One of Florida’s best known wrestling heroes dies

Historic City News has learned that Virgil Riley Runnels Jr., better known to professional wrestling fans as Dusty Rhodes, the American Dream, has passed away at his home in Orlando. He was 69-years-old.

For scores of fans in northeast Florida, including Historic City News editor Michael Gold; the 1980’s trips to Jacksonville’s Veterans Auditorium to see Dusty and archenemy Ric Flair do battle was almost anticlimactic to the week of “promos” where the two entertainers would hype each other into a frenzy that characterized the longstanding feud between them.

The long gone Florida Championship Wrestling program on Saturday morning broadcast junior matches but always included the sometimes less than civilized cat calls and taunts of Rhodes character.

Dusty Rhodes was the champion of the common man. Just like the American Hero, his story was that he was born the “son of a plumber”. During one appearance here, he rhymed that he had “wined with kings and queens and dined in alleys on pork and beans”.

Two of Dusty Rhodes’ son’s, “Golddust” and “Stardust” followed their father in the business and each have their own careers in professional wrestling.

Share your thoughts with our readers >>