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Paving the Dusty Rhodes with Gold by Jake Draper

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”

-Chuck Palahniuk

That quote above comes from an interesting source. The name of the man who wrote it may not ring any bells. If he passed away today then you may not know who people were talking about when they mourned his passing. However, Chuck Palahniuk is the author of a book called Fight Club. The truth of this quote by him is that he has, essentially, created something that transcends his own existence and, in the end, has immortalized his very spirit. In a hundred years people will still read his work and see the films based on it and his essence will be here long after he passes.

Often times, when people pass, we are left heartbroken. It hurts to imagine a world without that person. In the midst of the passing of one of the all-time greats, Virgil Runnels, AKA: Dusty Rhodes, the world of wrestling takes a long pause to remember the man. It’s so very easy to be sad, and it oftentimes overwhelms and overtakes any other feelings we might have.

Dusty’s accomplishments go far beyond what we’ve seen on the screen. The beauty of what Dusty has done in his life is that we will feel his presence for the rest of our lives and for generations down the road people will be influenced by him without even knowing it.

While the career of Goldust may be winding down, the career of Cody Rhodes still has a lot of steam left in it. Cody is young and, even when we don’t realize it, every time he climbs into the ring his father’s teachings will be prominently displayed for us.

Beyond his children carrying on his legacy in such a direct way, the sheer amount of influence Dusty has had on every aspect of professional wrestling cannot be understated. From guiding young talent in NXT as they make their way to the top of the biggest promotion in the world, to the independent wrestlers in front of ten people who have studied tapes of “The American Dream” and even studied tapes of others who have studied tapes of “The American Dream” in order to hone their own skills. The innovation and the appeal of the performer known as Dusty Rhodes has trickled down through generations and will continue to do so.

The creation of many of our favorite characters came directly from Dusty, including one, Bray Wyatt. Whereas perhaps Rhodes did not sit Steve Austin down and discuss the creation of “Stone Cold,” but the entire basis of “The American Dream” was a hard-working man that we could all relate to. Stone Cold Steve Austin, in essence, was the same concept in an updated fashion. There can be little doubt that many of our favorite superstars, many perhaps unknowingly, modeled themselves after Dusty Rhodes in some way or another.

There’s a certain comfort that comes with being religious when it comes to death. The concept of a perfect reality beyond ours that brings unlimited wealth and happiness and comfort is something that billions of people will remember and breathe in a sigh of relief when someone passes. For others it’s not as easy. For those who believe death is truly the end, what comfort is there in it?

Virgil Runnels is not physically going to be at the shows we watch or attend any longer, but in so many ways he hasn’t been in a long time. There are so many independent shows and so many ROH, TNA, WWE, Lucha Underground, and hundreds of other smaller promotions all around the world. Yet, Dusty has been at every single one of them. The essence of who he is and what he’s done has been there through all of it. Even he, perhaps, had no idea that the spirit of The American Dream could be felt in every aspect of professional wrestling around the world.

Dusty isn’t here, and he’s not going to read this, but, in some way, he’s never going to leave us. It’s the same with my all-time favorite wrestler, Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Andre the Giant and Vince McMahon Sr. The day they passed away was the day they truly became immortal.

Mourn the loss of your heroes, but celebrate the lives they lived and what they left for us.

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