After a successful run through several territories in the Texas Outlaws tag team with his best friend Dick Murdoch, Dusty settled in Florida. At this point, Dusty had been a career heel, but he was so charismatic and such a good talker that fans were starting to cheer him.
Championship Wrestling from Florida promoter, head booker and fading top star Eddie Graham decided to conduct an experiment. I'll let Dusty describe it, as told to our own Jonathan Snowden, a few weeks ago:
In Miami Beach, the great, legendary Jack Brisco was the world's heavyweight champion. The fans in Miami were really starting to dig my interviews. Whether I was a heel or not, they started to really get behind me. And Jack Brisco was the biggest babyface since Eddie Graham, himself.
They loved Jack, but they wanted to see the changing of the guard. Eddie felt it.
We wrestled for one hour there, and at the end, Jack put his foot on the ropes. I hit him with the elbow, and he just got his foot on the ropes. It was the first time they had ever seen him have to save himself like that. When he put his foot on the ropes the place just erupted.
They were booing so loud. In one second, he went from the biggest babyface, to the top bad guy in that town—by costing me the world heavyweight title in that way. On the way back, Eddie Graham was standing by the door and he said, "That is the way we do business." It was that simple. He controlled the people. His timing was immaculate. It was amazing.
From there, it was simple. Managed by Gary Hart, Dusty teamed with Pak Song (sometimes called "Pak Song Nam") against Eddie Graham and his son Mike. Song accidentally hits Dusty, they brawl, and now Dusty is an American hero fighting against the scourge of the evil Korean that's implied to be Vietnamese.
The turn itself is available on WWE's Dusty Rhodes DVD set, but I can't find it on any streaming sites online. I've embedded Dusty being amazingly charismatic voicing over one of his house show matches from when he was on fire in Florida in the late '70s, instead.