WWE Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat was recently a guest on the Shining Wizards podcast, and he spoke about a number of topics, including never turning heel in his career, working with Chris Jericho, and who he is most proud of.
You can read a few excerpts from the interview below:
Ricky Steamboat on never turning heel, or wanting to:
I never had a match where I worked as a heel. When I started in 1974, I was always a face, and the reason for that was that the heel would always lead the match. Now for me to graduate to be a heel, most times you started out as a face, and then when you got good, you would transfer over to a heel and you were the guy in charge. So I never had an opportunity to work as a heel, although in and around 1991, I expressed my desire to work as a heel and the response that I got back was it would never work. Pat Patterson said that I was the consummate babyface and it would probably hurt my career. I tried to push it to them hard and said, “Let me go under a mask and let me go under a full suit and cover up my body. I won’t throw any chops and I’ll just kick and punch and I’ll be a heel. Then the big surprise, if we can carry this thing through, after about a year or so, have somebody finally takes the mask off, hopefully the response we get from the fans will be ‘Oh my God, all this time it’s been Ricky Steamboat,'” but they wouldn’t buy it.
On his last WWE run as a wrestler and working with Chris Jericho:
A lot of the guys say that, but during the match there were moments where I knew I was a step off, and that’s just Mother Nature. I like to go 100 miles per hour when I hit the ropes, and I knew I was a step off. I wasn’t as flexible as I once was. One of my biggest things before the match was having a lot of the guys ask me what I do before a match. Some guys like to run in place, some would do push-ups, some do warm-ups. I really focused on stretching. I really think that helped me throughout my career. Getting back to the match: God, it was such a great feeling. I had a lot of déjà vu coming back over me in that match with (Chris) Jericho. I was so happy he took care of me.
Steamboat on the superstar he’s most proud of:
I was not coaching at the time, but a guy that I’m really, really proud of when I was a producer/agent, with Arn Anderson & Dean Malenko, is Dolph Ziggler. You could talk to him and see it in his eyes that he would get it. He knew what you were talking about. It wasn’t like you just go out there and do something for the sake of doing it. I always told him to have a rhyme and reason. I give this example: You’re having a match and you’ve been working on this guy’s arm and the guy’s gotten away from you a few times but somehow you’ve been able to get back to that arm. The story that you’re telling is that you’re trying to wear the guy’s arm down. Then you have a moment to which he gets away and you end up in the turnbuckle and he charges with a high knee, and you move. He hits the top turnbuckle with his knee and goes down and grabs his knee. I look at Zig and I said, “Dolph, what do you do?” And he said, “Well, I grab the arm.” I said, “You got it, kid.” Most times, the answer I get is, “I grab his leg.”
For more with Steamboat, including several stories about his wrestling history, click here to listen to the archived show.