When Dusty Rhodes wore yellow polka dots in the WWE, fans were livid. The hero of the people in the United States had been made a joke. The American Dream was cast as a comedy character, a laughing stock in the world of the WWE. It was clear to many that this was simply Vince McMahon getting the last laugh, signing his biggest rival and making him look silly on TV.
However, that was not the case. If Vince McMahon told you it wasn’t a rib, you could argue with him until you were blue in the face. McMahon is known as being petty, vindictive and has given many wrestlers terrible gimmicks over the years, like Matt Morgan’s stuttering or whatever a T-Bar is.
However, it’s hard to argue with Dusty Rhodes son about the polka dots. Cody Rhodes has been doing the media rounds recently after winning the 2023 Royal Rumble and has spoken about a number of topics, including The American Dream.
Cody Rhodes appeared on Hot 97 radio in New York and talked about Dusty Rhodes Polka dots in the WWE. Dusty Rhodes signed to the company in 1989, after spending his prime years winning three World titles in the NWA. He was passed his prime in the ring but still had legions of fans following him and was one of the best mic workers in the country.
Cody revealed that at the time, Vince thought Dusty Rhodes was passed him prime and wanted him to do something fun in his later in-ring years. He didn’t want to “rib” him, but give him something to get over with the crowd and have some fun with. Dusty never saw it as a rib and became a main event talent with the polka dots, being one of the biggest stars outside of Hulk Hogan.
Dusty Rhodes had some big rivalries at the time against top stars, indicating that Polka Dots were not a way to bury him. He wrestled Hall of Famers like Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase and Big Boss Man during a short two-year run, showing WWE had faith in the former NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion. Dusty Rhodes also made the most money in his career in the WWE, something the Rhodes family have never forgotten.
“If you hear it from Vince himself, he just thought he was past his prime and let’s do some fun stuff. When I try to tell fans that the polka dots wasn’t a rib, it’s one of those things where they will argue with me on, and I don’t want to argue about this stuff. Hey, however you feel. In the past I tried to argue it, ‘No, it wasn’t a rib. He was a bit older. He was past his prime. Let’s have some fun.’
The only thing I can offer as substance that it wasn’t a rib is he was in major rivalries, Ted DiBiase, Macho King at WrestleMania, bringing Liz back to the ring, Big Boss Man. I mean he was in major rivalries for the tiny amount of time he was there. He was prominent the whole time he was there. He was on before intermission or on last depending on where Hogan wanted to go on the card. The secret of our finances is slightly more out on the surface because of myself, but my mom will tell you it’s also where he made the most money he ever made in his career, and prior to that he had been executive producer and their top talent with the NWA.”
Cody Rhodes is looking to honour Dusty Rhodes by winning the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 39. He will face champion Roman Reigns in the main event of Wrestlemania on April 2nd, 2023, just one year after returning to the company after leaving AEW.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.