Dustin Rhodes recently sat down for an interview with Sports Guys Talking Wrestling where he detailed a lengthy story finally asking for his WWE release and how the resurgence with AEW has given him new life. He also discusses finally closing the door on Goldust and what that character has meant to him
I just came off of a double knee surgery. Before that, probably about seven months before that man, I’m not doing much of TVs anymore because the angle with me and R-Truth had kind of finalized and I’m just sitting in the back and I’m seeing all these kids come in and that’s great that they keep having these fresh talent in, but I’m not doing anything and I’m getting older. I’m starting to realize I’ve gotten a lot older and my body doesn’t heal as fast as these young kids now like I used to and I’m seeing it and I’m seeing what it has done to my body over the years and I always said I wanted to get out before I can’t walk anymore because me growing up just fresh in the business watching the likes of like Ox Baker and Ernie Ladd at a very young age of 19 years old seeing them on crutches and walkers and wheel chairs. I was like, “Geez, man this is what I have signed up for even though it is in my blood, in my heart in my soul and my whole being. This is what I want to do,” but I made a promise to myself that I would get out before I got to that point, where I could not walk, and sitting at home and going to TVs, I was still doing live events and all that, just they weren’t putting me on TV as much. My knees were hurting, my shoulders, the surgeries after 13 something surgeries like that, it just starts to weigh on your mind.
I wanted to get in an have a conversation with Vince at the office. Not at TV, not on the road, but actual at Stanford, at the office so I could get him one-on-one and explain my concerns and how I’m really feeling and at this point you know it’s like let me get my surgery first because both my knees need it. And I went and did the surgery and I planned on having this meeting as soon as the surgery was over and we planned on it and then I get to New York and Vince can’t see me so Hunter sees me. And I go into Paul’s office you know and I’m nervous as hell because this is a big, big thing for me to actually swallow for months and try to accept that my time has run out and that’s very hard for me to still accept.
I walked in there and it basically took every once of courage I had to say, “You know Hunter, I’ve done this and I’ve done that and there’s really nothing left that I can do. I’ve produced, I’ve been a producer for you backstage, I’ve been in all the meetings, I’ve put over people, I’ve done what I can and I think it’s time to close the chapter. My body’s tired and basically, Hunter, I want my release. And I think it shocked him, cause he wasn’t expecting, they weren’t expecting me to basically say I want my release, but I felt good about it cause I knew I had some years behind me that I was a wily veteran and that I would probably get my release, hopefully get my release because of the time I put in there. And we talked about it for a few minutes, and you know, we finally came to an agreement that that would be good, and we talked about it and I left, you know, and we hugged. I cried a little bit and we hugged and on my way back to the airport Hunter called me and Vince had just got to the office and Hunter went and conveyed his message to Vince and Vince said, “Okay, well I hate to see him go. Just give him his release and his 90 days and we’ll pay him for the 90 days.” And up through my actual surgery taken care of too, plus the 90 days so I was getting paid and I got my release and there was some…battles I don’t want to really go into to get that final release which was just recently, April 19 was my day that I was actually free. I could do what I want and rest and relax. It’s been great. I’ve been recharging my batteries. My knees are healed, I’m getting stronger in the gym again and now I’m dropping my weight back again and getting in shape because all of a sudden this has happened with AEW and Cody. My focus has completely went from, it’s still there, which is one of the reasons that I left WWE is to follow my other dream of acting so my acting is there, but this kind of jumped in my lap and I had to take because it’s like we weren’t allowed to have that WrestleMania moment that I fought for for years and years and they just would not grant me that match and we ended up having that Fastlane match which was one of the worst matches I think I’ve ever been involved with. It just did not click and that was partially my fault because I thought the match would be a little better so I took it in a direction that I thought was right and I made the wrong decision of taking it in that direction and it needed to be a different direction, but anyways, the match happened. It wasn’t what I wanted, which was that WrestleMania moment with my brother. I wouldn’t be able to top that I mean from WrestleMania moment to Roddy Piper to doing stuff with The Shield and Cody and dad and just everything, all together and this would have been the topper. So this popped in my lap, The Double Or Nothing in Vegas for AEW. I was like, “This could be my moment, our moment, at my last stand to go out there and show the world that you know, that I still got it.” But not necessarily show the world or show Cody, but just, on a more personal level that this is the moment that we were not given and we could make this spectacular and awesome in every way and I can do what I do best which is go out and tell stories and him and I had good chemistry when we did our European tour and we tore the houses down every night and had fun with it, but there’s some animosity there. And I want this to end between him and myself because it’s gotten a little out of hand. You know, I lost a lot of sleepless nights over my brother and I’m still losing sleepless nights until this thing is behind me, you know?
So I wanted to do a short little video, and I decided to just buy a trunk off of Facebook and I had this picture in my mind of this is where Goldust will rest. His stuff, his gear is in here, all this and bought this mannequin head and I painted it up and it signified me putting Goldust to rest in a chest and closing the door on that chapter and it took off. I had no idea of the viral implications that it had. It was like and my daughter, my daughter is a really good editor. Film and video and photography and all that kind of stuff and she put in this Game of Thrones music that sounded like Jon Snow’s death scene or something and it just, it was so sad and as soon as I put that out, I put out my statement, it just, it ran, man. My Twitter hasn’t been that alive in like a couple years. It just really, it was shocking. I really had no idea that I was cared for that much and it was good feeling and it’s sad, it’s still sad, very sad. It’s like, I appreciate that, you know? I really do appreciate that very, very much and I tried to express that the best I could in that statement that I gave and put out and hopefully people for real, truly, will not ever forget the name of Goldust and what I’ve done for the business over this past 31 years.