​Finn Balor & Sami Zayn Reveal What They Learned From Dusty Rhodes, & More


WWE.com is posting a series of interviews with “Dusty’s Kids” heading into NXT Takeover. The two interviews feature Finn Balor and Sami Zayn sharing their memories of Dusty Rhodes. Check out each one’s stories below:

Balor on Rhodes’ promo class: “One of the first classes I had with Dusty was promo class. Obviously, my mic skills, although they improved over the year I spent with him, they weren’t so good at the beginning. Dusty said to me, ‘Prince,’ because I was still Prince at the time, ‘Prince, the way people were talking about your work before you came in, I thought Lou Thesz was going to walk in the door. What we have to do is get your communication skills on par with your ring work.’ That’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since I got here. He helped me get comfortable in myself, not be worried about trying to sound cool. He said, ‘You’ve got an accent already, just speak from the heart and be honest and open, be yourself. That’s what got you here and what people are interested in, so that’s what will sell for you.’ The first couple times, I was very rigid and stern, I memorized the verbiage. It never came out right. He encouraged me, just go out there and talk, be yourself. I went up there, maybe I was a little pissed off and angry, I was more myself and he said, ‘That’s it, it sounds cool. It doesn’t matter what you say, when you say it from the heart, it just sounds cool.’ Unbelievably, I am still naturally introverted. I don’t like being on camera and having microphones jammed in my face. But Dusty helped me with my confidence in front of the camera. He told me to get the reps in, which helped me find my voice. I was there for Dusty to mold. Having his brain and the amount of stories he’d tell us. He’d just tell us an old story that would teach us a valuable lesson. Half the time I think he was telling them just to make us laugh, but in reality, we were all learning a great deal from them.”


Zayn on what he learned from Dusty: “Another lesson hit me right around the time of his passing. I had an epiphany, a light bulb went off. I remember being in class with him. I remember people going up and being awesome [on the microphone] and he’d say, ‘Awesome.’ Then other people would do terrible, just awful. Dusty would go, ‘Clear. Perfect, that’s great.’ I would think to myself, ‘What? How does Dusty Rhodes, the greatest talker of all time, think that was great?’ Then, it dawned on me one day. Sometimes, Dusty said what you needed to hear for you to grow. He could have picked it apart, piece by piece, but what’s that doing for your confidence? What’s that doing for you as a performer? If anything, it’s going to make you more robotic and be in a shell, trying to remember all these notes. Instead, he gave you validation, which helped you grow as a speaker and performer. I’m getting goosebumps thinking of it, but it’s a serious life lesson I take far beyond this business. Sometimes, people just need a little encouragement. You just need to show people a little love and that will take them further than any advice you could give them.”

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