|The Dream and I in 2004 at an ROH show|
Dusty's Last Stand - My Time with the Dream
First of all I want to send out my heart felt condolences to the entire Rhodes family for their loss. Secondly I would just like to say how much of an honor it was to get to interview The American Dream Dusty Rhodes. Lastly, I just want to say that I wasn't friends with Dusty, but in the small timeframe that we had talked, he made me feel like as if we were and that's something I will never forget.
It all started when I got in touch with Joe Malenko, who was promoting the big Tampa autograph signing on June 11th, benefitting the JCC and the Wall of Fame for Championship Wrestling from Florida. Myself and my tag team partner, Chad interviewed Joe for our podcast, the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling. It was a great interview, as we not only got to reflect about the good old days of Florida wrestling, but we also got to talk about Joe's great career as well. Joe Malenko, is the older brother of Dean Malenko, and son to the legendary Boris Malenko. If you want to see some great tag team matches, check out the Malenko brothers in All Japan Pro Wrestling from the late 1980s and early 1990s. After we had interviewed Joe, he had mentioned that he was going to get us in contact with another wrestler to promote the big benefit show and I was excited at the possibilities. Being the huge mark (fan) that I am, one name really stood out to me....DUSTY RHODES. But that was just a long shot as I wasn't sure if we would get the chance to interview the wrestling icon. I wasn't sure who Joe had in mind.
So I thanked Joe Malenko the day after the interview and I asked who he had in mind for our other interview. He replied back, "How about Dusty?". Now keep in mind, this is over text message so I was able to conceal my excitement and keep it strictly professional over the phone. I kid you not, after Joe had said that, I legitimately jumped out of my chair and said "HOLY SHIT Dusty Rhodes!". Dusty would be our biggest guest to date and is a huge huge wrestling legend. But I didn't want to let on to Joe how excited I was, so I just replied back, that would be really great. He texted back and said ok Dusty has your number and will be calling you. Ok, another mark out moment for me, The American Dream has my number! Wow this was a pretty surreal moment for me, being a wrestling fan of about 30 years. One of the greatest wrestlers of all time was going to be calling me.
Then it happens....Dusty Rhodes calls me, but I missed the call. At that moment I was kicking myself because I shouldn't have missed that call, but alas Dusty left a voicemail. Listening to the voicemail, it hits me how great it was that I did miss the call, because now I have a message saved on my phone from The Midnight Rider himself. "John, this is Dusty Rhodes calling....." So I called Dusty back and we talked for a few minutes, and set up a time for the interview. While the call wasn't long, he was very friendly and acted as if we had spoken before. He even made a joke about me being from New Jersey. I loved it, not only did I get to talk to Dusty, I was going to be able to interview wrestling royalty. Dusty had given me his "private Dusty Rhodes line" to call him at, as he originally had called from his home away from home, Orlando Florida, the home of the WWE Performance Center.
The time had finally come, it was Monday night June 8th at approximately 530 pm EST and we were all set to talk to the Son of a Plumber. Boy were we pumped! What a huge honor it was to be able to interview Dusty. So we make the call and patch him in. Up until this point we considered ourselves "marks", but by the end of the call we were called 2 things that will be forever etched in our brains...he called us "kids" and most importantly he called us "wrestling historians". To hear the full interview please go to the link below and check it out:
TMPToW via Podomatic: http://tmptow.podomatic.com/entry/2015-06-08T21_00_00-07_00
At the end of the day, was I a friend, family member or even co-worker of Dusty's? The answer is no. But you know what he made us feel like we were friends and he treated us like he's known us forever. That is Dusty for you, a true icon, a true hero, and even more than that, a really nice guy who made you feel special. So from now on I no longer consider myself a mark, I now call myself a wrestling historian. For anyone that calls me a mark, I may agree to a certain extent, but I laugh it off and think to myself, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes called me a wrestling historian and anyone else's opinion doesn't mean squat after that.
We had the honor of not only interviewing Dusty, but being the last ever to interview him. That is the biggest honor of my professional career for sure and something I will truly never forget. And that voicemail that I received from the Dream, will be saved permanently on my phone. Thank you Dusty Rhodes!
RIP Dusty Rhodes...truly the American Dream.