Not sure how many folks are aware of it, but every Wednesday night I do a live chat of AEW Dynamite. I don’t advertise it here on the site so pretty sure only like a dozen people on planet earth even know I do that. But yes, each and every week, I yuk it up with my friends and have a grand old time.
It’s on my Facebook if you’d like to join the fun.
Yes yes, I know. Facebook. The old folks’ social media platform. But hey, since we’re talking old folks, let’s talk Dustin Rhodes, shall we?
(What an amazingly lazy transition that was.)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Dustin has had a pretty remarkable career revival since joining his brother in the upstart promotion. It wasn’t that long ago he was more or less written off WWE television, with the thinking that at 50 years old, his best days were way, way behind him. Fast forward to Double or Nothing 2019. He and Cody put on a match that was, no joke, one of the best I had ever seen live. I was in shock. I went in expecting next to nothing from that match, and it was flat out incredible. I remember talking to the legendary Stu Saks (thanks for getting us tickets together, Conrad!) and asking him if he’d seen anything like it. He just shook his head too.
But for once, it was in a GOOD way.
Want a head shake in a bad way? Then let’s talk about Dustin’s run in TNA in 2007…as the infamous Black Reign.
Hey, don’t look at me like that dude. I just said nice things about you! I didn’t slap you in that black and white version of the Goldust suit and face paint!
Now as best I can recollects, this nonsense started in July of 2007. During an interview with Mike Tenay, Dustin explained that he had a problem with Chris Harris. Maybe he told him a bad knock knock joke, who knows. Anyways, he tells us that he thinks maybe Harris is ovulating and has ovaries or something and I ain’t a lyin’ I gots zero idea what the heck this man is talking about. Maybe you can decipher.
Following a week or two of ‘mysterious’ videos, Black Reign made his official debut at Hard Justice, which sounds like either a redneck bar in Nashville or something they’d have shown on Skinemax back in the late 90s. What I’m saying is as a name for a pro wrestling show, it’s probably not the best.
Also not the best would be this match against Harris…
…featuring these kicks. Woof.
The rest of the bout is honestly not a whole lot more than that – a bunch of punches (which thankfully looked better than those kicks) and Chris Harris bleeding all over the place. It all ends with Dustin shoving referee Earl Hebner down for the DQ, and then, just because Harris wasn’t gushing enough, Reign pops him in the head with a spike.
We would soon learn that the spike had a name, “Darkness Falls”, and he would carry it with him no matter where he went. Look closely and you’ll note he has something in his other hand as well:
That would be Misty, his pet rat, which we are told he kept in a cage. I say “we are told” this because it looks nothing like a cage at all. Honestly, it looks more like a purse or some leftover gimmick in the Halloween aisle at Target on like November 6 as the price keeps been whittled down and folks keep letting it collect dust on the shelf.
So we get to No Surrender, and it’s the rematch no one wanted to see as Harris gets his shot at redemption. On the plus side, it was a much better match and the Wildcat is able to get a flukey small package win. Of course, that can’t be the end of it as Reign takes it to Harris after the bell and unleashes THE RAT.
Yep, just like the glory days of Jake “The Snake” Roberts!
Well, except instead of a terrifying 12′ snake, it was a mouse. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want anyone to think my idea of a good time is having a rodent on my face, but if it’s that or Damien, bring on Mickey.
It was all silly enough, and then someone got the bright idea to put the mouse in a trash bag and stick it over Abyss’ head:
Where on earth was PETA during all this? I mean, it was a LIVE MOUSE for crying out loud – shouldn’t someone have stepped in to protect
Harris me from having to watch this crap?
OH – and time out, real quick:
I would also be remiss if I didn’t post a link of Black Reign’s theme song. If you listen closely to the beginning, it sounds nearly identical to Mike Check’s intro. Not sure if Russo was booking the company at this time, but I’m pretty sure he was. If so, eh, whatever, you can have that one on us, Vince.
Now if you look closely at the video, you will see now he is now carrying something ELSE with him to the ring too. That’s right – a spike and a rat weren’t enough luggage, he began carting a spooky BLACK BOX too.
Week after week, the contents of the box are teased as Dustin has a series of pretty awful, garbagey matches against the usual suspects like Abyss, Rhino, and Raven. At this point, there was no sign this guy was ever going to make any kind of comeback: he was slow, out of shape, and just looked completely lethargic. The matches were anything but fun to watch.
Unless, I guess, you’re the sick freak that likes to see someone get their hands smushed in a vice…
…or their face get clickity-clacked with mousetraps. If that’s the case, this run, especially the Genesis Shop of Horrors match, is all for you.
Also, if you derived any enjoyment from that kinda stuff…please leave WrestleCrap.com and never return. We have enough weirdos around here without the likes of you.
Oh, and that black box? Pretty sure the contents were never revealed. Instead, a DIFFERENT box began to be carted out, a much larger one. At the end of the Genesis match, Abyss pried that one open to reveal this man…
…that’s right, kids – were it not for Black Reign, we may never have bore witness to RELLIK.
That’s “killer” spelled backwards.
You know how I know that? Because Mike Tenay repeated that exact same line approximately 4,875 times over the next four months. It’s very obvious someone thought that name was incredibly clever, just as it is also very obvious that everyone other than that one person thought that name was kinda dumb.
So now he had a partner in these dumb matches, stupid stuff like the legendary Silent Night Bloody Night. I ain’t going back to review that again – once was enough.
So after all this time of having Black Reigns shoved down our throats, the following week, just out of the blue, this guy showed up:
No no, it’s not the guy who does a bad job mowing your neighbor’s lawn, but it’s Dustin Rhodes. Though to be honest, at the time, it may have been the same guy. Anyhoo, for one whole week, he’s not Black Reign, he’s just plain old Dustin and he’s looking for a job. It wound up leading to a short program with of all people, Frankie Kazarian.
Soon enough, Kaz would put on face paint and dub himself White Sunshine. He apparently stole Misty the rat, dyed it white (!!!!), and renamed it Marlena. This epic story telling led to, no joke…
…a RAT ON A POLE MATCH.
Somehow, the battles between Kaz and Black Reign transitioned to yet another horrible feud, this time featuring Eric Young. Horrified by what he had seen on television, Eric believed Black Reign to be a “real monster”, just like the Gremlins or Cloverdale. Thankfully, he would eventually be brave enough to go into battle…
…as SUPER ERIC.
Where on earth is that guy from the last induction I did?
You said it, buddy.
Dustin would be gone from TNA shortly after this. The world had to have thought his career was over…but as we’ve seen recently, it appears that’s nowhere near the case.
Wait a minute…an induction with a HAPPY ENDING?
That’s gotta be a first here at WrestleCrap!