Richard Blood, better known as Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, was born in West Point, New York in 1953 and debuted as a professional wrestler in 1976 after being trained by the Iron Sheik and Verne Gagne. He began his illustrious wrestling career in the AWA adopting the Steamboat moniker from an older pro wrestler named Sam Steamboat. He would call himself Sam Steamboat Jr. although he is not related to the namesake.
Ricky Steamboat had a great career in the NWA, WCW and WWF/E and some of his greatest matches were against Ric Flair, especially in 1989 when he won the coveted World Heavyweight Championship from him. Although, many say that his greatest match came in WrestleMania III when he challenged and won the Intercontinental title from the Macho Man, Randy Savage. Savage had Miss Elizabeth in his corner and Steamboat had the “misunderstood” George “The Animal” Steele in his corner. It was a very good match but there was interference from George Steele and in my humble opinion, any time there is interference in a match, it takes away from being a “classic” match or the match of the year or whatever. Steamboat and Savage was a stupendous match and will go down in history as one of the greats so if they had this great match that even overshadowed the Hogan-Andre match, why was the Honky Tonk Man able to beat Steamboat so easily for the title a few weeks later?
Is Honky a better wrestler than Steamboat and Savage? No, Steamboat said in interviews that he was being punished by WWE management because he asked for some time off to spend with his wife who was expecting the birth of his son at the time. The upper echelon of the WWE was not happy about this because they wanted Steamboat to be a long time Intercontinental champion like the Honky Tonk man turned out to be. Steamboat had also said that the management was upset because his under card match at WM III overshadowed the main event, as I mentioned earlier.
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat was an incredible wrestler and always gave one hundred percent for the fans, even if he was injured. He tried not to let it show and never disappointed. When you talk about the great wrestlers of the 20th century, make sure you include the name Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and if you don’t believe me, watch his IC Title match at WM III or his two out three falls match with Ric Flair. Steamboat isn’t often talked about in the same breath as other wrestlers as Ric Flair, Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers but he certainly should be because he was a fantastic wrestler and always gave us his best. Ricky Steamboat, congratulations on your induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. It has been a long time coming and no one deserves it more than you do.