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Ricky Steamboat interview for Ledgends of wrestling 3
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Old 15 Nov 2003, 01:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ricky Steamboat interview for Ledgends of wrestling 3


November 14, 2003 - Everyone remembers the throat injury.

No matter what is said about Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, it always goes back to the time Randy Savage struck him in the throat with the ring bell, setting up one of the single best matches and feuds of all time that culminated at Wrestlemania III.

For months, Steamboat couldn't talk. He ripped off his neck brace, pushed his doctor to the side, and gasped threatening words to the Macho Man, but unlike today's soap opera world of gimmicks and high spots, the Steamboat/Savage feud carried with it as much drama inside the ring as out. Their match at Mania saw countless near falls with a belt and the pride of both athletes on the line. In the end, though, it was Steamboat scoring the pin fall.

"Andre and Hulk sold the show," Steamboat says, "but Steamboat and Savage stole it."

And with that match, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat became a certified superstar in the world of wrestling. A world he had been sweating and bleeding through for years before that moment. A world that would see him go on to capture the top title in the NWA in another classic match against former champ Ric Flair. A world that he's now known as a legend.

This March, fans of The Dragon will be able to take control of one of the all-time greats as Legends of Wrestling: Showdown hits stores, and enables Steamboat to get another crack at some of his old-time rivals.

Even if that means his character needs to get hit in the throat just one more time.

IGN Sports caught up with Steamboat recently and talked wrestling, Savage, and what it means to be a legend. Here's what one of the greatest performers in the history of the business had to say.

IGN Sports: With the new game coming out, I was curious if you considered yourself a Legend of Wrestling?

Ricky Steamboat: Personally, myself, that thought never ever crossed my mind. The only way it has been brought to my attention is really through the fans. I guess to answer your question, straight up, is that I never considered myself a legend. Honestly and obviously, it's a good feeling to be called a legend and to be grouped together in a game with some of the greatest wrestlers of all time. I think of myself as rarity in the business, and one of the reasons is that I wrestled my entire career as a baby face. I know a lot of guys went back and forth throughout their careers between being a heel and a face, and a lot of times they did that just to keep their popularity going, but for me, for 20 years of wrestling, I stayed a baby face. Talking to a lot of guys now who were in the business, they think it's remarkable that I was able to keep my main event status throughout most of my career without having to change back and forth. A lot of guys, if they're a face and they see their drawing ability start to falter, they'll turn heel and they're right back on top again. Same thing with a heel. All of a sudden they'll turn into a good guy. Ric Flair has done that throughout his career a number of times. So yeah, I feel like I'm in good company, and it's nice to be called a legend.

IGN Sports: Do you wish that maybe one time you turned heel and went after Hogan so you could've had a run at his belt?

Ricky Steamboat: Oh sure, sure. It was the early nineties, I think '91 when I was working with the WWF and I went up to Pat Patterson and told him I wanted to try and work as a heel as least one time in my career. Paterson looked at me and said: "Steamboat, you're the consummate baby face. I can send you out to the ring with a chainsaw and you can cut off both of Hulk Hogan's arms, and the fans just wouldn't believe it." I was kind of let down by it because I really did want to try and work as a heel.

IGN Sports: Where do you see yourself amongst the greatest of all time? Do you see yourself as one of the top three or five wrestlers to ever be in the business? Who are your top five?

Ricky Steamboat: I see myself in with a lot of guys who were just great, great workers. It's hard to put a number on it because we've had so many good workers in this business. I keep referring to myself as a rare breed because I was always a face, but where does that put me? I think if I had to give my top five, I'd start with Flair as my all-time number one guy. Steve Austin, who I worked with before he received his big push with the WWF, and he was always a hard, hard worker in the ring. I take that into consideration too, guys who I worked with. Bret Hart and I had a couple of baby face matches, and then I also got to see him work with other guys, and he was just such a good, hard worker in the ring, so he's right up there. Going back through the years, a guy I consider another hard worker, a guy who can work with anyone in the business, and that's Harley Race. Believe it or not, to round out my top five, I'm going to drop a name of someone you might not have ever seen him work, and that's Jay Youngblood. He was a tag team partner of mine in the late seventies to early eighties. Jay was a guy who only weighed about 190-pounds, but he could convince everyone out there in the audience that he could take out a guy who was 300-pounds. That's my top five: Flair, Austin, Hart, Race, and my old partner, Jay Youngblood.

IGN Sports: Now that your wrestling legacy is living on in the world of video games, what do you hope they capture about your character?

Ricky Steamboat: I had a real distinguished type of arm drag where I got a lot of air, and I'd like to see that. I think one of the things that got me up there was the way that I could sell during the match and not be dying. It's almost like an art form in a way to where you can sell and be convincing as you fight back and at the same time, hold the audience's attention without them getting bored with it.

IGN Sports: Were there any moves that you wanted to try in real life but never got the chance, and now maybe you can do in the video game?

Ricky Steamboat: I see some of the guys now doing all types of moves off of the top rope, and you know, Jimmy Snuka and myself started a lot of the stuff off of the top rope, but these guys today have totally taken it to the next level. At the time, I never wanted to jump off and do a complete flip with a half-twist and put that type of stuff in it, back then the crowd thought it was amazing if you did anything off of the top rope. But for the game, I think I'd rather be portrayed as how I actually wrestled, so just give me the moves I actually performed in my career and I'll be happy.

IGN Sports: Are there any of your former rivals that you'd like to get another shot at in the game?

Ricky Steamboat: Most of the wrestling fans associate me with certain wrestlers, so I think it would be great for business if they can now recreate some of these rivalries. I'm not sure who else is in the game, but I'd love to see myself back in the ring against the likes of Randy Savage, Jake The Snake, even Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji.

IGN Sports: Who do you consider your biggest rival in the business?

Ricky Steamboat: Two guys come to mind, and I'm thinking from a wrestling fan's perspective and the sheer popularity, and that's Ric Flair and Randy Savage. When you bring up those names, most of the wrestling fans that I've talked to associate me with them.

IGN Sports: What's your favorite match of all time? Obviously, Wrestlemania III is the one that made you famous.

Ricky Steamboat: Yeah, that one comes up a lot, but my personal favorite is the two-out-of-three falls match I had against Rick Flair in New Orleans. It went close to an hour, and it's probably my all-time favorite if I had to pick one.

IGN Sports: Do you consider Flair your favorite opponent to work with?

Ricky Steamboat: We've worked with each other so many times, so I'd have to say yes. Another reason is that very early in my career, he went to Crocket Promotions down here in Carolina and told them that he wanted to work with me. So I'd have to say that early on in my career, he helped give me a chance. Most of the times when we had a match, when the promoter came to us and said we were going to Broadway, we were going the hour, most of the time, we wouldn't even talk about the match. Most of the guys these days, everything is scripted out. They have 20 high spots and one fall is right after the other. When Ric and I did that two-out-of-three falls match in New Orleans, we had our three finishes and that was it, the rest we called in the ring. We would listen to the crowd and just call it as it came. That's old school.

IGN Sports: You and Flair wrestled so often that you really helped to define each other's careers. Is there one moment, though, that happened in the ring that defined in fans minds who Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat will be remembered as?

Ricky Steamboat: I'm going to jump away from Ric on that question, because the one that comes to mind is the match that Savage and I had at Wrestlemania III. That established me as the way I can work in the ring. We got so much PR and press for that match after it happened, it was in all of the magazines, guys I hadn't heard from in a while were calling and telling me how great of a match we had. Andre and Hogan sold the show, but Steamboat and Savage stole it, that's what everybody was saying. That's what they were saying in the magazines. If there was one time that really put my name on the map in the business, it was that night, that match. If you look at the event, though, it was the amount of pay-per-views sold, it was 93,000 fans in attendance, it was such a big buildup, so taking all that into consideration, that was the moment in time that defined me as a wrestler.

IGN Sports: What meant more to you, winning the Intercontinental belt or winning the NWA Heavyweight championship?

Ricky Steamboat: NWA was the highest championship you could win for that company, while the Intercontinental championship was one level below the WWF title, so I would have to give a nod toward the NWA, especially considering all of the great wrestlers who held that belt.

IGN Sports: Hogan was the champ for so long, was there ever even a time when a heel held the belt and you were given a shot for the title?

Ricky Steamboat: No. I has heard that when George Scott was booking for Vince McMahon back in 1985, 1986, that there was consideration that George wanted to put the belt on me, but Hogan squashed that real quick. With the company surrounded and being built up around Hogan, it wasn't really hard for him to convince Vince, and it wasn't too long after that that George was no longer booking. What started it was I was having a feud with Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji at the time and I think Hogan was working with the Iron Sheik. They would work Madison Square Garden and draw X amount of dollars, and then I would come in as the main event with Don Muraco and we would out draw them. And it started happening all over. They would go to Detroit with their main event, then we would follow them with ours a little later and we'd out draw them. So it got in George Scott's mind to consider sending the WWF belt my direction, but it didn't get far.

IGN Sports: So you left the WWF for a while, then you came back as The Dragon and you could breathe fire. Did you already know how to do this, or did you go to special fire-breathing school?

Ricky Steamboat: No, no. Actually they found this guy in Florida named Brian LaPalm, and he worked in a circus. They sent me down to train with him for two days learning how to breathe fire.

IGN Sports: You only did it for two days and you weren't worried you were going to light your hair on fire?

Ricky Steamboat: I'll tell you a funny story. When I first went down there and met him, they were putting up the Big Top, which is the big major tent, but it wasn't quite up yet so we met in the parking lot. The guy was a wrestling fan and he was so enthusiastic about teaching Ricky Steamboat to blow fire that he wanted to demonstrate it to me right then and there. What he showed me was how you put Caroseen in your mouth, so he had a mouth full of Caroseen and lit his torch and he's holding the torch up. He was kind of windy that day, so he was watching the wind by which way the torch was blowing and he was trying to time it to do the fire when the wind wasn't blowing in his direction. Just as he blew, the wind turned around and as he blew the Caroseen, the wind blew it all right back into his face and his face was on fire. I had second thoughts about it right there. Here's a guy who's a professional, and he's running around the parking lot trying to pat down his face that's on fire. He's a pro and he's the one who's supposed to teach me how to do this in two days? I had second thoughts right there. But once we got the tent up and there was no wind, it was actually fairly easy. Plus, all the times I had to blow the fire, I'd be in a controlled environment in a building, so I wasn't worried about it.

IGN Sports: So Ric Flair still wrestles. It seems every day another wrestler comes out of retirement. Any chance we could see you wrestle one more match. Maybe have Steamboat/Flair at Wrestlemania?

Ricky Steamboat: I've got a bad back from being in the business for more than 20 years, but if I did have that opportunity, I'd love to have one more go-around with Flair. I think even right now, if they started it right now on WWE TV and simply issued a challenge, I think it would spark a lot of interest throughout the wrestling world, especially considering the types of matches we worked together in the past. I think people would tune in to see what kind of match we would be able to put on today. That would be an interesting match, but I don't think Vince would ever give me the opportunity because he and I had a falling out. It was a long, on-going thing. I was one of the rare guys who never wanted to sign a contract. My only problem with the contract was the word perpetuity. He wanted control of my name for perpetuity so even if I left WWF and went to WCW, he wanted control of my name. I just didn't think that was right. It was like when Hogan left and went to WCW, he became Hollywood Hogan. There's also an underlying reason to that too, as Marvel comics has controlling rights to the name The Hulk, and Vince was leasing the rights so that Hogan could be called Hulk. At the time, I believe Vince had controlling rights over the Hulk name, so when Hogan left, he had to change his name to Hollywood. I told Vince, look, if you want me under contract, I have no problem with that. Just replace the word perpetuity with a one year deal, two year deal, however long you want me to work for you, and I'll give you all the controlling rights to my name for the length of the contract. But I just didn't feel right giving him my name for perpetuity, so that if it ever came a time where I wanted to hand my name down to my son, I couldn't do it. I just don't see that as being fair. That's where the fallout started. But hey, in this business you never know, and if I could have one last match, I'd love to face Flair one last time.

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Old 15 Nov 2003, 01:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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God dammit! Wrong thread, COuld someone Move it to G&T?

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Old 15 Nov 2003, 03:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 15 Nov 2003, 03:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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may be the wrong place, but a great post nonetheless.....the Dragon was one of the best ever
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Maybe someone swapped your keyboard with Toof's. His always seemed broken too.
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Old 15 Nov 2003, 04:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll take care of this thread.
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