I am the type of fan who loves to see 'Young Up and Comers' realize their potential. I also love when wrestlers who seem to be, in the twilight of their career, reinvent themselves. I wrote a blog a while back about Bully Ray reinventing himself as a performer and doing the best work of his career. Now, it seems as if Goldust has been the latest to reinvent himself. Goldust from an in-ring perspective is doing the best work of his over 20 year career and, I find it amazing.
Dustin Rhodes started in the Florida area and, the NWA in the late 80s and was a "Natural." His in-ring work was always solid but, he never had a true character, and always had big boots to fill, being that he was the son of Dusty Rhodes. He had a short stint in WWE teaming with his father against "The Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase and Virgil. He also honed his craft for a couple years in WCW, having exciting matches with, Steve Austin, Brian Pillman and others. While in WCW, Dustin Rhodes had blossomed but, was still known as the son of Dusty Rhodes, and had not carved out a niche' for himself.
In 1995 Dustin Rhodes found his character, and it was far and away from what anyone could have imagined. The original incarnation of the Goldust character was relatively ground-breaking, and really was something to be seen. Sure, it was in some ways similar to Adrian Street from earlier years, but it was modernized and, taken so much farther from a stereotypical standpoint. Throughout late 1995 and into 1996, Goldust had an aura about him that no other wrestler had. The kid who was just the plain ol' white-meat "Natural" Dustin Rhodes just a year earlier, had transformed into a colorful character with versatility to the likes that had never been seen. Goodbye was the perception of, "That's Dusty Rhodes son." And we all said, "Hello" to Goldust!
I'm of the belief that the original incarnation of Goldust should have been left alone but, the Goldust character became an experimental character over 1997 and 98. It became a character that was almost WWE's way of trying different things to see how far they could push the envelope during the "Attitude Era." Throughout all of the wackiness and experiments that started to define the Goldust character in those years.. It turned Goldust from a, mysterious flamboyant character with a sick sadistic aggressive side, into a confused comedic character that no one took serious. While Goldust still had a very good run in WWE from that wacky comedic relief standpoint, I always wondered what could of been had they kept rolling with what they started in the beginning.
After 2 WWE runs and another WCW run, Dustin Rhodes had gone through some personal problems, and went on to TNA. While his TNA run was really forgettable the things I do remember were that, he had gained a bunch of weight, his in-ring work had diminished, and I thought his career was all but over. Dustin was able to get back on track, come back to WWE, and go back to his comedic ways while also having a prominent backstage role. While I thought it was great to see Dusin get his weight down, overcome his personal demons, and make it back to the WWE, I still figured that he would never be put back in the position he has now found himself in.
Since Goldust has come back this time around, and teamed with Cody Rhodes, his in-ring work has been phenomenal. He is a guy that all young talents should want to work with, because his experience is invaluable, and he seems more motivated than he's been in nearly 20 years. It's a sight to see because at 44 years young, Goldust is showing athleticism that would make a 24 year old jealous. He is in the best shape he's quite possibly ever been in, and as a fan I am proud of him for reinventing a career that I thought was dead. Goldust and Bully Ray are blueprints for wrestlers in their 40s who are looking for ways to freshen themselves up. Pro Wrestling is the type of business that even when you are at the end of your rope, you still find yourself wanting to be in the top mix. There's nothing wrong with that, but the talents owe it to themselves and, the fans to reinvent themselves to stay fresh. Even the best talents get stale sometimes, it's up to them to find a way to freshen themselves up before they get thrown away, and their are so many ways to do that. I applaud guys like Goldust/Dustin Rhodes, whatever you want to call him, for finding those ways. Thank you sir, YOU STILL GOT IT!
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