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RECAP AND REVIEW: Talk is Jericho with Ricky Steamboat on why he left the NWA, where “The Dragon” moniker came from, the WWF locker room running from a snake, laying out his WrestleMania match with Randy Savage

Talk is Jericho – Ricky The Dragon Steamboat Spits Fire

Release Date: November 23, 2018

Recap by: Caitlin Lavelle

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

7:30 – Ricky Steamboat on the WWF Schedule

Ricky Steamboat says your schedule in the WWF would depend on your spot in the pecking order, and would differ if you were in the headline main event, backup main event or the undercard.

Ricky says you would typically work 12-14 days straight, but would sometime work up to 3 weeks on the road without going home. He says that while you would sometimes have multiple shows in the same region, like three shows around Los Angeles or a handful of shows around San Francisco, you were often ‘puddle jumping’ from region to region across different cities and time zones. Steamboat says he would often forget what city he was in and would have to look at his hotel phone to check.

Ricky says WWF would usually book talent on early flights so that they would have the option to reschedule if someone missed a flight. He explains that this led to late nights and early wakeups, with the same routine each day of catching a flight, getting a rental car, hitting the gym and making his way to the show venue.

11:55 – Steamboat on Jim Crockett Promotions and Dusty Rhodes

Ricky talks about going to the Carolinas in 1977 to work for Jim Crockett Promotions. He says that as soon as Ric Flair saw Steamboat, Flair went to the booker, George Scott, and requested to work with Steamboat. At the time, Ricky had only been wrestling for just over a year, but he says that because of Flair, Steamboat became a main event star throughout the territory from then on.

In 1985, Steamboat says Dusty Rhodes came in as Jim Crocket Promotions’ new booker. Ricky says he was the top babyface in the territory at the time, and that Dusty put Steamboat against Tully Blanchard, who was the TV Champion at the time.

Steamboat says he was consistently booked to beat Blanchard, but that he kept failing to defeat Blanchard within the time limit set to capture the title. For example, Ricky and Tully would have a match where the title was only on the line is Ricky beat Tully within the first ten minutes, and Steamboat would win in twelve minutes.

Over time, the time limit of the title match portions of their bouts would be extended to twenty minutes or thirty means, but Steamboat kept missing the cutoff, which Ricky says told the audience that his character couldn’t capture the title from Blanchard.

Soon, Ricky says Dusty booked himself against Tully Blanchard on a big show and beat Tully in eight minutes.

Dusty then booked Ricky Steamboat against Nikita Koloff. Steamboat says Koloff was very green at the time, and that Koloff injured Steamboat’s neck with a stiff clothesline.

Ricky says he realized that his program with Koloff was leading to a program between Dusty and Nikita, and that he no longer had faith in his spot at Jim Crockett Productions. Feeling upset with the way he was being used, Steamboat says he gave his notice to Jim Crockett.

Ricky admits that he always held a little grudge against Dusty over this time period. When their paths crossed years later when they both worked for WWE’s developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, Ricky says Dusty said that Steamboat “left him” while they were in the Carolinas. Steamboat says he pulled Dusty aside and, “refreshed his memory,” about the circumstances surrounding his departure from Jim Crockett Productions, explaining that he’d held animosity towards Dusty for years, but that he was now grateful that the incident motivated him to more to WWF, leading to a huge jump in Ricky’s career.

20:55 – Steamboat on Joining WWF

After Steamboat put in his notice at Jim Crocket Promotions, he says he got a call from George Scott, who was now working for Vince McMahon at WWF. Ricky says he was flown up to New York, picked up in a limo and driven to Vince’s home for a sit down chat. Ricky says that Vince said he trusted George to do whatever he though was right with Steamboat and quickly brought Ricky in to the company.

21:55 – Steamboat on the Origins of ‘The Dragon’ Name

Ricky says Vince McMahon wanted to add something to Ricky Steamboat’s name. At a roundtable with Pat Paterson and Vince, Ricky started talking about Bruce Lee’s movie, Enter the Dragon. Steamboat says he was a Bruce Lee fan, took taekwondo as a kid and incorporated some of those techniques in-ring, and that this led someone to pitch “The Dragon” moniker.

25:45 – Steamboat on his Komodo Dragon and Animals in the WWF

Steamboat says Vince suggested Steamboat start coming to the ring with a komodo dragon to create an angle between Ricky & Jake Roberts, who was of course coming to the ring with his snake, Damien. Ricky says many performers were using animals in their act at the time, such as Koko B. Ware and his bird, The British Bulldogs and their dog and Hillbilly Jim and his pig. He says the locker room smelled and sounded like a barn.

Ricky tells a story about Jake Roberts putting his snake into a lukewarm shower in the locker room. He says the snake began climbing up the wall and rubbed against the shower handle, which caused the water to get hotter, and that all of a sudden, loud booms became emanating from the stall. The hot water had agitated the snake, and Ricky says the entire locker room ran away in terror as the snack thrashed about.

32:30 – Steamboat on Randy Savage

Steamboat remember the angle that led up to his legendary WrestleMania 3 match with Randy Savage, which included Savage hitting Steamboat in the neck with a ring bell and vignettes of Steamboat in speech therapy trying to get his voice back.

Steamboat says it was Vince McMahon who decided Steamboat and Savage wouldn’t touch prior to their WrestleMania match, and that Steamboat would instead come out after Savage’s matches and taunt Randy in an attempt to get in his head.

Steamboat explains that because he had never worked with Savage before WrestleMania 3, they had to put their match together based on their gut rather than a track record of fan responses.

In the lead up to WrestleMania 3, Ricky says he began to realize that, based on ticket sales and buy rates, this would be the biggest card in history. While Steamboat admits this had a lot to do with Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, he also believes he and Savage had their fans as well.  

Steamboat says Savage wanted Ricky to go for his throat, but Steamboat wanted the story to be that the best way he could go after Savage would be to simply take his belt from him. Steamboat says he and Randy began writing down the sequence of their match when they realized they’d planned ten false finishes in just the first seven minutes of their match. Steamboat says Savage was very open to suggestions.

Once they had laid out their match, Steamboat says he and Savage began quizzing one another about the spots. Ricky says they had to remember over 100 segments. When all was said and done, they ended up with over twenty false finishes in a match that lasted less than seventeen minutes.

Ricky says they decided to use a small package for the finish of the match because they wanted to do something simple that the fans wouldn’t see coming. He says he and Randy wanted to have the match of the night, but never imagined it would be something people would be talking about thirty years later.

Steamboat says he didn’t watch his WrestleMania 3 match with Savage back until 2009 when the WWE released a Ricky Steamboat DVD, and remembers that he was mentally exhausted after the match. He also says he never had a pay-per-view rematch with Savage, and that he only had the Intercontinental Title for eight or nine weeks before dropping it to the Honky Tonk Man.

52:55 – Jericho and Steamboat on the Intercontinental Title and Hulk Hogan

Chris Jericho says Steamboat helped to establish the Intercontinental Championship as the working man’s title, and says it drove him nuts that Steamboat never faced Hulk Hogan. Steamboat says maybe this was just political.

53:40 – Steamboat on Ric Flair

Steamboat says Ric Flair, “Took me to school every night in the Carolinas,” and that he coached and taught him by calling their matches in the ring.

Steamboat then tells a long story about Flair turning what was supposed to be a twenty minute match into an hour-long contest, and says this led the booker to increase the time limit of their matches to 90-minutes.

1:03:00 – Jericho & Steamboat on WrestleMania 25

Jericho remember that he was supposed to wrestle against Mickey Rourke at WrestleMania 25, but says that “the movie studio” didn’t allow Rourke to compete, so the plans changed to Jericho vs. a group of legends. The original legends Vince McMahon proposed Jericho work against were Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka & Greg Valentine. Jericho says he didn’t want to work with Valentine.

Jericho says Vince had two rules about the legends who would qualify for the match: They had to have competed at the first WrestleMania, and they had to be in the Hall of Fame. Jericho says he had originally pitched Jerry Lawler for the third legends spot, but that Lawler was disqualified because he wasn’t in the first WrestleMania. Jericho says he was excited when he realized Steamboat qualified and pitched the idea to Vince who agreed to his proposal.

Ricky says he was a trainer at FCW at the time and found out about his WrestleMania 25 spot when he was at the school. Steamboat says he was happy with the way the match turned out and proud of his ability at the age of 56.

Jericho says he and Steamboat tore it up, and likened Ricky’s performance to a returning Wayne Gretzky, who he says would be better than most of the guys if he returned even if he wasn’t as good as he once was.

Steamboat remembers competing in an 8-man-tag-match at the Raw after WrestleMania. He also remembers finding out about his match against Jericho at Backlash when Vince McMahon passed out the event card for Backlash at a production meeting.

Steamboat recalls working several matches against Jericho, overseas and domestically, and says Jericho even changed the finish to their final match together so that Steamboat would go over using the same finish as the Steamboat/Savage WrestleMania match. However, Jericho remembers that he called the finish by saying, “Savage/Steamboat finish,” because he couldn’t remember the words, “small package,” in the moment.

1:16:30 – Steamboat’s Favorite Opponents & Matches

In addition to Savage and Flair, Steamboat says his favorite opponents were Jake the Snake and Don Muraco. He also remembers that one of his favorite matches was against Rick Rude at WCW Bash at the Beach.

Timestamps:

1:45 – Introduction
5:00 – Interview Begins
7:30 – Ricky Steamboat on the WWF Schedule
11:55 – Steamboat on Jim Crocket Promotions and Dusty Rhodes
20:55 – Steamboat on Joining WWF
21:55 – Steamboat on the Origins of ‘The Dragon’ Name
25:45 – Steamboat on his Komodo Dragon and Animals in the WWF
28:25 – Advertisement
32:22 – Interview Resumes
32:30 – Steamboat on Randy Savage
46:55 – Advertisement
49:45 – Interview Resumes
52:55 – Jericho and Steamboat on the Intercontinental Title and Hulk Hogan
53:40 – Steamboat on Ric Flair
1:03:00 – Jericho & Steamboat on WrestleMania 25
1:16:30 – Steamboat’s Favorite Opponents & Matches
1:19:30 – Outro
1:21:55 – Bonus: Steamboat Thanks His Opponents, Co-Workers & Fans

Rating: 7/10

This is a fun, easy chat between two guys who are widely considered among the best performers of their respective eras.

Writer Bio

Caitlin is a wrestling fan who hopes to one day discover that she is the illegitimate daughter of Vincent Kennedy McMahon and the rightful Anonymous RAW General Manager. Until then, she’ll keep on living in Orlando, Florida with her husband and son.

 

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