Saturday, March 04, 2023

The Big Gold Nameplate Exchange


By Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Take a look at the image above and just imagine Klondike Bill’s workbench in his shop behind the office on Briarbend Drive a few days after the Great American Bash in Greensboro, July 26, 1986.

Yes, that's the Dusty Rhodes nameplate on the original 1986 Big Gold belt. It was rumored to not have existed. Jim Crockett told us on television that next Saturday afternoon that a nameplate for Dusty had been ordered and would be on the belt soon. But we never saw it, and most of us never believed it. As fans, we all were pretty confidant Ric Flair would get the Big Gold belt back soon and his iconic nameplate would go back on the belt. So we figured, why would they go to the trouble and expense behind the scenes of ordering a new nameplate?

But the Dusty nameplate was indeed ordered. And it was delivered. It just didn't make it in time for Dusty to have it on the belt when he was NWA champion for the third and final time. 

We verified the order later with the actual Crumrine order form and art work (it's all in the Big Gold book by the way - - thank you Teddy Srour.) But what we didn't know when the book was published was that the Dusty nameplate had actually been made until Cody Rhodes posted about it on Twitter several years ago. (See that story: American Dreams Come True.) Cody found it in a cigar box when going through his dad's belongings after Dusty had passed.

The original photo above was taken by Clint Beckley, and we created the special fantasy image above.   

See also: Big Dust, Big Gold

Edited and expanded from an original Twitter and Gateway post in September 2022.