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Dustin Rhodes

Dustin Rhodes as Goldust
Ring name(s) Black Reign[1][2]
Dustin Rhodes[1][2]
Dusty Rhodes, Jr.[1][2]
Goldust[1][2]
Gold Dustin[1][2]
Seven[1][2]
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust[1][2]
Billed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)[1][3]
Billed weight 244 lb (111 kg)[3]
Born April 11, 1969 (1969-04-11) (age 40)[4]
Austin, Texas[1][2]
Billed from "The Deepest Darkest Corner of his Mind" (as Black Reign)
Hollywood, California (as Goldust)[3]
Austin, Texas (as Dustin Rhodes)
Trained by Dusty Rhodes[2]
Skandor Akbar[1][2]
Debut September 13, 1988[1][2]

Dustin Patrick Runnels[4] (born April 11, 1969) is an American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment and competing on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Goldust.[5] He has also performed for World Championship Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as Dustin Rhodes, Black Reign and Seven. Runnels is the son of "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes[5] and is the half-brother of Cody Rhodes.[6]

During his career, Runnels has won several championships. In World Championship Wrestling, he was a two-time United States Heavyweight Champion,[7] a one-time World Six-Man Tag Team Champion[8] and a two-time World Tag Team Champion.[9] In World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment, he is a nine-time Hardcore Champion,[10] a three-time Intercontinental Champion[11] and a one-time World Tag Team Champion.[12]

Contents

Professional wrestling career

National Wrestling Alliance (1988)

Rhodes received his first national exposure in the National Wrestling Alliance in December 1988, where he wrestled as Dustin Rhodes and formed a short-lived tag team with Kendall Windham named the Texas Broncos. Rhodes subsequently formed a tag team with Jaison Royers, with the duo winning the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship.[13]

World Wrestling Federation (1990–1991)

Rhodes debuted as a fan favorite in the World Wrestling Federation in late 1990, wrestling as Dustin Rhodes. In December 1990, Rhodes defeated Ted DiBiase in a televised ten-minute challenge match. On January 19, 1991 at the Royal Rumble, Rhodes and his father Dusty lost to Ted DiBiase and Virgil in a tag team bout, and left immediately after.[13]

World Championship Wrestling (1991–1995)

In February 1991, Rhodes joined World Championship Wrestling, wrestling as "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes. He feuded with Larry Zbyszko until April 1991, when he refused to join Alexandra York's York Foundation, thus beginning a feud with Foundation member Terrence Taylor.

In October 1992, Rhodes and Barry Windham won the World Tag Team Championship. One month later, Windham turned on Rhodes, beginning a feud. In January 1993, Rhodes won the United States Heavyweight Championship. In the same month, he began a lengthy feud with Rick Rude that lasted until August. Rhodes lost the title to "Stunning" Steve Austin in December 1993.

In March 1994, Rhodes started feuding with Bunkhouse Buck and Col. Robert Parker. After Parker introduced Arn Anderson and Terry Funk as adversaries for Runnels, Runnels responded by bringing his father, a former enemy of Funk, back into the ring to team with him again against Parker's Stud Stable. In December 1994, Parker introduced another opponent for Rhodes, The Blacktop Bully. In March 1995, Rhodes and The Blacktop Bully both bladed during a King of the Road match at the 1995 Uncensored pay-per-view after being instructed to by one another, which was against corporate policy at the time in WCW. They were subsequently fired as a result.[13]

Return to the WWF (1995–1999)

In September 1995, Rhodes returned to the World Wrestling Federation, wrestling as a villain under the name Goldust. The character was portrayed as being obsessed with films and the color gold, as a pun of the Oscars Statuette. As Goldust, Runnels wrestled and won his debut match on October 22, 1995 against Marty Jannetty at the In Your House 4 pay-per-view. Runnels wrestled first in a gold and white and later a black and gold colored jumpsuit while wearing black and gold face paint and a platinum blonde wig over his short platinum blonde hair, with his appearance modeled after an Academy Award. Goldust utilized tactics such as groping his opponents and expressing affection towards them.[3]

Goldust in 1995

Goldust initially feuded with Razor Ramon, whom he stalked and sent messages to throughout late 1995. The feud culminated at the Royal Rumble on January 21, 1996, where Goldust defeated Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship due to interference from the 1-2-3 Kid. This match also marked the debut of his valet, Marlena, portrayed by his then-wife Terri. Marlena sat at ringside in a director's chair and advised Goldust while smoking a cigar. A rematch between Goldust and Ramon at WrestleMania XII was canceled after Ramon was suspended, with Goldust instead wrestling and losing to Roddy Piper in a non-title "Hollywood Backlot Brawl".[3]

Goldust defended his Intercontinental Championship in bouts against Savio Vega and The Ultimate Warrior before losing to Ahmed Johnson at King of the Ring on June 23, 1996. In August 1996, Goldust briefly gained control over Mankind and feuded with The Undertaker. His attention soon turned to Marc Mero and his then wife Sable. Goldust and Marlena attempted to get Sable to join their team, but Mero won the feud and kept her by his side.

In May 1997, Goldust revealed his identity as Dustin Runnels, the son of Dusty Rhodes. In the summer and fall of that year, he joined other wrestlers in their conflict with The Hart Foundation, feuding in particular with Brian Pillman, to who he lost the services of Marlena for thirty days. Just before the thirty days were up, Pillman died hours before Badd Blood of heart disease on October 5, 1997. In November 1997, Goldust split with Marlena and refused to cooperate with his Survivor Series teammates. This led to a feud with Vader and the appearance of The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust (a reference to Prince), managed by Luna Vachon. He began mimicking celebrities and fellow wrestlers with characters such as "Chynadust", "Dust Lovedust", "Dustydust", "Hunterdust", "Flashdust", "Marilyn Mansondust", "Sabledust", and "Vaderdust".[13]

In May 1998, Rhodes burned his jumpsuit on television, thereby splitting with Luna and eventually getting involved with Terri Runnels once again. He feuded with Val Venis, who claimed to have impregnated Terri. After spending several months alluding to his return, Goldust reprised his gimmick in October 1998 and began feuding with Jeff Jarrett over the attention of his manager, Debra. In early 1999, Goldust feuded with Al Snow, upon stealing Head, Snow's mascot, and The Blue Meanie, who had recently renamed himself "Bluedust" and adopted many of Goldust's mannerisms. After Goldust defeated Meanie at St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Meanie became Goldust's apprentice. After Ryan Shamrock became Goldust's valet, Meanie and Shamrock began vying for Goldust's attention. In the same time period, Goldust won the Intercontinental Championship again from Road Dogg and then lost it to The Godfather two weeks later.

Throughout 1999, vignettes featuring footage of wrestlers began airing on television. The vignettes were originally referred to as GDTV (Goldust Television), with the intention of eventually revealing Goldust as the person behind them, but were renamed GTV after Rhodes requested and was granted a release from his contract.[14]

Return to WCW (1999–2001)

Rhodes returned to World Championship Wrestling in 1999, filming several vignettes for a fantastical, face-painted character named Seven. These vignettes contained ominous footage of Rhodes in full makeup standing outside of a child's bedroom window. The character was dropped after Turner Standards and Practices expressed concern that this gimmick could be misinterpreted as a child abductor. Upon returning to WCW television, Rhodes removed his costume and delivered a Worked Shoot in which he mocked unrealistic gimmicks as well as his time as Goldust in the WWF. Rhodes began wrestling as "The American Nightmare" Dustin Rhodes, with his nickname a reference to his father's nickname, "The American Dream".

Rhodes feuded with Jeff Jarrett and Terry Funk before being suspended in 2000 due to an appearance on the WCW Live! Internet radio program in which he criticized WCW head writer Vince Russo, calling him a "sawed-off midget" and an "asshole". He returned to WCW television in February 2001, assisting his father in his feud with Jarrett and Ric Flair.

In March 2001, WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation, with the WWF neglecting to acquire Runnels' contract. In July 2001, Runnels began wrestling for his father's newly created Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling promotion, winning the promotion's Heavyweight Championship.

Return to WWF/E (2002–2003)

Rhodes returned to the World Wrestling Federation on January 20, 2002, taking part in the Royal Rumble and reprising his Goldust character. He then feuded with Rob Van Dam before moving on to the hardcore division, where he won the Hardcore Championship on nine occasions.

When the World Wrestling Federation was renamed World Wrestling Entertainment and the roster was divided into two brands, Raw and SmackDown!, Goldust was assigned to the Raw brand, where he formed a tag team with Booker T. The duo engaged in numerous comedic vignettes, on one occasion hosting a segment titled Booker T and Goldust at the Movies and delivering reviews of The Scorpion King, a film starring The Rock. In May 2002, Booker joined the nWo, with Goldust's request to join the faction rejected. In June 2002, Booker was ejected from the nWo by Shawn Michaels, sparking a feud between the nWo and Booker and Goldust. Booker and Goldust went on to compete in the tag team division, winning the World Tag Team Championship at Armageddon before amicably splitting in January 2003.

Following the dissolution of the tag team, Rhodes developed a gimmick whereupon he contracted a stutter, as well as Tourette's-like symptoms (which continue to this day), upon receiving a shock from a junction box during an attack at the hands of Batista and Randy Orton. Rhodes appeared sporadically thereafter, forming a tag team with Lance Storm in August 2003, and was released in December 2003 following a period of inactivity.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2004–2005)

On February 4, 2004, he debuted in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as "The Lone Star" Dustin Rhodes, unsuccessfully challenging Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. On February 18, Runnels and El Leon defeated Kevin Northcutt and Legend in a tag team bout.

In December 2004, he returned to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, once again wrestling as Dustin Rhodes. He feuded with Raven, Kid Kash, and Bobby Roode during his time there. His TNA contract expired in April 2005 and he chose not to renew it, leaving TNA.

Return to WWE (2005–2006)

Rhodes returned to World Wrestling Entertainment on October 31, 2005 as Goldust, as Jonathan Coachman enlisted him and Vader to attack Batista.[1] Goldust and Vader unsuccessfully interfered in a Street Fight between Batista and Coachman on behalf of Coachman at Taboo Tuesday.[1] Following the event, Goldust once again disappeared from television.

In January 2006, Goldust took part in the Royal Rumble match and was assigned once again to the Raw brand until he was released from his WWE contract on June 14, 2006 for no-showing an appearance.[15]

All Japan Pro Wrestling (2007)

On January 28, 2007, it was announced that Rhodes would appear at the February 17, 2007 All Japan Pro Wrestling show in the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. On February 15, Rhodes, identified as Gold Dustin, appeared at ringside during a match involving The Great Muta, resulting in a brawl between Rhodes and The Great Muta.[1] On February 17, Rhodes and Jinsei Shinzaki were defeated by The Great Muta and Yoshihiro Tajiri in a tag team bout.[1]

Return to TNA (2007–2008)

On July 15, 2007, Rhodes returned to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling at Victory Road and aligned himself with Christian Cage by helping him defeat "Wildcat" Chris Harris.[1] In an interview on TNA Impact! conducted by Mike Tenay, Rhodes discussed accusations of having a split personality and stated that he was going to embrace it and let it out. TNA presented the interview as being an emotional breakdown on the part of Rhodes. On August 12 at Hard Justice, Rhodes debuted his new ring name, Black Reign, and a "new, darker and bizarre look". At Hard Justice, Harris defeated Black Reign via DQ when Reign attacked several referees.[1] The next week, the gimmick was explored even further, saying that Rhodes constantly switches between Rhodes and Reign.[16] He was featured at Bound for Glory in a Monster's Ball match against Rhino, Abyss, and Raven, which he lost.[1] Reign challenged Abyss to a "Shop of Horrors" match at Genesis and lost. At Genesis, Reign's new partner, Rellik, made his debut after attacking Abyss.[1] At Turning Point, Black Reign and Rellik lost to Abyss and Raven in a Match of 10,000 Tacks.[1] Originally, this match was signed to be Abyss and Rhino versus Rellik and Black Reign but, due to an injury, Rhino was replaced by Raven for this match.

On Impact!, he helped Rellik beat up Kaz.[1] Later the same night, he appeared for an interview, as Dustin Rhodes, without his Black Reign make-up and stated that his "alter ego" has been scaring him since when he was a little kid. His interview was interrupted by the furious Kaz.[1] Reign and his partner Rellik then began feuding with Eric Young and his new superhero gimmick Super Eric.[1] After three months of not showing up on television, Black Reign's profile was removed from the TNA roster page and he was released from his TNA contract with a possibility to return in the future. His Black Reign persona was voted the worst gimmick of 2007 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.[17]

Return to WWE (2008–present)

Raw (2008–2009)

Goldust in 2009

On October 26, 2008, Rhodes appeared on WWE's Cyber Sunday under his Goldust persona as part of the three choices (the other two being Roddy Piper and The Honky Tonk Man) that the fans could choose to face Santino Marella for the Intercontinental Championship. After Honky Tonk Man was chosen and won via disqualification, Goldust and Piper entered the ring and the three candidates fought Marella, afterwards celebrating together in the ring.[18] The following night on Raw, Goldust appeared again with Piper and the Honky Tonk Man as guest commentators for Marella's match with Charlie Haas. The match ended when Goldust and Piper distracted Marella so that Honky Tonk Man could smash his guitar over Marella's head.[19]

Goldust appeared on the celebration of the 800th episode of Raw on November 3, 2008, dancing alongside his father Dusty Rhodes, Lilian Garcia and several other wrestlers,[20] and finally made a full time return on the Raw roster once again on the November 24, 2008 edition of Raw, where he defeated Santino Marella.[21] Goldust participated in the 2009 Royal Rumble match, but was eliminated by his real-life half-brother, Cody Rhodes.[22] Goldust participated at WrestleMania XXV as a lumberjack during the tag team championship unification match between The Colóns and John Morrison and The Miz.[23]

On May 25, episode of Raw, Goldust teamed up with Hornswoggle in a tag team match, where they defeated Festus and The Brian Kendrick.[24] Goldust then teamed with Hornswoggle on multiple occasions, mainly feuding with Kendrick, where they had many matches both on WWE Superstars and Raw.[25]

ECW (2009–2010)

The team of Goldust and Hornswoggle came to an end on June 29, 2009 when Goldust was traded to the ECW brand via a 15-man trade,[26] marking the first time that Rhodes has been on another brand other than Raw. His debut match for the brand came on the July 14 episode of ECW, in which he lost to Zack Ryder.[27] In the upcoming weeks, he started a feud with Sheamus leading to his first televised singles win in several months on WWE Superstars against Sheamus.[28] Ultimately, he lost the feud in a "No Disqualifications" match on the September 1st episode of ECW on SyFy.[29]

Following this loss, he garnered his first number one contender's match for the ECW World Championship on the September 15, 2009 edition of ECW on SyFy in a 10-Man Battle Royal where he was the seventh participant eliminated and Zack Ryder earning the title shot in the end.[30] The September 29, 2009 edition of ECW on Syfy saw Goldust win his first match on ECW in an 8-Man Tag-Team match where Yoshi Tatsu pinned William Regal to score the win for their team.[31] Goldust debuted a new finishing maneuver called the "Golden Age" on the October 22, 2009, edition of WWE Superstars, when he and Tommy Dreamer defeated Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson.[32] On the November 10 edition of ECW on Syfy, Goldust won his first televised singles match on the ECW brand by pinning Paul Burchill. Goldust participated in an "ECW Homecoming" Match on the December 22 edition of ECW on Syfy to determine who will get an opportunity to challenge Christian for the ECW Championship, but was defeated by Vance Archer.[33]

In early January, he has teamed with Yoshi Tatsu[34] and the duo have become the number one contenders for the WWE Unified Tag Team Championships[35] but failed in capturing the titles on the final episode of ECW on SyFy.[36] The team of Goldust and Yoshi Tatsu came to an end when Tatsu signed with the RAW brand after ECW on SyFy was cancelled.[37]

SmackDown (2010–present)

On March 3, 2010, Goldust joined the SmackDown brand,[38] this marks the first time that Goldust has been officially on the SmackDown roster.[39][40] He made his debut for the brand on the March 4 edition of WWE Superstars in a losing effort against Chris Jericho.

Personal life

His real life half-brother is Cody Rhodes, who wrestles for WWE on its Raw brand.[41]

In 1993, Runnels married Terri Runnels (née Boatright), whom he met while they were both working for WCW.[42][43] They have a daughter, Dakota, who was born in 1994.[42][43] Dustin's strained relationship with his father Dusty Rhodes caused problems in their marriage, and Terri alleges that Dusty spread rumors about her that included infidelity and "gold-digging."[43] The couple divorced in 1999 after six years of marriage.[42] Years after the divorce, they were able to have a "better relationship" for the sake of their daughter.[42]

Dustin married his second wife, Milena Martelloni, on December 18, 2002. They had been dating for 18 months prior to the marriage.[44] Milena and Dustin have since divorced..[45]

In wrestling

Rhodes, as Goldust, in the character's trademark wig and robe
  • Nicknames
    • "The Natural"[1] (WCW)
    • "The American Nightmare" (WCW)
    • "The Lonestar"[1] (WCW / TCW)
    • "The Prince of Perversion"[2] (WWF/E)
    • "The Bizarre One"[3] (WWF/E)

Championships and accomplishments

  • Coastal Championship Wrestling
    • CCW World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[62]
  • Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling
    • TCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[65]

References

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