Dusty Rhodes back in the fold
Dusty Rhodes has officially joined WWE. When reached at home on Thursday, Rhodes confirmed that he signed a WWE contract of undisclosed length. When asked what was covered in the deal, Rhodes said, "One word: creative."
WWE.com: Is it true that you've signed a contract with WWE?
Dusty Rhodes: Yes. I signed a contract. I'm very excited about it.
WWE.com: What specifically is the contract for?
Dusty Rhodes: One word: Creative.
WWE.com: What do you see your role as now that you've taken this step?
Dusty Rhodes: I think it's just opportunity to continue what I've really enjoyed doing since 1974, and that's create exciting scenarios. Being able to work with a group of young kids and some veterans to give my opinion on some stuff and my ideas, I think that is exciting too.
Before it was just me; it was my product. And at one time it was just Vince (McMahon), nobody really came in between, but you know, with the new areas that WWE has, from the movies to our television shows — including moving to Friday Nights on SmackDown! — being able to create and see ideas that you have come into full bloom is very exciting. And I'm excited about the talent we have with WWE. I'm excited about the creative team we have. I'm excited about the whole thing. It's taken a while, but I think it's going to be fun.
WWE.com: Do you get the sense that there will be any growing pains? Or do you think you will be able to hit the ground running?
Dusty Rhodes: To me, I think I bring everything that our industry has to offer. But mostly, I bring an open mind to look into the future and really be excited about it. There's really not a weight on my shoulders like running the NWA or running Crockett or running TBS; it's a different time in my career, so by no means am I not excited or feeling like I'm going to be an outsider. And I'm sure that if they're as smart as I think they are, they would embrace some ideas, but they don't have to agree with them. I think if they know that I'm coming, I don't think it's one of those deals where it's like, "Oh, my god! We have to keep our mouths shut because he ran huge companies and was very successful and did some great stuff, and did some bad stuff."
So, somewhere in between there, I think it's modern times. I don't think it's the old days. You know, intimidation is a very powerful weapon that I used in days past, but not in this case here. Acceptance will be the ability for me to say, in my own house, alone, watching something that came out of my head transpire and really working. And to me, when I look at (WCW's) Starrcade and I remember the night that I was driving back from Jacksonville and I created the name and I created the ambiance around it, but every time I see it or I see The Great American Bash, which I did the same thing for, it's like an old director or producer seeing his movie on late-night television — just an upgraded version. So, I see that.
This has been in the works for quite a few months; it was about just being comfortable on what role I was in. I'm not going to be the head coach, we already have a head coach, and his middle name is Kennedy. I'm not brought in to be the head coach; I'm brought in to coach the defensive line. You have to look at it with that mentality. It's hard for someone that's danced in the big ones his whole career to do what I'm doing, I think. But I have such an open mind about it because like I said, I don't have any weight on my shoulders. If my ideas are good, then they're good and we create something special together, all of us. And we reap it and we go on and that's a cool time. If I can't, I'll be the first to know. But by no means do I think Stephanie would have the confidence in me if she didn't think that I could do it.
So, it's going to be a really cool deal, I think. And no, they're not intimidated. I've seen most of them around and they've had Michael (Hayes) sitting there, who's an unbelievable creative person and Ted DiBiase, so you know, I don't think this big 'ole cowboy is just going to walk in there and just hush them up. I want to scrap with them. I want to tell them to tell me why something happens, and I'll tell them why I think it shouldn't happen. We'll go back and forth.
WWE.com: So you consider yourself very knowledgeable regarding the current events on WWE television?
Dusty Rhodes: I've studied more tapes of RAW and SmackDown!, I've almost studied it like I'm getting ready for my final season of coaching, to use that vernacular, and I've got this opportunity to do something that I've never done. It was always black and white. There was no gray area and this is exciting because maybe something happens that is so exciting that we all benefit.
So, I think it's a really great time, especially with SmackDown! going to Friday night and understanding the dynamics of those two programs, RAW and SmackDown! Personally, I think SmackDown! has to be a little spicier than it is, a little more electrifying than it is. It's got great athletes and they've got great action, they've done some tremendous stuff, but I want it to knock you off the couch when it opens up. And I think we as a group have the ability to do that.
WWE.com: Having studied those tapes, is there anything when you walk in the door that you'll want to see change?
Dusty Rhodes: Well, the first thing that I won't do is think, "I want," when I walk in. And I think that some people expect that, but that's not it. I watched these tapes and I might (have some questions), and that's what you really want. Because I don't know what they were thinking as a group. So it's unfair for me to just walk in and say, "Wow! I was watching and it was great!" Or, "Wow! I was watching and it was wasn't good!"
So, I want to learn from them and see what they're doing in all the aspects of the industry with WWE because it's changed so much since I was there.
You know, hopefully, I'll have one more match, and I think everybody knows what that one will be, and it'll be down the road at a (WWE live event) somewhere, no TV involved. I don't think we need to go on TV and promote it even. I just think one more time I'd like to step in there with "The Nature Boy" just for the hell of it. It could be Peoria, or wherever it is.
WWE.com: Do you have any aspirations of being in front of WWE cameras, too?
Dusty Rhodes: None whatsoever. Thirty-seven years is enough.
WWE.com: Is there anyone you're looking forward to working with most?
Dusty Rhodes: I think Stephanie McMahon because my meetings with her were really different for me, because she reminds me — when you look her in the eye — of her father. And the two kids were kids when I was there, Shane and her both. And it's a family oriented industry and they're a family, and I think it's great. So, I'm looking forward to working under her. I really think it's cool.