In my 30+ years of being a fan, you think you’ve seen it all. You think you have experienced every high and low that the business has to offer. Then comes today and the news of the passing of one of the greats The American Dream Dusty Rhodes had passed away. I found out the news just waking up from a nap early in the morning. But truth be told it feels like I’m still not living in reality. That somehow I’ll wake up and everything Will be all right. But unfortunately that is not the case.

Dusty Rhodes went from being one of the most hated villains teaming with the late Dick Murdoch to the ultimate baby face. It was not a catchphrase he was The American Dream. Growing up the son of a plumber he fought against adversity in his life and became one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling. As he famously said in a promo once, “he wasn’t the athlete of the day, his belly was just a little big, his butt was just a little big but he’s bad and they know he’s bad” and he was.

Whether it was against the likes of Harley Race, Ric Flair, The Four Horsemen, Nikita and Ivan Koloff and many others along the way. Dusty proved you can’t judge something by its package. He can go the distance with some of the best in the business. Not only that he could draw the crowd in like nobody else. Mainly because he was the everyman, the common man, the American dream. He was the guy that you can see drinking a beer with, someone you believed in and you wanted to fight for and cheer for. That is something that is sorely missing in this day and age. Watch the footage of Dusty’s NWA title victories of which there were three. The crowd believed in Dusty. They believed in his words. They believed in him. The Dream with his jive talking style related with the people working 9-to-5 jobs to make ends meet but also had that superstar quality that made him larger-Than-life. He’s one of the rare personalities that has become transcendent to the sport and become true pop-culture icons. And that’s what makes the loss so devastating to the wrestling world.

While Dusty had a legacy in front of the camera he had just as much to do with the biggest events in wrestling history. Rhodes would be involved in creating the first big pay-per-view event in Starrcade which came two years before the first Wrestlemania. He would also create Clash of the Champions Wargames, The Great American Bash, Battle Bowl, Halloween Havoc and many other concepts that became staples of both WCW/NWA programming. Of course there were some less than stellar ideas. But no matter how bad the dream had a way of selling those performers in his vision that there were going to be superstars. Dusty had this personality that he can make even a bad idea sound the greatest.

You know someone reaches icon status when those around them all imitate his distinct voice. I don’t know anyone that never attempted a Dusty Rhodes impression. I think all the coverage his passing is getting by mainstream media just shows how much the reach that Dusty had.

As I said, two years ago when William Moody a.k.a. Paul Bearer passed away, it feels like a member of my family has passed away. And I don’t say that out of any disrespect to the Rhodes family. But for decades he entered my home week after week on TBS The Superstation giving bionic elbows and soliloquies in public if you will. He made words like plunder and clubberin legitimate words in my vocabulary doing commentary in the late 90s.

However, Dusty was not content to just live in the past he tried to get back to the business and much as he could. He would work with ECW and help get a fledgling young Steve Corino become a much bigger name. He would go to TNA and be the on screen authority figure as they made the jump to national television on Fox Sports. And he would cultivate the young talent not just on Smackdown, but Florida Championship Wrestling and NXT as well. Not only will Cody Rhodes and Dustin carry on his legacy but many other talents will do so as well. Just seeing the outpouring from all over the wrestling world is amazing. Just type in Dusty Rhodes on Twitter and read the responses.

There will never be another American Dream. He was one-of-a-kind. Thank you Dusty. You will be missed greatly.