Goldust is one of the oddest figures in the history of the business of Professional Wrestling. I guess that particular gimmick would file more accurately under the Sports Entertainment banner, but that would only serve to diminish the man’s in-ring talent. I feel like I need to mention the fact that lately, he looks like he’s in way better shape than he ever was. Goldust was one of the talents central to the Attitude Era, which began back in 1997. Here we are, almost twenty years later, and he’s still tearing it up in the squared circle.
Let’s go back to the beginnings of the enigmatic WWE Superstar. Goldust began life as Dustin Patrick Runnels. He was born on April 11th, 1969 to a father named Virgil, who more typically goes by the name, the American Dream Dusty Rhodes. He has a sister named Kristin, who was a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, and he has a brother, who some of you may know. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to WWE at all recently, but here’s that aforementioned brother.
Now that we’ve covered where his life began, let’s cover where Goldust’s career began. Dustin’s first job as a wrestler was for C.W.A in 1989. They were a small, Memphis based promotion. After that, from 1990-1991, he had a short run in WWE as Dustin Rhodes. The American Dream was with WWE at the time, too, so they did not ignore the connection. Why would you? A father and son that comfortable together in front of the camera is practically a gift from the big guy Himself. It’d be a sin to waste it.
After his initial time with the company where he made his name; Dustin went down to WCW. He wrestled there from 1991 to 1995. He was The Natural Dustin Rhodes when he worked with the Georgia-based promotion. He was a mid-card talent who eventually got fired when he gigged, which was against Corporate policy at the time.
It was the best thing that could have happened to him. He left the company and went back to Vince McMahon. In September of 1995, he first started wrestling as The Bizarre One, Goldust. This stretch lasted until 1999. In those four years, Goldust saw such moments as the Hollywood Backlot Brawl, a couple Intercontinental Championship wins, and a Ladder Match with Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship, which was pretty much the closest he’s ever come to that particular belt. He did all this as the character sold as a drag queen that really loved films. His overall design was originally meant to mimic that of an Oscar statuette.
That leads us into Dustin’s strongest asset as a performer: his ability to adapt. As I said earlier, he made his name during the Attitude Era. Every man in the WWE locker room had to fight for time on television during that period. The company was in a bitter war with Ted Turner, Eric Bischoff, and the WCW for ratings supremacy on Monday nights. Dustin constantly got time because he knew when to change things up. When people got tired of Goldust, he became the Artist formerly known as Goldust. He was managed by Luna Vachon during this time and it seemed like he was doing something different every night. One week he’d come out as Hunterdust, a spoof of Triple H, and then the next, he’d be Sabledust.
After 1999, he went back to WCW for a couple years. He wrestled under various gimmicks and floated along the mid-card during what is commonly known as the company’s worst period. Then, they went out of business and Vince McMahon stepped in, shutting them down for good. This paved the way for a Goldust return in 2001. He stayed with the company, this time until 2003. Then he toured the Independent Circuits for a while.
This continued for years. His fifth and most recent return to WWE has seen his career reach heights that I’m sure even Dustin never expected. He’s been years past what anyone would logically consider his prime for about ten years now, but he certainly doesn’t look it. He’s right there, step for step, week after week, with kids (relative to him) like the Uso Brothers, his brother Cody, and most anyone else in the WWE Tag Team division.
After working as Goldust and Cody Rhodes, the younger brother finally decided to slap on some makeup and complete the team. They became Gold and Stardust, which is a team that I love. Cody is really sinking himself into the character. That’s something that has actually become a part of the show. In an effort to build towards a Brother vs. Brother WrestleMania match, they’ve started to break apart the team via storyline on WWE programming. The big angle that Dustin is getting worried that Cody is taking the character too seriously.
Whatever gets us to WrestleMania. How cool is that for the man behind the makeup? Dustin gets to (assumedly) finish out his career, alongside his brother, while front and center on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
I can’t imagine it gets much better for a man who was born and raised into the Professional Wrestling business.