The world of wrestling lost a legend on Thursday as Dusty Rhodes passed away at the age of 69. Rhodes, born Virgil Runnels, was a fan favorite throughout an illustrious career that spanned five decades. He is most known for his time in the NWA during the 1980s and for various feuds with Ric Flair and the Four Horseman. He also had several stints in the WWF/WWE and was a prominent figure in NXT, WWE’s developmental territory. Here are five other facts about “The American Dream”, Dusty Rhodes:
1. During the 1980s Rhodes was a booker, or screenwriter, for NWA, which would later become WCW. Rhodes was instrumental in creating the names of many of the WCW pay-per-views, and the concepts within them. Events such as Battlebowl, Fall Brawl: War Games, and the Great American Bash were all gimmicks that Rhodes created. All became staples of NWA/WCW programming.
2. During his lengthy career, Rhodes was given the “Most Popular Wrestler” award three times (1978, 1979, 1987) by Pro Wrestling Illustrated. PWI is arguably the most prestigious wrestling magazine in the world and dates back to 1972. Only Sting and John Cena, with four each, have won the award more times.
3. Rhodes’ in-ring career spanned 50 years: from 1968 to 2007. He got his start in the American Wrestling Association in his native Texas, where he teamed with Dick Murdoch. Rhodes’ final match was at WWE’s Great American Bash, where he was defeated by Randy Orton in a Texas Bullrope match.
4. The Rhodes’ family tree extends throughout the wrestling industry, as both of Dusty’s sons, Dustin (Golddust) and Cody (Stardust) are signed to WWE. Dusty was also the brother-in-law of wrestlers Jerry Sags of the Nasty Boys, and Fred Ottman, who is best known for being Tugboat/Typhoon in the WWF and The Shockmaster in WCW. Also, Dusty’s former daughter-in-law is former WWE Diva Terri Runnels.
5. During his career, Rhodes won over 50 championships spanning multiple promotions, including NWA, WCW, and Georgia Championship Wrestling. He never won a title in the WWF/WWE, but he was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2007 and remained employed with the company until his death on June 11, 2015.