Professional wrestling career
World Wrestling Federation (1990–1991)
Rhodes debuted as a fan favorite in the World Wrestling Federation in late 1990, wrestling as Dustin Rhodes. In December 1990, Rhodes defeated Ted DiBiase in a televised ten-minute challenge match. On January 19, 1991 at the Royal Rumble, Rhodes and his father Dusty lost to Ted DiBiase and Virgil in a tag team bout, and left immediately after.
World Championship Wrestling (1991–1995)
In February 1991, Rhodes joined World Championship Wrestling, wrestling as “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes. He feuded with Larry Zbyszko until April 1991, when he refused to join Alexandra York’s York Foundation, thus beginning a feud with Foundation member Terrence Taylor.
In October 1992, Rhodes and Barry Windham won the World Tag Team Championship. One month later, Windham turned on Rhodes, beginning a feud. In January 1993, Rhodes won the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. In the same month, he began a lengthy feud with Rick Rude that lasted until August. Rhodes lost the title to “Stunning” Steve Austin in December 1993.
In March 1994, Rhodes started feuding with Bunkhouse Buck and Col. Robert Parker. After Parker introduced Arn Anderson and Terry Funk as adversaries for Runnels, Runnels responded by bringing his father, a former enemy of Funk, back into the ring to team with him again against Parker’s Stud Stable. In December 1994, Parker introduced another opponent for Rhodes, The Blacktop Bully. In March 1995, Rhodes and The Blacktop Bully both bladed during a King of the Road match at the 1995 Uncensored pay-per-view after being instructed to by one another, which was against corporate policy at the time in WCW. They were subsequently fired as a result.
Return to the WWF (1995–1999)
In September 1995, Rhodes returned to the World Wrestling Federation, wrestling as a heel nicknamed “the bizarre one” because of his somewhat spooky, very suggestive mannerisms and presence under the name Goldust. He deliberately attempted to creep out his opponents through lewd and flirtatious mind games. The character is portrayed as being obsessed with films and the color gold, as a pun of the Oscars Statuette. As Goldust, Runnels wrestled and won his debut match on October 22, 1995 against Marty Jannetty at the In Your House 4 pay-per-view. Runnels wrestled first in a gold and white and later a black and gold colored jumpsuit while wearing black and gold face paint and a platinum blonde wig over his short platinum blonde hair, with his appearance modeled after an Academy Award. While competing in matches, Goldust utilized such tactics as groping his opponents and expressing affection towards them in the midst of his onslaught.
Goldust initially feuded with Razor Ramon, whom he stalked and sent messages to throughout late 1995. The feud culminated at the Royal Rumble on January 21, 1996, where Goldust defeated Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship due to interference from the 1-2-3 Kid. This match also marked the debut of his valet, Marlena, portrayed by his then-wife Terri. With a seductively nonchalant character, Marlena sat at ringside in a director’s chair, advising Goldust while smoking a cigar. A rematch between Goldust and Ramon at WrestleMania XII was canceled after Ramon was suspended, with Goldust instead wrestling and losing to Roddy Piper in a non-title “Hollywood Backlot Brawl”.
Goldust defended his Intercontinental Championship in bouts against Savio Vega and The Ultimate Warrior before losing to Ahmed Johnson at King of the Ring on June 23, 1996. In August 1996, Goldust briefly gained control over Mankindand feuded with The Undertaker. His attention soon turned to Marc Mero and his then wife Sable. Goldust and Marlena attempted to get Sable to join their team, but Mero won the feud and kept her by his side.
In May 1997, Goldust revealed his identity as Dustin Runnels, the son of Dusty Rhodes. In the summer and fall of that year, he joined other wrestlers in their conflict with The Hart Foundation, feuding in particular with Brian Pillman, to who he lost the services of Marlena for thirty days. Just before the thirty days were up, Pillman died hours before Badd Blood of heart disease on October 5, 1997. In November 1997, Goldust split with Marlena and refused to cooperate with his Survivor Series teammates, which once again turned him into a heel. This led to a feud with Vader and the appearance of The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust (a reference to Prince), managed by Luna Vachon. He began mimicking celebrities and fellow wrestlers with characters such as “Chynadust“, “Dust Lovedust“, “Dustydust“, “Hunterdust“, “Flashdust“, “Marilyn Mansondust”, “Sabledust“, and “Vaderdust“.
In May 1998, Rhodes declared the end of Goldust and burned his jumpsuit on television, thereby splitting with Luna and eventually getting involved with Terri Runnels once again. He feuded with Val Venis, who had been involved with Terri during their separation. Rhodes then declared himself a born again Christian, alluding to “his” return, and walking through the crowd with signs reading “he’s coming back!” While the return of Christ was clearly implied, Rhodes was in fact referencing the return of the Goldust gimmick, which he reprised in October 1998 and began feuding with Jeff Jarrett over the attention of his manager, Debra. In early 1999, Goldust feuded with Al Snow, upon stealing Head, Snow’s mascot, and The Blue Meanie, who had recently renamed himself “Bluedust” and adopted many of Goldust’s mannerisms. After Goldust defeated Meanie at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Meanie became Goldust’s apprentice. After Ryan Shamrockbecame Goldust’s valet, Meanie and Shamrock began vying for Goldust’s attention. In the same time period, Goldust won the Intercontinental Championship again from Road Dogg and then lost it to The Godfather two weeks later.
Throughout 2000, vignettes featuring hidden-camera footage of wrestlers began airing on television. The vignettes were originally referred to as GDTV (Goldust Television), with the intention of eventually revealing Goldust as the person behind them, but were renamed GTV after Rhodes requested and was granted a release from his contract.
Return to WCW (1999–2001)
Rhodes returned to World Championship Wrestling in 1999, filming several vignettes for a fantastical, face-painted character named Seven. These vignettes contained ominous footage of Rhodes in full makeup standing outside of a child’s bedroom window. The character was dropped after Turner Standards and Practices expressed concern that this gimmick could be misinterpreted as a child abductor. Upon returning to WCW television, Rhodes removed his costume and delivered a worked shoot in which he mocked unrealistic gimmicks as well as his time as Goldust in the WWF. After turning heel upon his return, Rhodes began wrestling as “The American Nightmare” Dustin Rhodes, with his nickname a reference to his father’s nickname, “The American Dream”.
Rhodes feuded with Jeff Jarrett before turning heel and feuding with Terry Funk. He was suspended in April 2000 due to an appearance on the WCW Live! Internet radio program in which he criticized WCW head writer Vince Russo, calling him a “sawed-off midget” and an “asshole”. He returned to WCW television in January 2001, assisting his father in his feud with Jarrett and, eventually, Ric Flair. He wrestled on the very last WCW pay-per-view, WCW Greed on March 18, 2001. Exactly 10 years after the last time he teamed with his father on a pay-per-view, he and his father defeated Jeff Jarrett & Ric Flair in a tag team match.
In March 2001, WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation, with the WWF neglecting to acquire Rhodes’ contract. In July 2001, Rhodes, while still under contract to AOL Time Warner, began wrestling for his father’s newly created Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling promotion, winning the promotion’s Heavyweight Championship.
Return to WWF/E (2001–2003)
In December 2001, Rhodes accepted a buyout from his AOL Time Warner contract and was re-signed by the World Wrestling Federation to a 2-year deal. Promos immediately began airing on WWF television advertising the return of Goldust. On January 20, 2002, Rhodes officially returned by taking part in the Royal Rumble, reprising his Goldust character. Shortly after returning, promos began airing for a few weeks of Goldust saying that there was a certain wrestler whose “star was shining brighter” than he’d like. He eventually revealed the person he was talking about was Rob Van Dam by attacking him on Raw. Van Dam defeated him in a singles match at No Way Out 2002. After the loss, he moved on to the hardcore division, where he won the Hardcore Championship on seven occasions.
When the World Wrestling Federation was renamed World Wrestling Entertainment and the roster was divided into two brands, Raw and SmackDown!, Goldust was assigned to the Raw brand, where he formed a tag team with Booker T. The duo engaged in numerous comedic vignettes, on one occasion hosting a segment titled Booker T and Goldust at the Movies and delivering reviews of The Scorpion King, a film starring The Rock. In May 2002, Booker joined the nWo, with Goldust’s request to join the faction rejected. In June 2002, Booker was ejected from the nWo by Shawn Michaels, sparking a feud between the nWo and Booker and Goldust. Booker and Goldust went on to compete in the tag team division, winning the World Tag Team Championship at Armageddon before being forced to split up on the February 3, 2003 edition of Raw by Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff for failing to win back the World Tag Team Titles.
Following the dissolution of the tag team, Rhodes developed a gimmick whereupon he contracted a stutter, as well as Tourette’s-like symptoms (which continue to this day), upon receiving a shock from a Round Tube during an attack at the hands of Batista and Randy Orton. Rhodes appeared sporadically thereafter, forming a tag team with Lance Storm in August 2003. In fall 2003, Booker T. began receiving mysterious, haunting messages for a few weeks from somebody. The messages only said “I remember”. It was rumored that the messages would be from Goldust, which would have began a feud between the two. Suddenly, the angle was never mentioned again on television and the company announced on their web site that they would not be renewing Rhodes’ contract. WWE allowed his contract to expire in December 2003.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2004–2005)
On February 4, 2004, he debuted in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as “The Lone Star” Dustin Rhodes, unsuccessfully challenging Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. On February 18, Runnels and El Leon defeated Kevin Northcutt and Legend in a tag team bout.
In December 2004, he returned to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, once again wrestling as Dustin Rhodes. He feuded with Raven, Kid Kash, and Bobby Roode during his time there. His TNA contract expired in April 2005 and he chose not to renew it, leaving TNA.
Return to WWE (2005–2006)
Rhodes returned to World Wrestling Entertainment on October 31, 2005 repackaged as a heel and back under the Goldust attire, as Jonathan Coachman enlisted him and Vader to attack Batista. Goldust and Vader unsuccessfully interfered in a Street Fight between Batista and Coachman on behalf of Coachman at Taboo Tuesday. Following the event, Goldust once again disappeared from television.
In January 2006, Goldust took part in the Royal Rumble match and was assigned once again to the Raw brand until he was released from his WWE contract on June 14, 2006 for no-showing an appearance.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (2007)
On January 28, 2007, it was announced that Rhodes would appear at the February 17, 2007 All Japan Pro Wrestlingshow in the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. On February 15, Rhodes, identified as Gold Dustin, appeared at ringside during a match involving The Great Muta, resulting in a brawl between Rhodes and The Great Muta. On February 17, Rhodes and Jinsei Shinzaki were defeated by The Great Muta and Yoshihiro Tajiri in a tag team bout.
Return to TNA (2007–2008)
On July 15, 2007, Rhodes returned to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling at Victory Road and aligned himself with Christian Cage by helping him defeat “Wildcat” Chris Harris. In an interview on TNA Impact! conducted by Mike Tenay, Rhodes discussed accusations of having a split personality and stated that he was going to embrace it and let it out. TNA presented the interview as being an emotional breakdown on the part of Rhodes. On August 12 at Hard Justice, Rhodes debuted his new ring name, Black Reign, and a “new, darker and bizarre look”. At Hard Justice, Harris defeated Black Reign via DQ when Reign attacked several referees. The next week, the gimmick was explored even further, saying that Rhodes constantly switches between Rhodes and Reign. He was featured at Bound for Glory in a Monster’s Ball matchagainst Rhino, Abyss, and Raven, which he lost. Reign challenged Abyss to a “Shop of Horrors” match at Genesis and lost. At Genesis, Reign’s new partner, Rellik (which is “Killer” spelled backwards), made his debut after attacking Abyss. At Turning Point, Black Reign and Rellik lost to Abyss and Raven in a Match of 10,000 Tacks. Originally, this match was signed to be Abyss and Rhino versus Rellik and Black Reign but, due to an injury, Rhino was replaced by Raven for this match.
On Impact!, he helped Rellik beat up Kaz. Later the same night, he appeared for an interview, as Dustin Rhodes, without his Black Reign make-up and stated that his “alter ego” has been scaring him since when he was a little kid. His interview was interrupted by the furious Kaz. Reign and his partner Rellik then began feuding with Eric Young and his new superhero gimmick Super Eric. After three months of not showing up on television, Black Reign’s profile was removed from the TNA roster page and he was released from his TNA contract. His Black Reign persona was voted the worst gimmick of 2007 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Return to World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE (2008–2012)
On October 26, 2008, Rhodes returned to the WWE and turned face on Cyber Sunday under his Goldust persona as part of the three choices (the other two being Roddy Piper and The Honky Tonk Man) that the fans could choose to face Santino Marella for the Intercontinental Championship. After Honky Tonk Man was chosen and won via disqualification, Goldust and Piper entered the ring and the three candidates fought Marella, afterwards celebrating together in the ring. The following night on Raw, Goldust appeared again with Piper and the Honky Tonk Man as guest commentators for Marella’s match with Charlie Haas. The match ended when Goldust and Piper distracted Marella so that Honky Tonk Man could smash his guitar over Marella’s head.
Goldust appeared on the celebration of the 800th episode of Raw on November 3, 2008, dancing alongside his father Dusty Rhodes, Lilian Garcia and several other wrestlers. A noticeably slimmer and quicker Rhodes finally made a full-time return on the Raw roster once again on the November 24, 2008 episode of Raw, where he defeated Santino Marella. Goldust participated in the 2009 Royal Rumble match and stared down his real-life half-brother, Cody Rhodes, but was eliminated by him later. Goldust participated at WrestleMania XXV as a lumberjack during the tag team championship unification match between The Colóns and John Morrison and The Miz.
On May 25, episode of Raw, Goldust teamed up with Hornswoggle in a tag team match, where they defeated Festus and The Brian Kendrick. Goldust then teamed with Hornswoggle on multiple occasions, mainly feuding with Kendrick, where they had many matches both on WWE Superstars and Raw.
The team of Goldust and Hornswoggle came to an end on June 29, 2009 when Goldust was traded to the ECW brand via a 15-man trade, marking the first time that Rhodes has been on another brand other than Raw. His debut match for the brand came on the July 14 episode of ECW, in which he lost to Zack Ryder. In the upcoming weeks, he started a feud with Sheamus leading to his first televised singles win in several months on Superstars against Sheamus pinning him using an inside cradle. After several weeks of feuding, Sheamus defeated Goldust in a “No Disqualifications” match on the September 1 episode of ECW on Syfy to end the feud.
Following this loss, he garnered his first number one contender’s match for the ECW Championship on the September 15, 2009 episode of ECW on Syfy in a 10-Man Battle Royal where he was the seventh participant eliminated and Zack Ryder earning the title shot in the end. The September 29, 2009 episode of ECW on Syfy saw Goldust win his first match on ECW in an 8-Man Tag-Team match where Yoshi Tatsu pinned William Regal to score the win for their team. Goldust debuted a new finishing maneuver called the “Golden Age” on the October 22, 2009, episode of WWE Superstars, when he and Tommy Dreamer defeated Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson. On the November 10 episode of ECW on Syfy, Goldust won his first televised singles match on the ECW brand by pinning Paul Burchill. Goldust participated in an “ECW Homecoming” Match on the December 22 episode of ECW on Syfy to determine who will get an opportunity to challenge Christian for the ECW Championship, but was defeated by Vance Archer.
In early January, he teamed with Yoshi Tatsu and began a feud with ECW newcomers Trent Barreta and Caylen Croft. The duos exchanged victories in singles and tag team competition until the feud came to an end on the February 9 episode of ECW, when Goldust and Tatsu defeated Barreta and Croft in a match to determine the number one contenders to the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship. However, Goldust and Tatsu failed in capturing the titles on the final episode of ECW on Syfy. The team of Goldust and Yoshi Tatsu came to an end when Tatsu signed with the Rawbrand after ECW on SyFy was cancelled.
On March 3, 2010, Goldust joined the SmackDown brand, making it the first time that Goldust had ever been officially on the SmackDown roster. He made his debut for the brand on the March 4 episode of Superstars in a losing effort against Chris Jericho. The following week on Superstars, he won his first match as a SmackDown star after defeating Mike Knoxusing his finishing move, the Final Cut, as well as beating William Regal also using the Final Cut soon afterwards. He appeared in a dark 26-man battle royal match at WrestleMania XXVI, but failed to win, although his past ally Yoshi Tatsuwon.
Return to Raw and NXT (2010–2011)
As part of the 2010 WWE Supplemental Draft, Goldust was drafted back to the Raw brand. On the May 3 episode of Raw, Goldust made his re-debut for the brand in a backstage segment with the guest host for that week, Wayne Brady. In late September, a mysterious stalker was sending messages to Maryse and Ted DiBiase, but it was unsure who they were aimed at. On the October 4 episode of Raw, Goldust was revealed as the mystery stalker, but the messages were not directed to Maryse, but at DiBiase’s Million Dollar Championship, which he then took.
During the season 2 finale of NXT on August 31, 2010, it was announced that Goldust would take part in NXT’s third season as a Pro with Aksana as his Rookie. On the October 12 episode of NXT Goldust proposed to Aksana, who was facing deportation from the country, so she could stay in America. On the October 18 episode of Raw, DiBiase tried to reclaim his Million Dollar Championship after Goldust’s match with Zack Ryder by attacking him, but he was unsuccessful in retrieving his belt. At Bragging Rights, DiBiase defeated Goldust, but Goldust still left with the title after Aksana distracted DiBiase long enough for Goldust to hit his finisher on him. Goldust and Aksana were married on the November 2 episode of NXT with father Dusty Rhodes and real-life half-brother “Dashing” Cody Rhodes in attendance. Immediately afterwards Aksana slapped Goldust and walked out on him. The following Monday on Raw Aksana stole the Million Dollar Championship belt during Goldust’s match with Ted DiBiase. The following week on Raw Goldust managed to steal the Million Dollar Championship belt back from Aksana and then returned it to Ted DiBiase, Sr. and, on NXT he asked Aksana for a divorce after she was eliminated.
Backstage producer and release (2011–2012)
On December 7, 2010, it was reported that Runnels had suffered a shoulder injury. He underwent surgery to repair the injury on December 10 and, as a result, was expected to be out of action for five to six months. On the April 11, 2011 episode of Raw, he was seen (without makeup) hugging Edge after his retirement speech. On July 11, Runnels began working backstage as a producer. On November 29 episode of Smackdown Live Holiday Special Goldust made his surprise return on a backstage segment with his father Dusty Rhodes. On December 12 episode of WWE Slammy Awards he appeared to announce the Slammy for A-Lister of The Year with Vickie Guerrero. On the December 30, 2011 episode of SmackDown Dustin appeared in his suit attire and no make up, to defend Booker T and confront his half brother, Cody Rhodes. Rhodes made an appearance on the April 9, 2012 edition of WWE Raw, he, along with numerous other WWE officials and superstars, were attempting to break up a brawl between Brock Lesnar and John Cena. On May 6, 2012, WWE acknowledged Goldust’s departure from the company.
Return to independent circuit (2012–2013)
Runnels returned to professional wrestling on July 14, 2012 in Hollywood, Florida for the NWA Ring Warriors (part of NWA territories) promotion as Goldust, losing to Vordell Walker via disqualification when “Iceman” Buck Q interfered in the match. Runnels appeared for the Dreamwave Wrestlingpromotion on September 15 in LaSalle, Illinois. Runnels continued to use the Goldust name outside of WWE.
Return to WWE (2013-present)
Teaming with Cody Rhodes (2013-2014)
Runnels returned to WWE as Goldust at the Royal Rumble on January 26, 2013; he appeared as the eighth participant in the Rumble match, and was eliminated by his half-brother, Cody Rhodes. Although he hinted at a possible feud with his half-brother, he later confirmed in an interview that his return was a one night only deal.
When his half-brother Cody was “fired” for speaking out against chief operating officer Triple H and then losing to WWE Champion Randy Orton, Goldust returned on the September 9 Raw to face Orton in a match to get his half-brother rehired, but was defeated. Goldust’s father Dusty Rhodes was knocked out by Big Show while pleading for his sons to get their jobs back. In return, the vengeful Rhodes brothers gatecrashed Raw by attacking the Shield. At WWE Battleground, Cody and Goldust won their jobs back when they defeated the WWE Tag Team Champions, Seth Rollinsand Roman Reigns in a non-title match. The Rhodes brothers heaped more misery on the Shield by winning a no disqualification match on the October 14 Raw (with the help of Big Show) to capture the tag titles, marking Goldust’s first title in WWE in nearly 11 years. At Hell in a Cell, the Rhodes brothers’ first successful title defense came with winning a triple threat match against the Usos and Rollins and Reigns. At Survivor Series, Goldust alongside his half-brother Cody, participated in the traditional Survivor Series Tag Team match where Goldust survived till the final two alongside Rey Mysterio. However, he got eliminated by Roman Reigns and his team lost, too. At TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs, the Rhodes Brothers made a successful title defense in a fatal-4-way elimination match against Curtis Axel and Ryback, the Real Americans and Big Show and Rey Mysterio. But they lost the titles to The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) at the Royal Rumble. Later in the Royal Rumble match, he would accidentally eliminate Cody Rhodes. After continuing to team together for months, Goldust and Cody broke up in June, after amounting losses. Cody prompted Goldust to find a new partner to replace Cody Rhodes. On Raw the next night Goldust teamed with Sin Cara but lost to Ryback and Curtis Axel, the next week on Raw the same happened with R-Truth.
Teaming with Stardust (2014-present)
On the June 16 episode of Raw, Cody debuted a new character, Stardust, wearing face paint and a bodysuit and adopting mannerisms similar to those of Goldust. At Money in the Bank, Goldust and Stardust defeated RybAxel. Since then, Goldust and Stardust appeared in backstage segments, speaking of a “Cosmic Key”. On the August 25 episode of Raw, Goldust and Stardust defeated The Usos in a title match via count-out, but, as a result, they did not win the title. The duo would then attack the Usos out of frustration, turning heel in the process. They confirmed their heel turn after attacking El Torito the following night on Main Event, having defeated Los Matadores in their tag team match. At Night of Champions they won the WWE Tag Team Championships once again by beating The Usos. At Hell in Cell they retained their title one more time by beating The Usos. They lost the titles at Survivor Series to The Miz and Damien Mizdow. After that, Goldust and Stardust started a losing streak. In early February 2015, Gold and Stardust were defeated by The Ascension and once again began tensions with Stardust showing his frustrations at Goldust. After the match, Goldust called Stardust ‘Cody’ and Stardust responded angrily by requesting to be never be called that again. Further dissension was noticeable when Stardust abandoned Goldust in the middle of a match on SmackDown, after being called “Cody” again. On the February 16th episode of Raw, he made a face turn when Stardust hit the Cross Rhodes on Goldust, thus dissolving Gold and Stardust.
On December 2, 2010 Goldust announced over Twitter his first acting role in the horror movie The Fire Witch.
Dustin’s father is “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. His real life half brother is Cody Rhodes who also wrestles. He has a sister named Kristin Runnels Ditto, who is a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
Rhodes’ autobiography, titled “Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness”, was released in December 2010.