WWE Ricky Steamboat – Life of the Dragon (Discs 2 & 3) By Shaun Nichols

Posted: September 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

We start at the inaugaral Starrcade in 1983 where Steamboat and Youngblood are challenging for the NWA tag team titles with the story being that the Brisco’s had been forced into defending the titles. Match was booked in a very old school way with the babyfaces making a great start but then crafty heels finally takeover and then the match settles down. Jack & Gerry get the heat on Steamboat with Youngblood playing the role of cheerleader. Steamboat manages to make the tag to a nice reaction and then the match moves rapidly to its conclusion where new champions are crowned.
Arguably the crown jewel of this collection is next where Flair defends the NWA title at Boogiejam 1984 in a 60 minute draw (match actually goes legit 56 minutes). There is no original commentary so we get a general discussion between Steamboat and Matt Striker. Unfortunately I find Steamboat fairly dull and Striker annoying. They do not commentate but rather discuss Steamboat’s early career and who influenced him and helped him. With that being said, if you can put that to one side you get a very enjoyable match which is a nice comparison to the 1989 series that most fans are aware of.
We leave the NWA and say hello to the WWE, where commentators Gorilla Monsoon & Gene Okerlund go out of their way to put over Steamboat like a million dollars. Orton plays the classic old school heel nicely although Steamboat gets the vast majority of the offence using karate chops and working on Orton’s left arm which as you expect had the cast on it. Fans were very into this but had to suffer a cheap DQ when the ref disqualified Orton for using his cast off the top rope.
Next was a very basic and slow lumberjack match which was filmed from an unusual angle, Steamboat wins with a roll up when Muraco accidently collides with Bob Orton. This is easily a match that can be skipped over though it’s always fun listening to Jesse Ventura on commentary. His match against Jake Roberts isn’t outstanding either. Roberts’s skill at psychology is clear for all to see but it just comes off as really slow and that they were holding back. It also has a dubious finish where Steamboat again with a roll up gets the win when Jake is trying to revive the ref. Afterwards Jake hits a DDT to continue the feud. The last 3 matches don’t really illustrate the talent of Ricky Steamboat but go someway to explain the booking of him in his initial run with the WWF.
Disc 2 ends with one of the most legendary matches in the history of Wrestlemania, it’s a fantastic match and is a blueprint of how good a match that is set out from start to finish can be. Disc 3 opens with another classic that we have seen on a previous WWE release. From Clash of the Champions VI it’s Steamboat’s famous 2/3 falls title defence against Ric Flair. This is a story of two excellent wrestlers trying to prove who was the better wrestler on the night, rather than a face vs heel battle. Personally I’m disappointed that the WWE went against showing Steamboat’s title victory at Chi-Town Rumble which hasn’t been seen in full before on a WWE release.
Moving down the card, Steamboat spent the summer of 1989 challenging Lex Luger for the US title, Lex was surprisingly entertaining and demanded that the NWA remove the ‘No DQ’ stipulation or he was calling the match off. Right there you knew exactly what the finish would be. Match was worked superbly until we had the hokey finish where Steamboat had a victory in his grasp when he decided to use a chair for the cheap DQ, fans seemed to approve of Steamboat’s use of the chair.
Fast forward to Ricky Steamboat’s return to what was now WCW as the surprise partner for Dustin Rhodes replacing the injured Barry Windham in late 1991 challenging The Enforcers (Anderson & Zbyzsko) for the tag team titles. The Enforcers are great when showing panic about Steamboat, with Double A going so far that he was telling Zbyzsko that Steamboat was only human.
Rolling into 1992 and the Beach Blast event was the 30 minute iron man match against Rick Rude. This was a really great match and something I hadn’t seen in a few years. Rick Rude was awesome in getting a lot out of moves which were pretty basic. They even used the Bill Watt’s ban on top rope moves into their story. Fans were with it all the way and Rude’s selling of his ribs is one of the very best things on either disc. Also from 1992 was Steamboat’s TV title victory over a very young Steve Austin which was only really memorable from watching Paul Heyman get put in a cage to stop him from interfering.
The final match was from 2009’s Backlash PPV against Chris Jericho, a good example of knowing when the heel should get the heat and when the babyface should make his comebacks and so forth. Fans really liked this and Jericho does a fine job in making Steamboat look very good in their 12 minute match.
Overall there is a lot of very decent stuff, what is a shame is that 3 of the matches appear on other WWE releases. Those being the tag match against the Brisco brothers, the Flair match on Disc 3 and the I-C titile win against Savage. That match I think is making its third appearance on a DVD release. The first Flair match is hindered by the commentary and there is a couple of matches that simply should have been replaced by others. The match with Austin for example could have been replaced by their PPV offering at Bash at the Beach 1994 which was far better.

Disc 2
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood vs Jack & Gerry Brisco   ***1/4
Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair  ****1/2
Ricky Steamboat vs Bob Orton Jr  ***
Ricky Steamboat vs Don Muraco   *3/4
Ricky Steamboat vs Jake Roberts   **1/2
Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage   *****

Disc 3
Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair   *****
Ricky Steamboat vs Lex Luger   ***1/2
Ricky Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes vs. The Enforcers  ***1/2
Ricky Steamboat vs Rick Rude   ****1/4
Ricky Steamboat vs Steve Austin   **
Ricky Steamboat vs Chris Jericho   ***1/4


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