Superstar Spotlight #2: Goldust (Part 1)



Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

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Dustin Rhodes ('88 - '92)

Dustin Runnels is the son of the late legendary professional wrestler, Dusty Rhodes. He had begun his wrestling career in 1988. He started in Florida but quickly made a name for himself in the NWA. Dustin Rhodes was put into a mildly successful tag team called The Texas Broncos. Kendall Windham, his partner, was a great competitor but the duo was lackluster. They had no character. Dustin needed more seasoning.

Dustin would relocate to Japan in '89. He began working for All Japan Pro Wrestling and was mostly utilized in tag-team matches. The singles matches that he did get happened to be against Kenta Kobashi and Davey Boy Smith. Sadly, not a lot of this footage is available online. Dustin would come back to the States as "The Natural". He put in work for PWF and USWA. This got the attention of Vince McMahon.

1990 is the year that the World Wrestling Federation had first opened their doors to Dustin Rhodes. Unfortunately, they wouldn't have much for Dustin to do. In 1989, yellow polka dotted "The Common Man" Dusty Rhodes had joined the WWF. While Dusty would gain traction. "The Natural" would flounder. Dustin was mostly kept to singles matches with the likes of Buddy Rose, Haku, and The Brooklyn Brawler. Eventually, he was teamed with his dad in a program against Ted DiBiase and Virgil. They even had a match at the 1991 Royal Rumble. But both Dustin and Dusty would leave New York for WCW.

He would return to WCW as a singles competitor that transitioned back into the tag-team division. This time Dustin tagged up with Barry Windham. Windham and Rhodes are two great competitors that just didn't have much personality for the crowds. Although they didn't bring much in the way of personality. They held the tag team belts and feuded with some great teams. They lost the belts to Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas in a really good bout. But the loss signaled the end of Windham & Rhodes. Rhodes didn't want to pin his friend Ricky Steamboat and Windham hated that. That would be when "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes would be itching to express his character a bit further.

Dustin Rhodes Playlist ('88 - '92)

WWE Network/YouTube/Dailymotion Links

"The Natural" comes into his own ('92 - '95)

Dustin had shown his ability to compete as a singles competitor. In 1991-'92, "The Natural" had been competing in one-off matches against the likes of Arn Anderson and Steve Austin. However, he needed something more tangible. He needed a trophy that encapsulated his proven skill. That trophy would come in the form of the WCW United States Championship.

In 1993 Dustin Rhodes would compete in a tournament for that prestigious belt. These matches showed some bits of his familiar methods of assault. You could see Dustin becoming more comfortable. The final of that tournament was the culmination of the feud that had brewed between Rhodes and Ricky Steamboat. It was great. It awarded Rhodes with his first title as a singles competitor.

Dustin feuded with Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, Rick Rude and various other competitors throughout 1993. That year was a highlight of Dustin's career. He had some absolutely fantastic matches. He lost the title but regained it in a Best of Three series of matches against Rude. This victory made Rhodes a two time WCW United States Title holder and served as his official debut as a serious wrestler.

"The Natural" Dustin Rhodes had been in the United States Title scene for a good portion of '93. He faced many competitors and actually turned out some great matches. Unfortunately, that's all that WCW would have for him at the time. After losing the US Title to Steve Austin at Starrcade in a Best Two of Three Falls match. Dustin floundered in the midcard.

The summer of '94 saw Dustin Rhodes go into a feud with Bunkhouse Buck and Col. Robert Parker. This wasn't a very hot feud at all. Even with Dustin's father Dusty getting involved. This is a good example of just how far Dustin could go without a gimmick. He was bland. WCW knew that they had to add some bigger names to the feud. Essentially, they threw gasoline on the fire. When they added Arn Anderson, Terry Funk and eventually Barry Darsow under the name The Blacktop Bully.

The last of WCW's absurdity with this version of Dustin Rhodes came to a head with the King of the Road Match against Blacktop Bully. This was just horrible. Dustin was reduced to fighting in these horrendous gimmick matches and it was terrible. During the match, Dustin and Bully had both agreed to blade. Unfortunately, WCW frowns upon that kind of thing and they fired both wrestlers. It's sad that Rhode's barely had a character during this four year run. But "The Natural" was getting stale and he needed a change.

"The Natural" Playlist ('92 - '95)

WWE Network/YouTube/Dailymotion Links

A Flair for the Gold (1995)

In 1995 vignettes would begin playing on the World Wrestling Federation's flagship television program, Monday Night RAW. The promos were for the introduction of a mysterious character named Goldust. This of course is Dustin Runnels in full regalia. He had finally found an outlet.