Sunday Sermon: The Impact of Dusty Rhodes Brian Damage, Craig Wilson & Jamie Lithgow

Last Thursday the wrestling world lost one of its greatest characters…’The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes. This week’s sermon looks at the life and career of Dusty and how he influenced the business both in the ring and out of it. How does his death affect NXT and the young stars still in development down there? Where do his two sons Goldust and Stardust go from here? We also look at how the WWE handled his death and if the tribute they did following Raw did his legacy any justice. Brian: First off, believe it or not, his death while sad and shocking didn’t come as a total surprise to me. The last time we saw Dusty Rhodes on WWE television…he seemed so frail and was almost slurring his words in that angle with his two sons Dustin and Cody (Goldust and Stardust.) He didn’t look or sound right at all to me. Aside from that, it was still so sad to hear of his passing. No doubt about it, Dusty Rhodes was one of a kind. An entertainer with a beautiful mind for the wrestling business…who was beloved by so many…especially the NXT kids.

Craig: Dusty is a massive loss. As important as his matches were during the 80s for wrestling, it’s his contribution to the helping create the next generation’s superstars that might well be his greatest legacy. The level of admiration that NXT talent had for him was clear in their tributes as well as others within the profession.

I’ve only become really familiar with his work through The Network. Of course, I was familiar with his polka dot stuff in the early 90s but it’s his NWA stuff that’s what is worth checking out. I do hope the WWE tape library extends to his time from Florida and that that stuff gets an airing soon.

Brian: Indeed he had a fabulous career down in Florida, Georgia, the Mid Atlantic..etc. You are right about NXT though….he was such a creative force down there and a positive influence on the young talent. I wonder now if the company will find a replacement in Dusty’s role or just keep it open? I know there will never be another Dusty Rhodes….but the talent still needs a veteran like him to bounce ideas off of.

I was also curious about what the WWE might do to continue his legacy with the company….much like they did with the Ultimate Warrior. They made a statue for Warrior and named an award at the Hall of Fame in his honor. Would the WWE do the same for Dusty…who had a similar if not greater impact in the WWE?

Jamie: Dusty clearly had a massive impact on the guys down in NXT, and he obviously loved it because at the age of 69 he was still willing to help so many youngsters get a foot in the door. Given that Dusty would have spent a great deal of time at the WWE Performance Center- working with the stars of tomorrow – I think a fitting honor for him and his family would be a snappier title for that particular facility….

Brian: I think a bigger question should be posed and it has to do with Dusty’s two sons Dustin (Goldust) and Cody (Stardust) I hate to bring a death into an opportunity for these two men, but could Dusty’s death be a way to help them moving forward with pushes…especially Cody?

Jamie: It feels wrong saying this, but……yes. I hope lessons have been learned from how Rey Mysterio was pushed following the passing of Eddie Guerrero though.

When Cody returns, he should return as himself not Stardust. Don’t get me wrong, his Stardust character is fun in short bursts – not unlike Dude Love – but surely fans will want to see Cody Rhodes and cheer for him, right?

His first year or so aside, Cody has always had a good connection with the fans. They care about him, whether he be a good guy or bad guy. Therefore, WWE should just allow fans to get behind Cody. Let his star grow naturally, through the support of the fans. Moreover, it would be in extremely poor taste if WWE decided to push Cody into main events by exploiting his father’s passing. Like Daniel Bryan, I’d like to see the fans push Cody up the card, rather than the bookers.

Brian: I agree with you up to a point. Should they push Cody based solely on his father’s death? No, but many have said Dusty Rhodes lived for his family and the business….the WWE has been known to do this in the past. You mentioned Eddie Guerrero and of course there was the angle with Paul Bearer after his death. Cody, while popular…isn’t at the level of Daniel Bryan.

He doesn’t have a snazzy catchphrase or a unique look… himself anyway. While I’m sure fans will rally behind Cody when he returns….I just don’t see him getting that push just on fan reactions to him. He’ll need a little help and I hope it’ll be up to the creative writers to do something special with him.

You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.


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