It was reported by WWE that Virgil Riley Runnels Jr, better known as "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, had passed away yesterday at the age of 69. According to reports, emergency personnel were called to his home in Orlando, Florida and he passed away in hospital.
Rhodes was trained by Joe Blanchard and started his career in 1974 as a member of the Texas Outlaws along with Dick Murdoch. Over his career, he wrestled for the territories in the NWA; Jim Crockett Promotions, which became WCW; Florida Championship Wrestling; AWA: WWE; ECW: TNA and various independent promotions before retiring from wrestling in 2007. He was also an announcer for WCW in the early years of the Monday Night Wars. He was a 3-time NWA Champion, which was part of over 40 Championships in his career; and he is a member of the WCW, WWE and NWA Halls of Fame.
Rhodes has left behind one of the greatest legacies that a professional wrestler could ever leave. As a booker for WCW, he has been credited for creating many of their Pay-Per-Views and gimmicks as well as "The Dusty Finish", in which a match would end in controversy after the referee is knocked out. Dusty was the manager of Ron Simmons when he defeated Vader to become the first African-American man to win the WCW Championship in 1992. His legacy continues today as his two sons wrestle as Goldust and Stardust in the WWE and he was a trainer at NXT.
I don't have many memories of him as a wrestler as he had just left WWE when I first started watching wrestling. I saw videos of him wrestling with a woman named Sapphire in her corner and his theme tune, which I loved as a kid during this time and I thought he was a great wrestler and I was sorry that I didn't see more of him.
Fans of the current product will remember as the General Manager of NXT and in 2013, being in the corners of his sons as they fought The Shield and The Authority to get their jobs back. He was last seen on WWE TV on the February 12th 2015 edition of RAW.
Tributes from people such as Ric Flair, Seth Rollins, Mean Gene Okerlund, and Triple H have come in; and it has shown the level of reverence and respect that people in the wrestling world held for him. I leave you with 2 videos. The first one is the theme tune that he had while he was in the WWE; and The "Hard Times" promo, which is possibly the best babyface promo of all time.
Dusty is survived by his wife, four children and three grand children. Thanks for the memories Dusty and we will miss you.