Dusty Statue, Highest Paid Stars, Rikishi Defends Reigns, Bret Shoots On Hulk

Dusty Rhodes statue

Video: Dusty Rhodes Statue Unveiled

WWE unveiled a statue for the late Dusty Rhodes at the NXT area of Wrestlemania Axxess:

Live from #Wrestlemania #Axxess, Paul "Triple H" Levesque unveils a special tribute to a certain #WWE Hall of Famer #WWEHOF

Posted by WWE on Thursday, March 31, 2016

DALLAS — The late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes was officially ushered into immortality at WrestleMania Axxess with the unveiling of a bronze, life-size statue of “The American Dream.”

The WWE Universe in attendance at the first night of WrestleMania Axxess, alongside the entire Rhodes family and NXT roster, were the first to witness the statue’s presentation, which drew the raucous adulation of the crowd in Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

“I looked to him as a mentor and an inspiration and a creative force behind the scenes. I cannot put into words how much he meant to me and how much he meant to this industry,” said WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H, who emceed the presentation after an introduction from Corey Graves and Tom Phillips.

“[He’s] already a Hall of Famer in every way possible,” said The Game of Rhodes, who, along with Triple H, helped to mentor the Superstars and Women of NXT to stardom. “This is just another step to immortality.”

“The American Dream’s” entire family shared the ring with The Game at the time of the statue’s unveiling, which Triple H performed alongside Rhodes’ sons, Dustin and Cody.

“It’s been a tough year for our family,” Dustin said after the unveiling. “Dad was an amazing man, but to us he was just ‘Pops.’ And he was a common man who became ‘The American Dream’ because he had a dream and he captured his dream. I want to say thank you to the fans who supported our father one hundred and ten percent over the years and continue to support Cody and myself.”

“Right now,” he continued, “I can guarantee you Dad is in Heaven getting funky like a monkey with the angels, looking down, very proud of all this.”

Brandi Rhodes, who performs as WWE ring announcer Eden, followed up.

“I only had the opportunity to be one of Dusty’s daughters for about two years,” she said, before thanking the rest of the family for allowing her to share in their moment. “It’s an awesome thing that he was able to be shared with all of us collectively.”

An emotional Cody closed out the proceedings with a pair of stories. One was a fun anecdote about Rhodes’ WWE Hall of Fame induction. (Question: “Who’d you ever beat?” Answer: “Everyone on that stage, baby.”) The second was a more heartfelt one about the elder Rhodes’ time running a promotion and calling up to offer condolences to a performer whose father had passed and made time to ask about what kind of man he’d been.

“Dusty Rhodes was famous for talking but he was a hell of a listener,” said Cody. “If you come to this statue, take a picture. Don’t be shy. Talk to him. Tell him how your day is going. Tell him who you think is going to win at WrestleMania. Tell him everything, because I have to believe that this special group of people that comes to WrestleMania, comes to Axxess, comes to NXT, people that love sports-entertainment, that echoes in heaven and earth.”

As Triple H departed to leave the Rhodes family alongside their father figure’s monument, the strains of Dusty’s theme song, the iconic “Common Man Boogie,” played “The American Dream” off into eternity.

Speaking of Axxess Triple H and Stephanie gave fans a video tour of the various attractions:

Getting a behind the scenes tour of #Axxess…

Posted by Stephanie McMahon – WWE on Thursday, March 31, 2016

WWE have also shared a video giving fans a sneak peak at the Wrestlemania set:

Top 10 Highest Paid WWE Stars

Forbes has done some research and ranked the top 10 highest paid wrestlers in WWE. Here’s the quick list:

John Cena: $9.5 million
Brock Lesnar: $6.0 million
Triple H: $2.8 million
Randy Orton: $2.7 million
Seth Rollins: $2.4 million
Roman Reigns: $2.1 million
The Undertaker: $2.0 million
Big Show: $1.5 million
Kane: $1.3 million
Dean Ambrose: $1.1 million

Rikishi Shoots On Critical Fans

WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi countered critics who say Roman Reigns can’t wrestle. He told FOX Sports:

All due respect to the fans. Without the fans, there is no Roman Reigns. Without the fans, there is no Samoan Dynasty, there is no Triple H, there is none of us. So the fans are entitled to their opinion. Again, let’s keep in mind, this wave that’s going through Roman Reigns at the time, he’s not the first, nor will he be the last. He is who he is. As far as the rumors about him not being able to wrestle, well I beg to differ, because I know that he comes from a bloodline that’s called Samoan Dynasty, Anoa’i strong. We all know how they wrestle and I think and know that we do it very well.

I feel that, in due time, you’re gonna see Roman Reigns become Roman Empire. Let’s take it back to John Cena and Rock back in the day, when people felt like they was just shoved down their throats. Eventually, they earned the people’s respect, and the next thing you know, they were just loved by the whole world. To me, you don’t want to go against the WWE Universe. You never want to do that. To me, what works is to go with the flow. If you hate me so much like that, had it been me, I’d tell Vince, switch me heel right now. Let’s give it to these people. I’d be the baddest frickin’ heel that they’d ever see. And in due time, you would hate me so much, when I do turn babyface, guess what, [you’d love me]. It’s a very simple fix.

Reigns himself addressed the crowd reaction issue in an interview with Sporting News:

I get a pretty good mixed reaction but whatever I’m doing, they seem to be pretty loud. So whether it’s cheers or boos, that’s what one thing I can typically count on. They’re going to be stirred up no matter what.

I have a full year under my belt so I would think I’m a much more experienced performer. I’ve been in this type of situation before. Just coming back this year, and to be able to do all of these cool things again, to have these relationships, meet different people and have these partnerships like I have today with Snickers who is the presenting sponsor of WrestleMania. These are the great opportunities that WrestleMania brings.

Bret Hart Says Hogan Really Is Racist

Just because Hulk Hogan won his Gawker lawsuit Bret Hart isn’t about to jump on the bandwagon. He told the Jobbing Out Podcast that he thinks Hulk really is racist:

“He’s coming into a nice little bonus there for being a racist.”

“The real truth of it is those statements that Hogan made, me personally, I was offended by it. I’m a Canadian guy. But for years and years in the States, I was a witness to a lot of American wrestlers, most white, Southern, American wrestlers…that were very racist and used the N-word pretty freely and behind the back of the black wrestlers. I was always offended by it.”

“I think with Hogan, I think it’s a case of him getting caught…they talk that kind of bulls–t, and they don’t look in the mirror and go, ‘You know, I am a racist’ when they are racist. He admitted to being a racist on the video. I think that for all the money in the world, to people all over the world he was hero. I’m sure he had a lot of black wrestling fans that idolized him and worshiped him.”

“When he goes on TV and says, ‘That wasn’t me. That’s not the real me’, I say bulls–t. That was the real you. That’s the real you that I’ve seen, along with countless other wrestlers that are from certain parts of the country that talk in that vernacular and it’s not right. I’m glad he stepped into that mess because he tarnished his reputation and his image forever.”

“I have lots of reasons why I don’t like Hogan. He’s always been a liar. I can’t hardly think of a thing that he’s said in his life that’s been true or honest. He’s a liar. He’s a piece of s–t. He’s a rich piece of s–t now.”

Noelle Appears On Austin’s Podcast

Noelle Foley made a surprise appearance during Steve Austin’s Axxess podcast with Mick Foley yesterday. She confirmed that she is training to be a Diva and gave a few details about the upcoming Holy Foley reality show on the Network.