I told the story of meeting Dustin and Terri Runnels on Terri Runnels’ podcast Cigars, Scars, & Superstars (check it out!!). They were my entry into the world of wrestling and a more kind and lovely welcoming crew one could not have had! I was introduced to their strawberry headed daughter, Dakota, promptly fell in love with her, renamed her kitty cat, and the rest, as they say, is history...
It’s an important part of my OWN history because the Goldust character was responsible for my first impression of a business I’d come to love.
Watching Warrior run a program with Goldust was A LOT OF FUN! I felt the two characters brought a lot of depth along with levity. Warrior grabbing Marlena’s cigar and puffing it in the ring is one of the funniest things I can think of his character ever doing. Warrior and Dustin practicing putting a cigar out in Dustin’s hand, Terri and I looking on backstage was truly comical.
Goldust brought out a different side of Warrior and it was really good!
Dustin Runnels was very young at that time but he was not green; he was already a real professional. I remember Warrior coming home with his deal to return to WWE in 1996; excited his first program would be with Dustin. He was telling me, “He’s a really great kid from a real wrestling family. Big kid. Good looking, athletic. Strong. ...had a country gimmick, doing something as the character “Goldust” now. He’s going to be great to work with; he’s a super, super, good worker.”.
All of Warrior’s thoughts on Dustin proved true. What he could not have foretold was the friendship that would remain all these many years later.
When I heard Dustin would make an appearance at Santa Fe ComicCon I reached out. He had a full schedule but I lured him to visit Casa De Warrior Girl with my promise of a stellar Halloween candy bowl (Reese’s cups are his kryptonite ;) . Seeing his big, tall frame, in my courtyard made me smile. Every one of these boys, out of character, have the lumbering sweetness of a mastiff. They are slightly achey and a little tired; but freaking precious. Nobody has shown a heart made of gold the way Dustin has! Mox, Mattigan and I all greeted him and we chatted next to the fire reminiscing over great times and laughing in a language one only knows having walked the back circle of an arena.
I’d never been able to tell Dustin the way Warrior spoke of him and how happy he was to be returning to a program with him. Dustin’s face was really soft hearing how highly respected he was by Warrior. He said, “it was a really big deal for me to be working with him!”.
Goldust was such an imaginative character to be conceived back then. The duo of Marlena and Goldust was truly cutting edge in retrospect. Throughout so many eras Dustin kept his character’s edge. He’s a real talent and a real wrestler. He’s a great teacher and I imagine the reason many, many of the boys learned to work a match so well.
Goldust is THE gold standard.
It was fun to catch up with my golden pal even if it ended all too soon. Mattie and I walked him to his truck, parked nose to nose with mine. He scolded Mattie for being bare footed and without a jacket in the dropping fall air. We sent love to his beautiful wife and dogs and sent him on his way; so happy we had the chance to visit.
I believe in great introductions that lead to lasting friendships. I believe in hard work and hustle same as my good pal. I believe in Dustin’s integrity as a professional and loyalty as a friend. I believe there remain those humble, kind souls who will have a pure & Gold-Dusted heart...Always!