DALLAS — The late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes was officially ushered into immortality at WrestleMania Axxess with the unveiling of a bronze, life-size statue of “The American Dream.”
The WWE Universe in attendance at the first night of WrestleMania Axxess, alongside the entire Rhodes family and NXT roster, were the first to witness the statue’s presentation, which drew the raucous adulation of the crowd in Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
“I looked to him as a mentor and an inspiration and a creative force behind the scenes. I cannot put into words how much he meant to me and how much he meant to this industry,” said WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H, who emceed the presentation after an introduction from Corey Graves and Tom Phillips.
“[He’s] already a Hall of Famer in every way possible,” said The Game of Rhodes, who, along with Triple H, helped to mentor the Superstars and Women of NXT to stardom. “This is just another step to immortality.”
“The American Dream’s” entire family shared the ring with The Game at the time of the statue’s unveiling, which Triple H performed alongside Rhodes’ sons, Dustin and Cody.
“It’s been a tough year for our family,” Dustin said after the unveiling. “Dad was an amazing man, but to us he was just ‘Pops.’ And he was a common man who became ‘The American Dream’ because he had a dream and he captured his dream. I want to say thank you to the fans who supported our father one hundred and ten percent over the years and continue to support Cody and myself.”
“Right now,” he continued, “I can guarantee you Dad is in Heaven getting funky like a monkey with the angels, looking down, very proud of all this.”
Brandi Rhodes, who performs as WWE ring announcer Eden, followed up.
“I only had the opportunity to be one of Dusty’s daughters for about two years,” she said, before thanking the rest of the family for allowing her to share in their moment. “It’s an awesome thing that he was able to be shared with all of us collectively.”
An emotional Cody closed out the proceedings with a pair of stories. One was a fun anecdote about Rhodes’ WWE Hall of Fame induction. (Question: “Who’d you ever beat?” Answer: “Everyone on that stage, baby.”) The second was a more heartfelt one about the elder Rhodes’ time running a promotion and calling up to offer condolences to a performer whose father had passed and made time to ask about what kind of man he’d been.
“Dusty Rhodes was famous for talking but he was a hell of a listener,” said Cody. “If you come to this statue, take a picture. Don’t be shy. Talk to him. Tell him how your day is going. Tell him who you think is going to win at WrestleMania. Tell him everything, because I have to believe that this special group of people that comes to WrestleMania, comes to Axxess, comes to NXT, people that love sports-entertainment, that echoes in heaven and earth.”
As Triple H departed to leave the Rhodes family alongside their father figure’s monument, the strains of Dusty’s theme song, the iconic “Common Man Boogie,” played “The American Dream” off into eternity.
Live from #Wrestlemania #Axxess, Paul "Triple H" Levesque unveils a special tribute to a certain #WWE Hall of Famer #WWEHOFPosted by WWE on Thursday, March 31, 2016