At the age of 50, Dustin Rhodes has made 2019 his year to remind us all of his incredible skills as a performer. After asking for his release from the WWE, Dustin joined the new kids on the wrestling block, All Elite Wrestling (AEW). In front of a sold-out crowd in Las Vegas, Dustin was drenched in blood as he and his brother Cody put on an emotional wrestling match, which many have called an all-time classic.
Since then, he has continued his resurgence in wrestling by joining forces with his brother in an impressive tag team match, and now, the man formerly known as Goldust is taking his talents to the world of cinema in Brett Bentman’s Texas-based thriller Cutter Bill.
During the shooting of Cutter Bill, Dustin put some time aside for SteelChair Magazine to answer questions about his transition to acting, why Cutter Bill appealed to him, AEW’s future, and whether or not he has an end date in sight for his wrestling career.
Known for his ability to portray a variety of personalities in the wrestling business, tackling different characters is nothing new for AEW’s 50-year-old sensation. When we asked if there was an experience from wrestling that he could compare to Cutter Bill, instead of pointing to a particular storyline or match, he brought up the “opportunity” AEW has given him. “To compare it to an experience I’ve had in AEW, I believe that when given an opportunity to do something that you’re extremely passionate about, then tackling a role like this is easy for me,” he explained. “Every experience I have had has been well thought out, and I nailed the role of Mitchell to a tee.”
It’s evident by him moving from WWE to AEW that Dustin is a man who knows what he wants from his career and life. Like so many other professional wrestlers, Dustin has always had the ambition to act in films: “Yes, I have always had a dream to entertain and be considered one of the best actors out there.”
Dustin’s father, the legendary ‘American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes was another tremendous performer, and he was also known to take inspiration from Hollywood when thinking of creative ideas to incorporate into wrestling. So when we asked Dustin if it felt “cool” to fulfil a desire of his fathers, he agreed and said, “It does.” According to him, actors like to “perform,” no matter whether they are from the world of professional wrestling or film. “There are certain roles that are better for me than others. But, given the chance, I will own each one and do the best I can.”
However, when a performer transitions into another area of entertainment, it can be daunting, and the idea of failure is frightening for some. But fear was not an emotion he experienced when Brett offered him a starring role in his film. “My reaction was excitement! And appreciation!” he enthused. There were never any doubts about accepting Brett’s offer, as he said there was “No apprehension whatsoever.”
In Cutter Bill, Dustin plays a thief named Mitchell White, who is attempting to cash in on a hidden Cowboy Mafia fortune. There is a strong Texas influence in this story, which also happens to be the home state of the wrestler. Bret Hart famously discussed various pro wrestling characters in his documentary Wrestling with Shadows and highlighted Dustin’s Texas upbringing and cowboy-style fashion as being opposite to his risqué character Goldust that he portrayed on WWE television. But according to Dustin, the Texas influence had very little to do with his decision to accept this role. “I don’t think being born and raised in Texas had anything to do with me wanting to act,” he said. “There are those who have it, and those who don’t. There are those that do, and those that don’t. I am a doer.”
For most of the last decade, Dustin has mostly been associated with his knack for comedy while portraying the character of Goldust. His “blood bath” with Cody at AEW’s Double or Nothing reminded us of his dramatic side, a side he prefers to show, and this was something he had on his mind when making the transition to films. “I don’t prefer comedy,” he said. “I prefer drama. I want to captivate an audience with a strong presence.”
Director Brett Bentman’s last film, 90 Feet From Home, which had Shawn Michaels in a starring role dealt with some very intense, and real topics. And according to Cutter Bill’s Mitchell White: “The realer, the better.” His theory is that “if you shock the room, you will shock the audience.”
It wasn’t long ago that many thought Dustin’s time in the spotlight was over, but if recent events and opportunities are any indications of the future, it looks like he has got a second wind. When he was a part of WWE, his time on television was limited, as were his opportunities outside of wrestling. “I was not allowed” was his response when asked if he would have been able to accept projects like Cutter Bill while in WWE. But, “That will never happen again” now that he is a free man.
Brett Bentman’s project is another step in this exciting new chapter of Dustin Rhodes’ career, and although he is stepping into a new world, he’s not thinking about hanging up those wrestling boots just yet. Although he is 50, he’s showing no signs of slowing down, and for that reason, there is no end date in sight for his in-ring career. “I know what my body is capable of, so I do not have an end date to share with you.”
AEW will be launching their weekly television show in October on a network that has a special place in the heart of the Rhodes family, TNT. The network that once hosted World Championship Wrestling (WCW), a company Dustin’s father was a big part of, will now be the home of AEW. 2001 was the last time wrestling was on TNT, and AEW on TNT is “way overdue” according to Cody’s elder brother. “AEW on TNT is exciting,” he said. “Glad to be along for the ride and to pass on my knowledge to the ones that want help.”
One way Dustin hopes to pass on his knowledge and help AEW is by providing a school for young wrestlers to learn and develop their skills. It’s not only a way to give back, but it’s also a way he can be a part of the wrestling business even after his days in the ring come to an end. Despite floating the idea of a wrestling school around in interviews, he has not spoken about it to the head man of AEW, Tony Khan. “I have not spoken to him about it, but I will have one, one day.”
To close the interview, Dustin gave us his final prediction on what fans can expect from AEW, as well as a trademark Dustin sign off. “From what I can see, AEW is going to be huge. They are already breaking sell-out records, and their fanbase is strong. Gonna be a fun ride if you’re on the train. And as always, thank you, and #KeepSteppin #NeverLookBack.”
For more information on Dustin’s new film Cutter Bill, follow @CutterBillFilm on Twitter.