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Ricky Steamboat: The Life Story of the Dragon

September 11, 2010   ·   0 Comments

Ricky Steamboat: The Life Story of the Dragon

 Steamboat

This collection consists of 3 action packed Ricky the Dragon Steamboat DVDs. DVD 1 contains the standard feature length documentary plus various Steamer vignettes, while discs two and three chronologically take you through the career of the Dragon.

 

Wrestlers such as the Dragon were the workers that made some of those mid eighties shows watchable and unpredictable. Getting through the Ken Patera and Iron Sheik matches were made much easier knowing that there was a great spectacle just around the corner from the likes of the Steamer. I admire WWEs decision to release this compilation of Steamboats matches as he isnt an obvious choice, and they could have quite easily repackaged some more Hogan matches or someone else who was a bigger eighties idol. So now, thanks to the powers that be, everyone who is unfamiliar with the work of this legend and Hall of Fame veteran, can see just how good he was and how a story should be told in the ring.

 

DVD one has been compiled using the typical WWE formulae that is used for every documentary, and like many others I own, it seems slightly rushed. Lazy audio transitions forced me to look out for any other mistakes that might reinforce my immediate opinion concerning the production of this feature. But happily I didnt find any, probably due to the fact that I was so enthralled in all the action and stories being thrown at me about one of my childhood heroes.

I am a big Ricky the Dragon Steamboat fan and so I know a considerable amount of his history but there were facts I didnt know included in this feature and stories I hadnt heard. The documentary takes you through most of the territories Steamboat has worked for throughout his career, although doesnt discuss or show any footage from his days in Japan due to the fact that WWE doesnt own the rights.

I really enjoyed the documentary and to tell you any more would be giving away the story, so please do yourself a favour and buy this DVD collection and relive some of this legends finest moments.

 

Warning: Steamboat is very old school and so kayfabe plays a role in this documentary.

 

 

DVD 2

 

 

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Jack & Gerry Brisco vs. Ricky The Dragon Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Starrcade November 24, 1983

 

Here we see some of Rickys work with Jay Youngblood. I wasnt alive when this match aired and never paid too much attention to Jay Youngblood after I was born because of his stupid massive hat but after listening to the documentary sing this teams praises I became interested.

You know what, the Brisco brothers were fantastic as a team and gelled perfectly working with the combo of Steamboat and Big Hat Youngblood in this solid match.

8/10

 
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match

Boogie Jam March 17, 1984
(Commentary by: Ricky The Dragon Steamboat & Matt Striker)

 

This hour long match is brilliant but please dont be put off when I tell you that it works a headlock angle for the majority of it. Haha, I always complain when a match doesnt set a relatively exciting tempo from the get go, but Steamboat and Flair show me that my opinion is flawed during this battle between two cardio machines.

The headlock frustrated me to the point where I really wanted it to broken and before I knew it I was a mark for the match .and then I understood the purpose of the angle.

These two guys had an hour to tell a story, a lot can wrong in an hour if the story starts to become incoherent, an audience can get bored in an hour if the story doesnt change pace, but after this match finished I wanted to watch it again straight away.

 

The commentary is hilarious because Steamboat is kayfabe while Striker is trying to shoot.

 

9/10   

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Cowboy Bob Orton
Capital Centre July 20, 1985

 

This is a solid match and another fine example of Steamboats work. Orton is an interesting character to face as his style is slightly more old school than that of Steamboats and so the pair make for an exciting encounter.

7/10

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. The Magnificent Don Muraco
Lumberjack Match
Maple Leaf Gardens September 22, 1985

 

I thought this was an unusual choice to include on a best of collection, especially because I dont like Don Muraco. When someone mentions the name Don Muraco and includes the word match in the same sentence, I immediately think about sticking pins in my eyes. I thought it might have been a joke and WWE was just having a bit of a laugh at the expense of the magnificent one, but Steamboat surprised me by talking about how much he enjoyed his matches with Don. Haha.

Apart from the fact that its a lumberjack match, it is actually quite good. Don Muraco impressed me with his work rate and ability to hang with the Steamer.

 

7/10

 

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Jake The Snake Roberts
Boston Garden August 9, 1986

Very cool match. This must have been before all the crack cocaine because Jake was in great shape and really impressive. Very nice snappy pace to the match with a nice array moves on display.

Jake really did have something special, the way in which he so easily manipulated an audience with the most subtle of movements; incredible.

 

9/10

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Randy Macho Man Savage

Intercontinental Championship Match
WrestleMania III March 29, 1987
(Alternate Commentary by: Ricky The Dragon Steamboat & Matt Striker)

 

I dont need to tell you anything about this match. Perfect.

 

10/10

 

 

DVD 3

 

 

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

 NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Jack & Gerry Brisco vs. Ricky The Dragon Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Starrcade November 24, 1983

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs Nature Boy Ric Flair
Boogie Jam March 17, 1984
(Commentary by: Ricky The Dragon Steamboat & Matt Striker)

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Cowboy Bob Orton
Capital Centre July 20, 1985

Lumberjack Match
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. The Magnificent Don Muraco
Maple Leaf Gardens September 22, 1985

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Jake The Snake Roberts
Boston Garden August 9, 1986

Intercontinental Championship Match
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Randy Macho Man Savage
WrestleMania III March 29, 1987
(Alternate Commentary by: Ricky The Dragon Steamboat & Matt Striker)

2 out of 3 Falls Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Clash of the Champions VI April 2, 1989

 

The duration of this match is almost as long as the first and so a good story has to be told, but unlike the match on DVD 1 this match has a stipulation which sets a comfortable foundation for the story tellers. This match is obviously split into three and so I see it as three different stories with three different angles. It is much quicker with moves being delivered in quick succession and cardio limits being tested throughout.

Im very happy that these two contrasting Flair matches have been included as we get to see how versatile both athletes were in this era.

 

9/10

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Lex Luger

United States Championship Match
The Great American Bash July 23, 1989

This match surprised me. Much like Don Muraco I view Lex Luger very negatively, but in 1989 for WCW he looked like an excited child ready to take on the world. Lex was obviously still quite green at this stage but he seemed to listen to Steamboats instructions effectively and put on a good show. Ricky Steamboat is a very talented man who could make anyone look good in the ring but Lex seemed very capable, I wonder what happened.

The funniest bit of this match was during Lexs entrance when he tried kick starting the machine that was turning him around after it broke. He was trying so desperately to keep his composure hoping that the machine would start working again.

 

7/10

 
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes vs. Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyzsko
WCW World Tag Team Championship Match
Clash of the Champions XVII November 19, 1991

 

Dustin Rhodes partner Barry Windham declares he is injured and not physically capable of wrestling. Rhodes informs the audience that he has found a temporary replacement for the tag team championship match and looks at the curtain. The crowd wait patiently biting their nails eager to see who might accompany Rhodes to challenge AA and Larry Zbyzsko. This mystery partners music begins to play.and out steps..a crocodile haha. The mask Ricky is wearing is actually supposed to represent a Dalang Dragon (a very big lizard) but it fails to be anything else other than ridiculous. Dustin Rhodes reveals who is indeed underneath this catastrophe of a mask, which is followed by the crowd going wild upon realisation. The match is very good.

 

8/10   

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Rick Rude

Iron Man Challenge Match
Beach Blast June 20, 1992

 

This is one of the best matches on the DVD set, and I have to say, because I have seen the Mania 3 match so many times, this encounter against Rick Rude is my current favourite Steamboat match. This Iron Man challenge last for 30 minutes but should have lasted for longer; neither performer missed a beat. Both men have an obvious passion for their line of work and it would appear they want everyone to know about it. These two perfectionists must have walked away from the ring feeling very pleased with themselves knowing that they are exceptional at what they do.

 

9.5/10

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Steve Austin

No Disqualification Match for the WCW World Television Championship
Clash of the Champions XX September 2, 1992
(Alternate Commentary by: Ricky Steamboat & Matt Striker)

The veteran against the hungry studentactually Austin is probably very close to his working prime at this stage.. I should have said the veteran against the younger guy in his mid twenties, but that doesnt have the same ring to it.

Like the majority of Steamboat matches, this one is faultless and has a nice fast pace combined with a delightfully wide array of work on display. What has surprised me the most whilst watching this collection is that Ricky doesnt seem like hes ever ready to slow down. I expected to see a gradual decline in his fitness and in ring ability but this match is just as good as the rest.

 

8/10

Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Chris Jericho
Backlash April 26, 2009

 

Jericho viewed this match quite negatively during the documentary but I couldnt find all that much wrong with it. Considering the heavy potential of ring rust and the fact that this was his first singles match since 1994, I thought that Ricky Steamboat put on a great show against YTJ. There are moments of uncertainty but these instances are few and far between and barely noticeable.

After watching this match, I am fairly confident that Ricky Steamboat could quite easily have another run in the WWE.

 

7/10

 Available from SILVERVISION.Co.UK

 

 

Overall rating: 8.5/10

 Stephen Evans

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