For superstars debuting in WWE, their first major feud can be instrumental in the trajectory of their entire careers. When Dustin Rhodes debuted his Goldust character in 1995, an early feud with "Razor Ramon" Scott Hall helped him get over as a top heel.
Rhodes was a guest on a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast and he spoke to Wrestling Inc. managing editor about his experiences working with Scott Hall. Rhodes and Hall will both be appearing at Astronomicon from February 8-10 at Wyndham Garden in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Their feud culminated in Goldust defeating Hall for the intercontinental championship at Royal Rumble in 1996. Rhodes said even though he had some differences with Hall, he enjoyed the rivalry they had.
"Scott was fun to work with, he's a great worker. We didn't always see eye to eye with things back then and the direction the character was going. But we got through it and we did some good business, and I had fun," Rhodes said. "It's one of my most memorable moments too, along with the Roddy Piper Backlot Brawl at WrestleMania 12. He definitely helped the Goldust character and getting it some notoriety and getting it out there. Scott's a great dude, we had fun."
The feud between Goldust and Hall was one of the first to rely heavily on backstage brawls and vignettes. Rhodes recounted putting together the backstage segment during a live event. He said he embraced the opportunity to make it look as real as possible.
"Back then I was young and I was just really hungry to try this character and to do my best to get it over. I loved running into things, and I remember when we shot the backstage fight scene with me and Scott, it was in Bangor, Maine. It's cold outside, it's snowing, and Vince just shows up. It's a house show, it's a live event and that's when Vince used to go to a lot of the live events, which I really loved because he was like one of the boys. He loved the business, he would stand at the curtain and 'ooh' and 'ah' over big spots, it was a lot of fun, it was nice to talk to him then outside of an office setting," Rhodes said. "I was looking for things for Scott Hall to throw me into, we had tables and this electrical panel. The more I can get out of running into something and making it seem like he's just killing me, the better. It makes me feel good because I'm selling something, I love to do that. I love to make things more than they are. We were doing that, and we did it and the character, I think, a big part of it was I put my 110 percent into it."
Rhodes was also asked if he had any good stories about working with McMahon during that time. He discussed a moment they shared during a show at Madison Square Garden.
"We were at the Garden and I was working with Savio Vega. Savio is very underrated, he got the Goldust character to where it needed to be, in my opinion. Savio pulled some stuff out of me that I did not want to do and we tried it in the Garden and the people just went nuts. That was the first time that I had done anything kind of sexual towards another man in the wrestling ring, and it got over and the people just blew the roof off. At the end of that match - I wasn't used to the suits yet, the singlet uni-suits I wore were very hot, I couldn't breathe... I get to the back and I'm asking people to help me grab this suit. I'm laying down on the ground because we just went out there and tore it up for 25 minutes in Madison Square Garden and Vince kneels over and he's looking at me and he's got this grin on his face."
McMahon proposed a way for Rhodes to generate more heat on the Goldust character: by attacking Vega from behind with a low blow. Rhodes obliged and McMahon was right, as the post-match attack generated a huge reaction from fans. It became something Goldust would do regularly and it got him over as a major heel in the company. When they completed the segment at the Garden, McMahon was immensely proud of Rhodes and Rhodes was happy to please his boss.
"I get back through the curtain and Vince grabs me and is hugging me like, 'Holy s--t that was awesome man!' It was like he was such a fan, he was such a huge fan at that moment and it made me feel like, 'Wow, man, my boss is really putting this over, I must've done something good.' It made me feel wanted and cared for. Vince does that, it was awesome."
Goldust will be at Astronomicon from February 8-10 at Wyndham Garden in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Other wrestling legends scheduled to attend include Jake Roberts, Scott Steiner and Scott Hall. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.
You can listen to the full audio from our exclusive WINCLY interview with Goldust in the embedded audio player below. In the full interview Goldust also discusses working with Mandy Rose, R-Truth entering the Royal Rumble at number 30 and more: