Dustin Patrick Runnels (born April 11, 1969) is an American professional wrestler who is currently signed to WWE under the ring name Goldust. He is the son of the late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes and the half-brother of former WWE wrestler Cody Rhodes. Runnels' enigmatic, flamboyant, sexually ambiguous gimmick of "Goldust" has remained popular in WWF/E
He is also known for performing in various promotions such as World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) under the name Dustin Rhodes. Among the other names Runnels has performed under are Black Reign and Seven.
Between WWF/E and WCW, Runnels has won 20 total championships. In WCW, he was a two-time United States Heavyweight Champion, a one-time Six-Man Tag Team Champion, and a two-time World Tag Team Champion. In WWF/E, he is a three-time Intercontinental Champion, a nine-time Hardcore Champion, a one-time World Tag Team Champion, and a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion.
Professional wrestling career
Early career (1988–1990)
Runnels' professional wrestling debut came on September 13, 1988, defeating Bob Cook in a match for the Tampa-based Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF) group. The company would be renamed Professional Wrestling Federation in February 1989 after his father, Dusty Rhodes, began wrestling there. Runnels would capture the Florida Heavyweight Championship on May 23, 1989 from Al Perez, holding it for a month.
World Championship Wrestling (1988−1989)
In December 1988, Runnels began performing as Dustin Rhodes and would begin working for the newly TBS-owned World Championship Wrestling. Rhodes teamed with Kendall Windham in an undercard tag team called The Texas Broncos that saw success against The Cruel Connection and The Commandos. Their first defeat came against The Original Midnight Express at a house show on December 10, 1988 in Philadelphia, PA. Dustin's first singles match came two days later at a TV taping in Atlanta, GA when he defeated Trent Knight. Rhodes' initial WCW run lasted only a few months, as he exited the company two months after his father. After suffering a loss to Butch Reed during a dark match for a Main Event taping in The Omni on February 12, 1989, Dustin closed out his initial WCW run with a win over Trent Knight in Waltersboro on February 24.
Japan & Memphis (1989)
Runnels began wrestling in the Memphis territory in 1989. While there he feuded mainly with Tony Anthony for Anthony's CWA Heavyweight Championship but never won the belt. He left Memphis in the spring of 1990.
In March 1989, he went to tour Japan for All Japan Pro Wrestling, under the name Dusty Rhodes, Jr. He would return to AJPW for a couple more tours a year later.
World Wrestling Federation (1990–1991)
Runnels debuted as a fan favorite in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in late 1990, wrestling as Dustin Rhodes. In December 1990, Rhodes defeated Ted DiBiase in a televised ten-minute challenge match. On January 19, 1991, at the Royal Rumble, Rhodes and his father Dusty lost to Ted DiBiase and Virgil in a tag team bout, and both left immediately after.
Return to World Championship Wrestling (1991–1995)
In February 1991, Runnels joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW), wrestling as "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes. He feuded with Larry Zbyszko until April 1991, when he refused to join Alexandra York's York Foundation, thus beginning a feud with Foundation member Terrence Taylor.
In October 1992, Rhodes and Barry Windham fought to a draw for the World Tag Team Championship. One month later, Windham turned on Rhodes, beginning a feud. In January 1993, Rhodes won the United States Heavyweight Championship. In the same month, he began a feud with Rick Rude that lasted until August. Rhodes lost the title to "Stunning" Steve Austin in December 1993.
In March 1994, Rhodes started feuding with Bunkhouse Buck and Col. Robert Parker. After Parker introduced Arn Anderson and Terry Funk as adversaries for Runnels, Runnels responded by bringing his father, a former enemy of Funk, back into the ring to team with him again against Parker's Stud Stable. In December 1994, Parker introduced another opponent for Rhodes, The Blacktop Bully. In March 1995, Rhodes and The Blacktop Bully both bladed during a King of the Road match at the 1995 Uncensored pay-per-view after being instructed to by one another, which was against corporate policy at the time in WCW. They were subsequently fired as a result, along with fellow talent Paul Roma.
Return to the WWF as Goldust (1995–1999)
In September 1995, Runnels returned to the WWF, wrestling as a then villain nicknamed "the bizarre one" because of his somewhat spooky, mysterious and sexually suggestive mannerisms and presence under the ring name Goldust. Goldust deliberately attempted to creep out and distract his opponents through lewd and flirtatious mind games. He utilized such tactics as groping and expressing affection towards his opponent in the midst of delivering his onslaught. To that end, a trademark of Goldust's is his suggestive long and breathy inhalation whilst slowly dragging his hands up his body; this all ends in him exhaling through a vicious biting sound at his adversary, intended to startle. The character was portrayed as a drag queen obsessed with films and everything gold, which is a parody of the Oscars statuette. Under the gimmick, Runnels' wears a predominately gold jumpsuit (with tidbits of other colors, such as white and black); black and gold face paint; and during entrances and promos, a glittery gold robe and a platinum blonde wig over his short platinum blonde hair. Goldust won his debut match on October 22, 1995 against Marty Jannetty at the In Your House 4 pay-per-view.
Goldust initially feuded with Razor Ramon, whom he stalked and sent messages to throughout late 1995. The feud culminated at the Royal Rumble on January 21, 1996, where Goldust defeated Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship due to interference from the 1–2–3 Kid. This match also marked the debut of Goldust's valet, Marlena, portrayed by his then wife Terri. With her seductive, coolly unconcerned and mysterious character, Marlena complemented Goldust. Her gimmick consisted of sitting at ringside in a director's chair during Goldust's matches, advising him while smoking large brown cigars. A rematch between Goldust and Ramon at WrestleMania XII was canceled after Ramon was suspended, with Goldust instead wrestling and losing to Roddy Piper in a non-title "Hollywood Backlot Brawl".
Goldust defended his Intercontinental Championship in bouts against Savio Vega and The Ultimate Warrior before losing to Ahmed Johnson at King of the Ring on June 23, 1996. In August 1996, Goldust briefly gained control over Mankind and feuded with The Undertaker. His attention soon turned to Marc Mero and his then wife Sable. Goldust and Marlena attempted to get Sable to join their team, but Mero won the feud and kept her by his side. He also had a Ladder match with Shawn Michaels at internet pay-per-view (iPPV) called Xperience for the WWF Championship but lost the match.
In May 1997, Goldust revealed his identity as Dustin Runnels, the son of Dusty Rhodes. In the summer and fall of that year, he joined other wrestlers in their conflict with The Hart Foundation, feuding in particular with Brian Pillman, to whom he lost the services of Marlena for thirty days. Just before the thirty days were up, Pillman died of heart disease hours before the Badd Blood event on October 5, 1997. In November 1997, Goldust split with Marlena and refused to cooperate with his Survivor Series teammates, which once again turned him into a heel. This led to a feud with Vader and the appearance of The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust (a reference to Prince), managed by Luna Vachon. He began mimicking celebrities and fellow wrestlers with characters such as "Chynadust", "Dust Lovedust", "Dustydust", "Hunterdust", "Flashdust", "Marilyn Mansondust", "Sabledust", and "Vaderdust".
Goldust feuded with Val Venis, who had been involved with Terri during their separation. Now going by his real name, Dustin Runnels began speaking out (mostly in taped vignettes) on the increasingly edgy WWF product and promoting alternatives to watching the show such as reading the Bible. These vignettes were sponsored by the fictional group, "Evangelists Against Television, Movies and Entertainment", the acronym for which reads "EATME" – a thinly veiled joke on the WWF's part. Runnels declared himself a born again Christian, alluding to "his" return, and walking through the crowd with signs reading "he's coming back!". While the return of Christ was clearly implied, Runnels was in fact referencing the return of the Goldust gimmick, which he reprised in October 1998 against Val Venis and then in November 1998, he began feuding with Jeff Jarrett over the attention of his manager, Debra.
In early 1999, Goldust feuded with Al Snow, upon stealing Head, Snow's mascot, and The Blue Meanie, who had recently renamed himself "Bluedust" and adopted many of Goldust's mannerisms. After Goldust defeated Meanie at St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Meanie became Goldust's apprentice. After Ryan Shamrock became Goldust's valet, Meanie and Shamrock began vying for Goldust's attention. In the same time period, Goldust won the Intercontinental Championship again from Road Dogg and then lost it to The Godfather two weeks later.
Second return to WCW (1999–2001)
Runnels returned to World Championship Wrestling in 1999, filming several vignettes for a fantastical, face-painted character named Seven. These vignettes contained ominous footage of Rhodes in full makeup standing outside a child's bedroom window. The gimmick was reported to have been based on "The Strangers" from the 1998 film noir Dark City. The character was dropped after Turner Standards and Practices expressed concern that this gimmick could be misinterpreted as a child abductor. Upon returning to WCW television, Rhodes removed his costume and delivered a worked shoot in which he mocked unrealistic gimmicks as well as his time as Goldust in the WWF. After turning heel upon his return, Runnels began wrestling as "The American Nightmare" Dustin Rhodes, with his nickname a reference to his father's nickname, "The American Dream".
Rhodes feuded with Jeff Jarrett before feuding with Terry Funk. He was (kayfabe) fired by Vince Russo at Spring Stampede in April 2000 for failing to prevent Terry Funk from winning the vacant WCW Hardcore Championship, against Norman Smiley; in reality, he was suspended due to an appearance on the WCW Live! Internet radio program in which he criticized WCW head writer Vince Russo, calling him a "sawed-off midget" and an "asshole". He returned to WCW television in January 2001, assisting his father in his feud with Jarrett and, eventually, Ric Flair. He wrestled on the very last WCW pay-per-view, WCW Greed on March 18, 2001.
In March 2001, WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation, with the WWF neglecting to acquire Runnels' contract. In July 2001, Runnels, while still under contract to AOL Time Warner, began wrestling for his father's newly created Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling promotion, winning the promotion's Heavyweight Championship.
Second return to the WWF/E (2001–2003)
In December 2001, Runnels accepted a buyout from his AOL Time Warner contract and was re-signed by the World Wrestling Federation to a 2-year deal. Promos immediately began airing on WWF television advertising the return of Goldust. On January 20, 2002, he officially returned by taking part in the Royal Rumble, reprising his Goldust character. Shortly after returning, promos began airing for a few weeks of Goldust saying that there was a certain wrestler whose "star was shining brighter" than he would like. He eventually revealed the person he was talking about was Rob Van Dam by attacking him on Raw, turning heel in the process. Van Dam defeated him in a singles match at No Way Out. After the loss, he moved on to the hardcore division, where he won the Hardcore Championship on nine occasions.
When the World Wrestling Federation was renamed World Wrestling Entertainment and the roster was divided into two brands, Raw and SmackDown!, Goldust was assigned to the Raw brand, where he formed a tag team with Booker T. The duo engaged in numerous comedic vignettes, on one occasion hosting a segment titled Booker T and Goldust at the Movies and delivering reviews of The Scorpion King, a film starring The Rock. In May 2002, Booker joined the New World Order (nWo), with Goldust's request to join the faction rejected. In June 2002, Booker was ejected from the nWo by Shawn Michaels, sparking a feud between the nWo and Booker and Goldust. Booker and Goldust went on to compete in the tag team division, winning the World Tag Team Championship at Armageddon before being forced to split up on the February 3, 2003 episode of Raw by Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff for failing to win back the World Tag Team Title.
Following the dissolution of the tag team, Goldust contracted a stutter and Tourette's-like symptoms, upon receiving a shock from a Round Tube during an attack at the hands of Batista and Randy Orton. Goldust appeared in character on the Howard Stern Show in March 2003. He appeared sporadically thereafter, forming a tag team with Lance Storm in August 2003. In fall 2003, Booker T began receiving mysterious, haunting messages for a few weeks from somebody. The messages only said "I remember". It was rumored that the messages would be from Goldust, which would have begun a feud between the two. Suddenly, the angle was never mentioned again on television and the company announced on their web site that they would not be renewing Rhodes' contract. WWE allowed his contract to expire in December 2003.
Independent circuit (2002–2008)
In-between his various stints with WWE and TNA, Runnels competed on the independent circuit, first appearing for his father's promotion, Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling. Competing as Dustin Rhodes, he captured the TCW Heavyweight Championship from Scotty Riggs on January 26, but vacated the title immediately afterwards after it was confirmed that he would be returning to WWE. Following his return to the WWE at the 2002 Royal Rumble, he made two more appearances with TCW, the first in a six-man tag team match with his father Dusty and Ron Studd against Riggs, Fake Goldust, and Jason Sugarmann, and the second in a singles victory over Steve Corino.
Following his release from WWE in December 2003, Runnels returned to the independent circuit while concurrently competing in his first stint with TNA. He first appeared for the Japanese promotion WORLD-1, as Dusty Rhodes Jr., working three dates in early April, all singles matches and all victories. In July, Runnels returned to the United States and appeared for Full Impact Pro, tag teaming with Barry Windham and defeating the Cuban Assassin and Ryze.
Runnels did not appear on the independent circuit for the rest of 2004 and much of 2005, until the first WrestleReunion, teaming with his father and Mike Graham against Abdullah the Butcher, Kevin Sullivan, and CM Punk. After his departure from TNA, he made a few appearances with Dusty for CCW against Phi Delta Slam. Runnels also competed on the Tribute to Starrcade show on November 19 in a match against Terry Funk, which ended in a No-Contest.
After returning to his fourth stint with WWE, Runnels once again disappeared from the indies, but made a special appearance with Jerry Lawler's Memphis Wrestling on March 3, 2006, as Goldust, in a match against Lawler, which he lost after Lawler hit him with a steel chain.
Runnels was released from his fourth stint with WWE on June 14. Two weeks and six days later, on July 1, he returned to WORLD-1, defeating Tully Blanchard in the main event. On October 14, he appeared with the UK promotion One Pro Wrestling, under the name Gold Dustin (the name he would use in AJPW) with a victory over Curry Man.
While competing for AJPW in 2007, Runnels returned to CCW to feud with Phi Delta Slam, mainly in tag team matches with a variety of partners, including Kip James. In mid-2007, he made several appearances with Hermie Sadler's UWF promotion to hype his return to TNA, making his debut on March 2 with a victory over Steve Corino. He appeared with UWF throughout his second tenure with TNA, facing the likes of Scott Steiner, Sabu, David Flair, Andrew Martin, and D'Lo Brown. His tenure in UWF also saw him compete in the often-considered "cross-promotional" War Games match against Team JBL (managed by John Bradshaw Layfield, who was signed to WWE as a commentator at the time) consisting of Steve Corino, C.W. Anderson, the Latin American Xchange, and Elix Skipper. Runnels was a member of Sgt. Slaughter's Team Slaughter, along with the Steiner Brothers and the Mack Brothers. Team Slaughter won the bout. Runnels' final appearance with UWF on September 22, 2007, where he and Abyss were on the losing end of a tag team bout against D'Lo Brown and a local football coach.
Following his release from TNA in early 2008, Runnels briefly returned to Coastal Championship Wrestling to face the members of Phi Delta Slam (Bruno Sassi and Big Tilly) before beginning his fifth stint in WWE in October 2008.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2004–2005)
On February 4, 2004, he debuted in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) as "The Lone Star" Dustin Rhodes, unsuccessfully challenging Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. On February 18, Runnels and El Leon defeated Kevin Northcutt and Legend in a tag team bout. In December 2004, he returned to TNA, once again wrestling as Dustin Rhodes. on January 14, 2005 edition of Impact, Rhodes defeated Chris Candido. at Final Resolution (2005), Rhodes defeated Kid Kash, He feuded with Raven on the February 11 edition of Impact, Rhodes and America's Most Wanted defeated Kid Kash, Dallas and Raven in a six-man tag team match. Against All Odds (2005), Rhodes faced Raven in a losing effort but got payback at Destination X (2005) when Rhodes defeated Raven in a Bullrope match he then entered a feud with Bobby Roode and at Lockdown (2005), Rhodes defeated Roode in a 2 out of 3 falls Prince of Darkness cage match. His TNA contract expired in April 2005 and he chose not to renew it, leaving TNA.
Third return to WWE (2005–2006)
Runnels returned to World Wrestling Entertainment on October 31, 2005 as a heel and back under the Goldust attire, as Jonathan Coachman enlisted him and Vader to attack Batista. Goldust and Vader unsuccessfully interfered in a Street Fight between Batista and Coachman on behalf of Coachman at Taboo Tuesday. Following the event, Goldust once again disappeared from television.
In January 2006, Goldust took part in the Royal Rumble match and was assigned once again to the Raw brand until he was released from his WWE contract on June 14, 2006 for no-showing an appearance.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (2007–2008)
On January 28, 2007, it was announced that Rhodes would appear at the February 17, 2007 All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) show in the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. On February 15, Rhodes, identified as Gold Dustin, appeared at ringside during a match involving The Great Muta, resulting in a brawl between Rhodes and The Great Muta. On February 17, Rhodes and Jinsei Shinzaki were defeated by The Great Muta and Yoshihiro Tajiri in a tag team bout.
Return to TNA (2007–2008)
On July 15, 2007, Rhodes returned to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling at Victory Road and aligned himself with Christian Cage by helping him defeat "Wildcat" Chris Harris. In an interview on TNA Impact! conducted by Mike Tenay, Rhodes discussed accusations of having a split personality and stated that he was going to embrace it and let it out. TNA presented the interview as being an emotional breakdown on the part of Rhodes. On August 12 at Hard Justice, Rhodes debuted his new ring name, Black Reign, and a "new, darker and bizarre look". At Hard Justice, Harris defeated Black Reign via DQ when Reign attacked several referees. The next week, the gimmick was explored even further, saying that Rhodes constantly switches between Rhodes and Reign. He was featured at Bound for Glory in a Monster's Ball match against Rhino, Abyss, and Raven, which he lost. Reign challenged Abyss to a "Shop of Horrors" match at Genesis and lost. At Genesis, Reign's new partner, Rellik (which is "Killer" spelled backwards), made his debut after attacking Abyss. At Turning Point, Abyss and Raven defeated Black Reign and Rellik in a Match of 10,000 Tacks. Originally, this match was signed to be Abyss and Rhino versus Rellik and Black Reign but, due to an injury, Rhino was replaced by Raven for this match.
On Impact!, he helped Rellik beat up Kaz. Later the same night, he appeared for an interview, as Dustin Rhodes, without his Black Reign make-up and stated that his "alter ego" has been scaring him since when he was a little kid. His interview was interrupted by the furious Kaz. This led to a match between the two at Final Resolution (January 2008) where Kaz won. Reign and his partner Rellik then began feuding with Eric Young and his new superhero gimmick Super Eric. at Destination X (2008), Black Reign and Rellik faced Eric Young and Kaz in a losing effort. at Lockdown (2008), Black Reign and Rellik competed in a Six Team Cuffed in the Cage match which was won by Kaz and Super Eric. After three months of not showing up on television, Black Reign's profile was removed from the TNA roster page and he was released from his TNA contract.
Fourth return to WWE
On October 26, 2008, Runnels returned to the WWE at Cyber Sunday under his Goldust persona as part of the three choices (the other two being Roddy Piper and The Honky Tonk Man) that the fans could choose to face Santino Marella for the Intercontinental Championship. After Honky Tonk Man was chosen and won via disqualification, Goldust and Piper entered the ring and the three candidates fought Marella, afterwards celebrating together in the ring. The following night on Raw, Goldust appeared again with Piper and the Honky Tonk Man as guest commentators for Marella's match with Charlie Haas. The match ended when Goldust and Piper distracted Marella so that Honky Tonk Man could smash his guitar over Marella's head.
Goldust appeared on the celebration of the 800th episode of Raw on November 3, 2008, dancing alongside his father Dusty Rhodes, Lilian Garcia and several other wrestlers. A noticeably slimmer and quicker Goldust finally made a full-time return on the Raw roster once again on the November 24, 2008 episode of Raw, where he defeated Santino Marella. Goldust participated in the 2009 Royal Rumble match and stared down his real-life half-brother, Cody Rhodes, but was eliminated by him later. Goldust participated at WrestleMania XXV as a lumberjack during the tag team championship unification match between The Colóns and John Morrison and The Miz.
On May 25, episode of Raw, Goldust teamed up with Hornswoggle in a tag team match, where they defeated Festus and The Brian Kendrick. Goldust then teamed with Hornswoggle on multiple occasions, mainly feuding with Kendrick, where they had many matches both on WWE Superstars and Raw.
Brand switches and NXT (2009–2010)
The team of Goldust and Hornswoggle came to an end on June 29, 2009 when Goldust was traded to the ECW brand via a 15-man trade, marking the first time that Rhodes has been on a brand other than Raw. His debut match for the brand came on the July 14 episode of ECW, in which he lost to Zack Ryder. In the upcoming weeks, he started a feud with Sheamus leading to his first televised singles win in several months on Superstars against Sheamus pinning him using an inside cradle. After several weeks of feuding, Sheamus defeated Goldust in a "No Disqualifications" match on the September 1 episode of ECW on Syfy to end the feud.
Following this loss, he garnered his first number one contender's match for the ECW Championship on the September 15, 2009 episode of ECW on Syfy in a 10-Man Battle Royal where he was the seventh participant eliminated and Zack Ryder earning the title shot in the end. The September 29, 2009 episode of ECW on Syfy saw Goldust win his first match on ECW in an eight-man tag team match where Yoshi Tatsu pinned William Regal to score the win for their team. On the November 10 episode of ECW on Syfy, Goldust won his first televised singles match on the ECW brand by pinning Paul Burchill. Goldust participated in an "ECW Homecoming" Match on the December 22 episode of ECW on Syfy to determine who will get an opportunity to challenge Christian for the ECW Championship, but was defeated by Vance Archer.
In early January, he teamed with Yoshi Tatsu and began a feud with ECW newcomers Trent Barreta and Caylen Croft. The duos exchanged victories in singles and tag team competition until the feud came to an end on the February 9 episode of ECW, when Goldust and Tatsu defeated Barreta and Croft in a match to determine the number one contenders to the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship. However, Goldust and Tatsu failed in capturing the titles on the final episode of ECW on Syfy. The team of Goldust and Yoshi Tatsu came to an end when Tatsu signed with the Raw brand after ECW on SyFy was cancelled.
On March 3, 2010, Goldust joined the SmackDown brand, making it the first time that Goldust had ever been officially on the SmackDown roster. He made his debut for the brand on the March 4 episode of Superstars in a losing effort against Chris Jericho. The following week on Superstars, he won his first match as a SmackDown star after defeating Mike Knox using his finishing move, the Final Cut, as well as beating William Regal also using the Final Cut soon afterwards. He appeared in a dark 26-man battle royal match at WrestleMania XXVI, but failed to win, although his past ally Yoshi Tatsu won.
As part of the 2010 WWE Supplemental Draft, Goldust was drafted back to the Raw brand. On the May 3 episode of Raw, Goldust made his re-debut for the brand in a backstage segment with the guest host for that week, Wayne Brady. In late September, a mysterious stalker was sending messages to Maryse and Ted DiBiase, but it was unsure who they were aimed at. On the October 4 episode of Raw, Goldust was revealed as the mystery stalker, but the messages were not directed to Maryse, but at DiBiase's Million Dollar Championship, which he then took.
During the season 2 finale of NXT on August 31, 2010, it was announced that Goldust would take part in NXT's third season as a Pro with Aksana as his Rookie. On the October 12 episode of NXT Goldust proposed to Aksana, who was facing deportation from the country, so she could stay in America. On the October 18 episode of Raw, DiBiase tried to reclaim his Million Dollar Championship after Goldust's match with Zack Ryder by attacking him, but he was unsuccessful in retrieving his belt. At Bragging Rights, DiBiase defeated Goldust, but Goldust still left with the title after Aksana distracted DiBiase long enough for Goldust to hit his finisher on him. Goldust and Aksana were married on the November 2 episode of NXT with father Dusty Rhodes and real-life half-brother "Dashing" Cody Rhodes in attendance. Immediately afterwards Aksana slapped Goldust and walked out on him. The following Monday on Raw Aksana stole the Million Dollar Championship belt during Goldust's match with Ted DiBiase. The following week on Raw Goldust managed to steal the Million Dollar Championship belt back from Aksana and then returned it to Ted DiBiase, Sr. and, on NXT he asked Aksana for a divorce after she was eliminated.
Backstage producer and departure (2011–2012)
On December 7, 2010, it was reported that Runnels had suffered a shoulder injury. He underwent surgery to repair the injury on December 10 and, as a result, was expected to be out of action for five to six months. On the April 11, 2011 episode of Raw, he was seen (without makeup) hugging Edge after his retirement speech. On July 11, Runnels began working backstage as a producer. On November 29 episode of Smackdown Live Holiday Special Goldust made his surprise return on a backstage segment with his father Dusty Rhodes. On December 12 episode of WWE Slammy Awards he appeared to announce the Slammy for A-Lister of The Year with Vickie Guerrero. On the December 30, 2011 episode of SmackDown Dustin appeared in his suit attire and no make up, to defend Booker T and confront his half brother, Cody Rhodes. Rhodes made an appearance on the edition of April 9, 2012 of Raw, he, along with numerous other WWE officials and superstars, were attempting to break up a brawl between Brock Lesnar and John Cena. On May 6, 2012, WWE acknowledged Goldust's departure from the company.
Return to independent circuit (2012–2013)
Runnels returned to professional wrestling on April 11, 2012 in Port St. Lucie, Florida for Championship Wrestling Entertainment's event "WrestleFest", defeating JD Maverick in the main event. He then wrestled on July 14, 2012 in Hollywood, Florida for the NWA Ring Warriors (part of NWA territories) promotion as Goldust, losing to Vordell Walker via disqualification when "Iceman" Buck Q interfered in the match. Runnels appeared for the Dreamwave Wrestling on September 15 in LaSalle, Illinois. Runnels continued to use the Goldust name outside WWE. Runnels appeared on Mr. Chainsaw Pro Wrestling's Battle Ground 5 event on May 18, 2013 in Kalkaska, Michigan and billed as Dustin "Goldust" Rhodes.
Fifth return to WWE
The Brotherhood (2013–2015)
Runnels returned to WWE as Goldust at the Royal Rumble on January 26, 2013; he appeared as the eighth participant in the Rumble match, and was eliminated by his half-brother, Cody Rhodes. Although he hinted at a possible feud with his half-brother, he later confirmed in an interview that his return was a one night only deal.
When his half-brother Cody was "fired" for speaking out against chief operating officer Triple H and then losing to the, at that time WWE Champion Randy Orton, Goldust returned on the September 9 Raw to face Orton in a match to get his half-brother Cody Rhodes rehired, but was defeated. Following this, Goldust's father Dusty Rhodes made his return to WWE to ask Stephanie McMahon for Cody to be rehired. After much dialogue The Shield interrupted as well as Big Show. Stephanie McMahon gave Dusty 2 choices which were to get knocked out by an unwilling Big Show or get "mauled by The Shield." Big Show then knocked Dusty out and stayed with Dusty while the paramedics arrived . In return, the vengeful Rhodes brothers gatecrashed Raw by attacking the Shield. At Battleground, Cody and Goldust won their jobs back when they defeated the WWE Tag Team Champions, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns in a non-title match. The Rhodes brothers heaped more misery on the Shield by winning a no disqualification match on the October 14 Raw (with the help of Big Show) to capture the tag titles, marking Goldust's first title in WWE in nearly 11 years. By this point, many longtime Goldust mannerisms such as wearing a robe and platinum blonde wig to the ring were dropped in exchange for wearing a jacket similar to his brother; additionally, Goldust would now speak with his normal Texan voice. At Hell in a Cell, the Rhodes brothers' first successful title defence came with winning a triple threat match against the Usos and Rollins and Reigns. At Survivor Series, Goldust alongside his half-brother Cody, participated in the traditional Survivor Series Tag Team match where Goldust survived till the final two alongside Rey Mysterio. However, he got eliminated by Roman Reigns and his team lost. At TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs, the Rhodes Brothers made a successful title defence in a fatal-4-way elimination match against Curtis Axel and Ryback, The Real Americans and Big Show and Rey Mysterio, but they lost the title to The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) at the Royal Rumble. Later in the Royal Rumble match, he would accidentally eliminate Cody Rhodes. After continuing to team together for months, Goldust and Cody broke up in June, after mounting losses. Cody prompted Goldust to find a new partner to replace him.
On the June 16 episode of Raw, Cody debuted a new character, Stardust, wearing face paint and a bodysuit and adopting mannerisms similar to those of Goldust. At Money in the Bank, Goldust and Stardust defeated RybAxel (Curtis Axel and Ryback). Goldust and Stardust appeared in backstage segments, speaking of a "Cosmic Key". On the August 25 episode of Raw, Goldust and Stardust defeated The Usos in a title match via count-out, but, as a result, they did not win the title. The duo would then attack the Usos out of frustration, turning heel in the process. They confirmed their heel turn after attacking El Torito the following night on Main Event, having defeated Los Matadores in their tag team match. At Night of Champions they won the WWE Tag Team Championships once again by beating The Usos. At Hell in Cell they retained their title by beating The Usos. At Survivor Series lost the title to The Miz and Damien Mizdow. They had a rematch for the tag team titles the following night on Raw, but were unsuccessfull.
On the February 2, 2015 episode of Raw, after being defeated by The Ascension, Stardust would start to show his frustrations toward Goldust. On the February 16 episode of Raw, following a loss to The New Day members Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, Stardust would turn on Goldust by using his old finisher, Cross Rhodes on him, marking the end of Gold and Stardust, turning Goldust face in the process. This led to a match at Fastlane, where Goldust defeated Stardust. Later that night, while speaking to their father, Dusty Rhodes, Goldust would be attacked by Stardust again. At WrestleMania 31, Goldust participated in the 2nd annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, where he was eliminated by Ryback. On the March 30, 2015 episode of Raw, Goldust lost via submission to Rusev.
In May, Goldust announced that he would undergo surgery to address a shoulder injury and that he would be out of action for 2–4 months.
Goldust returned from injury at Survivor Series, competing in a 5-on-5 traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match during the pre-show, teaming with Titus O'Neil, Neville and The Dudley Boyz, where they defeated the team of Stardust, the Ascension, Bo Dallas and The Miz. On the December 17 episode of SmackDown, Goldust would cost Tyler Breeze his match against O'Neil after distracting Breeze by appearing at ringside. On the December 31 episode of SmackDown, Goldust would be defeated by Breeze.
Golden Truth (2016−present)
In early 2016, during various episodes of Raw and SmackDown, Goldust would approach R-Truth and propose they form a tag team, to no avail. At Fastlane, Goldust would inadvertently cost Truth his match against Curtis Axel. Following Fastlane, Truth began to apologize and attempt to form a tag team with Goldust, this time with Goldust denying Truth. On the March 21 episode of Raw, Goldust came to Truth's aid after Truth was defeated by Bubba Ray Dudley. At WrestleMania 32, Goldust took part in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in a losing effort.
On the April 11 episode of Raw, Shane McMahon announced a number one contenders tournament for the WWE Tag Team Championship, which included Goldust and Truth teaming together. However, on the April 14 episode of SmackDown, Goldust would tell Truth before their match they would not team together, with Goldust instead teaming with Fandango, where they were defeated by The Vaudevillains in the first round. On the April 22 episode of Smackdown, Goldust was the special referee for the match of R-Truth and Fandango which R-Truth won. On the May 2 episode of Raw, Goldust faced off against Truth's new partner, Tyler Breeze, in a losing effort following a distraction from Truth. On the May 12 episode of SmackDown, the two teams would face each other, with Goldust and Truth refusing to fight each other, resulting in Fandango and Breeze form an alliance and beat down Goldust and Truth, with Fandango subsequently allowing Breeze to pin Goldust. On the May 16 episode of Raw, Goldust and Truth began teaming together, where they were defeated by the newly dubbed Breezango (Fandango and Breeze). The week after on SmackDown, Golden Truth started a losing streak, losing to the likes of Breezango and The Dudley Boyz. Golden Truth earned their first victory at the Money in the Bank event on June 19 after defeating Breezango.
The Golden Truth returned to WWE television on Monday Night Raw, on the July 4, 2016 episode in a prerecorded segment with a food fight with most of the WWE active roster, and also in a live match where they defeated the Vaudevilians.
Runnels' father is Virgil Runnels, better known as "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. His half-brother is Cody Runnels, who also wrestled for WWE from 2006 to 2016 as "Cody Rhodes" and "Stardust". He has a sister, Kristin Runnels Ditto, who is a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
Runnels' autobiography, Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness, was released in December 2010. In the book, Runnels mentioned that he was married a second time to an unnamed woman. "I also had a short-lived and highly volatile second marriage. We only dated for a few months, then, one day, we just went to the justice of the peace and did the deed." He may have been referring to Milena Martelloni, whom he married on December 18, 2002.
- Finishing moves
- As Goldust
- Curtain Call (Lifting falling inverted DDT – 1995–2001, 2008 or a hangman's neckbreaker – 2002–2003)
- Final Cut (Swinging vertical suplex) – 2008–present
- Golden Age (Reverse STO) – 2009; used as a signature move from 2010–2011
- Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte / Good Night, Sweet Charlotte (Cobra clutch with Body scissors) - 2002-2003
- Shattered Dreams/Golden Globes (Running low blow kick to a cornered rope hung opponent) – 1998–2009, used rarely thereafter
- As Dustin Rhodes
- As Black Reign
- As Goldust
- Signature moves
- Bionic elbow – adopted from his father
- Bulldog, sometimes from the second rope
- Cannonball from the ring apron to the outside of the ring
- Director's Cut/Shock Treatment (Snap scoop powerslam) rarely used as a signature
- Diving hurricanrana – 2013–present
- Dropping down and uppercutting the opponent, as a back body drop counter
- Jumping hip attack, as a counter to an oncoming opponent
- Inverted atomic drop, sometimes followed by a clothesline
- Oscar (Sitout rear mat slam)
- Running stunner – 2007
- Sidewalk slam
- Spinebuster – 2013–present
- Springboard back elbow – 2013–present
- Sunset flip powerbomb
- Twisting diving crossbody
- Entrance themes
- "Dustin Runnels" by Jim Johnston (WWF)
- "The Natural" by D. Conort, M. Seitz and J. Papa (WCW)
- "Golden" by Jim Johnston (WWF)
- "Common Man Boogie" by Jimmy Hart & J.J. Helm (WWF, February 23, 1998; WWE, October 6, 2013)
- "Goldust" by Jim Johnston (WWF/E)
- "Gold-Lust" by Jim Johnston (WWE)
- "Black Reign" by Dale Oliver (TNA)
- "Gold and Smoke" by Jim Johnston (WWE; used while teaming with Cody Rhodes)
- "Written in the Stars" ("Gold-Lust" Intro) by Jim Johnston (WWE; used while teaming with Stardust)
Championships and accomplishments
- American Combat Wrestling
- ACW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- Coastal Championship Wrestling
- CCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling
- World Championship Wrestling
- World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
- WWF Intercontinental Championship (3 times)
- WWF Hardcore Championship (9 times)
- WWE Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Cody Rhodes/Stardust
- World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Booker T
- Slammy Awards (4 times)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- 5 Star Match (1992) with Sting, Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat, and Nikita Koloff vs. Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, and Larry Zbyszko in a WarGames match at WrestleWar
- Most Embarrassing Wrestler (1997)
- Most Improved (1991)
- Rookie of the Year (1989)
- Worst Gimmick (1995) as Goldust
- Worst Gimmick (1997) as The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust
- Worst Gimmick (2007) as Black Reign