Originally Posted by theidealstranger
Never was or is a fan of him either but his career has been legendary and am led to believe that he was a huge draw in and well after his prime in and around Florida territory. Maybe @Greenlawler can comment if he is around.
Dusty Rhodes was easily one of the biggest draws of the 80's. His charisma and ring phsychology were equaled by only a handful of people. In spite of his girth the guy could really move in his early days and was a standout athelete before becoming a wrestler. He admits freely to copying Muhammed Ali on the mic, but in spite of this he was good enough at it, that no one cared. Any list of GOAT on the mic would be a joke if it did not include Rhodes.
Dusty toured all over the world, he was in demand by nearly every major territory and his early 80's visits to the WWF were the stuff of legend. The guy always sold out MSG, even the New York fans loved him and cheered him wildley. His matches against Superstar Billy Graham are just plain fun to watch. He was also very poular in Japan.
The fact is, I was never a fan of Rhodes growing up either, however his WWF run in the ealry 80's won even me over. The guy just was so funny he bordered on comedy act, but when it came time to get serious he could play that role too. The fans had a deep respect and love for Dusty. There is not a guy in the sport today who was as over as he was in his day. I know that is hard to believe but it is true. He could walk into any arena in the world and people knew Dusty was going to put on a show. Their was a buzz around him for about a 10 year period that was electric.
There were very few names bigger than Rhodes. He did in fact base himself out of Florida (Who would'nt if given a choice? Florda was always a preferred destination for the boys) But like Andre, Mil Mascaras, Snuka and a few others, people everywhere wanted to see the "American Dream" for themselves. So he would often tour the territories. I believe he won the NWA title on two occasions and fueded with Flair for years before the Horsemen ever exsisted.
To me Rhodes vs Flair defined the NWA of the early 80's. People tend to forget the nature of the sport in that day allowed for guys like Rhodes. He would basically brawl. He would punch, showboat, hip toss, bodyslam, bleed a lot, and throw an elbow and that was about it, however that was okay then. Very few people complained that he was not giving the fans technical masterpieces. That would be a good topic of an "analyze this": When did fans start becoming so insistent on wrestling skill?
He also had famous fueds with Tully Blanchard pre-Horsemen, Harly Race, Terry Funk, and his lengthy epic fued with Kevin Sullivan in Florida was just plain fabulous.
He was one of many guys who used a masked alter ego. His was "The Midnight Rider" when he lost a loser leaves town match or when he needed to call in his "friend" to pop a gate through the roof. While he was not the first guy to use the gimmick he made it trendy and suddenly all over the territories every company had a Midnight Rider or a knock off.
Probably the most beloved star of the 80's, not named Hogan, will never get the recognition he deserves based on the WWF bias, his career damaging WWF polka dot run, and the modern day emphasis on workrate and the direct discrediting of showmanship, which is just plain irritating to fans of the 70's and 80's. For those who don't remember how popular this guy was, Mello Yellow or Mountain Dew one, used him as their national spokesman.