I usually reserve this kind of post for fallen wrestlers – those that pass on from life and, as Mick Foley has aptly described it, the ‘dysfunctional family’ that is the wrestling business, and though Ricky Steamboat is not yet dead, it seems the former AWA, NWA, WCW and WWE performer’s career is at an end. As a result of his recent hospitalisation, Ricky Steamboat, who was still so sprightly, seems to have been broken down by his recent condition, and will reportedly never wrestle again. What a loss that is!
I wont gush too much. For one thing, though i’ve seen lots of footage and had the priviledge of seeing him return to the squared-circle recently (i’m thinking primarily of his Wrestlemania 25 run), my relatively young years have meant I never got to see him in his prime.
One thing is clear though, there are few men, if any, that are as respected as Ricky in the industry. He is my favourite wrestler’s favourite wrestler (i’m referring to Chris Jericho, but it could be any number of people), and has given so much to the industry just by influencing so much talent over the years. He has taken such an interest in the young, future stars of this industry (a focus not shared by all that many legends), notably mentoring CM Punk in ROH (now, how many HoF’s have shown up at ROH to put over the talent?) If it turns out, as seems clear, that Steamboat will never wrestle again, it is fitting that his last in-ring action was helping to put over the young Nexus group on RAW – an attack that was unrelated to his recent hospitalisation.
Indeed, at the age of 57, Steamboat – famous for being one of the few stars to always be a babyface – could still more than go in the ring, as we saw at Wrestlemania 25, and is the opposite, despite his age, of the desperate, dried-up shells of wrestlers that you so often see clambering back in to the ring post-50. TNA is full of them, Flair, Hogan, and it seems to be hapenning to certain ex-ECW guys this. This isn’t a bash at TNA, but the guys who spoil their own legend and detract from the business by creaking around the ring and refusing to let go. Ricky isn’t like that. He was still sharp in the ring and is hungry to help the business and put younger talent over.
So, by way of tribute to his awesome (literally) career, I would like to post a video of one of his classic matches, especially in the context of the video showing his final in-ring appearance. There were a few legendary ones against Flair, but seen as I see Steamboat as representing so much more class in the business than Flair, I’ll post up another of his classic matches: Wrestlemania 3: Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Championship. Here, Steamboat would win his first and only Intercontinental championships, and this sort of match is why the championship is so prestigious these days.
I wish ‘The Dragon’ – for what it’s worth coming from me – all the best and a healthy, lengthy life from now on! Thank You!