Da Pope: Dusty Rhodes Was The Closest Thing I Had To Black Representation In The NWA

Elijah Burke talks Dusty Rhodes and representation.

Dusty Rhodes always prided himself on being the everyman in professional wrestling. while Ric Flair was limousine ridin’ and jet flyin’, Dusty Rhodes, presented himself as the common man (working hard with his hands).

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For a man that is currently in the NWA, ‘Da Pope’ Elijah Burke, he says that the presentation of Dusty Rhodes on National wrestling Alliance television is the closest thing he felt to black representation when he was growing up watching the NWA. While he never discounted those like Rocky King and Pez Whatley, Dusty was the closest representation he had at the top of the card. Now, he says he wants to provide that representation for others by trying to become the second black NWA World Champion in history.

"The next goal is real simple and that's to become the second black man in the history of the NWA to become world champion. It makes me emotional just to think about it. A little boy from Jacksonville, an Afro-headed black kid that had no black heroes in the National Wrestling Alliance. The closest thing we had to a black champion was 'The American Dream' Dusty Rhodes," said Burke on the Battleground Podcast.

"When he reached out and said, 'Your hand touching my hand,' I was at the TV reaching out to him. He made me believe. Yes, I never overlooked my Rocky Kings. I never overlooked 'Pistol' Pez Whatley, 'Big Cat' Ernie Ladd, and all of them that came through from time to time, Abdullah The Butcher, but we just never had that black representative. That representation has never been there even dating back to when they were doing it -- a shout out to my man R-Truth who succeeded in joining the TNA version, affiliation with the NWA.

"Though there were no kids looking at that and then we know that the internet and wrestling today is not what it was then. No one was able to see no one recognized and it was it just kind of happened on A weekly pay-per-view and then, you know, a week later was done, no celebrations, no real acknowledgments other than maybe the magazine. So yeah, that's what I want to do. I want to bring that to the National Wrestling Alliance and to the scene of professional wrestling."

Furthermore, Elijah Burke says he would like to pay that forward by defending the Ten Pounds of Gold against Dustin Rhodes if he were to ever become champion.

“As soon as I win the Ten Pounds of Gold, if I am to welcome anyone to come through my door, or anyone that I want to defend the NWA Ten Pounds of Gold against, It is ‘The Natural’ Dustin Rhodes. It would be so fitting. He knows what he means to me. He knows what his dad has meant, and means to me. I think it would only be fitting that Dustin and Pope go at it for the Ten Pounds of Gold.”

Pope would further say that he wouldn't care if it was under the NWA banner or the AEW banner, he just wants to have this dream fight.

“Dustin, we go back, we go way back to my arrival on the professional scene, and we've only had nothing but respect for each other. nothing but love. Dustin, Tony Khan, I'm telling you now, go ahead and make it happen when that time comes, Pope's walking through that Forbidden Door, and I want Dustin Rhodes. Whether that's under the AEW banner, or headlining for the NWA, we’re gonna get funky like a monkey.”

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