Secrets of the Ring - Dusty Rhodes
Gabe Sapolsky sits down with Dusty Rhodes (this was while he was working with NWA-TNA) and they go through his journal, specifically the year of 1987. If you love Dusty, I cannot imagine you would not enjoy this. He is a toned down version of his "American Dream" character and delivers so many of those "Rhodeisms" that it spices things up. They talk briefly about building things to this high-point in Jim Crockett Promotions. Dusty talks about his jump from Florida, his promotion of Starcade and how that changed, his relationship with Jim Crockett (and other big wigs in the business) and they go over some of the turmoil that followed JCP's decline. The crux of this is going through the year, picking out some key shows, talking about Dusty's booking psychology, the UWF merger and JCP's expansion and they discuss the talent. If you want to know about how the War Games, the Great American Bash tours, the Crockett Cup and other JCP standards came to be, this is the place to hear about them. Why did Ronnie Garvin get pushed so hard? Why did Nikita Koloff "replace" Magnum TA after TA's car wreck? How could he successfully run two and three shows every night? Why did Dusty not push the UWF talent harder and try to work an interpromotional feud? Dusty has some great answers and especially as it concerns that last question. If you look at the history of interpromotional feuds, there is a trend. Sometimes the invaders are put over strong (Poffos in Memphis, The Outsiders & nWo in WCW, UWFi contingency in New Japan) and business spikes, but ultimately the whole things cools off ad transitioning to the next big thing can be hard as it is kind of "hotshot" type angle. Sometimes the in-coming crew is buried (WCW/ECW talent in WWF being the most infamous example). Dusty explains why he, as the booker, could not justify pushing these outsiders over the talent that he'd been up and down the road with. He felt he gave the in-coming stars chances and several delivered Steve Williams, Big Bubba and, of course, Sting. However, some of them like Eddie Gilbert, Terry Taylor and others did not. I cannot say I entirely agree with his stance and feel like that missed opportunity probably did JCP more harm than good, but I think his defense is reasonable.
Dusty Rhodes is such a hit-or-miss person for me. He is someone who I can pop for when he does his schtick, I thought he had some great ideas in Crockett and 1993 WCW, I would crack up at his color commentary and thought the WWE Documentary on him was great, however his book was unimpressive, his RF Video shoot was lackluster, his matches and booking were awful at times and he has kind of become a cartoon character and his serious side seems to have retired years ago. This shoot is a great concept and it has some great content, however I would say I was a bit disappointed. I don't know if it was the lack of depth in his notes, Gabe's lack of digging or Dusty's lack of communication skills (hard to believe, considering he was one of the greatest promos ever), but this shoot interview was not the masterpiece I would have hoped for.
The Rating: ***3/4