Brian LaPalme, the man who taught Ricky Steamboat to breathe fire during his entrance, sat down with Andrew Thompson to discuss his time working with Steamboat. For years, Ricky Steamboat has told the story of LaPalme catching on fire while trying to teach Steamboat the firebreathing spot. As LaPalme tells it, however, that story has been greatly exaggerated.

“You know, Ricky had to do interviews in his life because he was a performer, you know? Wrestler and performer,” LaPalme said. “So that interview that you read, that sounds like a fun interview and that sounds like, you know, what you would put in a movie. ‘Oh my gosh and this guy who has been doing this for 20 years, all of a sudden he burned up and I turned to Bruce and said oh no, you call Vince. This guy’s been doing this forever.’

“I have no recollection of that (accidentally setting myself on fire) at all. I have no recollection of, you know, again, I’d been doing that since 1976, two times a day for eight months of every year. So, you know, I showed him about the wind and I said, ‘this is what can happen if the wind is not at your back.’ I turned, the wind blew the fire towards me, and then I corrected my position.

“So no burns, no pink and definitely, definitely, Brian LaPalme was not running around in a parking lot with his face on fire. I had one little accident in 2011 because someone gave me the wrong fluid and I had an accident in a rehearsal. That was the only time I’d ever, you know, had an accident.

“But yeah, I can realize as a performer, you need to make your interviews sound fun. You need to make the interviews catch the audience’s attention so as to be able to say, ‘well, oh, we finally found a guy that’s been doing this forever and I get there and he sets himself on fire.’ You know, so that sounds like a fun interview, but in fact, that never happened at all. Don’t you love my Christian honesty?”

As for why Ricky Steamboat exaggerated the story? As stated by LaPalme, it’s because Ricky Steamboat’s performer instincts took over during interviews and that the story of LaPalme being set on fire sounded better.

“Ricky’s been doing interviews forever because he’s a performer, so yes, how you read it to me, it sounds exactly like what would be in a movie, it does,” LaPale said. “‘Then I turned to Prichard and said ‘this guy’s an expert? Well, you call Vince right now and tell him, no, I’m not doing.’ I mean, that sounds like if they were making the Ricky ‘The Dragon’’Steamboat movie and yet, my recollection is Brian LaPalme had been doing this since 1976, twice a day, eight months out of the year and this was now 1991.

“And no, I was not running around a parking lot with my face on fire. No, I’ve never gotten a burn until 2011 and I was showing about the position, and yet, all of that, what you said, it sounds like what you would say in an interview because we all exaggerate the truth a little to make our interviews, I guess, sound exciting.

“And that certainly sounded exciting; what you read to me. And you know what? All of that [Ricky saying that Brian had bubble blisters along with his eyebrows and scalp being burned] and you know, because I am a Christian and honesty is so important, that is all exaggeration.

“It makes for good press, it makes for a fun interview for him to be able to say, ‘and I say this guy who’s supposed to be an expert?’ and what’d you say? ‘He was running around the parking lot on fire and I said no, I’m not doing it. And then I sucked it up and I said okay.’ So, I mean, that sounds like a fun interview but, in fact, none of that happened.”

You can watch the full interview below.

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