There is a shortlist in regards to the greatest pro wrestling match of all-time and the WrestleMania III match between Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage is on that list, which was just featured on last night's debut episode of WWE Backstage. Over 30 years later people are still talking about it and Steamboat, himself, talked about it when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"That match, 2-to-1 (ratio) is talked about the most to me. Why? We didn't know it at the time, but we wanted to come across to the fans that we wanted to make it a championship match," said Steamboat. "I'll give credit where credit is due as the two biggest icons in the business – Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan – they were headlining WrestleMania III and we were the match right before them. They had the world championship up for grabs and we wanted to make ours a championship match.
"So in laying that thing out, we sort of changed the blueprint to make it a championship match. We ended up with all of these false finishes – 20 false finishes in a match that went 17 minutes. Customarily back then there was an average of about seven false finishes in a match. We took fans on a wild ride and went back and forth throughout the match. The guys today tell me, 'Ricky that match changed everything on how to structure things.'"
He added that he wished Savage was still alive to be able to attend these appearances with him as he would be in wonderment that the fans are still so into that match.
Savage was known for being very meticulous when it came to laying out matches and Steamboat agreed that Savage was like no other when it came to planning.
"When the camera was on, he was very colorful. When it came to putting a match together, he was a stickler. Dot your I's and cross your T's. Make sure everything means something. A half a turn this way will make the opening that much better. He was A to Z and back down again. He was a perfectionist and more so than any guy I ever worked with," admitted Steamboat who also said that many other wrestlers thought Savage was hard to work with because of that.
"With me, if I made a suggestion then he was wide open to it. '[Savage voice] You know Dragon, that's better than my idea. Let's do that!' It made me a better worker and opened my eyes to little things you take for granted. It helped me moving forward in terms of structuring matches."
That many false finishes in a match is something more commonplace now than back then in the 80s so Steamboat was asked if he and Savage were ahead of the curve.
"When we were putting this thing together, we didn't know if we were ahead of the curve as we were just trying to put together a championship match. It was all about me trying to beat him for the championship and Randy was trying to hold onto it," stated Steamboat.
As Steamboat mentioned, Hogan vs. Andre was the main event of WrestleMania III and Steamboat sought out Andre to make sure he was okay with what he and Savage had planned.
"I approached Andre about a month before out of respect because those guys were the headliners and I was asking if they were doing anything special so we knew to stay away from that," said Steamboat. "He was very cordial. Andre and I got along very well and were tag partners on a couple of occasions. He just goes, 'No boss.'
"At that time in his career he was hurting. His back, hips and knees. He told me they were gonna have a very laid back match and he left the door open for me and Randy. So that's why we did what we did."
Steamboat will be at the Hamilton Comic-Con on October 19th and 20th. Other Superstars scheduled to be in appearance include Mick Foley, Ted DiBiase, Ricky Steamboat, Brutus Beefcake, the Godfather and Terri Runnels. For tickets and info please visit hamiltoncomiccon.com. Ricky's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. Featuring Steamboat discussing his memories of working Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, working with Randy Savage at WrestleMania 3, Andre The Giant's spirit ahead of WrestleMania 3, which 80s heel he wished he'd have feuded with, how he spit his fireballs, the craziest thing he was ever asked to do, AEW's launch, his 2009 feud with Chris Jericho and more.