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Dusty Rhodes, Pro Wrestling’s “American Dream,” Dies At 69

The World of Professional Wrestling Has Lost An Icon.

Yesterday, June 11, 2015, professional wrestling legend Virgil Runnels, a.k.a. Dusty Rhodes, died earlier in the day. He was 69 years old. Nicknamed “The American Dream”, Dusty Rhodes was one of the most popular wrestlers during the 1970s and 1980s. Billed as “the son of a plumber”, Dusty Rhodes’ in-ring character was that of the American working man, and he never failed to entertain wrestling fans around the world every time he stepped into the ring. His charisma and persona resonated with the wrestling universe globally.

Dusty Rhodes wrestled for top wrestling promotions including the AWA (American Wrestling Association), NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) and WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). He was a three-time NWA Heavyweight Champion, a United States Champion, and multi-time Television, World Tag Team, and Six-Man Tag Team Champion. He has also won many regional championships during his wrestling career including the prestigious Crockett Cup (with Nikita Koloff). Dusty Rhodes was one of six men inducted into each of the WWE, WCW, Professional Wrestling, and Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame. He also worked as a backstage booker and producer in WWE’s NXT developmental territory.

He is the father of Dustin “Goldust” Rhodes and Cody “Stardust” Rhodes, who both currently wrestle for WWE.

Tributes poured in from all around the wrestling world

Jim Ross, a longtime WWE broadcaster, worked alongside Runnels for several years after his in-ring career had ended. He spoke slowly Thursday afternoon in a phone interview as he described being “heartbroken” about losing what he said was “a broadcast partner, colleague, and mentor.”

“He was arguably the most charismatic performer of all time,” Ross said. “His amazing unique verbal styling will never be duplicated or exceeded. He was exactly what he portrayed on TV: A blue-collar, common man, who rose from being (the) son of (a) farmer to being a part of American pop culture, whose memory will live forever. Therefore, for many he was truly the American dream.”

16-time world heavyweight champion “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair who had a major feud with Dusty Rhodes in the 1980s tweeted this on his account:

“My mentor @WWEDustyRhodes. Much love to your family and more respect than can ever be measured. Love you Dream.”

Triple H, Executive Vice President (Talent/Live Events/Creative) of WWE tweeted:

“Saddened to hear the passing of Dusty Rhodes. Legend, teacher, mentor, friend…Love you Dream #BookinAintEasyKid”

“Mean Gene” Okerlund, legendary professional wrestling interviewer, announcer and WWE Hall of Famer tweeted:

“I am absolutely devastated to hear about the passing of my long time friend Dusty Rhodes. One of the best ever. GO”

By Shamarie, 12th Jun 2015

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