Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dusty Rhodes

 (CNN)Dusty Rhodes -- the rotund, easy bleeding, easy talking professional wrestler who billed himself as "The American Dream" -- died Thursday, the WWE said on its website.

Rhodes, whose real name was Virgil Runnels, was 69. The WWE didn't give a cause of death.

Rhodes rose to fame as a common-man figure. He didn't have the chiseled body some associate with today's wrestlers. He was a good guy wrestler, often battling heels like Superstar Billy Graham, Blackjack Mulligan, Harley Race and The Four Horsemen, who were led by Ric Flair.

"My mentor @WWEDustyRhodes. Much love to your family and more respect than can ever be measured. Love you Dream," Flair tweeted.

Rhodes liked to pitch himself as the son of a plumber from Austin, Texas, and an everyman who became the extremely popular champion of the National Wrestling Alliance three times in the 1980s.

He moved on to the World Wrestling Federation (now the WWE), and also wrestled on several other circuits before coming back to the WWE in the mid-2000s.
    He will be remembered for the spirited and often hilarious in-studio interviews he would give to wrestling commentators to promote upcoming matches.

    "I have wined and dined with kings and queens, and I've slept in alleys and dined on pork and beans," he once exclaimed.

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