ton more on the Observer site to this interview. He talks a lot about the early days of Goldust and obstacles he faced early on, living in his father’s shadow, his battles with drugs and alcohol, breaking into the business, and a ton more. Well worth a read if you followed the career of Dustin.