Goldust was a surprise entrant in the 2013 Royal Rumble but was eliminated by his own half-brother (the bad half), Cody Rhodes.
A year later, the veteran is enjoying a successful run back on the road as a WWE superstar, capped off by being tag team champions with the same half-brother (the good half). The two will be in action when the juggernaut in sports entertainment returns to the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami for a live event on Friday, Jan. 31.
Enjoying one of the greatest comebacks in history, the “Golden One” is proof age is just a number. The feel-good story started when Goldust, real name Dustin Runnels, found himself in the middle of an angle involving Cody and the Authority’s Paul Triple H Levesque and Stephanie McMahon.
“I was at home and watching his interview when he got fired,” Goldust said. “I expected something with the storyline. Then they called me telling me they needed me for TV in Toronto. I’m like, ‘What? Alright, I’ll be there.’ So I went and put on a hell of a show for them. I think it was a test, and I passed with flying colors with Randy Orton. I thought it was one of the better matches I’ve had. I was ready. I was in shape. I wasn’t just sitting at home doing nothing. I was taking care of my body and getting ready for whatever.”
Even in defeat, his fans and peers alike gave the second generation performer praise for his showing against Orton on Raw. Goldust believed it was one and done with WWE.
“Everyone was like, ‘Welcome back,’” Goldust said. “I was saying, ‘No, I’m not back. I’m doing movies now and other stuff. This was just a one-time deal for Cody, and I lost the match. So I’ll see you later.’ Then they called again offering me a contract. It was very cool and unexpected. I’ve wanted to have the match with Cody at WrestleMania for a couple of years and that never came to pass, so I kind of just let it go.”
Goldust reflects on the emotional night at the WWE Battleground pay-per-view when he and his brother Cody won their jobs back.
“That was a WrestleMania moment for me being with Cody and my dad [Florida legend the American Dream Dusty Rhodes] and working The Shield because those guys can go,” Goldust said. “We had some fun and tore it up.”
Shortly after, The Brotherhood would defeat The Shield for tag team gold. It was the first WWE title Goldust won in more than a decade. The two now find themselves traveling regularly and defending the championship belts all over the world.
“I love Cody, but there is such a big age difference with us,” Goldust said. “He calls me the Benjamin Button of WWE. I like that. First I got offended by it because I’ve seen the movie and didn’t know what he was saying. I saw the old man and thought, ‘Wait, he is calling me old.’
“He goes, ‘No, you’re old, but you’re outshining the youngsters and the young guys. Everyone is just in awe at what you can do right now. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know how you’re doing this at 44-years-old.’”
Goldust doesn’t know himself what led to his resurgence.
“It’s a lot of DDP Yoga and gym work and eating right and staying in shape,” Goldust said.
DDP Yoga plug
Goldust continued: “My mind has also been right for the last five-and-a-half years being clean and sober from drugs and alcohol. So I think all those things played a big factor in this. Being able to do stuff that I’ve never done and wanting to try new things and having the young talent that’s actually hungry and help me get through that and make it look good.
“I’ve got some new moves in my arsenal, and the people love it. This new attitude and new Goldust they’ve never seen with new face paint. I couldn’t have asked for anything. This run has been great.
“Cody has things that he does in the car that bugs the crap out of me, but we are having fun. We don’t fight like cats and dogs.”
Those who have read “Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness” found that behind the makeup and golden persona was an individual who was going through heartache. There was a point he was spiraling out of control with substance and alcohol abuse. With those dark days behind him, he feels his story has inspired others to make positive changes in their life.
“I hear that on Twitter,” Goldust said. “They say because of you I haven’t used a drug for eight days or picked up a drink. That’s awesome. I’m a true testament that the WWE Wellness Policy works, if you work it. It took me one time, and I was ready to turn my life around and say goodbye to the demons. They’re always there. They are always on my shoulder, but all I have to do is take hold.
“The support group I have with my wife and my daughter and things like that. Now its five-and-a-half years going on six years clean and sober and having the time of my life. I can actually get in the ring and do things in the ring I thought in the past I couldn’t do without a pill or drugs in my system or alcohol to get through a match and wake up in the morning. It’s a piece of cake. I’m doing it. I’m 44 years old, and I’m kicking everybody’s ass.”
That’s hard to deny, given the incredible matches he’s had the last few months.
Goldust’s success story has led to superstars looking for pearls of wisdom from their co-worker.
“I watch their stuff, and I don’t give them too much,” Goldust said. “I give them a little bit that they can sink into and try first to see if that works and go from there. I try to teach them about how to tell stories because it’s a lost art. I think me and Cody are doing a real good job of bringing this tag team division back by telling a story. When you have 25 minutes out there with The Shield, the way I do it is start slow and end big.
“In between, it’s telling those stories and making those non-believers who are only there for their kids that are loving it, those parents stand up at the end of the match to either hate me or love me. Either way, they were on their feet because they were entertained. It’s a slow build -- like a movie. The good guy is there getting beat down, but in the end he comes back. It’s hard to teach this these days. If you’re allotted five or six minutes for a match, I can tell a story with that. They don’t understand that, but with time in the business they will learn that hopefully. I hope it doesn’t stay a lost art for so long that it’s forgotten about.”
The elder Rhodes has a renewed passion for a business he essentially grew up in. If there is one thing to describe his life and run, thus far, it’s perseverance.
“I’m loving it,” Goldust said. “I’m having a blast. Since this stuff with Cody, it has been the best time in my career from just starting in the business making $20 a night and working every day. That was the most fun time in my career. Now I’m winding down my career and having a blast being out there at 44-years-old watching my brother do his stuff and become a superstar. It’s cool with dad at home watching. It’s really neat that we’re brothers. We’re together and tag team champions.”
Goldust is looking forward to heading to Miami with Cody. He will never forget teaming with his father Dusty Rhodes for the first time against the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and Virgil at the 1991 Royal Rumble at the Miami Arena.
“I was nervous,” Goldust said. “I was only 19 or 20 years old at that time. I was with all these veterans, and here I am in Miami, and it’s sold out. My dad was my hero who I grew up watching, and now I’m with him. I’m just shutting up listening to what Ted Dibiase Sr. is telling me. Virgil I can handle, but working with Ted and dad was like working with two Gods. Just the noise and the cheers and boos.
“I’m sweating and breathing hard. They tell me to relax. I look back at that now, and I’m telling the young guys the same stuff. Just relax and have fun. You don’t have to go so fast. Stop. They will come. They do. I would imagine in the next couple of years I will be at NXT passing on the knowledge to a youngster ready to make it to the main roster.”
The relative rookie, then going by Dustin Rhodes, wasn’t there too long, with his dad on his way out of the company. He recalls going to Vince McMahon for his release and getting it.
“Later on dad told me Vince told him to go on and take Dustin, but I’m going to steal him from you and make him a star,” Goldust said. “He did. He didn’t tell me that until I was a few years in the business. It’s pretty cool to hear that and think about what happened in 1995, with Goldust being born, until now.”
Goldust can venture even further to his youth on a road trip with his WWE Hall of Fame father that took him from the James L. Knight Center in Miami to Orlando.
“I remember The Spoiler beating the dog crap out of my old man,” Goldust said. “My dad was just bleeding, so I was really scared of The Spoiler back then. Dad’s walking back, and I’m looking at him white as a sheep and frightened. He looks back at me in a crimson mask and gives me a wink. I didn’t know what it meant then, but I do now. It was very real to me.
“For years and years, I thought I knew about the business, but he never told me about the business, until I was 18-years-old. It was very personal for old schoolers to keep it close to the vest and kayfabe and all that. I still believe, but it’s such a lost art now and entertainment industry; that it’s gone where it’s gone. You have to grow with it or go. You change with the change.”
The tag champs have a big title defense against the Road Dogg Jesse James and BA Billy Gunn during the WWE Royal Rumble pre-show on Sunday, Jan. 26. The New Age Outlaws are among the most decorated duos in WWE history.
“They’re not the New Age Outlaws, but the Old Age Outlaws,” Goldust said. “There is only one Benjamin Button in WWE, and I’m it. Cody and Road Dogg have been doing this Twitter thing for the last few nights. I just look at it thinking, ‘Oh, there is a Twitter war starting. I have to make sure Cody is OK before he makes sure he says something he isn’t supposed to.’
“We’re having the time of our lives. They keep throwing teams at us. We’ve beaten some great teams. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are veterans. I know them. I’ve been with them and against them, and they’re tough. Cody is kind of the young one looking at these old guys. We can handle them, and I hope to God if I get knocked down in that match, which I’m sure I will, I’m going to get back up and get the job done and remain tag team champions.”
Fans who didn’t watch Goldust in past decades can catch up when the WWE Network launches Feb. 24. With subscription, viewers can access hours of content, watch live pay-per-views starting with WrestleMania XXX and other exclusive programming.
“I think February 24 we are going to make some serious history,” Goldust said. “It’s the future of television or online. You get it all. If you want to watch 24/7 of Goldust, you’re free to do so. You get everything all for $9.99. I want to be the first one to sign up. Hopefully, they will let me or maybe they will give us the deal because we are talent. I don’t know, but I will get it.
”For me, the WWE Network is a research channel because I can go back to look at some of the superstars I used to watch that were my heroes that I can learn from still. We can learn every day. If you’re a fan of myself, Arn Anderson, Cody, Randy Orton, Tommy Dreamer or someone from ECW or WCW, there is so much there that you can go and watch. It’s endless. We continue to shoot stuff daily. There is always a camera in our faces at every TV. The live feeds are going to be impressive. I can’t wait. I wish it was here already.”
Another evening Goldie is anticipating is WrestleMania XXX. His ideal match for while was a brother versus brother match with Cody.
“The dream match I did have I do not anymore at WrestleMania,” Goldust said. “So right now I want to continue to be the WWE tag team champions and have someone big step up to try to face us at WrestleMania. I think we need to try to be on that card and put on one hell of a show.”
• Follow Goldust on Twitter @Goldust.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.
• Goldust and Cody Rhodes defend the tag team championship against the New Age Outlaws 7:30 p.m. EST Sunday, Jan. 26 at the Royal Rumble kickoff on the WWE APP, YouTube and other avenues.
John Cena challenges Randy Orton for the WWE world heavyweight championship and 30 superstars go for the a title shot at WrestleMania XXX when the Royal Rumble goes live at 8 p.m. EST.
For information and full pay-per-view card, visit http://www.wwe.com/shows/royalrumble/.
• See Goldust. Cody Rhodes, The Shield, John Cena, Randy Orton and other top talent when WWE presents a live event 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. For information, visit http://www.wwe.com/events/wwepresents-live-miami .