Thursday, June 11, 2015

THE AMERICAN DREAM:  I recognize that today's news of the passing of wrestling superstar Dusty Rhodes won't matter to everyone here, but Ian Williams offers as good an explanation as you'll find:
Dusty wasn’t what all us Southern working class kids and adults wanted to be. He was what we already were. Dusty was fat and slovenly, his dress alternating between work clothes and garish, sloppy attempts at what you might think a rich man dressed like had you never actually seen one. His forehead bore the marks of his career, a mass of deeply grooved scar tissue after years of chair shots and blading. He wasn’t great in the ring, but was a master of psychology and storytelling. The stories he told were working class stories. He took his lisping Texas drawl and married it to an African–American preacher’s cadence. Not for nothing was one of his earliest nicknames the White Soul King. Rather than outright co–option, it seemed to be a sincere effort on Rhodes’ part to speak to a pan–racial working class, setting him up as a hero for blacks, whites, and Latinos to cheer on against whatever villainous rich guy he was put up against.

....The reason why Rhodes mattered is essentially the reason why wrestling matters. Wrestling tells working class stories to working class people, even today in the slick, overproduced WWE. Dusty Rhodes is the greatest storyteller in that vein who has ever wrestled. He’s not my favorite of all time; his nemesis, Ric Flair, is and has always been my favorite wrestler. But if we stop measuring greatness by titles, instead going by pure quality of the storytelling, physical or verbal, Rhodes is arguably the greatest of all time.


  1. MidwestAndrew9:23 PM

    He wasn't the best wrestler, and he was never the best looking wrestler. But he was the epitome of a blue-collar wrestler -- all the heart and effort in the world.

  2. Adam C.2:05 PM

    One of the greats of his time - man, could he sell an interview, even if in the days before closed captioning you might make out only 2 out of every 3 words. Like many southern-based wrestlers of his era, Dusty spent a lot of time in Tampa, and lived there for at least some of the time that I was growing up there and going to the occasional NWA promotion. In fact, when I was in 4th or 5th grade, he moved into a house down the street from one of my best friends. We never did screw up the courage to go knock on his door, though.