Ricky Steamboat spoke with Ring Rust Radio on training today's wrestlers, wanting to turn heel, and his WrestleMania III match against "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Here are some of the highlights:
Since leaving your in-ring career behind, you have focused on working with younger talent. How much pride do you take in bestowing your knowledge on the next generation of wrestlers?
"Right now in my life, it's what I do a lot of and happy to do it. I remember the first couple of years when I was coming up through the ranks, some of the old-timers would take me aside after the match and critique me. I understand today's guys, a lot of guys when they get in the ring, they're looking across the ring at a guy with the same amount of ring time.
Some guys six months, some guys one year, some guys two or three years, but when I was coming up, most nights I was looking across the ring at a 15- or 20-year journeyman. Every night he was taking me to school and he knew what his position was and it was to pass the torch and hopefully by doing this, he would help to keep the business going. Help bring up guys that were green and rookies and show them the way. I find out at this point in time in my life, this is what I'm doing.
I understand that wrestling now has changed as opposed to what it was when I worked, but I still think you can apply some of the things that I talk about and just put you 2018 twist on it and still make it work. It is a lot of pride for me and it's a way for me giving back. A way I am passing the torch and hopefully some talent will look back at the day I was there teaching them, reflect on that and hopefully they will understand how it helped."
Is there any part of you that wishes you would have had even a brief run as a heel, and how do you feel you would've fared in that role?
"I'll tell you a true story. Back in '91, I went to Vince and Pat Patterson and asked to do a turn and they both shut me down without hesitation. They said it would not work, I was the premier babyface, and I told them that I've been in the ring with the best feels in the business. I actually believed that I could work as a heel because I've been in the ring with the best of them.
They said bottom line, it would probably hurt your career and they shut it down. Now, at the time guys I was a bit turned off. I was a bit disgruntled because I wanted to be able to work as a heel. At that time, I had been in the business I was approaching around 17 years and I knew I was get into the twilight of my career and I just wanted to be able to experience working on the dark side. Being able to feel what that's like and I was upset about not being able to do it at the time. Looking back at it now, I'm happy and pleased that they did talk me out of it and not allow it.
Like you said earlier, one of the few guys in the business that wrestled close to 20 years actively and stayed the same way as he started in the business. There's just a few of us that have done that and I'm happy to say that I'm one of those few guys now. I reflect back and I'm happy that I was turned down."
In regards to your WrestleMania III match against Randy Savage, is there something specific that stands out to you about that match that perhaps fans may not be aware of or you feel goes overlooked?
"A lot of Q&A's that I do at appearances, comic-cons, or conventions, they always ask about that match and I'll say that match was completely scripted and put together. The reason was Randy and I did not have any opportunity to work with each other leading up to WrestleMania III. A lot of main event guys are able to work with their partner and fine-tune their match before a big pay-per-view, but Vince wanted my debut to be on that day. The only thing we could do was put together something that would work just from gut feeling.
We didn't know if it was going to work with the fans and we didn't have a chance to try and fine-tune it. Thank God what we did put together worked. I think the biggest thing I wanted was to make it a championship match. That was my answer to Randy because he is asked, 'What do you want to do Dragon?' So, I told Randy that we got to make it a championship match. He told me that I should go after his throat since he came off the top rope with the bell on my throat. I said what I kind of think is everybody would expect that.
If we could have a moment in the match where I get a little payback and then let's move on to making it a championship match. What I meant by that was we had 21 false finishes in a match that went less than 17 minutes, and I thought the story that we were trying to tell here Randy is that I'm going after your belt, and you're trying to hold onto it. So, with all those false finishes and finally number 22 was the final 1, 2, 3. We were talking about my dive off the top I did and I think everybody again would kind of expect that so let's catch them out of the blue. It was a simple he picked me up for slam and I hit him with a small package."
Steamboat also discussed more about babyface work today. You can check out the full interview by clicking here.