July 10, 2010
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

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

More matches!

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair – 2/3 Falls (Clash of the Champions VI, 4/2/89)
It doesn’t get any better than this match right here, people. Being the first NWA World Champion to ever defend the title in the Superdome, Terry Funk replaces Michael Hayes and joins Jim Ross for color commentary. To set the stage, Flair ALWAYS regains the title in the big rematch. Harley Race, Kerry Von Erich, Dusty Rhodes, Ron Garvin – they have all fallen to Flair when he was back in the title hunt. The “Can Steamboat do it?” factor is at full tilt.

First Fall: Flair starts to woo, so Steamboat slaps him for it. Steamboat rides Flair on the mat, but Flair finds the corner. Flair shoves back, Steamboat slaps him again. Steamboat grabs a headlock. Flair grabs the knee to try and escape with a shin breaker, so Steamboat squeezes harder. Flair escapes into an overhead wristlock and forces Steamboat to the mat, but Steamboat powers his way up and puts Flair on his back. Flair calls for the ref as he takes a walk on the floor to complain about hair pulling, but Tommy Young didn’t see NOTHING. Back in, Flair delivers a shoulderblock, but Steamboat comes back with a hiptoss and takes Flair down with a headlock for 1-2-NO! Flair rolls over onto his stomach and tries a few times to turn Steamboat over for a few near-falls. Since Flair can’t get out of the hold right now, he might as well do what he can to pin Steamboat. Flair backs Steamboat into the corner for the break and cheapshots him with a shoulderblock and a couple sick chops. That fires Steamboat up and he chops Flair back into a corner. Hiptoss leads to a flying headscissors from Steamboat. After a dropkick, Flair wanders back around into the headlock for another close near-fall. Steamboat really goes to work on Flair’s neck with forearms and knee drops. He’s using the “control the head, control the body” psychology to perfection here. Flair backs Steamboat into the corner once again to free himself from a front headlock and elbows Steamboat in the ribs. They trade some more chops and then Steamboat puts Flair down with a backdrop. Dropkick gets two. Flair knows he’s in trouble, so he begs away and baits Steamboat in the corner for a low kick. Flair misses a forearm shot, so Steamboat sneaks in a rollup for 1-2-NO! Steamboat connects with a clothesline and returns to the headlock for ANOTHER near-fall. Steamboat puts Flair in the corner for some more HARD chops to set up the Flair Flop. Cover, 1-2-NO! Steamboat grabs the headlock again, but Flair quickly counters with an inverted atomic drop. Flair regroups and makes the mistake of not capitalizing, which allows Steamboat to fire back with another chop for 1-2-NO! A pair of shoulderblocks from Steamboat get him a pair of near-falls. Double-chop gets ANOTHER near-fall. Flair realizes he’s in trouble again and bails to the floor. Back in, Flair cheapshots Steamboat, which surprises no one. Man, they are REALLY hammering on each other in there. Steamboat wins a brutalizing chopfest for another near-fall. He gives Flair a suplex from the apron and goes for a splash, but Flair brings up the knees. Wooooo. Flair snapmares Steamboat for a double-stomp and then follows up with a butterfly suplex for 1-2-NO! Flair tries again and again and again to gain the fall, but he just can’t keep Steamboat’s shoulders down! Steamboat kips up out a knucklelock pinning situation and chops Flair back into the corner. Steamboat hiptosses Flair again, but whiffs on a dropkick. It’s FIGURE-FOUR TIME! No! Steamboat reverses into an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! Flair shifts his weight and gets 1-2-3! (19:45) Ironically enough, that was the very same finish that led to Terry Funk’s loss against Ric Flair at the Great American Bash. Already, this is five-star perfection. Flair – 1 Steamboat – 0

Second Fall: Flair struts around in celebration, but it’s not over yet. Steamboat shoves off a headlock and catches Flair with a press slam to set up a flying judo chop for 1-2-NO! Steamboat returns to the headlock, but Flair counters with a back suplex. He follows that up with the Rolling Knee Drop. Flair wants another one, but Steamboat moves and goes after the knee with elbow drops! I mean, he almost wears himself out with all the elbow drops. That leads to a figure-four! He does it correctly too by placing the straight leg over the injured knee and everything! Steamboat chops Flair down while he’s still in the hold for two, but then Flair grabs the bottom rope for the break. Steamboat brings Flair to the center of the ring to try the figure-four again, but Flair kicks him off. That doesn’t stop Steamboat though as he grabs a Boston crab instead! Flair finally gets to the bottom rope for the break. Steamboat makes the mistake of letting Flair get to his feet though. When Steamboat starts chopping, Flair grounds Steamboat with a headlock and gets a near-fall! This leads to the bridge-up into a backslide sequence in Steamboat’s favor for 1-2-NO! Flair bails after that and capitalizes by dragging Steamboat out to the floor for some guardrail action. Back in, Flair works Steamboat over on the apron and then gives him a stalling suplex back in for 1-2-NO! Flair applies an abdominal stretch into an Oklahoma roll for 1-2-NO! He tries everything possible to get the second straight fall, but Steamboat just won’t keep his shoulders down on the mat. He even puts his feet on the second rope, but nothing works. Flair gets distracted by the crowd and berates them for protesting, and that’s all the time Steamboat needs to come back with chops. Steamboat then flips out of a back suplex and rolls up Flair for 1-2-NO! Jackknife rollup gets another near-fall, but then Steamboat telegraphs a backdrop and gets kicked in the mouth and chopped down REAL hard for 1-2-NO! Flair heads up top and gets caught and crotched by Steamboat. A SUPERPLEX IS COMING UP! Steamboat starts hammering on the lower back and lifts Flair up in a double-chicken wing for the submission! Flair has given up for the first time in his career, says JR. (34:14) There’s still one more fall to go! Flair – 1 Steamboat – 1

Third Fall: Steamboat goes for the kill early with an abdominal stretch, but Flair thumbs out of that and flops down again. Can’t say I blame him since they’ve only been going non-stop for 35 minutes. Steamboat doesn’t see Flair coming and gets clipped from behind. Doesn’t do much yet though because Steamboat’s still chopping. That gets two. Flair cowers away and then takes a backdrop. He chops back when Steamboat starts pounding on his lower back again and catches delivers a shin breaker to set up the FIGURE-FOUR. Steamboat quickly gets to the ropes and then the ref pisses off Flair when he untangles the hold. They get into a shoving match, but it’s soon resolved. Steamboat chops some more and whips Flair across for the Flair Corner Flip, but Steamboat double-chops him as he runs down the apron! Flair drops to his knees and begs, but that’s just a set-up for his cheap corner pin. Steamboat will not die! Steamboat lands on his feet off a crossbody attempt out of the corner, but then charges into a boot. He reverses a cross-corner whip, but Flair moves and Steamboat hooks his leg on the top-rope! Flair jerks him down out of the corner and goes to work. He lands a knee-drop ON the knee, jerks on it a little bit, and THEN applies the FIGURE-FOUR! Oh man, center of the ring and everything. After a while, Flair gets a few near-falls out of it. The crowd starts to get behind Steamboat though and he reverses the hold over into the ropes for the break. That doesn’t stop Flair from destroying Steamboat’s knee, as he slams it on the apron a couple times. Steamboat still fights back with chops though. Cross-corner whip sets up a Flair Corner Flip and this time it actually works for Flair as he comes off the top with a crossbody for 1-2-NO! Steamboat goes for a slam, but his knee gives way and Flair gets two. Steamboat ducks on a back elbow and fires back with a jumping headbutt. He tries to get the feeling back in his leg on his way to the top-rope and comes off for a FLYING BODYPRESS for 1-2-NO! Steamboat goes for a jumping elbow drop, but Flair moves. Flair ducks low off a whip though and takes a swinging neckbreaker for two, but still manages to toss Steamboat to the floor. Both men grab a breather, but its Steamboat coming back in with a sunset flip. Flair fights it HARD, but Steamboat gets him to fall for 1-2-NO! Steamboat then runs into a sleeper hold at 50 MINUTES INTO THIS MATCH! That’s gotta suck. Not just a sleeper hold, but he climbs up on Steamboat’s back and makes him carry his weight. That’s unbelievable stamina. As logic would have it, Steamboat does go down, but the crowd revives him and Flair gets sent face-first into the top turnbuckle to cause the break. Flair stumbles out to the floor, but then sneaks back in and clips Steamboat. It’s not enough to throw Steamboat off his game though, as he comes back with an enziguri for 1-2-NO! He heads up top for a splash, but lands on nothing but canvas. Flair works on the knee that just hit the mat and then shoves Steamboat around. Man, that’s some blatant disrespect. As he has during this whole match, Steamboat chops back when he’s in trouble. He puts Flair in the corner for the ten-count corner chop and Flair tries for the inverted atomic drop to counter, but Steamboat avoids and drops Flair with a clothesline for 1-2-NO! He got his foot on the bottom rope. Steamboat then ducks low off a whip and takes a back suplex. Flair heads up top and gets slammed down this time to set up another double-chicken wing! Steamboat can’t hold him up though and collapses, so Tommy Young counts Flair’s shoulders down for 1-2-3. (55:30) Steamboat – 2 Flair – 1. Flair had his foot under the bottom rope, but Tommy Young missed that part. The controversial finish leads to the second and final rematch for Flair at Wrestle War. If he can’t win it there, he’ll “never get another title shot again.” Arguably the best match ever in North American wrestling. Without a doubt though, this was the paramount match of the Flair/Steamboat series. *****

NWA United States Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger vs. Ricky Steamboat – (Great American Bash 1989)
Now THIS is a cool feud. Luger’s pissed at Steamboat because he came in and stole his #1 contenders spot to the NWA World title by basically just showing up in the NWA back in January, so Luger turns heel by joining Terry Funk in beating down Steamboat at Clash VII a month ago. It’s been scheduled to be a no-DQ match, but Luger protests because he’s the champ and doesn’t want a no-DQ match with Steamboat, but he’ll wrestle if the no-DQ clause is dropped. Steamboat decides to let it go because he’s smart and REALLY wants Luger, so here we go. JR brings up a bunch of interesting similarities saying that both men are 3-time NWA U.S. champion, both achieved rookie of the year status, and both won the U.S. title during their rookie years. While it is true for Steamboat, I think JR is getting the Florida Heavyweight title confused with the U.S. title in Luger’s case. Steamboat tries to pick up the early win by getting several nearfalls on Luger with rollups. Steamboat follows up with dropkicks and a backdrop before heading out to the floor. Steamboat connects with an atomic drop and brings Luger back in, but Luger is right there to nail him with a knee coming in the ring. Luger regains his composure and kicks Steamboat out to the floor a beatdown and to try and piss off the crowd. Luger turns around and gets chopped halfway around the ring and even gets his face smashed into the Maryland State Athletic Commission table! Back in, Steamboat tries for the top-rope judo chop, but Luger catches him on the way down. Luger goes to work on Steamboat’s back with backbreakers and press slams. Luger goes for a cover and complains that ref Tommy Young isn’t counting fast enough. He tries for another pinfall, but Luger still isn’t happy with the count. He gets in Tommy’s face about it, allowing Steamboat to grab Luger from behind with a rollup for a FAST 1-2-NO! Haha, I love it. That only makes Luger MAD, as he pops up with a BUNCH of clotheslines! Steamboat does his best punch-drunk oversell while Luger mouths off at the crowd again. Luger delivers a hotshot, but then Steamboat fires back with chops. Tommy Young gets in the way and blocks one of Steamboats blows because he was attempting a closed-fist shot, so Luger ceases the moment and pops Steamboat with a closed-fist shot! It’s the little things that are making this match incredible. Luger shoves Tommy Young back and then gives Steamboat a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Steamboat ducks a clothesline and hits a crossbody block for 1-2-NO! Luger gets right on top of Steamboat and delivers an inverted atomic drop to put Steamboat down so he can yell at the crowd some more. HEEL LUGER IS AWESOME! He turns around and whips Steamboat into the ropes, but he ducks low and gets caught with a swinging neckbreaker. Luger though, slips out of a slam, but then Steamboat ducks another clothesline and lets Luger fall out to the floor! Steamboat brings Luger onto the apron and chops away. What’s smart about that is that Steamboat is causing Luger to exert unnecessary energy by him maintaining a grip on the ropes to prevent from falling! It all seems for naught though, as Luger falls on top of Steamboat on a slam attempt back in the ring for 1-2-NO! Steamboat takes a knee in the corner off a charge, but then slams Luger down off the top. Steamboat connects with a couple running chops and then heads up top for the JUDO CHOP. Will that be all? 1-2-NO! Steamboat confronts Tommy Young with the count while Luger rests up against the ropes. Steamboat charges at Luger, but he takes a backdrop into the other ring! CRAZY! Luger brings a chair into the ring and shoves Tommy Young aside. That allows Steamboat to trip Luger up and catapult him into the corner along with the chair! Now Steamboat has the chair! Tommy Young tries to stop him, but Steamboat shoves him aside as well and BEATS Luger with the chair to give Luger the DQ win! (10:27) Steamboat’s already disqualified, so he uses this opportunity to chase Luger to the back with steel chair in hand. This had the great angle, great feud, great match, great crowd reactions, and was truly non-formulaic. The only problem I have is the finish that technically goes against Steamboat’s character somewhat. But then again, he needed to do something great like this after bringing his wife and kid out to the ring with him for the past six months. ****½

WCW World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko vs. Dustin Rhodes & Ricky Steamboat – (Clash of the Champions XVII, 11/19/91)
It was supposed to be Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham challenging for the tag belts, but since Barry got his hand smashed in a car door by a couple Enforcers and had to have reconstructive surgery, we’ve got a mystery partner instead. The mystery partner comes out in some detailed dragon mask and black cloak. It’s 1991, so the crowd seems pretty reluctant as it’s not impossible for it to be some crappy masked wrestler that nobody knows or maybe another rookie “sensation”. But when Dustin goes over and pulls off the mask and cloak, the mystery partner turns out to be RICKY STEAMBOAT! HOLY CRAP! The crowd goes INSANE! Arn and Larry do an awesome job of going insane as well. Steamboat starts off chopping Larry and Arn until it turns into a big brawl with all four men. Back in, Steamboat nails Zbyszko with a back elbow and then dropkicks Anderson to the floor. The heels NEED some regrouping time. Back in again, Steamboat grabs a headlock as Ross brings up Zbyszko wanting to be called “the Cruncher” after the Halloween Havoc incident. Dustin tags in for an armbar for only a short amount of time before tagging in Steamboat. He hits a judo chop on Larry Z’s arm and he sells it like a near-death experience. Steamboat doesn’t stop there and posts the arm REAL good. Rhodes tags in to apply the armbar once more, but makes a mistake by being backed up into the heel corner and allows Larry to tag in Arn. He pounds away and then heads up top. Dustin wants to slam him down, but Arn goes to the eyes and delivers a double-sledge. Arn stops to mouth off at Steamboat and then charges into a boot in the corner. Rhodes follows up with bionic elbows for the champs to send them rolling to the floor. Once things settle, Zbyszko wants Steamboat, so Dustin obliges. Larry SLAPS Steamboat and that sets up the perfect Enforcers plan to bait Steamboat around the ring and bring him in so that Arn can attack from behind. Does it work? Yes, and flawlessly. Arn got a blind tag and the Enforcers double-team before Larry executes a suplex for two. Zbyszko puts Steamboat in his own corner and tags in Arn. Steamboat chops back and tries a sunset flip, but Arn is too close to his corner and gets a desperate tag into Zbyszko to make the possible pin situation irrelevant. Zbyszko grabs an abdominal stretch and cheats like a mother trucker with some leverage help from Arn. The heels switch as Dustin tries to come in to help, which only causes more punishment for Steamboat. Anderson telegraphs a backdrop and takes a face smash instead. Steamboat starts to crawl over to his corner, but Anderson grabs his ankle and tags in Larry Z to put a stop to it all. Steamboat tries to come back with a slam, but his back gives out and Larry falls on top for two. Anderson tags in for a bearhug and gets a few near-falls out of that. He knuckle-locks up on the mat, but Steamboat counters with a body scissors. Arn counters THAT into a Boston crab and gains some leverage help from Larry by pushing on Arn’s forehead from the apron! My GOSH that’s great. They switch and Larry reapplies the crab in his own corner. Steamboat starts to crawl towards his corner from across the ring and power out of this hold so he can make…the…tag! YES! NO! The ref didn’t see it! Steamboat and Anderson knock heads together, but then Steamboat gets his foot up in Anderson’s face as he comes down on him off the top. Zbyszko tries to cut off the tag, but he can’t make it in time and we’ve got a HOT TAG TO RHODES! He goes SLAM CRAZY and then makes a blind tag to Steamboat. Dustin connects with a BULLDOG on Anderson before heading back to his corner. Meanwhile, Larry thinks he’s tossed Steamboat to the floor, but actually he just lands on the apron and climbs to the top rope to deliver the FLYING BODY PRESS to a dazed Arn Anderson for 1-2-3! (14:48) At a time when you didn’t think there could be a tag team in WCW good enough that could compete or much less dethrone the Enforcers, Ricky Steamboat returns to WCW after a near 30-month long absence and along with Dustin Rhodes, wins the WCW World Tag Team Titles! The Enforcers used every trick in their playbook and STILL couldn’t overcome their misfortune of being unprepared for Steamboat. Besides all that, it’s probably the first match on a major show that WCW fans REALLY seemed to get into from start to finish since Ric Flair left. This told a fantastic story and some brilliant old-school textbook-style tag-team wrestling. Steamboat was one of the final pieces of the puzzle that made WCW great again. If I’m not mistaken, there’s only one piece that remains and it comes from Japan. ****¾

Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Rude – 30-Minute Ironman Challenge Match (Beach Blast 1992)
Another awesome feud wraps up here at Beach Blast, and it’s really a shame because these two would never have another high profile match like this again. Paul E and Madusa have both been barred from ringside for this one. Steamboat goes after the ribs immediately. Seems odd since Rude is so cut. Rude escapes a bearhug and buries his knee into Steamboat’s face. Remember, Rude and the DA broke Steamboat’s nose back in April. When was the last time you saw that kind of psychology used TWO MONTHS after an injury? Steamboat ducks a clothesline and slams Rude down for a modified bow and arrow. Rude rakes Steamboat in the eyes to get out of the hold, but Steamboat quickly maintains the control with a Boston crab. Steamboat REALLY cranks back on it too – into a Walls of Jericho. Rude still manages to get to the ropes. Steamboat hits a splash (for once!) and delivers a bunch of knee drops to the ribs. Steamboat hits a front suplex for 1-2-NO! Rude gets whipped into the corner, but catches Steamboat in the face with his knee HARD. Cover with a handful of tights gets 1-2-3. (Rude – 1 Steamboat – 0) Rude doesn’t screw around and delivers a RUDE AWAKENING for 1-2-3. (Rude – 2 Steamboat – 0) Rude heads up top and comes down on Steamboat with a flying knee drop, but that’s a no-no back in those days and Steamboat wins the next fall by DQ. (Rude – 2 Steamboat – 1) Inside cradle on Steamboat gets 1-2-3. (Rude – 3 Steamboat – 1) So, he’s right back to where he was before he gave Steamboat the DQ. Guess he was hoping for another pin out of that, but Steamboat fights back with chops on the ribs. Rude stops that though with a face slam and grabs a camel clutch. Steamboat crawls towards the ropes, so Rude jumps down on Steamboat’s back. Rude wants to bump ‘n grind, but his ribs are WAY too hurt tonight. Sorry, ladies. Now Rude buries the knee into the Dragon’s lower back. Back to the camel clutch we go, but Steamboat counters into an electric chair drop! Steamboat goes for the running splash, but Rude gets the knees up just in time. Swinging neckbreaker from Rude gets a bunch of nearfalls. Steamboat tries to chop back again, so Rude snapmares him down for a reverse chinlock at the 15-minute mark. Steamboat elbows out, but runs into a knee. Rude delivers some turnbuckle smashes and then hits a Piledriver! Cover, 1-2-NO! Rude wants a tombstone piledriver, but Steamboat reverses into one of his own for 1-2-3! (Rude – 3 Steamboat – 2) Just a desperation win though, as Steamboat gets pulled face-first into the corner. Rude heads up top again possibly sacrifice another fall – which would be stupid – so Steamboat instead crotches him and gives him a superplex! See, it’s legal if both guys are on the top rope, which makes NO sense. Steamboat slowly covers for 1-2-NO! Double-KO! There’s ten minutes left in this match. Rude lays back on Steamboat for 1-2-NO! Steamboat bridges up and into a backslide for 1-2-3! (Rude – 3 Steamboat – 3) Holy crap. Steamboat goes all Randy Savage on Rude with three nearfalls in around 30 seconds, so Rude kills his momentum with a jawbreaker. Rude drives Steamboat’s face into the mat a couple times and yells, “You ain’t no iron man!” I had no idea he was that bad at grammar. Forearm smash gets two. Standing clothesline puts Steamboat down long enough for a single-bicep pose. Rude chokes and pounds away before he goes for another RUDE AWAKENING, but Steamboat powers out and hits his own Rude Awakening! Cover, 1-2-NO! Rude’s foot is in the ropes. Steamboat follows up with knee drops and hits a suplex for 1-2-NO! Back suplex gets two. Rude then reverses a whip into the ropes and jumps on Steamboat’s back for a sleeper hold! That’s gotta suck. After 90 seconds in the hold, Steamboat finally drops to the mat. He’s bound to be in dream land by now. His arm doesn’t even drop once though as the crowd starts to get behind Steamboat. There’s 45-seconds left in the match! Steamboat gets to his feet and kicks off the corner to fall back on Rude for the 1-2-3! (Steamboat – 4 Rude – 3) The crowd erupts! Rude goes into panic mode! Clothesline gets two. Another clothesline gets two. A third one gets two. Inside cradle gets two. A big slam gets 1-2-NO! Oops, the time limit has expired. (30:00 Final Score: Steamboat – 4 Rude – 3) Oh, that’s beautiful. This was as great an iron man match as you’ll find outside of WWE. ****½

WCW World Television Champion Steve Austin (w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Ricky Steamboat – No DQ Match (Clash of the Champions XX, 9/2/92)
This one has alternate commentary from Matt Striker and Ricky Steamboat. Since Steamboat was told by Paul E Dangerously at Beach Blast that he would receive no more US title shots and when the Cactus Jack angle didn’t really go anywhere, Steamboat started going after Austin’s TV belt because Paul E didn’t say anything about that belt. He’s defeated Austin in a non-title bout, but never in a title match and that is what he looks to do here. Before we can get started, Johnny B. Badd has to make an appearance with some little girl who is out to sing the national anthem. Haha, instead of being respectful, Paul E talks strategy with Austin. I love it! It makes sense too because Paul E is going to have to be stuck in a mini-cage and suspended in the air for this match. Gordy and Doc broke some of his ribs at the Great American Bash, which is going to be Austin’s game plan on all night. Austin hammers on the ribs, but Steamboat chops back and takes Austin down into a headlock. By the way, fans are able to vote on whether to drop the “hey you can’t come off the top rope anymore!” rule or not. VOTE OR DIE! Austin fights out and drops an elbow. Steamboat chops back and he’s got Austin stuck in the headlock again. Austin pulls the hair to escape. Steamboat climbs to the middle-rope, but Austin is there to slam him to the mat ribs-first. Austin goes to work with a rib buster for some near-falls. Steamboat comes back with chops and goes for a slam, but the ribs are hurting too much and he puts Austin down. Austin goes to an ab stretch, but Steamboat makes the ropes. He hits a crossbody out of the corner, but Austin rolls through for 1-2-NO! Steamboat then avoids a dropkick and catapults Austin into the corner for 1-2-NO! Austin tries to get the Ric Flair corner pin for 1-2-NO! Steamboat lifts Austin up for a tombstone piledriver, but Austin reverses and then Steamboat reverses and gives it to Austin! Cover, 1-2-NO! Austin yanks Steamboat into the corner and cradles him up using the tights for 1-2-NO! Austin goes for a superplex, but Steamboat pushes him off. He goes for the chop, but Austin catches him in the gut on the way down. Inside cradle gets two for Austin. Steamboat ducks a back elbow and nails Austin with a running shoulderblock. Austin then avoids a charge and dumps Steamboat. He regroups for a second and then crawls underneath the ring to the other side! Austin’s looking around for Steamboat and then turns around into a FLYING BODYPRESS for 1-2-3! (10:43) We’ve got a *NEW* WCW World TV champion! The usual goodness from these two and they only get better with time. ***

Ricky Steamboat vs. Chris Jericho – (Backlash 2009)
It appears Steamboat is wearing the same tights and boots he wore the last time he appeared on PPV in a singles match – Bash at the Beach 1994 against “Stunning” Steve Austin. Steamboat outwrestles and outsmarts Jericho to start. He catches Jericho with a double chop and grabs a couple armdrags into the armbar. Jericho elbows out and tosses Steamboat, but he SKINS THE CAT. As soon as he’s back in the ring, Jericho knew it was coming and clotheslines Steamboat out to the floor. Jericho hits Steamboat with springboard dropkick on the apron. Back inside, he slaps Steamboat around and disrespects him. Finally, Steamboat escapes a chinlock and pushes off a bulldog into the corner. With Jericho sitting up on the top turnbuckle, Steamboat brings him down with a death-defying back superplex! Slow cover only gets two. He continues the offense with his signature chops. VINTAGE STEAMBOAT~! Jericho runs into a powerslam for two. Enziguri by Jericho leads to the bulldog which sets up the Lionsault, but Steamboat catches him while he’s on the ropes for a possible electric chair drop. No sir. Jericho punches out into what appears to be a victory roll changed over to the WALLS OF JERICHO! Steamboat refuses to tap and slips out to put Jericho in a figure-four. The only problem is he tried to lock it in like he was Dusty Rhodes and decided not to start off with the spinning toe hold. Crowd doesn’t buy the hold at all. Steamboat avoids a pop-up superplex as he ascends to the top for the FLYING BODYPRESS for 1-2-NO! Steamboat tries the flying karate chop, but Jericho catches him in mid-air with the CODEBREAKER. Cover, 1-2-NO! Steamboat gets his foot on the bottom rope. Next up, they do the WM3 finish where Steamboat counters a slam into a small package for 1-2-NO! You know Jericho is marking out deep down inside. Now Jericho has had enough. He locks in the WALLS OF JERICHO and Steamboat has no choice but to tap out. (12:32) Whether you want to admit it or not, they had everybody going thinking Steamboat might actually pull this off. Not to the excitement level of the WrestleMania 25 match, but you can’t blame them for trying. If you enjoyed it, that’s all that really matters. **½

Final Thoughts: I bought my copy at Wal-Mart and I didn’t see any signs of the pillar-box problem that have people complaining, so I think we can put that to rest. This includes a few of the signature Steamboat classics (Savage, Flair, Luger, Rude, the Clash 17 tag match), but I think they could have added a better Austin match on the set. Also, I would have liked to have had the Greensboro cage match with Slaughter and Kernodle that turned away 30,000 people on DVD instead of repeating the Briscos match from the first Starrcade that has been included on several other DVD sets. With that said, this is a real barebones collection that is only the tip of the iceberg of the great career Ricky Steamboat had. Overall, I’d have to give this set a thumbs up just for the quality of the content. It’s highly recommended especially if you’re new to the man, mildly recommended if you just can’t get enough of Ricky Steamboat.

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