Monday, July 25, 2016

American Dreams Come True

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

On the eve of the 30th Anniversary of Dusty Rhodes' historic third NWA world heavyweight championship win over Ric Flair at the Great American Bash in Greensboro on July 26, 1986, Dusty's son Cody Rhodes posted these thoughts in a 4-part tweet (the original tweets are embedded at the bottom of this post):
"If you've read "Big Gold" by Dick Bourne you know the nameplate for my Father was never on the actual Title after my Father defeated Ric at The GAB. It was rumored to not even exist, but it was ordered and it does exist. I found it in a cigar-box. And on the eve of the 30th ANNIVERSARY and with @HeyHeyItsConrad 's help, it officially goes on the original "Big Gold". The "hard times" for you Pop are over. Just good times ahead sir." - Cody Rhodes
Needless to say, I'm honored that Cody has my book, and thrilled that the discussion within its pages regarding the "Dusty Rhodes" nameplate led to his sentimental post on Twitter celebrating one of his father's greatest victories.

American Dreams do come true: for the first time since Dusty Rhodes won
the Big Gold in 1986, the nameplate finally goes on the belt.

Fans of this legendary belt owe Cody a debt of thanks for sharing the nameplate with all of us. Stars truly aligned for this to have ever happened to begin with.

The back story, if you don't own the book (but you really ought to own the book), is that a nameplate was ordered to go on the belt after Dusty's big win at the Bash. Nelson Royal, on behalf of Jim Crockett Promotions, placed the order with Crumrine Jewelers in Nevada (the company that made the Big Gold Belt) on July 29, three days after Dusty's big win. the same day that order was placed, Jim Crockett, Jr. appeared with Dusty on a television taping of "World Wide Wrestling" and told fans that a new nameplate had been ordered and would go on the belt, replacing the Ric Flair plate.

But before the nameplate was delivered, Dusty lost the NWA championship back to Flair after a Horseman ambush in Kansas City led to an injured Rhodes dropping the title back to Flair in St. Louis only a few weeks later.

Crumrine provided scans of the original paperwork for the book showing the special order form and the artwork for the Rhodes nameplate. (Cody's first tweet shows the book opened to that page.) But because we never got to see the nameplate appear on the Big Gold belt, we never knew if the order for that nameplate had ever really been filled and delivered.

Until now.

A few months back, Cody Rhodes read about the nameplate in "Big Gold" and with the help of Conrad Thompson, Ric Flair, and the collector who owns the belt today, arranged for a dream to come true - - an American Dream, if you will. What for the last 30 years would have seemed unthinkable has now been made possible - - the original 1986 Dusty Rhodes nameplate was placed on the original 1986 NWA world heavyweight championship belt for the very first time.

Sparks actually flew when the two pieces of gold first touched. Stardust.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

 Here are the original tweets from the official Twitter account of Cody Rhodes (@CodyRhodes):