On the latest edition of the “Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard” podcast, which airs on MLW Radio Network. Prichard spoke about Dusty Rhodes. Here are some highlights….
Prichard talks about when Dusty first went to WWF:
“When you go way back, and you talk about when Vince first started his expansion pre-Hulk Hogan, and Vince has this idea of creating a mega superstar, this mega champion, this mega draw. Before Hulk Hogan, that guy was Dusty Rhodes. They had brought Dusty in at Madison Square Garden. They brought him in for a few shows and did very well, worked with Superstar and that did very well. They even brought him into the Hit Factory, which was the “It” recording studio in New York City to do a couple of things as well.”
On why Vince was infatuated with Dusty Rhodes:
“Well, he is a body guy, since Vince was a bodybuilder himself, but he was also an attraction guy, and you take a look at Dusty Rhodes and what Dusty had done in Florida and everywhere that Dusty went, he drew money, and that was what Vince was looking for. He was looking for that guy in comparison to [Hulk] Hogan, quite frankly at the time, he was probably more attractive since he had been all over the country and he had headlined all over the country, so when Dusty came up, they were going to do the whole thing, but I believe Dusty’s ego was maybe not quite in check so much that Dream saw himself even bigger than Vince saw him and the deal fell through. Then of course Rocky 3 happened, Hulk Hogan is on the scene and the rest is history.”
On the appeal of Dusty Rhodes:
“Dusty appealed to everybody. He didn’t have the body builder body physique. He appealed to that common guy who would be drinking a beer, and would think to himself, you know what, I can kick his a**. Dusty allowed them to live vicariously through the American Dream, which was what Vince saw in him early on, so you fast forward to 1989 when Dusty came in, and Dusty coming in, he was coming in as the American Dream, which at the time, if you remembered, we wouldn’t use guys and their gimmicks that previously had that gimmick. Vince had to change everybody and make them his own, but he let Dusty use his name and the gimmick.”
On Dusty’s return to WWF in 1989:
“I believe Dusty called Vince, because he was having trouble in Atlanta. He would have called Vince and asked him if there was any interest with him coming in and doing business, and the answer was of course yes. He came in as Dusty Rhodes, “The American Dream.” Again with Vince having to put a twist on things, he became that common man, as that guy with vignettes as the Americana Plumber, the Americana Butcher, just making him that common man that everybody can relate to. He sent me to Atlanta, along with Bobby Heenan, and explained the whole idea. Vince had talked to Dusty ahead of time and explained the gimmick in grandiose terms, but when Bobby and I went down to meet with Dusty. We met with him in the old Florida Championship Wrestling office. We explained the vignettes we were about to shoot. We did the pizza one, the plumber man. I think we did three in Tampa, and then did the rest up in Connecticut. We laid it out and it was an interesting meeting. Dream was kind of looking at us like he used to do, kind of like the side of his eyeballs, and I think Dusty might have thought it was a rib. He might have thought we were yanking his chain a little bit there, so low and behold, Vince came down to shoot the vignettes with him. Vince and Dusty had a heart to heart and walking around Bobby Heenan’s neighborhood, and the decision was made that this is what we were going to do, so let’s go out and have some fun with it. Again, to talk about if we had done it as a rib, we never looked at anything as, hey, let’s do this as a rib, or let’s spend all this money and invest all of this time and energy on the television product because it was a rib, no, we really looked at it as though it was going to draw.”
On the plans for Dusty after moving from Florida:
“We went back to the hotel, Bobby [Heenan] and I did, and of course Bobby lived there, but Vince wanted to know how the meeting went. There were no cell phones at the time, so we had to go on a phone at the hotel and talk about it, and he decided to come on down to make sure there was no interpretations, or confusion on interpretation from the Dream, and just so Dusty knew that it was coming straight from Vince and the vision of his character. When they talked, Dusty was on board, he loved it. I thought he did a great job, and jumped in with both feet. I thought he did a hell of a job, you know, we had fun with it, and that’s what it was supposed to be; and introduce him, not as this a** kicker that he envisioned himself as, the way he was always positioned as this top babyface a** kicker, but it was more of an attraction based deal, you know, the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, and let’s introduce him that way. You have to remember to, to the WWF audience, especially then, who only saw the WWF Superstars on Saturday mornings, they didn’t know who Dusty Rhodes was, this was an introduction of him to them, but the traditional fans did know him, they got it, but no, it wasn’t a rib, it was something to enhance this character and introduce him to a whole new fan base.”
On Dusty’s natural charisma:
“Dream does have natural charisma. He was trying so hard to become the common man, and he was forcing it, so it wasn’t coming out as natural as everything else he did. So, it took him a little while, and once he got comfortable with it, it was Dream, and was easy for him to do.”
On Dusty’s arrogance rubbing Vince the wrong way:
“At times it may have rubbed people the wrong way, but you know what, Vince rubs people the wrong way sometimes for the same reasons. You can be cocky and arrogant if you can back it up, and Dream can back it up, Dream was that man you know, he was on top of the mountain and nobody can touch Dusty Rhodes in a lot of respects, so him walking in with a chip on his shoulders, it was warranted, but I think for a lot of guys who worked for Dusty in the past that may have felt that they were treated unfairly, and they would think that they would try to humble him, so, he wasn’t necessarily welcomed with opened arms in the locker room let’s just say.”
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