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The underrated appeal of Goldust



A few days ago, I listened to an archived interview with Goldust and Stardust from the “Talk is Jericho” podcast. Immediately, I was brought into the mind of Dustin Runnels circa 1995. Here lies a man that was at the end of his rope. Dustin was unemployed from WCW a few months prior, down on his luck and confused about what he should do with his career.  With a chip on his shoulder and vendetta against his Dad, the late great Dusty Rhodes, Dustin had a lot to think about.

A phone call from Vince McMahon brought a game changing character his way. An androgynist, who pushed the limits of what a heel wrestler, could be.  A character that played wicked mind games and carried a brash, hard nosed fighting style.  He was not to be dismissed.

This character’s name was ….. Goldust.

Goldust started off producing innovative, pre “attitude era” promos that kept everyone on their toes.  No one could really figure out the motives of the gold villain who held from the City of Angels. He sent shockwaves through the industry. Think about it. WWE at the time, the “New Generation” era was known for having great wrestlers, but adolescent storylines and characters.

Goldust was a sign that there was a change in the guard. An era of wrestlers who pushed the limits of what was appropriate.

Now I don’t love the character of Goldust simply for the sexual innuendo. Oh no. I like that Goldust used tactics that definitely put fear in the minds of most red blooded men. The possibly of being sexually over powered by a 6 foot 6 ,260 pound behemoth, who wears a wig, tight gold spandex and has a gorgeous wife by his side to mock you. Truly, that could damage the repetition of any top tier WWE wrestler at the time.

WWE did a great job of giving Goldust the amazing feuds that solidified him in the beginning of his push. His feud with Razor Ramon, Roddy Piper and the infamous kiss to Ahmed Johnson was priceless.

However, because Goldust did not want his antics to take away from his amazing in-ring ability, he brought in a much needed asset. A valet that would offer a solution to the question of his sexuality and would provide classic Hollywood glamour that was the focal point of his character.

This way, Goldust could be the dark manipulating one, while Marlena was the sexy temptress, who loved to see her man win.  She would also make the men drool and lure them in to the trap like bait. All while smoking a cigar in her director’s chair.

Goldust feud with Triple H proved that fans could see the flamboyance of his character, but still focus on the incredible athleticism that he possessed.

Sadly, towards the late nineties, when the “Attitude Era” was in full swing, the flamboyance of Goldust was the focal point. He started to pull distasteful gags and shocking moments each week that usually backfired. He became a joke in people’s eyes.

With time away from the company, Dustin revamped the character and came back with a comedic approach to Goldust. He created a dynamic duo of sorts, when he tag teamed with Booker T. This was not the same Goldust, of course, but it was refreshing to see another facet added to the gold one.

I have truly enjoyed seeing all the phases of the Goldust character. However, I am still a huge fan and geek for the darker, cryptic Goldust.  A true masterpiece if I might say so. You may have a different opinion about this man, but one thing is for sure. You will never forget the name of… Goldust.

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