Busted Open recently spoke to WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, who discussed the recent tragic passing of fellow Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes. Below are some highlights.
Flair on his initial reaction to Rhodes
If Dusty Rhodes came on the scene tomorrow at 25 years of age Vince McMahon wouldn’t have enough money to pay the guy. He was that good… in the ring and on the mic. They don’t make them like him anymore – he was that good. And he was a genius. I used to say “Hey what are you doin’ man?” and he used to say “I’m genius-ing”(laughs) It used to crack me up the things that came out of his mouth. He was genius-ing so… that’s it, you know? We made music for 30 years together. I started my career idolizing him and … the good thing about this, if there is a good thing to it, is that I spent about 4 hours with him on Tuesday at the Performance Center in Orlando when I was done there visiting my daughter and the last thing he said to me was … pissed off that I was going to see LeBron James and he wasn’t, ha. He was like “Get out of my office… go see LeBron man, I don’t care (laughs). I said “I’ll wave to you from courtside … and then I got the call yesterday so … we had so much fun together. He loved John Elway, I like Lawrence Taylor. He liked the Celtics, I liked the Lakers. He liked the University of Texas and I liked Oklahoma. We just went round and round on everything, it was tremendous. He loved sports and he loved life.
On his first memories with Dusty
I idolized him. I was being trained by Verne Gagne but Dusty and Dick, his partner Dick Murdoch were in Minneapolis wrestling and the charisma was too much and he liked me. I had just gotten married and I wasn’t even booked in the towns and I would drive all the way … 300 miles… somewhere in South Dakota just to hang out with those guys and I wasn’t even booked. No wonder I couldn’t stay married. “How much money did ya make?” “Well, uhhhhhh” (laughs). Jesus, I just couldn’t get enough of him. He was too much man. Then he moved into an apartment, he and Murdoch did. The nicest apartment complex in Minneapolis at the time .. 3 blocks from my mamas house. Ah jeez, it was just the best. All they had was two saddles, some blankets and they kept their mule in the apartment. It was the best. I was in the business 3 weeks and I went to Japan with them and they made me carry their bags with them everywhere for 3 solid weeks. Threw my clothes out the window of the top story of the hotels… took a fire extinguisher to my room. Murdoch stabbed me for taking one of his French fries. And we would get on a train or driving or riding the bus and all Dusty would go “Dear John, I hate to write you…” as if my wife was leaving me or something (laughs). Nobody can say I didn’t pay the price when I started man.
On Dusty as a wrestler
They are never going to say he was a great technician but he could work! He knew his limitations but I’m gonna tell you right now… I wrestled Dusty Rhodes at least 300 one hour draws. Dusty wasn’t a 10 minute guy. We wrestled hour draws and I think the defining moment in our careers was that I was Charlotte and Dusty was from Tampa Florida… Originally from Texas … but our careers were established in Southern parts of the world and I wrestled Dusty in the Checker Dome in St. Louis for Sam Muchnick’s retirement… 20,000 people, it wasn’t the ‘Briscos and the Funks’ … It wasn’t Harley … it wasn’t Brody and me. It was me and Dusty Rhodes — that’s how big that feud got. It got World-Wide attention on TBS. And the Horsemen against Dusty and The Road Warriors – Dusty and Nikita and Sting… The War Games … all of that stuff he created. Starrcade… he created all that stuff. That was all Dusty Rhodes, nobody else thought of that. And those War Games, man, we did 42 of them in a row. That’s cuttin’ yourself every night 42 days in a row. Of course me and him… we did it every day anyways, so it didn’t matter but it was work but we had so much fun that it didn’t seem like work … and everything was sold out.
Flair on Dusty’s influence on the younger generation
The reason he was at NXT, which worked out being a huge advantage for people going through it is, because of his phlebitis, which was, you know, he’s been iIl with different things off and on for years but whatever caught up with him this time was much more severe than phlebitis, but he couldn’t fly more than an hour at a time without landing and walking around, even when he came to WrestleMania this year he had to go through Dallas and walk around for 3 hours before he could fly the last 3 hours. He would be up in Stamford, right. Him and Vince healed everything and Vince… there’s no doubting Dusty’s genius. His main direction was teaching the kids, helping them learn how to be confident and helping them learn how to carry themselves and be fluid on the microphone. Some kids never get that but it wasn’t because he wasn’t there and, I mean, he was the best. My daughter is so crushed, of course she has known Dusty since she was born, you know, when we were living together in Charlotte. He bought a car, I bought a car. He bought a new house, I bought a new house. That was living the dream. Anyway… my daughter is just crushed over it so she’s up in Cleveland tonight, where I was last night, then she is in Columbus tomorrow and I’m on my way right now to Orlando from Tampa to do a documentary on Dusty right now at the Performance Center. I think they are going to have the funeral Wednesday in Tampa and I would expect a huge turnout. He’s the guy… everybody loves Dusty Rhodes, that’s just the way it was and I wouldn’t expect anything less.
Flair on how Dustin (Goldust) is holding up
Dustin sounded OK. He was there. He moved from Gainesville to Orlando several months ago. I thought that, down the road, Dustin will be an instructor at NXT, which is great for him. And I think that he and his dad had really gotten tight. He sounded OK, I mean, how do you ever sound? I went through something like this a couple of years ago with my son, I mean, how do you ever sound? And what do you ever say? You never know what’s the right thing to say, know what I mean? I’ll get a better feel of how they’re all doing when I see them in person.
Tags: Dusty Rhodes, Goldust, Ric Flair