Dustin Rhodes: I Don't Want To Embarrass Myself, I Want To Get Out While I Can Still Walk

On December 3 at the Blizzard Brawl tapings, Dustin Rhodes announced that 2023 would be his last year as an in-ring wrestler.

Rhodes returned to the ring on Wednesday's AEW Dynamite, competing in the Dynamite Diamond Ring battle royale. Prior to the battle royale, he hadn't wrestled since August when he unsuccessfully challenged Claudio Castagnoli for the ROH World Title. He has undergone a series of knee surgeries and said he had about a year left on his AEW contract.

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Appearing on Busted Open Radio, Rhodes offered more insight into his decision and clarified that his AEW contract is up in July.

"I remember seeing Ray Candy years ago when I broke into the business, and he wasn't in the best shape, he was using a walker, and I was just getting into the business and I was green and excited and hungry and passionate, and I still am, but I made a promise to myself that I was going to get out while I can still walk," said Dustin.

He continued, "I didn't really think I was going to say anything about this, it just happened at Blizzard Brawl, and I thought, 'I don't think anybody is going to pick up on it,' but they did and it caught fire. I just have to own it. I truly don't want to go out in the business and do anything that tarnishes my career. I don't want to slip up and fall. I have this in the back of my head every time I go out, 'what if I do something stupid?' Then they're going to start chanting 'please retire' and I don't want it to get to that. I know I'm doing really well right now and having some of the best work of my entire career these last four years, even though they are few and far between, Tony has done a good job treating me like an attraction, and I appreciate that and it does help my body, but on the flip side, it's hard when you're not working five days a week like the WWE schedule. Your body gets calloused and used to it, now I work once every two, three, four months, and if you go 100 miles an hour then you pay the price. It takes me a week and a half to two weeks to recover from one match. I'm starting to see those things. My knees are pretty rough. My shoulders are pretty rough. I made the decision, the end of July, my contract is up and I'm going to be done in-ring, or at least tone way down. I don't know if that's going to be it because when we say we're retiring, we always comeback and you never say never, but that's what I'm looking for, an end date for my in-ring wrestling career."

Rhodes made his professional debut in September 1988.

"It'll be 35 years in the business, almost 36, and that's a good round number. There's nothing that I haven't done, good or bad that I regret, I've loved everything I've done. The bad things have come to me and taught me lessons. I've become a better man because of those. I want to get out while I can still walk and still teach the kids and coach, hopefully, if God willing I'm allowed to do that, and occasionally make an on-screen appearance, I don't know, but I don't want to embarrass myself is the main thing. I'm starting to second guess my work rate. My stamina is not as good as it was. I was watching Mox [Jon Moxley] last night and I'm like, 'I'm blown up, I can't hang with that.' I could, but it would have to be my style and very structured. I couldn't do that every week," he said.

Along with still being an in-ring performer, Dustin serves as a coach in AEW, largely working with the women's division.

If you missed anything from Wednesday's AEW Dynamite, check out Fightful's full report on the show by clicking here.

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