Few names carry as much weight and importance in the professional wrestling community as Dusty Rhodes. Today, the Rhodes family and the wrestling community has lost one of its most revered figures: Virgil Riley Runnels Jr., a.k.a. Dusty “The American Dream” Rhodes, died today at the age of 69. The three-time NWA Champion was a worker like nobody else. He embodied the spirit of the everyman with his “The American Dream” gimmick, making his name as a charismatic Texan who cut on-screen promos that, to this day, stand as some of the best in the business.
Few wrestlers boast the varied and numerous accomplishments of Dusty Rhodes, and it’s that kind of experience that made him in asset to the business outside of the ring as well. After being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007, Dusty continued to shape the current landscape of professional wrestling while working for WWE. He worked with their developmental brand NXT as a creative director and booker, and his two sons, Dustin Runnels (Goldust) and Cody Runnels (Stardust), currently wrestle for WWE.
Dusty Rhodes will undoubtedly be remembered as a man who gave a lot to professional wrestling, and whose spirit and passion shaped the industry across decades. Rest in peace, Dusty—these may be the hardest times of all, but they make the good times all the more memorable.