Over the years in wrestling, there have been a number of matches featuring wrestlers that you cannot believe ever happened.
We recently wrote about the time that Will Ospreay took on Vader in 2016, but a few years earlier, The Mastadon made his TNA debut for a short run alongside another legend of the ring – The American Dream Dusty Rhodes.
The two legends never shared the ring in their primes, despite both being key parts of the WWE and WCW. Vader held WCW Championship gold, while Dusty Rhodes is one of the most legendary NWA World’s Heavyweight Champions of all time.
They both had runs in the WWE that disappointed. While Dusty Rhodes almost won the WWE Championship in 1977, none of the men held the coveted gold.
Meanwhile, Vader came in past his prime after years of being battered in Japan, and was treated like a joke. In his feud against Shawn Michaels, he called himself “a fat piece of shit” during a promo, ending any chance of a main event run in the WWE.
Luckily for fans of Vader and Dusty Rhodes, they did share a ring two in their career. The last was in an indie show in 2005, but the first time they wrestled together was somewhere you would not expect – TNA in 2003.
Dusty Rhodes and Vader
In 2003, Dusty Rhodes was brought into TNA for one last run as a wrestler and an on-screen character.
The American Dream would eventually be named booker in 2004, but his initial run was full of nostalgia and callbacks to his career, helping form the early reputation of TNA.
Dusty returned to the ring in 2003 to feud with Vince Russo and his faction “Sports Entertainment Xtreme”. During this time, TNA saw a host of legends returning to team with Dusty Rhodes, including Nikita Koloff and The Road Warriors.
However, it was Vader who was the most shocking person to team with Dusty. The pair had never wrestled together before, and with both men into their 50s, they were well past their prime.
In his feud with Russo, Dusty Rhodes brought in Vader to take on The Harris Brothers. The match was, to put it lightly, really, really terrible.
The bulk of the match saw Dusty Rhodes being beaten down by the Harris Brothers. He was vastly overweight, with his movements slow and laboured. He looked like he struggled just standing in the corner being punched.
After about 5 minutes of this (which was awful tv), he tagged in Vader, who was equally fat and out of shape. The four men all brawled, with Dusty struggling to hit his bionic elbow.
Eventually, Vader hit the Vader bomb on one of the indistinct Harris’, before Sonny Siaki ran into the ring.
However, Siaki immediately ate a bionic elbow, which the referee decided was simply too much and ended the match. Dusty Rhodes and Vader won the match by DQ.
Dusty would wrestle 17 matches overall in TNA (including a ladder match, of all things), whereas this would be one of Vader’s two matches.
His next TNA (now Impact wrestling) bout came 12 years later, when he faced Bram in 2015. This match was equally bad, and saw Vader once again win by disqualification.
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.