It's the Dust, man, if you will! He's a common man, working hard with his hands. He's got a new DVD out (which my review for will be coming soon) and he's a bonafide legend in the wrestling industry. But, how does he rank?
1) Innovation- 7/10- Dusty created a style that has been copied by so many young up and coming wrestlers it's ridiculous. His mannerisms and hip gyrations were the precursors to The Rock's people friendly offense. Dusty's bionic elbow is forever lodged into wrestling history and no one could perform it quite like the Dream. It didn't consist of much, but it had style and the people really responded to it. Dusty was a performer who definitely innovated.
2) Conditioning- 7/10- You may think a seven is high, considering his rather obese physique and it possibly is, but there are more factors than your body type in this category. Dusty has been drug free; at least, it hasn't affected his career at all. He has stamina like no one else his size, often doing 60 minute showdowns every night of the week with the best in the business in the seventies and eighties. In his day, he could go with anybody and could last the duration of any match.
3) Skill- 9/10- Again, Dusty may not have had the best build, but he had the ring prowess to back it up. His move repertoire wasn't very big either, but it's proven that you don't have to know every move in the book to work. Dusty was a great ring leader and excelled at drawing people into his matches. He sold great; his facials were priceless and he even liked bumping in his younger days.
4) Psychology- 10/10- The Dusty Finish. It's famous for screwing with the emotions of the fans. Dusty created it and knew exactly what a wrenching experience it is for a fan and it helped get him and many other baby faces over in the eighties. Now, it can be overdone and has been to the tenth degree, but that is just a point to illustrate how Dusty could be in the heads of the fans as they watched his matches.
5) Interviews- 10/10- " I've wined and dined with kings and queens, and I've slept in alleys and ate pork and beans." A famous line from a Dusty promo, one of many famous Dusty promos. He is one of the best mic workers ever in professional wrestling and his magic came from pulling the fans into them, getting them involved and making himself one of them like no one else in the world could do. It was also from not knowing what he was ever going to say. No one ever turned the channel on a Dusty promo because they were so exciting and fun to watch.
6) Character(face/heel)- 6/10- In the beginning of his career, he was "Dirty" Dusty Rhodes, teaming with Dick Murdoch and for a brief time he joined the NWO, thus marking his only heel roles in his career. For the brief time he did both, he got great heat, as would be expected. His hallmark is his baby face. He is the perennial baby face and the fans absolutely loved cheering Dusty. He was a lot like them; out of shape, not very eloquent, just a normal guy who happened to be a great performer.
7) Fans- 10/10- There's no doubt about this one. The fans believed every thing Dusty told them and he usually held his word. They cheered him against Kevin Sullivan when he worshipped the devil, they wanted him to take the NWA title from Harley Race and Ric Flair, and they hated the Road Warriors for putting his eye out with a railroad spike. The fans beheld Dusty and loved him every time he showed up and he gave them great love back.
8) Basics- 10/10- I've already touched on the bionic elbow, but Rhodes could also punch. He knew his stuff, he had great teasing ability, and the way he could tease spots and make an elbow dropped that missed make such a huge impact on a match. He worked matches that had only the most basic of wrestling and punches in it into a dramatic encounter.
9) Match/ Opponent- 10/10- Dusty has fought them all and feuded with them all. Terry Funk, Harley Race, Kevin Sullivan, Erik the Red, Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Ted Dibiase, Big Bossman, even Steve Corino and he has made huge money doing it. All of his feuds had high stakes, and Rhodes was a great shiller, who could always pump his matches into huge events.
10) Gutcheck- 10/10- A man that weighs over 300 pounds that has given his life to the business he loves, wrestling for more than thirty years and for most of those, working 300 days a year. Dusty personifies the dedication it takes to become a staple in this sport, he has been every where, WWE, WCW, NWA, AWA, ECW, TNA, and he has brought his fans with him wherever he has been.
Final Rating: 89
PO: Thumbs Middle