July 5, 2010
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

Ricky Steamboat: The Life Story of the Dragon – 3 Disc Set
Released: June 29, 2010
Disc Two

And now, the matches!

NWA World Tag Team Champions Jack & Jerry Brisco (w/Don Kernodle) vs. Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood – Special Referee: Angelo Mosca (Starrcade 1983)
The DQ rule has been waived to prevent Jack and Jerry from an easy defense. Early on, the Brisco brothers have some trouble trying to figure out Steamboat. In a cool spot, Steamboat flips back over Jerry to escape a hammerlock. Finally Jerry gets him cornered, but Steamboat blocks a turnbuckle smash to return the favor. Tag to Youngblood, he slows the match down with a headlock. Youngblood clamps on an armbar and Jerry tries to slam his way out, but Youngblood stays with the hold. Steamboat tags in for a flying karate chop to the arm. Youngblood gets a turn as well. He stops a tag and runs Jerry into the turnbuckle back into the corner. Jerry goes low on Steamboat and finally tags in Jack. He drops Steamboat throat-first on the top rope and delivers a knee drop before grabbing a chinlock. Steamboat breaks free, but gets caught with a backdrop. Butterfly suplex gets two. Now Jerry’s just showing off. He applies a bridging rollup on Steamboat for a couple nearfalls. Jerry goes into the short-arm scissors, which leads to Steamboat POWERING OUT by lifting Jerry up in the air and sends him down crashing to the mat. HOT TAG TO YOUNGBLOOD! He chops Jack around, but gets a suplex reversed. The Brisco brothers deliver the STEREO FOOTBALL TACKLES, but can’t pin Youngblood. Oklahoma roll only gets two. Jerry didn’t care for the cadence of the count and shoves Mosca back. Bad idea. Mosca shoves back and Youngblood nails Jerry before reaching Steamboat for a tag. They look to put Jerry away as they lead into the press slam drop by Steamboat on Youngblood for the 1-2-3. (13:00) The Brisco brothers lost the match, but they try to win the war as they dump out Youngblood, run Mosca into the corner on his bad arm that Kevin Sullivan STABBED earlier, and then they attack Steamboat. While Jerry has Steamboat in the figure-four, Jack goes to fly and gets caught by Mosca. Once Youngblood returns to the ring, they clean house and rid the ring of the Brisco brothers. Just a great battle between two of the best teams ever. I think I might knock my rating down a notch though. ***½

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat – (Boogie Jam, 3/17/84)
Ricky Steamboat joins Matt Striker for commentary since apparently there is none. I’ve never even heard of this show, but apparently it took place in the Greensboro Coliseum and it includes one of the few Flair-Steamboat matches that are on tape that few have seen. Right after a respectful handshake, Steamboat immediately gets a nearfall with a crossbody. Awesome. Steamboat works smart off a headlock for a good long while as he takes time to explain on commentary the training he went through with Verne Gagne. Flair desperately needs to deliver a suplex about ten minutes in, but Steamboat blocks that with a front headlock just like a pro should. Flair drives Steamboat back into the corner a few times, but Steamboat still won’t break the hold. Another try at the suplex and this time, Flair gets it. However, Steamboat STILL holds onto the headlock. Flair fights out with a hiptoss, but Steamboat kicks him away and clamps on the headlock again. AH! Flair quickly reaches the ropes. As Flair gets more and more frustrated, they get into an intense ride sequence on the mat. Steamboat wants the figure-four (!!), but Flair keeps kicking him away. Steamboat settles for the Boston crab, but Flair finds the ropes. Flair ducks out after a series of dropkicks. Back in, they lock up for a test of strength. Flair goes down to the mat and Steamboat does everything he can to keep the shoulders down. Flair just does all he can to not get pinned. Steamboat powers Flair up into a monkey flip and dropkicks him down. Sweeeet. Flair shoves Steamboat around to cause him to make a mistake. It doesn’t happen because as soon as Flair tosses Steamboat to the floor, he flies back in with a flying karate chop and the headlock takedown causes Flair to take another breather. Back in again, Flair draws Steamboat into the corner, but Ricky comes out chopping. Flair avoids another figure-four attempt and goes after Steamboat’s ribs. After Steamboat returns to the ring, Flair delivers the Rolling Knee Drop for a bunch of nearfalls. Another knee drop scores a couple more. Steamboat catches Flair with the sleeper and once he’s weakened, the splash hits knees and takes him to the floor. Back in, Steamboat counters the suplex and grabs hold of the sleeper again, but this time Flair counters with a back suplex. Flair goes for a wise move: the abdominal stretch. That’s a move you don’t see him do very often probably because of his height. Headlock to the backslide sequence that you’ve seen a hundred thousand times gets two for Steamboat. Now Flair tries to slow things down with the sleeper, but Steamboat drives him into the corner. Schoolboy gets two. Flair begs off, but gets whipped into a press slam. Flair catches Ricky with a hotshot to stop him again. Steamboat explains to us a golden rule in wrestling and life in general. He also didn’t want to be known as the guy everyone thought was a prick because it always seems to be the case no matter how well you did in wrestling. Suplex by Flair, but Steamboat blocks the FIGURE-FOUR with his hand! Instead, Flair takes a shot at the ribs and tries a back suplex. Steamboat flips out of that and gives Flair a back suplex of his own. Cover, 1-2-NO! We’re also 50 minutes in right now. Steamboat delivers some perfectly timed leapfrogs over Flair and whips him in for the Flair Flip. Flying karate chop by Steamboat gets a few nearfalls. Flair tries to beat up Steamboat on the apron, but Steamboat fires back and delivers a sunset flip for 1-2-NO! Several more nearfall attempts ensue, but Flair kicks out of each one and then goes low with a headbutt to the ribs. With three minutes left, they have a big collision. Steamboat catches a knee drop and FINALLY applies the figure-four. Flair gets to the ropes, STAT. Flair punches away another figure-four attempt and climbs up top, which results in a slam to the mat. Steamboat chops on Flair and slams him down for a FLYING SPLASH, but the time limit expires right at the count of two. Darn. Isn’t that something how that always seems to happen with time-limit draws? (54:38) It’s a slow and psychological ’70s style first half, but man did they pick it up to show us what they were capable of doing to wrap this up. This reminded me a lot of their Spring Stampede match ten years later in 1994. ****¼

Ricky Steamboat vs. Cowboy Bob Orton Jr. – (Capital Centre, 7/20/85)
I don’t know whether it was the camera angle or Orton Jr is just THAT talented, but the man makes a great stop right before charging into a karate blow. Steamboat dumps the karate act and starts unloading on Orton with armdrags to work on the arm with the cast. If he didn’t have Bob Orton Sr. for a dad, he might have been told as a kid to drink his milk. Orton finally gets a break and delivers an old school headscissors, but then Steamboat ducks a charge and Orton goes flying over the top to the floor. Orton tosses a drink in Steamboat’s face to take back control. Apparently dragons don’t like Pepsi. Back inside, Orton grabs a cravate and grounds Steamboat for a wacky Paul Orndorff looking elbow drop. That gets two. Orton tries to stay on top of Steamboat, but he drives Orton back with chops. Steamboat backdrops out of a piledriver and delivers a majestic FLYING BODYPRESS for 1-2-NO! Orton turns the tables on Steamboat with an inverted atomic drop. He goes to dump him out, but Steamboat skins-the-cat and enziguri kicks Orton to the floor! On the apron, Orton gouges the eyes and wants to suplex Steamboat to the floor. Uhh, sir. That will kill him. Steamboat counters with a suplex of his own, but goes for the splash off the ropes and hits knees. C’mon Ricky, that never works. Orton decides to turn something inside his cast a certain way and lowers the boom on Steamboat from the middle rope. That seems a little fishy to the ref, so he DQ’s Orton. (14:49) Bell to bell action in front of a very hot crowd. ***¾

Ricky Steamboat vs. Don Muraco (w/Mr. Fuji) – Lumberjack Match (Maple Leaf Gardens, 9/22/85)
These two just plain don’t like each other and we are smack dab in the middle of this feud. The lumberjacks include Tito Santana, Jim Brunzell, B. Brian Blair, Swede Hanson, Lanny Poffo, Scott McGhee, Barry O, King Kong Bundy, Cowboy Bob Orton, Rene Goulet, Iron Mike Sharpe, Tiger Chung Lee, Dino Bravo, and Frank Marconi. Steamboat is all over Muraco to start. He gets knocked out in front of the heels and they just let him gain a breather. Back in, Muraco cuts off Steamboat with a clothesline. Mongolian Chop from Muraco sends Steamboat flying over the top rope right into Bundy’s arms. Back inside, Muraco delivers the Hennig neck snap, but Steamboat retreats to the corner and kicks Muraco away for a flying karate chop. Steamboat gives Muraco a massive swinging neckbreaker, but a quick atomic drop takes Steamboat out again. Uh oh, Muraco delivers the BANZAI THUMB right to Steamboat’s throat. That thumb is taped up, ya know. Brutal. The crowd gets behind Steamboat as he stands to his feet during a nerve hold. Muraco puts him down with a shoulderbreaker and grabs the hold again. This time, Steamboat chops back. Muraco reverses a cross corner whip and that sends Steamboat to the floor. Fuji gets shoved away, but then Orton tosses Steamboat into the ring. Knee drop by Muraco gets two. Steamboat tries a desperate splash off the ropes, but again it hits knees. You dummy. Muraco telegraphs a backdrop and decides to exit stage left. That’s too bad because the babyface lumberjacks are there to stop him. Once again, Steamboat goes ballistic on Muraco, but then he takes a backdrop out to the bad guys. They pummel him down, but Steamboat escapes and flips back into the ring only to be met with a suplex by Muraco. Cover, 1-2-NO! Quite the slow count there, ref. Orton hops up on the apron to offer his cast for assistance. Steamboat knocks Orton away and O’Connor rolls Muraco off him for the much faster 1-2-3! (9:46) The crowd goes absolutely insane like Steamboat just won the world title. Thanks to his time in Mid-Atlantic, Steamboat already had a big following there. Easily the best of the Steamboat-Muraco matches that I’ve seen. ***

Ricky Steamboat vs. Jake Roberts – (Boston Garden, 8/9/86)
Jake DDT’d Steamboat’s head onto concrete back in May and that put him out of action. He wears the Karate Kid head gear to cover up the bruises. Now Steamboat is looking for revenge leading up to the ‘Snake Pit’ match at the Big Event on August 28. Anytime Steamboat goes for a chop or a blow, Jake is quick to cross his arms to block. It’s common sense, really. Jake pulls it off in such a cocky manner though that just pisses off Steamboat. Even when Steamboat tries to nail Roberts out of nowhere, he still manages to get those hands up. Jake armbars Steamboat, but he gets pushed off into the ropes for a chop, but Jake grabs the ropes and jets out to the floor. Back inside, Steamboat ruins Jake’s plans for a headlock takedown with several headscissors escapes. Now Steamboat starts up the chops and sends Jake falling out to the floor. Steamboat follows him out and goes for a chop on the apron, but Jake leaps to the floor and lets Steamboat chop the ringpost. Well, that risk certainly did not pay off. Roberts starts smashing and twisting Steamboat’s wrist all around ringside. Back in, it’s more of the same with Steamboat desperately trying to fight back with his one good arm. Jake pulls off some of his wrist tape to choke Steamboat, but he gets caught by the ref and *that* allows Steamboat to hotshot Roberts to take back control. Steamboat takes Jake to the floor and sends him crashing into the guardrail and off Monsoon and Lord Alfred’s table. Back inside the ring, Steamboat is a HOUSE OF FIRE. He hits the Flying Karate Chop, but then Jake shoves Ricky off into the ref. Jake delivers the Short-Arm Clothesline and the gutbuster, but the ref is down. As Roberts goes over to wake him up, Steamboat rolls up Jake for the 1-2-3. (17:20) The finish was kind of a letdown, but it had be somewhat of a fluke victory if Steamboat was to go over considering this wasn’t the blowoff. Afterwards, Jake makes up for it by giving Steamboat a DDT. Otherwise, this was a fine example of psychology from two of the masters. Did Steamboat ever have anything less than a great match in the Boston Garden? ***½

WWF Intercontinental Champion Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Ricky Steamboat (w/George “The Animal” Steele) – (WrestleMania III)
Matt Striker and Ricky Steamboat do alternate commentary for this one. Just hit your audio button on your DVD remote to listen to them. This is our first copy and paste match. In late November, Steamboat challenged Savage to an IC title match on Superstars. As the match progressed, Savage became desperate and afraid that he would lose to Steamboat. In his moment of desperation, he draped Steamboat on the guardrail and came off the top turnbuckle with a double-ax handle! This crushed Steamboat’s larynx and put him out of action for several months. The WWF wisely kept all physical contact between Steamboat and Savage on TV from happening to give this match such a HUGE build, which is a major detail that seems to left out of wrestling these days. Steamboat counters a waistlock to start, and then sees that Steele is too close to Elizabeth so he climbs out and takes her over to the other side of the ring. Back in, Steamboat delivers a pair of armdrags and gives Savage a quick chokelift. Savage bails, but Steamboat chases him into the ring and gets nailed. Savage chokes away in the corner and then charges, but Steamboat moves out of the way. Steamboat works an arm wringer, but Savage whips him into the ropes and gives him a back elbow. Steamboat gets dumped and then Savage elbows him in the throat on the apron. Savage snapmares Steamboat back in and delivers a knee drop to the throat for two. Steamboat blocks a head to the buckle and returns the favor to Savage. Steamboat chops away and connects with a crossbody for two. Steamboat gets an armdrag and a couple shoulderblock near-falls. Savage sidesteps the third shoulderblock and catches Steamboat with a running knee to the back. Savage tosses Steamboat over the top rope, but Steamboat skins the cat back in the ring and then takes a clothesline out to the floor. Savage sneaks up from behind Steamboat and sends him into the front row with another running knee! Savage KNOWS he can’t beat Steamboat by a pinfall or submission, so he’s trying to get the countout win. I LOVE that. Steele tries to revive Steamboat and helps him out by picking him up and placing him back into the ring. Savage tosses Steamboat out AGAIN and heads up top for the dreaded double-axe handle and he connects! Instead of allowing the ten-count to happen, Savage gets impatient and tosses Steamboat back in the ring. He heads up to the top again and delivers another double-axe handle, then gives Steamboat a running elbow for two. Hotshot from Savage gets two. Atomic drop from Savage gets two. Suplex from Savage gets two. Haha, poor Dave Hebner. Steamboat comes back with chops, but Savage goes to the eyes and delivers a gutwrench suplex for two. Steamboat flips out of a back suplex and then back drops Savage out to the floor. CRAZY BUMP! Steamboat brings Savage back in the ring and goes up top. He LEAPS over Dave Hebner and catches Savage with a Judo chop! (Possibly the most poetic moment in wrestling history) Steamboat covers for a close near-fall! The crowd even thought it was over. Double-arm chop from Steamboat gets two. Savage rolls out onto the apron and gets knocked out to the floor. Steamboat chases Savage back into the ring and delivers a sunset flip from the apron for two. Steamboat gets several near-falls from various rollups and then sends Savage headfirst into the ringpost with a catapult for another two! Steamboat rolls him up again for two, but then Savage pulls him back by his tights into a rollup for two. Steamboat fires away on Savage, but then gets yanked shoulder-first into the ringpost. Hebner gets bumped and Savage sets up for the MACHO ELBOW! He connects, but there’s no ref! Since there’s no ref, Savage goes out and grabs the ring bell! He heads up top, but Steele snatches the bell away from him. Savage kicks him in the head and grabs the bell back and climbs up top again, so Steele shoves him off. Savage goes for another slam to possibly set up for another Macho Elbow, but Steamboat counters it into a small package for the three-count to win the WWF Intercontinental title. (14:35) If there ever was a perfect match, this was it. From top to bottom, start to finish, there’s none better even to this day. Psychology, booking, workrate; it’s all done to perfection. *****

Final Thoughts: An interesting match selection from the NWA with the Starrcade 83 match even though we have seen it before on DVD. The rare Boogie Jam match with Ric Flair is a must-see for fans of their rivalry. The WWF choices were decent and it always plateaus with the Randy Savage match that we’ve all seen before. So far, so good. Now that Steamboat is back in the NWA and later WCW, he’s able to really cut loose and put on some classics, which means disc 3 is where the quality is REALLY going to pick up.

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