The Biography of Dusty Rhodes

Jun 11, 2015 - by Steve Gerweck

Photo credit: World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Photo credit: World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Real name: Virgil Riley Runnels Jr.
Height: 6’2
Weight: 302 lbs.
Date of birth: October 12, 1945
Date of death: June 11, 2015
From: Austin, TX
Pro debut: 1968
Trained by: Joe Blanchard
Finishing move: Bionic Elbow


– On November 7, 1968, the Texas Outlaws (Rhodes and partner Dick Murdoch) defeated Terry and Tommy Martin for the NWA North American Tag Team title.
– Rhodes pinned Tommy Martin on December 13, 1968 for the NWA Heart of America title in St. Joseph, MO.
– On December 1, 1970, Rhodes defeated Jose Lothario for the NWA Brass Knuckles title in Tampa, FL.
– The Texas Outlaws defeated Lothario and Argentina Apollo for the NWA Florida Tag Team title on September 17, 1970.
– On September 1, 1972 in Chicago, IL, Rhodes defeated Wahoo McDaniel.
– Rhodes defeated Sam Steamboat on November 15, 1972 for the North American title.
– From 1973 to 1981, Rhodes captured three more NWA Florida tag team titles with Dick Slater, and legends Bobo Brazil and Andre the Giant.
– Between 1973 to 1982, Rhodes captured seven NWA Southern titles. From 1974 to 1980, “The Dream” won ten NWA Florida titles.
– On January 30, 1976, Rhodes defeated the Spoiler (Don Jardine) for the NWA Georgia title.
– At the Miami Orange Bowl on January 25, 1978, Rhodes defeated Ken Patera.
– Before 31,000 fans at the Superdome in New Orleans, Rhodes defeated Billy Graham.
– On Christmas Day ’78, Rhodes and Andre the Giant defeated Ernie Ladd and Stan Hansen in the finals of a tournament to claim the United States Tag Team title. The following month, Rhodes again won the title with the Spoiler.
– Rhodes beat Harley Race on August 21, 1979 for the NWA World title in Tampa, FL.
– Rhodes and Bugsy McGraw teamed to capture the vacant NWA U.S. Tag Team title on July 14, 1980.
– On August 2, 1980 at the New Orleans Superdome, Rhodes and Col. Buck Robley downed Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy.
– On November 27, 1980, Rhodes defeated Ivan Koloff.
– Rhodes won his second NWA title on June 21, 1981 in Atlanta, GA, again defeating Race.
– On February 15, 1983, Terry Allen (Magnum T.A.) and the Midnight Rider (Rhodes in disguise) captured the Global Tag Team title.
– On November 5, 1983, Rhodes and Blackjack Mulligan defeated Kareem Muhammad and Elijah Akeem Ambulakia for the United States Tag Team title in Lakeland, FL.
– Rhodes and Manny Fernandez defeated Ivan Koloff and Don Kernodle on October 24, 1984 for the NWA World Tag Team title.
– Rhodes defeated Tully Blanchard on March 16, 1985 in Greensboro, NC for the NWA World Television title.
– On July 6, 1985, Rhodes pinned Blanchard in a “steel cage” match for the NWA Television title in Charlotte, NC.
– Rhodes and Magnum T.A. defeated Nikita Koloff and Krusher Khrushchev on August 23, 1985 in Honolulo, HI.
– At Starrcade ’85, Rhodes pinned NWA champion Ric Flair to briefly hold the title.
– Rhodes was awarded the NWA National title on December 14, 1985 when champion Buddy Landel was fired.
– The Road Warriors and Rhodes won two NWA World Six-man Tag Team trophies in 1986 and 1988.
– On April 28, 1986, Rhodes beat Arn Anderson in a cage match at the AWA’s Rage In the Cage in E. Rutherford, NJ.
– Rhodes, Steve Williams and Bill Watts beat Kortsia Korchenko, Ivan and Nikita Koloff in a “street fight” on June 14, 1986 in New Orleans, LA.
– Rhodes pinned Flair for the NWA title on July 26, 1986 in Greensboro, NC.
– On September 9, 1986, Rhodes defeated Arn Anderson for the NWA Television title in Columbia, SC.
– The Super Powers (Rhodes and Nikita Koloff) won the 1987 Crockett Cup Tag Team tournament, defeating Blanchard and Lex Luger in the finals.
– At Starrcade ’87, Rhodes relieved Lex Luger of the United States title in Chicago, IL.
– Rhodes won the 1988 Bunkhouse Stampede.
– At the first Clash of the Champions on March 27, 1988, Rhodes and the Road Warriors defeated Ivan Koloff and the Powers of Pain in a barbed-wire match.
– On March 11, 1989, Rhodes defeated Big Steel Man in Tampa, FL for the PWF title.
– Rhodes relieved Al Perez of the FCW title on May 23, 1989.
– At Summerslam ’89, Rhodes defeated The Honkey Tonk Man.
– The Dream Team (Rhodes, Terry Taylor, Brutus Beefcake, and Tito Santana) defeated the Enforcers (Bad News Brown, the Honkey Tonk Man, Big Boss Man, and Rick Martel) at the 1989 Survivor Series.
– At Wrestlemania VI, Rhodes and his manager Sapphire defeated Randy Savage and Sensational Sherrie.
– After leaving the WWF, Rhodes accepted a creative role with WCW in 1991, and served as a commentator on television shows and pay-per-views.
– At the 1998 Souled Out PPV, Rhodes turned against Larry Zbyszko and WCW, revealing a New World Order t-shirt.
– Rhodes defeated Steve Corino at ECW’s Living Dangerously 2000 in Danbury, CT.
– At WCW Greed, Dusty and his son Dustin teamed to defeat Flair and Jeff Jarrett in a “Kiss My A$$” match.
– After WCW was sold to the WWF, Rhodes opened Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling, which primarily promotes matches in the southeast.
– In early 2003, Rhodes joined NWA TNA to represent traditional wrestling against Vince Russo’s Sports Xtreme Entertainment group.
– On March 5, 2004, Rhodes and Tom Howard defeated Corino and Dustin Rhodes in Korakuen, Japan.
– At the Victory Road PPV, Rhodes was voted the new directory of authority, replacing Vince Russo. A few weeks later, Rhodes joined the TNA booking staff.
– In September 2005, Rhodes became a member of the WWE creative staff.
– At Survivor Series ’06, Team Flair (Flair, Simmons, Rhodes and Sgt. Slaughter) defeated the Spirit Squad.
– On April 4, 2009 in Houston, TX, Rhodes inducted the Funk Brothers into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Leave a Reply