Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Never Forget the Name...Goldust

It is always hard following in the footsteps of a legendary father. Dustin Runnels has had the challenge of wrestling in the shadow of his Hall of Fame father, Dusty Rhodes. The odd thing is that Dustin is actually a much better technical wrestler and has a better build.
Rhodes was already past his prime when Runnels started wrestling in 1988. They have often been in the same organization, although at times they have been separated. For the most part, their relationship was admitted.
In 1997, Runnels reappeared in the WWE as Goldust, a makeup-wearing, ambigious, Hollywood-themed character. His identity as Runnels wasn't revealed at first (although fans knew it was him soon after his debut).
Goldust was a great character. It was odd, but original (which is a rare thing in wrestling). Goldust was controversial and flamboyant and Runnels played it well.
Unfortunately, the WWE humanized (and neutralized) him with an ill-conceived interview in which he revealed many truths. The aura of the character was lost. Goldust was now Runnels in weird makeup.
Runnels flipped between WWE and TNA for a few years. In TNA, he became Black Reigh (a takeoff on Goldust). In the WWE, he turned Goldust into more of a comedic character.
This version of Goldust is very entertaining, although not nearly as appealing as an actual wrestler. Still, I have to hand it to Runnels for making the new Goldust very popular with fans.
It was interesting to meet Runnels. He was taller than I expected and he looked more put-together than on tv. He was polite, quiet and respectful to his fans. He also mugged a bit with his dad (who was also at the event).
Dustin Runnels and me in St. Petersburg, FL-January 2005.

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