Can he cement his legacy with one last great run?
Everyone in the world of wrestling knows Dustin Runnels, a respected veteran of 20 plus years in the business. Whether you first saw him in the Early 90’s teaming with his father in the WWF against the Million Dollar Man and Virgil or in his first WCW run as “The Natural”. Most people however will remember Dustin for his portrayal of Goldust.
Goldust debuted in the World Wrestling Federation in 1995 where he found success capturing Intercontinental gold and worked with the likes of Roddy Piper along the way.
Over the years Goldust had numerous spell with the WWE which included a rather fruitful run with Booker T culminating in winning the Tag team championships. It was his time with Booker where Dustin added another layer to his character and brought a comedic side to the table. There were some rather less successful spells also, an anti-climactic run as the deranged “Artist formally known as Goldust” and a short run as Johnathan Coachman’s back up, the less mentioned about that the better we will all be.
Goldust however in 2009 and 2010 seemed to find his feet in the WWE upon a returning to the company. He had a good rivalry with an up and coming Sheamus on ECW and did great work getting Sheamus ready for big leagues over on Raw. Goldust got rave reviews for a match with multi-time wold champion Chris Jericho after being drafted to Smackdown. Goldust slipped down the card following that was involved in the old NXT with Aksana which was followed by a feud with Ted Dibiase Jr. over the Million Dollar championship, neither man benefited from the feud.
Goldust then suffered a shoulder injury and began to work as a backstage agent, rarely seen on WWE TV, Dustin’s brother Cody had started feuding with Goldust’s former tag team partner Booker T. Dustin appeared without the make up to talk some sense to his brother. It was no secret in the WWE at the time that Dustin was pushing hard for a match against his brother on the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania. It started to look like the stars had aligned and we would see the Rhodes brother’s one on one.
Unfortunately this wasn’t to be as the Golden one was released shortly after from the company. Reports were that Dustin had advised The Prime Time Players on a new finish, an assisted Power bomb from the ropes. This was executed very poorly in the ring and looked very dangerous, serious injuries could have accrued so Dustin was shown the door.
It looked like Dustin’s time in the spotlight was up, however as a surprise entrant in the 2013 Royal Rumble Dustin seemed to get the send-off he deserved, in front of the fans and in the ring. There was a nice pop when he came together with his brother Cody who eventually eliminated him and left a few people out there thinking if in fact Dustin was on to something with the potential match against his brother.
A few months went by and I heard Goldust was planning a speaking tour but there were no rumors or rumbling about a potential return to the WWE, it seemed like going forward a Rumble entry here and there and an Old School Raw appearance would be the only time Dustin would be called on to don the make-up of the bizarre one again.
Sometimes thing don’t quite go as expected in the wrestling business and the phrase “anything can happen” applies on a weekly basis. Dustin’s brother Cody was getting married to Brandi Reed who first worked as Eden Styles in the WWE and has recently returned as just Eden and is handling ring announcing duties over on NXT. Cody was in the midst of a face turn and starting to get over with the WWE Universe in his feud against the underutilized Damien Sandow (that’s a story for another time).
Cody and Brandi had become engaged and were ready to step down the aisle, all be it a different one than they were used to. Cody had asked management for some time off for the wedding. WWE creative came up with a way to get Cody off TV by having him get fired after losing a match to Randy Orton on Monday Night Raw. While Cody was away selling the firing storyline and actually getting married WWE continued the story by including both Cody’s father and brother.
Dusty Rhodes, a WWE Hall of Famer and former World Champion and Goldust were at first meant to span the gap until Cody returned to action. So on Raw, Goldust was slated to face Randy Orton; if he could beat the Apex predator he would win back his brothers job. Goldust returned in the best shape of his career, crediting Diamond Dallas Page and his DDP Yoga for this. Dustin did lose the match but accomplished two things that night, he put on a good TV match against a top star in the company and more importantly captivated the audience and drew them into the match, chants of “you’ve still got it” echoed around the arena.
As the story developed The Shield attacked Dustin Rhodes leading to Cody and Goldust “who both didn’t have contracts with WWE” jumping the barricade to confront their fathers attackers. This would lead to a match at WWE Battleground live on Pay Per View. The stipulation was simple all Cody and Goldust had to do was win the match and they would be back on the WWE roster. Truth being told Battleground was a poor show but this match stole the show and made the PPV memorable. The crowd was invested from the start of the match, Cody fresh off his break didn’t miss a step, Goldust continuing to turn back the hands of time with another great in-ring performance. The match was a promoters dream, the crowd was drawn in, believing that their heroes who had been wronged could overcome the obstacle in front of them and win, it was booking 101 at its finest. The closing moments of the match the crowd became thunderous, the pop when Cody hit Crossroad’s and got the 3 count was deafening – it was mission accomplished but where next?
There was a lot of backstage talk about the brothers finally having the WrestleMania match Dustin had longed for, The plan was simple, they would team together for a while which would be followed by a heel turn and the match itself at WrestleMania 30. They started this run by capturing the WWE Tag Team Championships on Raw by defeating Rollins and Reigns of The Shield. It took a Big Show KO punch to do the job but the team that would be known as “The Brotherhood” had brought home the gold. Goldust and Cody continued what they started at Battleground with a string of quality matches with Goldust looking better and better. This wasn’t just a nostalgia run this was man firing on all cylinders and seemingly loving every minute of it. Whether it be the Shield, The Uso’s or The Real Americans the one thing consistent was that “The Brotherhood” would deliver.
Then came the first bump in the road for Rhodes brothers as the lost the tag team titles at the Royal Rumble to The New Age Outlaws, who are back on TV and winning Tag Team Gold 14 years after their last reign, I’m sure that hasn’t nothing to do with being close friends of HHH and his growing power in WWE. Later in the same night WWE planted further seeds as Goldust accidentally eliminated Cody from the Rumble match itself, No animosity was shown at this point but I suppose the brothers should be used to coming to blows in the rumble match as Cody had previously eliminated Dustin twice.
Inside of a steel cage the Brotherhood failed in its attempt to regain the gold, yet another stepping stone towards the match at WrestleMania. Before the Brothers lost the Tag Titles there were signs that WWE may have re-evaluated its position after seeing what it had on its hands. A struggling tag team division now delivering must see TV week after week, all headed up by the brothers but it now seems they are pressing ahead with the family feud.
Goldust recently stated he no longer wants to face Cody at WrestleMania, some would consider this as further evidence of the proposed match up taking place as Dustin is trying to make fans think it won’t be happening so when the heel turn comes the fans aren’t expecting it.
What looked like a short stay now looks like a golden opportunity for Dustin to have a real last run and go out on a high on the grandest stage of them all.
A lot is made in Wrestling about returns, whether it be The Rock, Y2J, Brock Lesner or Batista. These men might see a large share of the purse money as the late great Gorilla Monsoon might say but have any of these men delivered on a weekly basis like the Golden one has on his return. Dustin Rhodes has the chance here to be remembered the right way when he retires, for what he has accomplished in the ring and not incidents and personal problems. Dustin Runnels has a golden ticket to cement his legacy and put himself firmly in the frame for a Hall of Fame place and on current form who can say he doesn’t deserve it?
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.