Jim Cornette On Dusty Rhodes Playing A Bigger Part In The WWE’s 1980s Expansion

Jim Cornette On Dusty Rhodes Playing A Bigger Part In The WWE's 1980s Expansion

Jim Cornette spoke candidly about the wrestlers who he thinks may have had a chance at replicating Hulk Hogan’s massive success with WWE in the early 80s. Naming none other than Dusty Rhodes as a potential candidate.

The WWE’s ascent to national prominence is widely attributed to the magnetic influence of Hulk Hogan. Hogan’s widespread popularity, driven by his exceptional in-ring skills and larger-than-life persona, played a pivotal role in establishing the WWE as a nationally recognised brand. His ability to enthral audiences across the country was instrumental in the WWE’s transition from a regional entity to a dominant force in professional wrestling at a national level.

It is noteworthy that while Hogan was a key figure in the WWE’s transformative period, the company’s strategic plan to expand nationally and internationally was a fundamental aspect of Vince McMahon’s vision, independent of Hogan’s involvement. The pursuit of national and international acclaim was an intrinsic part of the WWE’s long-term strategy, irrespective of Hogan’s affiliation with the organisation.

In a 2017 episode of The Jim Cornette Experience, Jim Cornette, along with co-host Brian Last, engaged in a discussion regarding potential candidates to hypothetically be the symbolic leader of the company had it not been Hogan.

One notable individual mentioned in this context was Dusty Rhodes, who had already achieved national recognition and had notably sold out Madison Square Garden for Vince McMahon Sr. Jim Cornette shared his perspective on this matter…

“Vince would have had to changed a lot just because Dusty wasn’t gonna look like Hulk Hogan physically. I think Dusty could have probably changed a little bit. But at the same time, I didn’t know Dusty until ’84. Dusty in the late 70’s was so hot and so popular and “Dustymania” was nuts, even though it wasn’t called that, just the fact that he was the most popular guy in the business at one point. I don’t know if Dust and Dream’s ego, baby, was as big as Texas! And I don’t know if he felt he was the one that needed to change at that point or whether the promoter needed to change. Because why would you change something that had worked everywhere it went for Dusty?”

Dusty Rhodes underwent a significant transformation, adopting the immensely popular “American Dream” persona when he turned face in the 1970s. While primarily wrestling for NWA territories during that decade, he had also made appearances for WWE before its expansion, even competing against then WWE Champion, Billy Graham.

Cornette appears sceptical about the potential success of a partnership between McMahon and Rhodes, particularly with Rhodes in a leading role.

“It might have been one of those situations where Dusty and Vince, one or the other, said to them the same thing that Bill Watts said to Vince when he left in ’95, “there’s only room for one titan at Titan Sports!””

In 1989, Dusty Rhodes would go on to sign with “Titan,” albeit being featured on the undercard. Although Jim Cornette has expressed reservations regarding Hulk Hogan, he maintains the belief that Vince McMahon owes him for the company’s achievements.

“Vince ought to be horsewhipped for firing Hulk over his sex tape revelations because if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon might still be running the Cape Cod Coliseum up there and Linda would be taking in washing. Who knows?”

Jim Cornette Remembers Joining The WWE In 1993

Jim Cornette joined the WWE back in 1993 in which was seen as a surprising move to many within and fans of the industry. He has made it clear that he was never a fan of the company’s style but found himself in a predominant position. The manager became the “American spokesperson” of then WWE Champion Yokozuna and also introduced SMW tag team The Heavenly Bodies to a new audience.

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