Dustin Rhodes' release from the WWE, where he performed as Goldust, turned out to be one of the most consequential this year in pro wrestling.
Rhodes would go on to work a match against his brother, Cody, at AEW's debut event, Double Or Nothing. That match was easily the best match on the PPV and is in the conversation for Match of the Year for 2019 when it comes to the business as a whole.
During an appearance on the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Rhodes noted some frustration with his creative future being uncertain while he was still a member of the WWE roster. It's abundantly clear he still feels that he can contribute in a big way to the wrestling business, and his one match with AEW certainly seems to prove his belief.
"When you are not necessarily being held back, but when there is so much going on and creative has nothing for you and you are sitting back there pitching these ideas and they get to Vince McMahon; some of them do and some of them do not," he said. "Then finally you just have to go to Vince McMahon himself and he will say either yes or no and I get that to an extent. I get the deal, but when you are sitting back and you are watching everything that you know you can do and do it even better it is frustrating to sit back there and just go, dammit, here I am I have to travel, spend all this money on rental cars and you got nothing for me?
"I love wrestling. It is in my blood. It is in my DNA and it's just I want to be one of the best. I want to be remembered as one of the very best to have walked into this business and I believe I have left a legacy that is pretty cool and it is good. It is not as great as it could be but I don't feel bad about anything that I have done in this business so it's all been there for me, everything I have done. I do believe that every time I do go out there, I never let the fans down. I put on a good show, even if it three minutes or twenty minutes, you go out there and work hard. That is my work ethic; you get 110%. I don't half-ass stuff. Even when I am in a damn bad mood and don't feel like doing a certain something you still go out there and perform because these people pay to see you. They pay for you to put on a show so you give them the best show to entertain them as you possibly can."
Rhodes' long tenure with WWE wound down over the last year. He last wrestled for the promotion in March 2018, had double knee surgery a few months later, and received his WWE release this past March. Rhodes elaborated on his exit from the company that he first signed with way back in 1995.
"I was tired. To me, it was like I was deflated a lot; terribly. I wanted out because I really wanted to follow my other dream which is acting. I think I can get in there. I have done a few low-budget independent films and I have a couple more on the deck so I wanted to try something else. I have done this for so long, 31 years and I love it, it's my first love but I want to go have some freedom to go do some other things," said Rhodes.
"There are some things that had happened that really bit me the wrong way. I went in and had a meeting with them and I said, look I am done. I am tired and I just didn't care. This is one of those moments where I did not care what they did, what they said. I wanted out. It was emotional; I did cry and I think that when they finally gave me my release we agreed that yes, they would give me my release and would pay me until my injuries were done because I had just come off of double knee surgeries and then we will give you the 90 days and we will pay you through that. I said, fine, that is not a problem."
After finally being legally released, and moving on to work AEW, Rhodes' passion for the wrestling industry has been reignited.
"It was incredible. I immediately got so much happier because it was stressful; I hadn't been happy for a while. I had lost my passion in a sense for our business and that is terrible; it is horrible, and something like Double or Nothing happens and my love for the business is reunited because it was so freaking incredible," said Rhodes.
"I love talking about it right now. I am excited about AEW and what the future holds and what they are going to do because they are going to be a great man. God, what a special time. All those kids that I had seen for the first time, a lot of them I knew. A lot of the production team I knew, but meeting the kids you can tell that they are hungry and that is important, man. To think that these guys are showing up to work and are excited about creating something that is brand new right out of the shoot and knocking it out of the park and they are hungry and to see that with all of these kids it is unreal. It is a special time to be in this industry and AEW right now has got the writing on the typical lightning bolt. It is going to be kick ass."
[H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcript.]