The American Dream has been dead or dying for quite some time. Yes, the rich get richer while the poor stay poor or worse, the opportunity that this land promised foreigners and natives alike has waned to practically nothing, and students — the supposed future of this country — are crushed under the weight of student debt. It’s hard to argue that the Dream lives on, yet if you were to gaze through the optimistic eyes of a wrestling fan, you know there is always a little bit of the Dream to go around, daddy.
Dusty Rhodes has always represented what it means to achieve your goals in the USA; he was the son of a plumber who didn’t quite have the right body in a time where men started looking more like sculptures, but yet had the aspiration and the personality to persevere. On a smaller, but probably more relevant scale, The American Dream inspired a number of young men and women to reach new heights as champions, icons, and superstars. That said, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is far more important than a few excellent matches and beautiful trophy at the end. It’s about honoring a legend who dedicated his time to securing a golden future for future legends.
I was born in the mid 80s, so I can’t speak of my first experiences with Dusty and name classic matches, feuds, or promos. No, my first experiences with the Dream were him as a color commentator on WCW programming. I didn’t understand that even then he was building stars through verbal brick and mortar, but I knew this: the man used very colorful language and I liked it. Clubberin’, plunda’, da mothaship, and of course, “if you wheeeeel,” are terms I quote with my friends til this very day. I’m a 30 year old man. I have absolutely no regrets.
As I grew and gained valuable experience points, I admired Dusty’s emotional promos and classic rivalries. You know them as well as me and this wasn’t meant as a chronicle of Dusty’s historic career as much as it was meant to be a few words to honor him. You have, no doubt, heard the limitless stories of NXT and WWE athletes recounting their time under Dusty’s learning tree. You’ve seen the fruits of his time and caring in a product that is almost surpassing the main roster. By this time, presumably, you’ve even seen his greatest accomplishments (not in wrestling, but life) — in Dustin and Cody — presenting the trophy to two of NXT’s finest talents: Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. Finally, you’ve seen two women demonstrate all the knowledge and ability they garnered from their time under the educating shade of the tree. If you’ve ever watched a ballet (and this comparison isn’t because they’re women) and you’ve watched two ballerinas perform to their fullest performance and deliver an emotional show, then you’ll know how this match went down. It was an absolutely emotional dedication to a friend, teacher, and icon that concluded with tears of joy and accomplishment. It concluded with honor and flowers from other teachers and mentors.
The American Dream may be a fading idea in this country of ours, but there is a little spot in Florida where it still flourishes, grows, and nurtures.
“…when I was growing up I sure didn’t think 265 pounds of blue-eyed soul would captivate a country like I have.”