Dusty Rhodes is by and large one of the most beloved professional wrestlers of the 1980s. But the “American Dream” had a reputation behind the scenes that made him more than a few enemies.
A recent appearance by Robert Gibson of the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame-inducted Rock ‘N Roll Express on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s podcast highlighted this point.
Gibson, in discussing his and partner Ricky Morton’s time being booked by Dusty Rhodes for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), said that Rhodes called him and Morton into the office after one particularly successful show in Charlotte, N.C.
Gibson said that Dusty told the pair “there is something you don’t do in this territory.”
— Jorge (@bronxfanatic) February 8, 2017
When Gibson inquired what that was, Rhodes said, “Y’all do not, and I mean, y’all do not, sell out the Charlotte Coliseum when I am not on the card…. And that’s when he started trying to pull us apart.”
From there, Rhodes started booking Gibson and Morton in singles matches, which led to a serious career bump for the tag team.
Austin said Dusty “should have put himself on the card,” adding that the American Dream “should have been happy you two were selling out.”
“That’s what I thought,” Gibson said.
This is not the first time one of the Rock ‘N Roll Express members has talked frankly about Dusty Rhodes. While Morton once said Rhodes had “a great mind for the business,” he also noted that the wrestling legend “tried every way in the world to try and kill us off.”
In the end, Rhodes ended up firing the Rock ‘N Roll Express.
More of that interview, which is about a year old, can be found here.
As it turns out, Gibson and Morton are not the only former professional wrestlers who had heat with Dusty Rhodes.
Former NWA Heavyweight Champion Ronnie Garvin sat down for a shoot interview where he called Rhodes an “a**hole” who “killed his own territory.”
Garvin said Dusty was “way overrated as a booker” and needlessly wasted money.
“He was such a jealous guy,” Garvin said, reiterating the Rock ‘N Roll Express complaints and stating that he was so jealous of the tag team that he ended up booking himself in six-man tag matches with them.
Garvin also said that Dusty stopped booking him in title matches once he won the title, claiming he was “jealous” and “didn’t like me because I was a babyface, and I was over.”
— History Personified (@HistoryMile) November 16, 2016
Unfortunately, Dusty Rhodes is no longer around to defend himself. He died in 2015. But it seems that before his death, he did a lot to repair his image in the business, serving as a mentor for the NXT talent and working behind the scenes in a number of ways with WWE.
In fact, Lucha Underground star Vibora, during his time with the company, said Dusty was “great” and that he “really supported me.”
During a time while injured, he remembered promo class where Rhodes “brought me in front of the group and said ‘Look, this guy is injured and he has done some things in here that I think nobody can do,’ and he asked for a standing ovation and a round of applause.”
Vibora told WrestleZone that it meant a lot “because I was in doubt in that point of my career, so I’ll always remember him as someone who helped me at some many levels and it was an honor work with him.”
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