Remembering Dustin Runnels First WWF Run in 1990

Brian Damage

We all know Dustin Runnels as the WWE’s iconic character known as ‘Goldust.’ For over 20 years, with a break in between here and there, Dustin has perfectly portrayed the bizarre Goldust. While Dustin is known most for his work as Goldust, it wasn’t his first stint with the WWF/E and that’s the focus of today’s piece. 

We have to go back to 1990, when Dustin first was introduced to WWF fans known simply as Dustin Rhodes. If you don’t quite remember his first go around with the company, do not fret. It was only for a couple of months. In a blink of an eye, he was gone from the WWF but more on that later.

Before Dustin Runnels came to the World Wrestling Federation, he was learning his trade down in Florida and then later with WCW. Dustin’s career was slowly rising in WCW teaming with Kendall Windham as the Texas Broncos when he got the call from Vince McMahon. The WWF wanted to bring him him for a tryout. Dustin, who was just 21 years old at the time saw this as a huge opportunity. After all, his father Dusty Rhodes was already with the WWF at this time.

In late 1990, Dustin Runnels had a tryout match against veteran wrestler Black Bart. McMahon was impressed and offered Dustin a spot with the company. Dustin would make his WWF debut on Saturday Night’s Main Event as a spectator sitting ringside. Dustin was shown numerous times ringside as he cheered on his dad Dusty as he faced the ‘Macho King’ Randy Savage. During the match, ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted Dibiase and Virgil came down and started giving fans $100 dollar bills.

Dibiase offered Dustin $100 for his seat and Dustin refused. Dibiase and Virgil wound up sitting right next to Dustin ringside. A little while later, Dibiase and Virgil attacked Dustin, throwing him over the steel barrier and hitting him with a chair. Dustin did a blade job and bled as Dusty would get counted out against Randy Savage. That would set up a mini feud between Dustin/Dusty against Dibiase and Virgil.

Dustin would be interviewed on the Brother Love Show and get interrupted by Ted Dibase. The two would face each other in a 10 minute match which Dustin survive. The result was a very big deal because Dibiase was one of the very few wrestlers that the WWF went out of their way to protect on television. The feud would culminate at the Royal Rumble in 1991.

Dusty Rhodes teamed with Dustin to take on Dibiase and his bodyguard Virgil. The Rhodes family would lose the match as Dustin took the fall. That was the ending of the feud, because not long after that both Dusty and Dustin were gone. So what happened? Why did Dustin leave after only a couple of months with the WWF?

As it turned out, Dusty Rhodes left the WWF to return to WCW with a prominent role as a booker. Dusty, then in turn asked his son to leave with him and return to WCW. While Dustin was hesitant at first, Dusty as the new WCW booker could push him to the moon and back. So Dustin asked for his release and it was granted. Not before Vince McMahon sent a message to Dusty, that resonated with Dustin. Vince told Dusty that his son would eventually return to the WWF and he would be sure to make him into a big star.

It was revealed later on, that Dusty knew for months that he was returning to WCW and he brought his son Dustin to the WWF to get as much national exposure as possible with the intent to return to WCW and have Dustin be this huge star. Dustin did get pushed hard in his return to WCW as ‘The Natural’ Dustin Rhodes.

Dusty and Dustin would have a real life falling out while in WCW when Dustin married Terri Boatright ( A Make up Artist for CNN) Dusty warned Dustin to stay away from her but Dustin wound up getting her pregnant and the two married and Dusty cut off his son. The two wouldn’t talk for the next 5 years or so.

When Dustin was released from WCW over a match against the Blacktop Bully in which he bladed despite warnings from Turner corporate, Bruce Prichard from the WWF called. Vince McMahon had an idea for this androgynous character called Goldust and the rest, as they say,  is history.


3 thoughts on “Remembering Dustin Runnels First WWF Run in 1990

  1. Wow-Vince must be a genius (sometimes😝). I never would’ve thought a character like “Goldust” would’ve worked for a big, rough and tough Texan like Dustin. I wonder if it took a lot of convincing for Dustin to do it? Maybe not-I guess money talks. Good article 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2017 week 32 | Ring the Damn Bell

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