Posted June 21st, 2015 by 1Wrestling News Team

Steve Corino from ROH; WWE Hall of Famer, Terry Funk and Former Valet of Dusty Rhodes, Baby Doll all sat down with Busted Open recently to discuss the sudden passing of Dusty Rhodes. You can hear Busted Open on SiriusXM 92 and on the SiriusXM app. Also go to Busted OpenNation.com. Here are highlights from the interviews.

Steve Corino, ROH Announcer

On how it was like a family member passed when he found out Dusty passed:

Steve: Oh absolutely. He was bigger than life. I went from a kid that would watch him every month at the old Philadelphia Civics Center to being able to look across the ring and face him in the ring and after ECW and WCW he had started his own promotion and I would sit there and I would be his opponent and I would argue with him and he would call me bad names and it was such a fun relationship. I had to sit back sometimes and think, wait this is the American Dream Dusty Rhodes that I am arguing with. And I am sure a lot of guys would tell you that he was like a second father to a lot of the boys and a lot of the women of professional wrestling and going over the tweets from all the NXT talent and fans that were tweeting in and sending me messages and stuff like that… bigger than life is just the best way that I could describe Dream.

On how it felt to feud with Dusty in ECW:

Steve: It sounds punished but it was like a dream come true and it’s funny that you mention that first promo because I was just talking to Tommy Dreamer about this yesterday. That promo, I didn’t even know that he was in Atlanta… he had just gotten released by WCW that week… ECW happened to be in Atlanta… I had just done the thing with Limp Bizkit and the stars were aligned and I always called Tommy Dreamer “Dream”. And we would always joke and he would talk about himself in the third person just the humor of Tommy Dreamer and myself and CW and Jack Victory … so I asked that night, I go “Hey what am I doing tonight” and he goes “Oh you’re working with The Dream”… so I looked at him and go “So what are we doing?” and he goes “No man, you’re working with the REAL Dream tonight”. And that quick “Here comes the American Dream” and it was like an aura around him, and I’m just like, “You got to be kidding me, this is Dusty Rhodes!” And I remember walking up to him and I said “Sir, is there anything you’d like to talk about or go over?” and he said (Dusty impression) “Kid, if you as good as Bill Alfonso says you is… then there is no need to talk about it beforehand” and I said “Oh… yes sir”. And what a lot of people don’t realize… that fist promo … that was a one shot. We never knew that there was gonna be another chapter to all of this. We just thought that it was something we were gonna do in Atlanta. It was originally supposed to be dark and that’s why you see Joey Styles say “Oh, we’re not gonna put this on TV!” And afterwards he was so thrilled with how the boys treated him and the atmosphere that he said “Hey, let’s do something” and Paul sat me down and said “Are you ready for this? You’re going to become a star”. And it was true because he did what no one else could do for me. At the time I was feuding with Tommy Dreamer and Taz, who were such great talents and the heart and soul of ECW, but I was talking about the old school… these guys were current stars. And when Dusty came into ECW he legitimized the King of Old School character and I just rode that star of his. Now, my wife and I just moved into the house of our dreams and there is no way we could have done that if Dusty Rhodes doesn’t come to ECW. I’ve been riding that star for 15-16 years now because of 3 guys: Dusty Rhodes, Paul Heyman and Shinuhas Moto and a lot of supporting players around me and it’s hard to believe that 2 out of 3 of those guys are gone now and it’s just crazy, just crazy.

On how much Dusty has effected the business and his legacy:

Steve: Absolutely. People would, you know, the negative would be “Oh he was always on top, he didn’t know when to step down, but that’s not true because he was ALWAYS making guys. JR said it best… Nikita Koloff NEVER should have been the star that he was in 1984 but Dusty gave him that rub and Nikita rode that wave and got better and became a star in his own right. He just did that for so many different guys. And all 3 of his world title reigns that lasted a week to two weeks – he deserved them … he deserved a longer run but you know what? For him it was about the chase and getting the people engaged and stuff like that. I know Rick talked about traveling with him and just learning because he would talk and just tell a story and I would ask about booking things because I’m so interested in that side of the wrestling business and he would talk about it as if it was a movie and it was always the John Wayne reference. I would go watch John Wayne movies or I would listen to Bob Dylan because a match would be a Bob Dylan song. He was so complex and he was on so many different levels that creatively… one of the top I’ve ever been around and I’ve been around Heyman and Cornett and so many different great minds. Dusty was a storyteller. He knew not only how to tell his own story, but how to tell everybody else’s story and it’s a lost art I believe. I totally believe the storyteller in everybody – just, he had it. I asked him once, real quick, and this was after a few beers and I said “Dream, why did you put the NWA title on Ron Garvin?” And at first he joked around, he goes “Because you weren’t available! Do you have any other stupid questions?” I thought Barry Windham was ready. He said “Barry Windham was the chaser. People wanted to see Barry chase. But Ron Garvin deserved it. He worked hard. He worked so hard. And I would do it all again tomorrow and I thought “Wow, this is a guy that, even when people questioned his booking decisions, he stuck by his guns and that was something that taught me, you’re going to make mistakes but stick by your guns and believe in what you say, believe in what you write. I say it all the time, he was bigger than life and I’m gonna miss him.

Terry Funk, WWE Hall of Famer

On Dusty Rhodes and the chemistry he had with the fans:

Terry: He just had a great amount of charisma. Why did I love going in the ring with him? Was it because I was his great buddy? I was his friend, was that the reason? No. What the great reason was that why I enjoyed so much going in the ring with him… and believe me, as I loved him too and everything else and I love him for those two other reasons … but I loved going in the ring with him because I made more money with him than I did with anybody else. He was a tremendous attraction. That’s why I enjoyed going with him (laughs) ya make more money with him. The Dream was something special. He was a phenomenal in-ring performer but his greatest attribute was his mind and his ability to interact and talk to the people themselves… to the fans themselves.

On the last time he spoke to Dusty:

Terry: Oh heck, I don’t know when it was. Probably a year or two ago… that’s how we always went. Wrestlers are that way. We say we love each other and we say goodbye then we go onto the next town. We don’t ever really say goodbye … just go to the next town… the next day. And whether you see those guys … you see them again. I talked to him a few times through the years… probably a couple times a year. Telling him … whatever, you know … or just running into him. We always feel like we are going to run into each other again … we never say goodbye… it’s just like, going down the road.

On Dusty inducting The Funks into the Hall of Fame:

Terry: It was [a special moment]. Of course it was. Like I said, he was a special guy. I just had so much compassion for him. You don’t start out with somebody and go up and down the roads with em and learn together like we did. I would say that it was an education traveling with him and he would have told you the same thing about traveling with me … it was an education traveling with me.

On Dusty’s relationship with Vince McMahon and the WWE and working deep into the NWA territory:

Terry: If going to the WWE was like going to school, he was just in his freshman year. The WWE is a wonderful wonderful great place. And Dusty had so much ability and they realized that too, that’s why he was there. Dusty was the best at talking and teaching people to talk. Dusty was an innovator. Dusty wasn’t just a wrestler, he was a manipulator… and that’s very true. He was great at whatever he did. He had such compassion, such love and he instilled that love into his two kids. You watch those kids, and I call them kids now and they aren’t kids anymore, but they are going into their prime now and you watch them in the next 10 years. They are going to be very well known in the business for one reason: they idolize Dusty, both of them. And they should have idolized him because he was one of the very best in the country. I truly believe both of them are just wonderful pieces of talent that are going to be pushed to a different level than what they have been … at least I’m hoping that they will… I think that’s the smart thing.

Baby Doll(Nickla Roberts), Dusty Rhodes’ Former Valet

On hearing the news of Dusty’s death:

Baby Doll: It was a shock to me too. It’s one of those things that you always … it hits ya and then you think “Wow, I wish I had just one more time to see him just one more time to do one more Fan Fest or one more autograph show just to see Dusty again. He was such an icon in my life. For a lot of us, he made us stars. He made us household names. He made us legends and I am forever grateful for that.

On her time with Dusty:

Baby Doll: I was so young then too. I was in my early 20s and the guys were a little bit older, they were more established in wrestling, like in their early 30s, you know a little bit later, and for them to take me in and to be a girl, and to be the only girl that was working at that time in that huge area, I couldn’t ask for a better respect that was given to me and how I was treated and just everything that was given to me… it was amazing, it really was.

On Dusty’s creative genius:

Baby Doll: He took what was going on already and just bumped it up. That was one of the things that got me started. I had two showed left with World Class, and that was the two shows in Miami and Tampa that I had against Stella Mae, and it was Christmas Day and the day after that that was in like 1984. So I only had two shows left and I didn’t have any more bookings after that, I was done. I didn’t know quite what I was going to do. I knew that Michael Hayes was promoting Florida so I landed and I got in a rented car and stopped at the first liquor store and got a huge bottle of Jack Daniels and went to go talk to Michael Hayes… and Michael Hayes was like “Oh no honey, I’m getting ready to close down Florida, it’s slowed down a lot. Who you need to talk to is, go talk to Dusty. You know Dusty. He’s over there in the other dressing room. He’s getting ready to do big things in North Carolina. It’s already goin’, but North Carolina is literally about ready to blow up.” And Michael Hayes had put Dusty over and this was in like December of 1984 and Michael Hayes predicted it… that Dusty was getting ready to do something amazing in North Carolina and that’s where I needed to go. And I went over there and Dusty was sitting down and Tully was standing off to the side and I was kind of like “Well, here I am… I’d sure like to work some more… do you think you can use me?” They went out and watched my match and after that it was history because they were looking for the perfect 10 at the time and Dusty just saw that character in me… he just saw a lot that he could work with. But I just thought that it was so cool that back in December of 1984 that Michael Hayes predicted all of that.

On how many young superstars that he took under his wing and got the best out of and Dusty’s lasting legacy:

Baby Doll: It was done the right way. It showed a created part of wrestling. It was very cool what he did. He had a magic. It was just something that I will forever be grateful for. And it was the same thing with Big Momma, Jimmy Valiant’s ex-wife… the character that he brought out in her — that was fantastic. Like “Here, I’m giving you my women… I’m giving you my woman off the street to make you feel better man!” (laughs) And I’m like, “Oh my god, how are you doing this?” It was awesome. And if you look at my face in some of the promos, like when I’m standing back behind Dusty, and he’s talking, you can kind of see it on my face like “Oh my god, are you really saying this? I can’t believe you’re saying this”. It just cracks me up because he was just so much more and even with his passing it’s so cool to hear everybody talking great things about him. But even before this, I can’t even think of anybody that said anything bad about Dusty. It was always… Dusty was making a lot of money and made a lot of people money and how creative he was.

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