AEW Superstar Dustin Rhodes Comes Clean on His Legacy
Dustin Rhodes has achieved a lot in the world of wrestling, from creating unforgettable characters such as Goldust, to winning various titles, including WCW United States Heavyweight Championship, which he won facing-off against former partner Ricky Steamboat, then successfully defended the following month at SuperBrawl III against Maxx Payne. While those may be things that fans will always remember, he told Sports Illustrated, “My sobriety, that’s my legacy,”
We got the goods from Matthew Wilkinson at Wresting Inc, who obviously got ‘em from Justin Barrasso at Sports Illustrated. After all, SI had the original interview that got Dustin Rhodes to come clean about his legacy.
Barrasso got with Rhodes on the eve of his TNT Dynamite showing against Christian Cage. Not only did this mark their first time Rhodes went face-to-face against Cage for AEW, but it was also their first televised face-off since May 2003’s Monday Night Raw.
It also marked somewhat of a return for Rhodes. See Rhodes had found some serious featuring on AEW’s Worlds End; this after basically begging CEO Tony Khan to let him wrestle in place of the injured Keith Lee. And while Rhodes lost that match to Swerve Strickland, Barrasso says “it was a joy to see how he played a role in further amplifying Swerve’s push to the top of the company.”
And how. See Rhodes brings to the ring something few players can bring, even if they’d dare, and that’s a sense of inner delight. He’s a blast to watch, even when he’s losing. And the fun become infectious as the match develops.
Not that Rhodes is clowning, mind you. For Rhodes is no clown, despite the wardrobe and the warpaint. Like Barrasso says though, he is a joy to watch. And that alone is worth the price of admission.
Dustin Rhodes is a Class Act
Dustin Rhodes is too clean and sober to allow dust to accumulate on the many crazy roads he’s traveled throughout his career.
“I wasn’t seeing clearly back in the day, and I paid for it heavily. Sometimes, I’m still trying to prove myself, even when I don’t need to,” he admitted. “I came out the other side. The devil is still sitting here, right on my shoulder. All’s I need to do is walk with him. But each new day, I tell him, ‘No, I’m going to be good today.’ So I’m not going to drink. I’m not going to do drugs. I have my sh** together, and I’m fixin’ to get on with my life.”
Rhodes admits his journey to sobriety has been a long road, but he has been able to get back a lot of what he lost. At 54 years of age, he is one of AEW’s elder statesmen, but he is still able to perform at a high level, such as his recent TNT Championship match on “AEW Dynamite,” which he credits to his clean life. “It’s the reason I have my career, too,” he said. “Being clean, it’s the reason I’m still here. And it’s the reason I can still entertain.”
“I understand it’s OK to have bad days. There will be better ones. Life has been an incredible teacher,” Rhodes said. “I’ve learned a lot, and I plan on being clean and sober for the rest of my life.” Rhodes has been open about his struggles with addiction in the past, taking up to 40 pills per day at one stage. However, after a conversation with his father, Rhodes entered WWE’s rehab program as he began to turn his life around. That’s something he was able to stick to, with the “Natural” commemorating the 15th anniversary of his sobriety last year.
It’s that being clean and sober and proud of it that helps make Rhodes a class act. After all, he mentors up-and-coming superstars at his Rhodes Wrestling Academy. And he’s definitely got to keep it together for them.
Then again, these days Rhodes always seems to have it together, which is certainly testament to his sobriety. If keeping it clean can be a legacy (and it most certainly can), then let’s let Dustin Rhodes have at it. His dad Dusty would be proud!