WWE Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat was a recent guest on Ring Rust Radio. Here are some highlights….
On the rise of women’s wrestling:
On great in ring psychology:
“Well you know, we have a lot of guys at the training grounds there and we have a lot of guys that even fight on the independents circuit. I’ll say there’s a lot of good athletes out there, but the key thing that I see missing is being able to put it all together in order to tell a story. In every match you can tell a story. There’s a lot of guys that do a lot of stuff over the course of a match and none of it ties together or makes sense. I’ll be doing a seminar on Saturday and a lot of my focus is on telling these guys how to tell a story in a match to which storytelling in a match get your fans involved. If you can get them involved in what story they are trying to tell when your match, it just makes it all the easier. All of us are in the entertainment business, regardless if you’re doing wrestling or rock ‘n roll or whatever, you’re out there performing and you work for the response from the fans. I know a lot of guys that get responses from the fans and it’s only because it’s a spot and doesn’t tie into the story. I feel that makes you a real pro in our business if you’re out there to get the response from the fans but at the same time you go out there and are able to tell a story in your match, I focus a lot on that. I’ll give you real quick example: I have two guys in a championship match on an independent show. They came up to me for some advice and I said, “Look you are the two best at this company has to offer. I want you to go out there and tell a story that this is a championship match. At the end of the match you come back to see me and I’ll let you know.” So, at the end of the match they came back and there were standing there with their chest stuck out, walking into the locker room and they asked what I thought? I told them their match was all over the place and that it was not a championship match. The guy says to me, “Whoa, what do you mean by that?” I told him the object of the game is you have the good guy here, the babyface is the champion, you’re the heel, and the promoter decided to change the championship, switch the belt, and put it on you. So, I look at the babyface and tell him that what you are trying to do in the story is you’re telling us that you’re trying to hold onto this championship and you the heel your trying to get it from him. There were several times during the match in which you drop some big bombs on the guy but you didn’t cover him. Like the Jake Roberts’ DDT and respect to Jake Roberts, if you do a DDT to a guy and you’re trying to win his championship and everybody knows that that was a finish hold from one of the best psychologists in our business and you don’t even cover him? What kind of story are you trying to tell in that moment? They looked at me and thought, “Wow, that’s right. I did a big move on at him and I didn’t even cover him like I was trying to beat him.” It’s all about that when I teach: why you do it, when you do it and the reason behind it. So those guys walked away and they did do a match that there were so many holes in it and I pointed them out to them and I hope at the end of the day moving forward, they would apply some of the things that we talked about.”
On taking pride in working with today’s younger talent:
“Right now in my life, it’s what I do a lot of and happy to do it. I remember the first couple of years when I was coming up through the ranks, some of the old-timers would take me aside after the match and critique me. I understand today’s guys, a lot of guys when they get in the ring, they’re looking across the ring at a guy with the same amount of ring time. Some guys six months, some guys one year, some guys two or three years, but when I was coming up, most nights I was looking across the ring at a 15- or 20-year journeyman. Every night he was taking me to school and he knew what his position was and it was to pass the torch and hopefully by doing this, he would help to keep the business going. Help bring up guys that were green and rookies and show them the way. I find out at this point in time in my life, this is what I’m doing. I understand that wrestling now has changed as opposed to what it was when I worked, but I still think you can apply some of the things that I talk about and just put you 2018 twist on it and still make it work. It is a lot of pride for me and it’s a way for me giving back. A way I am passing the torch and hopefully some talent will look back at the day I was there teaching them, reflect on that and hopefully they will understand how it helped.”
On being a great babyface, if he wishes he’d ever had a heel run:
“I’ll tell you a true story. Back in ‘91, I went to Vince and Pat Patterson and asked to do a turn and they both shut me down without hesitation. They said it would not work, I was the premier babyface, and I told them that I’ve been in the ring with the best heels in the business. I actually believed that I could work as a heel because I’ve been in the ring with the best of them. They said bottom line, it would probably hurt your career and they shut it down. Now, at the time guys I was a bit turned off. I was a bit disgruntled because I wanted to be able to work as a heel. At that time, I had been in the business I was approaching around 17 years and I knew I was get into the twilight of my career and I just wanted to be able to experience working on the dark side. Being able to feel what that’s like and I was upset about not being able to do it at the time. Looking back at it now, I’m happy and pleased that they did talk me out of it and not allow it. Like you said earlier, one of the few guys in the business that wrestled close to 20 years actively and stayed the same way as he started in the business. There’s just a few of us that have done that and I’m happy to say that I’m one of those few guys now. I reflect back and I’m happy that I was turned down.”
Click here for the full interview.