Dusty Rhodes – Gorilla Match


As I pulled into WrestleCrap HQ earlier this week, I saw a package sitting by the door from our good friends over at Sports Publishing. You might be familiar with their work – they’re the guys that brought you books such as Tributes 2, King of the Ring: The Harley Race Story, and Chairshots by Bobby Heenan. They often send me pre-release copies of their wrestling tomes, so anytime I see them on the return address label, I am a pretty happy fella.

But this time, I wasn’t just glad…I was downright giddy. Because inside the wrapping paper, inside the bubble wrap, there it was:

Yes, ladies and germs, the AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF DUSTY RHODES. Now whether you are a fan of the American Splotch or not, you have to admit that he has to have some hellacious stories to tell. Whether he tells them truthfully or not…well, that remains to be seen (and based on what some insiders have told me, I’m not going to hold my breath).

Still, big Dust has led quite the storied career. On top of giving fans countless killer promos quite a few memorable matches, he’s also endured (and booked) his share of WrestleCrap. We all remember the polka dots…the angle where Ric Flair had to kiss his donkey…and, of course, the time he tagged up with a gorilla.

What’s this? You don’t recall’s fabled pairing with an ape? Well, don’t feel bad. I didn’t either, until longtime fellow Crapper Michael D’Amico brought it to my attention and forwarded a tape of an old WCW All Nighter my way. Within this 7 1/4″ x 4″ x 1″ piece of black plastic contained quite possibly the scariest visual in the history of VHS: Dusty Rhodes and Tony Schiavone, sitting together on a couch.

While this in itself would be horrifying enough, the creep-scale completely pops its coil thank to the fact that Tony Schiavone is apparently NOT WEARING PANTS.

Good Lord, I’m having Young and The Wrestling flashbacks

While a lesser man would have likely jumped under the blankets and hidden in fear until, say, 2017, I trudged on. Why, you ask? Because Dusty Rhodes began to speak. And he said THIS.

When Dusty Rhodes tells you “Gorilla time it is” you just keep watching.

Tony Schiavone’s taint be damned.

Flashback to April 1985…

Ah yes, there’s the Dream, looking as fit as a fiddle…ok, maybe a cello. Anyway, Big Dust was feuding with the Koloffs, Ivan (who even then had to be like 93 or so) and Nikita. Upon first seeing the mighty Nikita, Dusty proclaimed that the younger Rooskie was “nothing more than a big ol’ gorilla.”

And so Dusty, thinking only as Dusty could, decided he would fight the gorilla with a gorilla of his own.

True to his word, a week later right in the center of the Techwood Drive studio Dusty introduced his partner to the world:

Oh yes – a man in a rubber ape suit, whom he promptly forcefed bananas.

You know, I’m not sure what I find funnier: the fact that the gorilla was nothing more than some doofus in a suit, or that Dusty dubbed him “Baby Doll #2.” Maybe this ape was, in fact, the missing link; the missing link in the the unsolved mystery of the photos Baby Doll #1 blackmailed Dusty with a few years later!

Tony actually tried to interview the gorilla, thus proving he was an idiot long before he proclaimed every single Nitro the biggest in the history of wrestling. While the gorilla didn’t have much to say, rest assured that Dusty was as usual at no loss for words.

As if all this wasn’t just quite surreal enough, Dusty had a special surprise for his partner. It being Mother’s Day, the Splotch flew in, yep, you guessed it – THE GORILLA’S MOM.

Anyway, the angle climaxed when someone (our good pal Dave Meltzer believes it was Dick Slater) came out of the suit and helped Dusty defeat those big nasty commies.

Dick Slater: Gorilla by day, Rebel by night

And that was the last the world saw of Dusty’s gorilla. Too bad – if anything could have saved WCW from its untimely demise, I have to believe it would have been a feud between the gorilla’s mom and the mom of another guy with the brain of a chimp: Judy Bagwell.

But that’s another story for another day…

Dusty Rhodes: “Tony, you were there, it was somethin’ else. Ivan Koloff say, ‘Dusty Rhodes, you gotta get a partner and I saw his partner and he was just a big ol’ gorilla. And a lightbulb flashed up in the middle of my noggin! I said, ‘Gorilla time it is!’ I said, ‘I can get a gorilla to beat your man Nikita Koloff, tag match at the Omni in Atlanta. Nationwide, going all over the world. I flew to Nirobei on a crop duster! Got out, walked out through Kenya, through miles and miles of the Nile River. And my tongue was hanging out as long as the Nile River! And I found the perfect gorilla. Flew him back at great expense of Ted Turner. Propped him up in the middle of the studio on a Saturday morning!”

Gorilla growls!
Dusty: “That man got some vocabulary!”
Tony Schiavone: “Can you understand what he’s saying?”
Dusty: “Yeah man, he’s saying ‘How’s your week been, Jack?’ Gorilla look into the camera, look over there!”

Dusty: ” I told you last week, Gorilla, you be good I got a present for ya! Tomorrow’s Mother’s Day, I have went all the way and flown your mother in, live and in living color, Jack!”
Tony: “There goes Dusty Rhodes, to get your mother.”
Dusty: “Look at that – look at the gorilla! I love it! This is the Gorilla’s mama!”

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