Dusty Rhodes Hits Me With The Bionic Elbow


Dusty Rhodes was one of the top wrestlers of the 1980s.  He could be seen on the Superstation TBS all across the country at the outset of cable television.  The son of a plumber.  The American Dream.  A guy that didn’t look like a great athlete.  He wasn’t a bodybuilder.  But he could connect with the people on a weekly basis.  He could cut a promo like few others.  He was the common man, someone that everyone in the crowd could relate to and want to see succeed.  The feuds that he had with The Four Horsemen, Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Terry Funk, Harley Race, Barry Windham and Kevin Sullivan kept me on the edge of my seat every Saturday night when I was a kid.  I was always more of a fan of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair but who am I kidding.  When it comes to looks and physique, I’m The American Dream every day of the week before I’m the Nature Boy.

If you would have told preteen me that in 2004, I would be inside the same wrestling ring as Dusty Rhodes playing the role that I saw James J. Dillon play against Dusty a thousand times, preteen me would have called you an idiot.  The only thing that could have been bigger for me, personally, would have been to manage Ric Flair on a show.  So you can only imagine the giddiness in my heart when I found out this was happening.  I was feuding with Ian Rotten over control and ownership of IWA Mid-South.  I was the “silent partner” and minority owner of the company and didn’t agree with the business decisions that Ian was making with the company.  I tried to manipulate shares away from his wife.  I tried everything I could think of to steal the company away from him and save it from Ian’s poor decisions.  For a long time at the beginning of the feud, Ian had found a tag team partner in “Metalhead” Steve Stone.  Steve was a White Sox fan.  I live and breathe the Chicago Cubs.  Steve was a southside guy.  I was a northside guy.  He loved heavy metal music.  I liked Frank Sinatra.  There was nothing that we saw eye to eye on.  It got to the point that we were beating the piss out of each other in every match.  I would kick that SOB with everything I had and he would clobber the snot out of me every chance he got.  It was getting to the point where it was probably going to result in one of us killing the other.  Ian started having problems with Steve and decided to fire him.  Steve and I finally saw eye to eye on something…we wanted revenge on Ian Rotten.  So I made a business decision to bring back Steve Stone as part of the Fannin Family.  If you can’t beat em, join em.  It was always Steve Stone’s dream to team with Chris Candido.  I knew Chris from him coming to work for IWA once before back in 2001 and then hanging out with him and Sunny at a wrestling convention a few months later.  I knew that Chris was having a lot of the same problems with drugs and alcohol that Axl Rotten was having.  Ian gave Axl a bajillion chances on IWA shows and no matter how messed up Axl would get, he would still get another chance.  Ian and Candido went way back to the Jersey independents in the early 90s.  He wouldn’t give Chris a second chance no matter how many times Chris asked.  Since it worked with Steve Stone, I reached out to Chris Candido and made an amazing friendship.  He agreed to come in and at the 2004 TPI, I had him attack Ian.  Ian really made it too easy for me to find people that had beef with him.  Ian decides that for the following month, he would bring in his “dream” partner…”The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes to face Chris Candido and Steve Stone.  The 8th anniversary show for IWA Mid-South would be entitled Dreams Come True.  Well Ian Rotten didn’t know that it was my dream too.

I couldn’t believe that I was going to be in the same ring with Dusty Rhodes.  Truly an once in a lifetime opportunity for me.  By 2004, managers were no longer used in WWE.  The Bobby Heenans, Jimmy Harts, Mr. Fujis, Jim Cornettes, Slicks etc had been phased out.  There was nothing for me to really aspire to do nationally…not that I was good enough anyway but I would like to think that if it were like the mid 1980s, I could have at least had a chance to do something if everything went right.  Therefore, this was my ONE chance to square off against a legend that I idolized as a kid.  My one chance to show someone like “The American Dream” that I would have been just as worthy of an adversary as James J. Dillon.  Hell Chris Candido already referred to me as JJ!  Unfortunately, my brush with greatness didn’t work out according to my plans.  Dusty and Ian won…of course…and I got my comeuppance with a Bionic Elbow from Dusty Rhodes:

Despite the outcome, it will still be one of the highlights of my career and something that I will cherish forever.  It’s not often you get to rub elbows with your heroes.


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