Dustin Rhodes admits he didn’t know exactly what he was getting himself into when he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (now, WWE) in 1995. Rhodes was given the character of “Goldust”. It was a dramatic departure from his in-ring persona up to that point in his career, but Rhodes was determined to make it work.
“A lot of people think that could be a rib,” Rhodes told Thunder Rosa on her Taco Vlog. “Like Dad [Dusty Rhodes] in the polka dots was a rib but he got it over. He got it over because he’s Dusty Rhodes, ‘The American Dream’. I didn’t think of it that way back then because I was young and I just wanted to do something other than try to fill my dad’s shoes. I wanted – I saw this as an opportunity.
“Had no idea what any of the things he [Vince McMahon] was telling me meant, like being androgynous and things like that, until I hung up the phone and would look in the dictionary and figured out. What did I just sign up for, right?” Rhodes continued. “But after all that, I said, ‘You know what? Let’s give it a try.’ It was – He was 110% behind the character and hands-on and gave me a lot of rope when everybody else was – like The Kliq and things – trying to get people fired and whatnot. Didn’t matter, he was going with me. So he let me take my time and find the character, and it took about seven months.”
Dustin Rhodes says his memorable look as Goldust was different from the original concept Vince McMahon had in mind. It was Rhodes who wanted to paint his face.
“(Vince McMahon) wanted the wig and all that, and like, Adrian Adonis makeup, right?” Rhodes explained. “Which was like some pink blush and stuff. I wanted paint. We agreed to that. I was a big fan of paint because of watching Sting all those years in WCW. I always wanted to paint my face, so he was OK with that. But we made it to where at the beginning, it was a gold face, two black eyes, and black ears. It looked really out there with the wig and all the stuff.”
Goldust won the WWF Intercontinental Championship just a few months after his debut, but Dustin Rhodes says he was struggling to find the character at the time. He says it was another WWF regular, Savio Vega, who helped him overcome his inhibitions and find the spark that would lead to future success.
“Savio Vega was such a good worker, man,” Rhodes recalled. “And I give him a lot of credit for bringing Goldust out. And he kept wanting for weeks and a couple of months for me to just do these things that I wasn’t comfortable with. And I finally broke down in Madison Square Garden – a huge Puerto Rican community. He’s there, I’m the Intercontinental Champion, we go in, and I finally tell him, ‘OK, fine. Let’s do it.’ And it was so simple but I built it up in my head to be so, ‘I’m against that. I can’t do that, that’s not me.’ Whatever. I was scared, right?
“So as soon as I [did] what we had talked about, was me going behind him and rubbing up and down his chest,” Rhodes continued. “That’s it, right? I was really terrified to do that. It was something that I just would not do. Did not do that, did not think that way. And I did it and he turned around, and I just ran out of the ring. They [the fans] (expletive). I did not get any reaction for that 6-7 months until right then. And it was like they were screaming every profane name that they could possibly call me, and I was like, ‘Holy f*ck’. And I’m looking at Savio in the ring and I’m staying away from the rails because they’re stepping over, and they’re spitting, and they’re cussing. And this is…’95, this is 1995 or 1996.
“And I rolled back in and I’m looking at him in the corner, and he’s laughing. I’m like, ‘Motherf*cker’. And we lock up and he takes me back to the corner, and he’s still laughing, and I’m like, ‘Why are you laughing?’ ‘See? I told you it’d work. I told you it’d work, just listen to me.’ He said, ‘We’re gonna do another one now.’ And I’m like, ‘Aw, God. What are we gonna do now?’ He said, ‘Back me up to the corner.’ I backed him up to the corner. I turned around and I stuck my ass right in his d*ck. OK? Ref’s counting, counting, counting. I start rubbing my ass on his d*ck. He pushed me in the back. I turned around, I gave him a little kiss and I rolled out of the ring. They (went), ‘Whoa!’ Goldust was created.”
Dustin Rhodes said his experience as Goldust provided lessons that he now tries to pass on to his own students. He explained how pro wrestlers need to break out of their comfort zones.
“I did not want to do touchy, step-over-the-line stuff,” Rhodes explained. “And that – Now looking back on it, it is what I tell my students is you have to step over that scary line and out of your little bubble if you’re gonna make something, if you’re gonna be a success story. And I did, finally.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Thunder Rosa’s YouTube channel with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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