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as "The Natural"

Dustin Patrick Runnels (born April 11, 1969) is an American Professional Wrestler best known by his ring names Dustin Rhodes and Goldust. He is the son of WWE Hall of Famer "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, the half-brother of former WWE superstar and All Elite Wrestling cofounder Cody Rhodes and the ex-husband of former WWE Diva Terri "Marlena" Runnels. While he is most known for his work in WWE and WCW, he has also competed for All Japan Pro Wrestling, the United States Wrestling Association in Memphis, TNA, Fighting Opera HUSTLE, and many independent promotions around the U.S.

Dustin got his start bouncing between WCW and the independent scene, chasing tag team gold here and there as himself, taking on the moniker "The Natural" most places he went, even being the US champion at one point. However, his star-making gimmick came when he returned to the WWF in 1995 as the mysterious, gold painted figure known only as Goldust; known for his mysterious, sensual mannerisms and penchant for mind games, and above all else: a lust for all things gold. The character went through all sorts of bizarre twists and turns over the years, including crossdressing, stuttering problems, and implied depravity the likes of which were unseen in wrestling at the time. Eventually the heat for the character died down, and he returned to being Dustin for a little while.

Eventually he returned to WCW under the name Seven in 1999, a gimmick inspired by the movie Dark City, but was quickly dropped by Turner after major concerns about the vignettes produced for him gave the impression he was a child abductor. He dropped the gimmick in "spectacular" fashion by burying it himself on live television (although in 2020 he confessed that he'd created it himself and loved it, but Vince Russo pulled the plug on it). He returned to the WWF in 2002, and in 2003 struck up an odd partnership with fellow WCW veteran Booker T, and their antics made them surprise fan favorites, but it was not to last.

Since that point, his career has largely been him bouncing between the indies, TNA (usually as himself or in 2007 as Black Reign, a gimmick he has since disavowed), or the WWE, usually returning as Goldust. Since that point, he has largely been a midcard or comedy act; teaming with the likes of many Divas, R-Truth, his brother, and many more. He finally left the 'E for what looks like good in early 2019 to shack up with his little brother Cody in AEW.

Among his in-ring achievements, he is a former WCW World 6-Man Tag Team Champion w/Big Josh (Matt Borne) and "The Z-Man" Tom Zenk, a former 3x WCW World Tag Team Champion, holding the belts 1x w/Ricky Steamboat and 2x w/Barry Windham, a former 2x WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, a former 3x WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, a former 10x WWE Hardcore Champion a former WWE World Tag Team Champion w/Booker T, and former two-time WWE Tag Team Champion alongside his brother Cody.

"You will never forget the tropes of *inhaled deeply* Goldust":

  • Aborted Arc: Goldust vs. Stardust. That match is the one everyone was most excited for at Fastlane 2015. Then the match, for whatever reason, turned out to be awful (complete with botched pin), and the feud was thrown out. They restarted this feud in All Elite Wrestling, with the "Natural vs Nightmare" match at Double or Nothing.
  • Agent Peacock: Okay, so he's pretty gay and a movie nerd but if pushed he throws down with the best of them. Sheamus in character credited the name he made for himself to his brawls with Goldust in WWECW.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Of himself as Black Reign in TNA.
  • Ambiguously Gay: This was a prominent trope in regards to him being VERY fond of other male wrestlers such as Ahmed Johnson. Jerry Lawler even once outright asked if he was gay to which Goldust shouted "NOOOO!" before beating him down.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Of movies, and especially the Academy Award, when the Goldust gimmick started.
  • The Artifact: Shattered Dreams. He invented the move specifically to get back at Val Venis for fooling around with Marlena, but he kept using it afterwards too.
  • Ass Kicks You: He likes to hip check people he whips into the ropes.
  • Award-Bait Song: His WWE entrance music intentionally invokes this, befitting of his gimmick.
  • Badass Family: He's a Rhodes, it's a given. In fact Dustin was the one that established this trope, being the first of Dusty's kids to follow in his footsteps.
  • Bash Brothers: After their initial "Natural vs Nightmare" clash at Double or Nothing, Dustin is firmly behind his younger brother Cody in AEW for his feud against Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle.
  • Bald of Evil: Concealed by a wig, which he would toss at the camera when it was time to wrestle. Less so once the fans started popping for him, obviously.
  • Big Brother Instinct: After Cody was fired by the Authority on the September 2nd, 2013 episode of Raw, Goldust confronted Triple H the following week to reinstate his brother back and even challenged Randy Orton but lost.
  • Black Face: The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust wore it, along with an afro wig and a boom box before the 1998 Royal Rumble on Raw. He happened to be facing Flash Funk, who actually was black. Funk knocked off the wig, making The Artist a dark-skinned blonde.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Hornswoggle was about to get crushed by The Big Show, he came in just in time, to save him. He lost miserably, but it's the thought that counts.
  • Blow You Away: Normally his "wonder breathing" is just creepy or disgusting to other wrestlers but he managed to blow Summer Rae off the ring apron with it once. (Cody was there to catch her)
  • Captain Ersatz: As Dusty Rhodes Jr. in WWC.
  • Catchphrase
    • "Remember the name...GOLDUST"/"You will never... forget the name of *inhales deeply*...GOLDUST!"
    • "Shut the hell up!" was shouted by Luna and The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust when the fans inevitably got sick of his inane, irrelevant promos.
  • CloudCuckoolander: What do you expect with a guy who covers himself in gold and black facepaint, the wigs, and the other crazy hijinx that's happened over the years?
    • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: As of mid-2014, he's become this to Stardust (his brother). You know things are bad if Goldust is this.
  • Cosplay
    • While teaming with Booker T Goldust did his fair share of it. Sometimes as popular wrestlers, such as The Rock. Other times as popular movie characters, such as Darth Vader.
    • The Artists Formerly Known As Goldust became known as Chynadust, Dust Lovedust, Dustydust, Hunterdust, Flashdust, Marilyn Mansondust, Sabledust and Vaderdust.
  • Darkest Hour: By the time the Black Reign gimmick came about, Dustin was probably at the lowest point of his life. Overweight, suffering from alcoholsim and his addiction to painkillers had gotten so bad that he was quite literally on all fours looking for pills on the floor. TNA weren't doing anything to help him, but thankfully he left the promotion. The WWE reached out to him and offered him help at their rehab centre. He accepted and has thankfully been sober since 2008 and is in much better shape now.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust hitting Big Van Vader with a hammer is what really started their feud.
  • Drugs Are Bad: A serious message in his autobiography Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Wrestling under his real name in the WWF in 1990-1991, Dustin Rhodes teamed with his father, who was in the middle of a feud with Ted DiBiase. It was by wrestling DiBiase in a 10-minute survival match (Rhodes would win if DiBiase failed to either pin or force him to submit within the time limit) and, as part of a tag team match also involving Dustin's father and DiBiase's valet, Virgil, that Rhodes had his first big break.
  • Evil Cripple: The Artists formerly known as Goldust claimed his wrist was too injured to tag in for the Survivor Series match under team USA lead by Big Van Vader. After Survivor Series he milked it for all it was worth, coming out to the arena in a wheel chair and claiming his injury had spread to his whole body, making him an invalid paraplegic. Vader's manager was having none of it.
    Jim Cornette: No, he's an invalid!
  • Facial Markings: In longer matches they would start to rub off or be sweated off.
  • Fake-Hair Drama: At W.O.W (Warriors Of Wrestling) The Latin Lover Chachi stole his wig.
  • Finishing Move: The Curtain Call/Lone Star State Of Mind (Falling inverted DDT). The Final Cut (a neckbreaker lifted like a suplex). As Dustin Rhodes, he usually used the bulldog.
  • Fun with Acronyms: After Dustin burned the Goldust suit on the May 11, 1998 Raw, he went back to his real name and started a gimmick as a born-again Christian. It was mostly played straight and serious (in fact, his warning before the Sable-Jacqueline bikini contest at WWF Fully Loaded, July 26, 1998, was a definite precursor to WWE's subsequent Real Life problems with the Parents' Television Council, which spawned the Right to Censor gimmick), though Dustin also appeared in taped vignettes where he would attempt to spread his message and would claim to be speaking for an organization called Evangelists Against Television Media and Entertainment.
  • G-Rated Sex: During a 1996 match with The Undertaker, Taker was knocked out and Goldust... took advantage of his prone state. By laying on him and rubbing himself against Taker. Likely as close to male-on-male molestation as the WWF/WWE would ever show. (Of course, Undie was laying in wait, immediately grabbed his throat, impressively fought his way to a standing position while holding Goldie in midair ... and went on to deliver a huge chokeslam before defeating him.)
  • Genre Savvy: Of Pro-Wrestling and Film. Goldust is basically a giant academy award after all.
  • Gorgeous George: He keeps the ambiguity up even as a face, flirting with both Fandango and Summer Rae, to their mutual displeasure. His valet Marlena was supposed to be this trope too but the storyline was rejected. Goldust was originally planned as an aversion though media watchdogs scrapped the plans for him to be outed as actually gay.
  • Groin Attack: "Shattered Dreams" in his early years. More recently, he's been a liberal user of the famously legal most-definitely-not-a-Groin Attack reverse atomic drop.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Averted during his feud with Stevie Richards and notable in that Goldust still suffers negative effects from it even after the Seven-Year Rule says he should no longer have to, as he explained to Abraham Washington on WWECW.
  • He's Back!: When Cody Rhodes was temporarily fired. Goldust comes back and tries to get his job back.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: With Marlena and Luna Vachon.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Him and Yoshi Tatsu are superpals.
  • Hollywood Tourette's: After getting "electrocuted", thankfully it died down and went away permanently later on, though it was Played for Laughs, which it received.
  • Large Ham: What do you expect from someone whose face is painted gold and wears gold suit and a wig?
  • Named Weapons: Black Reign's spike, Darkness Falls.
  • Nepotism: Being Dusty's son, and with Dusty's booking power in WCW, he had to work to overcome the implications of this. It was largely averted in fact. Dustin left for the WWF and took the Goldust gimmick partially so he could prove he could be successful in the business on something other than being Dusty Rhodes' son. His greatest success came from this decision, and the Goldust gimmick was one of the points of origin for the genesis of the Attitude Era. During this time, aside from working in different promotions, he and his father and weren't even on speaking terms, although Cody recounted a story from his childhood of him and Dusty watching Dustin's debut as Goldust on TV and while he was shocked and confused by his brother's character, Dusty was smiling with pride because he knew that his son had struck gold with this daring new gimmick.
  • Mascot: Misty, his pet rat as Black Reign.
  • Mini Mook: Minidust, who looked even more effeminate than the big guy.
  • Odd Friendship: With Booker T. Huge emphasis on the 'odd' part.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain
  • Parts Unknown (as Black Reign in TNA): "The Deepest Darkest Corner of His Mind"
  • Practically Different Generations: 16 years senior to his younger brother, Cody.
  • Rage Against the Author: Dustin got tired of being Goldust at one point and tried to be a born-again Christian wrestler. (See above under Fun with Acronyms.) The gimmick sadly didn't take, in part because WWE didn't care and in part because it was just him in a t-shirt and blue jeans just preaching before matches. Even when Dustin went to WCW and TNA, he never tried (or they never let him try) the gimmick again.
  • Red Baron:
    • "The Bizarre One", "The Prince of Perversion", "The Man With The Golden Power"
    • As Dustin Rhodes, he was called "The Natural," "The American Nightmare," or "Lonestar." The latter was used by Matt Striker when speaking about Goldust in WWECW.
  • Ring Oldies: Having hit 50, Dustin finally counts as one, being an old man by wrestling standards who - if his matches during his last run in WWE and the instantly legendary match against his brother Cody at Double or Nothing are anything to go by - can still compete on a higher level than many wrestlers literally half his age.
  • The Rival: Though the history wasn't ever referred to in WWE, Dustin has had a lot of matches against William Regal dating back to the early 90s in WCW.
  • Romance on the Set: In-Universe: With Aksana on WWE NXT.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Goldust regularly quoted or otherwise referenced movies in his promos, starting with the initial pre-debut vignettes.
    • His new facepaint as of his late-2013 WWE run is basically a golden Darth Maul.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: In character, and arguably Real Life. He's a good sixteen years older than Cody Rhodes, and by their own admission the Rhodes brothers don't have a lot in common.
  • Signature Move: He has two in regards to the backdrop. Countering it by falling on his back and punching them (though he started dropping to his knees instead later) or with an exaggerated jumping face buster.
    • Often both will be used along with a power slam, and high cross body for his Five Moves of Doom, ending with the final cut (though not too often)
  • Still Got It: Oh hell yes. Beat The Shield along with his brother in two consecutive matches - a feat that's been done very few times, if at all - won the Tag Team Titles at age 44, and (both in-universe and in Real Life) is said to look as good or better in the ring as at any point during his long career.
    • Dustin had what is considered by some to be the finest singles match of his entire career at AEW Double or Nothing against his brother Cody. He'd turned 50 years old the month before and he's been wrestling longer than a good chunk of the AEW roster has been alive.
  • Tag Team:
    • The Texas Broncos, w/Kendall Windham.
    • With Booker T. The team never had a name; fans called them "Black Gold" while wrestling sites referred to them as "The Movie Critics"
    • With his brother Cody Rhodes. The team at first didn't have a name, but after Cody Rhodes became Stardust and reformed the team, they were dubbed Gold and Stardust. In AEW they're called "The Brotherhood".
    • The Golden Truth w/ R-Truth
  • "Take That!" Kiss: One of his moves to throw off an opponent.
  • The Trope Formerly Known as X: The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust, a period where he was managed by Luna Vachon and most known for wearing disturbing outfits.
  • Villain Team-Up: In his TAKFA Goldust days in early 1998, he and "Marvelous" Marc Mero randomly joined forces against the Headbangers, with Goldust dressing up as Marilyn Manson. This fell apart when Sable and Luna Vachon started their own feud.
  • Wildlife Commentary Spoof: Did one on the WWF version of the New World Order in their natural habitat (their locker room) in order to set up a joke about X-Pac's special situation.
  • Wrestling Family: Son of Dusty Rhodes and half-brother of Cody. He was married to Terri Runnels for a couple of years. Also, Jerry Sags of The Nasty Boys and Fred Ottman are/were uncles at one point, as they have both been Dusty's brothers-in-law

Alternative Title(s): Dustin Rhodes