If you missed the first part of my conversation with Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat, you can read it here. Mr. Steamboat will officiate a match for American independent promotion PCW Ultra, and he spoke to us at length about everything 'pro wrestling' to promote the appearance.
Ricky Steamboat may not physically be able to do the things he was once known for, but his mind is still as sharp as ever. His perspective on modern wrestling in particular is a delight to hear.
What do you think of WWE's Women's Evolution and do you have any favourites?
Steamboat: Well, to answer the first part of your question, I'm happy that they're allowing more time for the women. They're great performers. They go out there and work just as hard as the guys. And a lot of times they can perform just as well as any of the best guys.
Ric Flair's daughter is one of the best in the business. Both her in-ring performance and her mannerisms and demeanour. She's like a chip of the old block like her dad. I think she's one of the top women performers that we have. She speaks well.
Another one who really surprised me at the last pay-per-view was Ronda Rousey. To make a transition from MMA to wrestling, I thought she did a great job out there.
I see nothing but stardom written on her in WWE. I think probably down the road a hook-up with her and Charlotte Flair...
That would be a great match. To prepare for this interview, I was watching your matches with Jake Roberts. Do you have any memories of the time you had a snake on your face?
Steamboat: We had worked many times. I remember a match where he had a snake in his corner and I had a dragon in mine. The story we were building to was when each of our reptiles was going to get involved. And building to that moment.
And of course, I'll never forget the moment when I got DDT-ed on the cement floor. And it put me out of commission for a while because that was a real shock to the head on the cement floor.
I remember that, of course! Was that spot not planned?
Steamboat: No, we were planning to do it. He didn't want to do it. But I said I knew how to protect myself. Unfortunately I didn't. I took the shot to my head and it was a serious moment for a while. Jake didn't want to do it because of the fear of what the outcome would be.
I convinced him to do it. I said I'll be okay. I ended up not quite okay. I had a serious concussion.
What do you think of social media and its impact on professional wrestling? I remember you talking about how much you liked to protect the business and now you have wrestlers breaking character all the time!
Steamboat: That's part of the business that changed when it was announced to the world that we are an entertainment company. I don't like to use the word 'fake'. A lot of our stuff is choreographed. But there is a lot of physicality that happens during the course of a match and our careers. There's a lot of physicality that happens to us and you can't deny that.
But what social media has done is made the company global, to where there are fans in over 150 or more countries. The trickle effect of that is that wrestlers are getting a great source of revenue from merchandising from the company.
Understanding how the business has changed...social media today is a big plus! Fans know it's choreographed but they respect the guys for all the physicality that happens.
So you will be conducting a workshop for PCW Ultra soon. Tell us what one can expect at the workshop.
Steamboat: I tell them right up front- 'I'm not there to teach you how to take bumps. You should know how to do that'. All of my seminars deal with psychology in the ring. And I do that because when I first started, most of the nights I was looking across at a guy who had 15 or 20 years of experience.
He was taking me to school every night when I was working in the ring. Unfortunately, the talent today, when they look across the ring they're looking at a guy that has the same amount of ring time...it might be 3 months, it might be 6 months, it might be 1 year.
And they haven't had the opportunities that I've had to learn why you do things in the ring, when you do it. A lot of my seminar is based upon psychology. 'Don't throw away moves. Don't do stuff unnecessarily. Make sure everything that you do ties in with the story that you're trying to tell.' Whether it's a championship match or a regular match, every match can have a story.
That's what I teach. I usually give examples. I get a couple of guys in the ring that I think are pretty good hands. At the end of the seminar, I have people come up to me and say 'I've never had someone explain why you do, what you do, in the ring'. I try to make them better storytellers.
So, final question sir...
Steamboat: I'll tell you real quick. That angle with Randy Savage, with him coming off the top rope with a bell...that moment really got over. And I say that because of the amount of hate mail that he got, that was sent to the office.
It really told us that the moment got over with the fans with the response from the fans that he was getting.
Very cool to hear that. What do you want the legacy of Ricky Steamboat to be remembered as?
Steamboat: For the guys I've worked with through the years. For the fans that I've watched. I want to be remembered as one of the best entertainers that had come along. That is what I'd like fans to talk about when they mention Ricky Steamboat.
That he would go out there every night and entertain all the fans that came and bought a ticket.
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