Last night (Feb. 6) on Raw, Cody Rhodes and Paul Heyman reminded the wrestling world that while we’re all really excited about Sami Zayn vs. Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber next weekend... the main event of WrestleMania 39 is Cody vs. Roman.
Their much-and-deservedly-praised segment was largely focused on Rhodes’ father, Dusty, who was also a mentor — and at one point an employee — of Heyman’s. Since they used their histories to build to the future title match, several past items have been circulating around the wrestle web today.
Relevant photo pic.twitter.com/IgtIW9Uvcy— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) February 7, 2023
In his 2015 appearance on WWE Network’s Stone Cold Podcast, Heyman gave credit to Dusty for unlocking his vaunted promo skills:
“That goes back to a lesson I learned from Dusty Rhodes... when I was first in WCW... my very first Starrcade, I was just starting in WCW — this is where there’s Ric Flair, and there’s Dusty Rhodes, and there’s Sting, and there’s Kevin Sullivan, and there’s the Road Warriors — I mean, man, you just talk about a line-up full of guys that could really cut promos.
“And there’s Jim Cornette, and I was opposed to Jim Cornette. Cornette had his promo somewhere in the middle of the show, and I thought I was gonna have the next segment and Dusty switched it. I didn’t follow Cornette. Dusty said, ‘You’re gonna close the show, baby’ ... it was just wing it, and I had about four minutes.
“I did everything. I imitated everybody on the roster, I talked about everybody else’s match, I tried to put everything over, I ran around the podium — I did everything I possibly could except speaking in tongues to garner people’s attention so you wouldn’t dare click that dial. And I ended it with some ridiculous punchline so people would, you know, ‘Oh, that was very cute what you said.’
“I came in the back, and I thought, ‘Man, I’m a star. I’m Paul E. Dangerously, I’m the greatest promo of all time!’ And Dusty looked at me and said, ‘Thank you, kid. That was so very, very entertaining. But the question I have for you is, um — Where’s the money?’ I never sold Starrcade.”
Heyman & Cody remembered to sell WrestleMania last night, but not before referencing another bit of history. They told most of the story on Raw, but in case you’re wondering what a down-on-his-luck American Dream did for Paul in ECW back in 2000? It started with this, confronting then-ECW World champ (now WWE NXT coach & producer) Steve Corino at Guilty As Charged:
Fast forward a bit to roughly 2010, and Dream’s doing a job not dissimilar to what Corino’s doing now. Dusty’s work with Reigns in WWE Developmental gave Heyman a “cute” line to end his promo to Cody on Raw: “In my last conversation with your dad, he told me you, Cody, were his favorite son. But Roman Reigns was the son he always wanted.”
The American Nightmare brought it back to “the money”, doubling down on his vow to take Reigns’ titles in SoFi Stadium the weekend of April 1-2 now that Heyman made their issue “personal”. Paul’s line set him up to do that, and based on the interview Roman gave ESPN before WrestleMania 38 last year, there was a germ of truth to it. Dusty did see “the money” in young Roman:
“This is a billion dollar industry. When I was making $500 a week down in FCW — the developmental before it was NXT — I cut a promo for Dusty Rhodes. I don’t remember all of it, but I pretty much said, ‘I’m a walking one billion dollar check.’ And everybody looked at me like, ‘What the heck, this guy’s crazy. What’s he talking about, he’s a billion dollar check?’
“Dream [Dusty] knew exactly. Everybody else — at the time, they were my peers, they had no clue what was happening. Now they’re beneath me. Dream at the time — a Hall of Famer, a bonafide draw, someone who drove the business forward — he understood what I was talking about. And what ten, eleven years later — look what’s happening here. So when it comes to being a Hall of Famer, being a legend in this game, my work speaks for itself.”
Ready for the next chapters in this story to be told?