The 'common man' is also a family man

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July 06, 2007

For much of his career, Dusty Rhodes was recognized as a "common man." But now, after his son Cody's run-in with Randy Orton on Raw, it appears as though "family man" might be a more accurate moniker. This past Monday night, the WWE Hall of Famer stepped in between his son and the Legend Killer, preventing fists from flying.

Not long after the altercation in the locker room area, the protective father made one thing perfectly clear -- don't mess with the Rhodes family. To further drive his point home, the "American Dream" demanded that the disrespectful Orton go face-to-face with him this week on Raw. However, before the Legend Killer accepts his challenge, we recommend he re-educate himself on Rhodes' impressive Hall of Fame resume.

After playing college football at West Texas State University, Rhodes made his in-ring debut in 1968, teaming with former World Tag Team Champion Dick Murdoch as the rule-breaking Texas Outlaws in the AWA. Rhodes would eventually move to Florida, where he became a beloved fan-favorite en route to winning over two dozen NWA Florida regional championships (including an unprecedented 10 reigns as Florida Champion). He moved on to compete in WWE (then known as the WWWF) for a brief time in the late 1970s, nearly winning the WWE Championship from Superstar Billy Graham in 1978; Graham would eventually defeat Rhodes in a brutal Texas Death Match at Madison Square Garden, marking the end of Dusty's quest.

However, it was in the National Wrestling Alliance where Rhodes truly became a national star. He held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship three times in the 1980s (defeating the likes of Ric Flair and Harley Race to claim the gold), and also held the NWA World Tag Team, United States and Television Championships. His rivalry with Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard and the rest of the Four Horsemen was perhaps one of the most heated in sports-entertainment history, lasting most of the 1980s and even seeing hated Russian rule-breaker Nikita Koloff become a fan favorite by teaming with Rhodes against the Horsemen. Rhodes & Koloff would go on to defeat Horsemen Blanchard & Lex Luger to win the 1987 Crockett Cup tag team tournament.

Rhodes came back to WWE in 1990. His debut saw him doing a series of blue-collar jobs week after week to play up his "common man" image. Clad in black and yellow polka-dotted ring trunks, Rhodes' popularity reached an all-time high. In his second WWE run, Rhodes had bitter rivalries with Big Boss Man, "Macho King" Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase, the latter spawned when DiBiase bought off Rhodes' valet Sapphire. Perhaps his proudest WWE moment came in 1991, however, when he brought son Dustin (later known as Goldust) into WWE and teamed with him to defeat DiBiase & Virgil at the 1991 Royal Rumble.

With his in-ring career seemingly winding down, Rhodes moved behind the commentators' desk after rejoining WCW in the mid-1990s. He worked on WCW Saturday Night, Monday Nitro and pay-per-view events, and went on to become a member of the New World Order in 1998. In the final days of WCW, Rhodes once again returned to the ring, teaming with son Dustin and rekindling his old rivalry with Flair.

He even made a brief stop in ECW in that promotion's final days as well, engaging in a series of brutal matches against then-ECW World Champion Steve Corino.

Throughout his career, Rhodes has also worked in a backstage capacity for both WWE and WCW; in fact, former WCW matches such as War Games and the Bunkhouse Stampede were conceived by the "American Dream."

With his Hall of Fame career behind him, Rhodes rarely laces up his boots looking for a fight. However, when Orton disrespected his family, the fight may have actually found Rhodes. And judging by the tone in his voice this past Monday on Raw, the American Dream may be one legend Orton can't kill.

Check out Dusty Rhodes DVD and t-shirt package...

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