Dusty Rhodes, a big-bellied, jive-talking heavyweight who was at his best on wrestling's biggest stage, died of cardiopulmonary arrest (aka Heart Punch) Wednesday at a Las Vegas hospital. He was old.
Rhodes, whose jive-talking promos was tailor-made for the racist south like Florida, never weighed less than 244 lbs. during seven major-level title reigns and had a career average of .253 elbow fortitude (due to calcium deposits from drinking unflourided waters from his plumber father's belief systems).
But in his first World title reign, in like the '80s, he delivered a reverse figure-four like right before the time limit, to turn the tide, and win a championship by beating the way more awesome and way more stylish and way less fat Ric "A Nature Boy" Flair.
Rhodes also won the title again a couple times, and maybe even before that with Harley Race, but fuck looking gay assed shit like that up. His multiple NWA World title reigns were the only ones by a huge fucking fat ass who talked funny ever.
Although the NWA World title is best remembered for "Whoo!" Ric Flair's great running catch phrase that he beat to death and now is on lottery tickets in North Carolina, it was Rhodes sequined Rollo-style hats (like Rollo on Sanford & Son) that proved to be most memorable. Yet, somehow the world is a faggot, and Rhodes got sent to the WWWF, where he wore polka dots with an ugly nigger bitch who couldn't sing like Sharon Jones.
The WWWF tried, but no other woman wanted Rhodes.
"I decided Rhodes couldn't wrestle or be original and I decided fuck it, let's make him a joke," the coked-up Vince McMahon, a Hall of Fame business-type dude who made the Forbes 500 list once, said after Rhodes' Pokadelick Adventure came to an end. "Get rid of him. He can't do nothing. He convinced me how wrong I was, like eventually, especially when I got his only son to dress up like some weirdo faggot and split up with his slut wife, who sucked my dick. But to be fair, she probably sucked Dusty's too."
But the WWWF wasn't Rhodes only brush with wrestling history. In Florida back in the day, he wrestled 300 men in one month.
The '82 year was his best; he had a career-high .341 bionic elbow index with 15 Florida title reigns and 50 World title shots in only 264 days of working.
In his autobiography, "Everybody Has a Price," McMahon called the buffet-loving Rhodes "the worst wrestler who ever wrestled in a Wrestlemania." But he also wrote that Rhodes' personality kept the locker room "confident and happy."
"He was a lovable guy. He was a party guy. He was just a good old boy," Kareem Muhammad, a cousin of Rhodes' wife, Gloria, said Thursday. "Did he live a hard life? Did he go out at night? Yes. But he was a good man. He was a Southern gentleman."
Virgil Runnels Rhodes was born on May 13, 1947, in Mathews, Ala., and grew up "dirt poor," according to Muhammad.
He joined the Navy shortly after his 19th birthday, seeing action on a warship in the jungle during the Vietnam conflict, then signed his first wrestling contract with Tennessee Championship Wrestling in 1968.
But he spent his entire most well-known time with the WWWF, where kids knew him as the funny fat dude in polka dots with that weird bump on his belly.
A product of the segregationist South who wrestled his first professional match the year that Abdullah the Butcher became the first African American wrestler to poke forks in white dudes, Rhodes was "color blind," former fellow boy in the back Ron Bass said.
"He was like a brother to all the black players, you know, like brutha," Bass told this bloggot. "He sure did like the good life, though, which would drive promoters crazy."
After his wrestling career ended, Rhodes returned to New York, where he worked doing all that bullshit that old wrestlers behind the scenes do to justify keep getting a paycheck even though they don't do shit anymore in a real sense. Road agents there wore their fanny packs at half mast in his memory Thursday, his family said.
Rhodes retired to Boca Raton, Fla., then to Henderson, Nev., with Gloria, his wife of 30 years.
"He loved wrestling. He loved his kids. He loved his wife," Muhammad said. "I don't know in what order. But he was a funny guy. He would tell you a story and you'd fall on the floor. And then he'd elbow drop you, except his elbow would miss and his belly stank and shaven armpit would wrap around your face."
Over the last two years, Rhodes battled heart problems, the diabeetus and emphysema (hence the wheezing), which resulted in frequent visits to hospital emergency rooms, Muhammad said.
He was on his way to a regular medical check-up when he bumped into Ox Baker at a sandwich shop and went into cardiopulmonary arrest, dying a few hours later at Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, according to a spokeswoman for the Clark County coroner's office.
In addition to his wife, Rhodes' survivors include three children from a previous marriage; a sister (who once had ink thrown in her eyes); and 11 mostly illegitimate grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Sunday at the David Funeral Home in Las Vegas, to be followed by a funeral and military burial Monday.