Ricky Steamboat is, unfortunately, a wrestler who the majority of people reading this review will have seen very little of outside his mini-comeback last year. Hopefully, with this three-disc set, that’s a statistic that will change dramatically.
Running Time: 7hrs 51mins (471mins)
Chapters – Disc 1
- Growing Up
- The Dragon
- WrestleMania III
- World Champion
- Fire Breathing Dragon
- Hall of Fame
- Ricky’s First Car
- Mike Graham Remembers Richard Blood
- Ricky Forgets His Name
- Having a Positive Attitude ~ World Wide Wrestling – February 16, 1982
- Tuesday Night Titans – April 5, 1985
- Steve Lombardi Remembers Ricky’s First Match in the WWE
- The Body Shop ~ All-Star Wrestling – June 22, 1985
- Becoming the Dragon… The Three Moments of Truth
- Chris Jericho Meets Ricky Steamboat For The First Time
- Tuesday Night Titans – September 10, 1986
- Update with Gene Okerlund ~ Superstars – January 31, 1987
- Dragon in the Oven ~ Superstars – April 11, 1987
- Return from Japan ~ World Championship Wrestling – March 18, 1989
- William Regal Remembers Watching Ricky Steamboat & Ric Flair
- World Television Champion ~ WCW Saturday Night – September 19, 1992
- Ricky Steamboat’s Induction into the WWE Hall of Fame – April 4, 2009
Chapters – Disc 2
- NWA World Tag Team Championship Match: Jack & Gerry Brisco v Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat & Jay Youngblood – Starrcade (November 24, 1983)
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs “Nature Boy” Ric Flair – Boogie Jam (March 17, 1984)*
- Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat v Cowboy Bob Orton – Capital Centre (July 20, 1985)
- Lumberjack Match: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat v “The Magnificent” Don Muraco – Maple Leaf Gardens (September 22, 1985)
- Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat v Jake “The Snake” Roberts – Boston Garden (August 9, 1986)
- Intercontinental Championship Match: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat v Randy “Macho Man” Savage – WrestleMania III (March 29, 1987)*
Chapters – Disc 3
- 2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat v “Nature Boy” Ric Flair – Clash of the Champions VI (April 2, 1989)
- United States Championship Match: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat v Lex Luger – The Great American Bash (July 23, 1989)
- WCW World Tag Team Championship Match: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes v Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyzsko – Clash of the Champions XVII (November 19, 1991)
- Iron Man Challenge Match: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat v Rick Rude – Beach Blast (June 20, 1992)
- No Disqualification Match for the WCW World Television Championship: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat v Steve Austin – Clash of the Champions XX (September 2, 1992)*
- Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat v Chris Jericho – Backlash (April 26, 2009)
* Alternate Commentary by Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat & Matt Striker
Disc one is devoted solely the documentary piece focusing on the man himself. It follows the usual WWE Profile DVD release of a short burst from various moments of the wrestler in question’s life, replete with talking-heads, before moving on (literally) to the next chapter in his career. Now, I don’t say that in a negative light; for me, when done right, it’s brilliant in its execution.
Sadly, the doc is only 70mins long, so a lot is crammed into a short piece of time. Ideally, this could have run for the same length again and kept my interest throughout; Steamboat is that much of a joy to listen to. The ream of talking-heads must also set a record for the amount of people crammed into a DVD release.
The Iron Sheik, Mike Graham, Jack Brisco, Jerry Brisco, Jim Crockett, George Scott, Ric Flair, Mike Graham, Harley Race, Tony Atlas, Steve Keirn (who looks really skinny), Roddy Piper, Bob Orton, Jr., Gene Okerlund, Barry Windham, Magnum T.A., Sgt. Slaughter, George Steel, Edge, Chris Jericho, Christian, Kofi Kingston, Dean Malenko, Evan Bourne, William Regal, Don Muraco, Jake Roberts, Jim Cornette, J.J. Dillon, Arn Anderson, Dustin Rhodes, Richie Steamboat (his son), Michael Hayes and Bret Hart are just some of the names who make an appearance (some more than once)… and every single one of them has nothing but praise for “The Dragon” when they speak.
For someone who’s had a twenty-plus-year career, a lot is glossed over due to time constraints. That being said, there is also a lot of content crammed into that hour of footage. From Ricky growing up as an military brat, to actually being from New York and not Hawaii as billed, all the way through his runs in the various territories before reaching WWE for his first run with the largest company in the world, very little is actually missed.
Surprisingly, especially considering the cover image, the second run with WWE, the one where he dressed in the wings and blew fire, is given only the briefest of mentions… and even then, only to say how much the whole idea sucked. It’s not often Vince McMahon will allow his own creative process and company to be overshadowed by footage and work from his (at the time) competition, but Ricky Steamboat is an exception and an exceptional talent.
The documentary comes to a close and you’re left with a desire to hear more. More stories from the guys who worked with Steamboat, more stories from the man himself, anything that would keep this story from ending. That more than anything else, is a testament to how great a man Ricky Steamboat is and how entertaining a performer Ricky Steamboat is.
The second and third discs are all matches from the career of “The Dragon” and they run in chronological order. Each of them are good-to-great in their own right, with hot crowds, hot action and, in Ricky Steamboat, the best seller in the business. Highlights of the second disc are the bouts against Don Muraco, Ric Flair (natch), Jake Roberts and Randy Savage. On the last disc, the bout with Flair is phenomenal, his clash with Lex Luger being better than it had any right to be, the Iron Man Match against Rick Rude is one of those bouts that deserves to have seen by everybody, but has only been seen by about twenty people, his outing against Steve Austin is a clinic and, to close the entire set, his you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it match against Chris Jericho at Backlash 2009 shows what a natural talent the guy is. As they say during the documentary, to have a guy who hadn’t wrestled in 15yrs be in that kind of shape and be able to keep up with a much younger talent, well, that’s the perfect way to end a great career. The alternate comedy is alright (more for Steamboat’s insight looking back), but Matt Striker can be a tad annoying.
All in all, this is a great way for those who missed him the first time to catch up and find out what all the fuss is about when it comes to Ricky Steamboat. Bret Hart said it best; “if you want to learn how to wrestle, watch Ricky Steamboat.”
The extras are pretty much just deleted scenes from the documentary and the titles of the various chapters tell you all you need to know. That being said, the Becoming the Dragon vignette is hilarious, the interviews on Tuesday Night Titans are interesting (WWE should actually revive this format in updated form – it’d be a great way to get wrestlers over with the fans) and, the icing on the cake, we get the full Hall of Fame induction to boot. An emotional twenty minutes for one of the most deserving talents to ever lace up a pair of boots.
The documentary is too short, which is a big negative straight away. Ricky Steamboat deserves better. What is here, however, is fantastic. Plenty of extras to get your teeth into, a complete Hall of Fame induction and a catalogue of matches that are arguably second-to-none.
From images of seeing Ricky Steamboat with a moustache to finally getting to watch Jay Youngblood in action, this is a great collection from WWE. The talking-heads all seem to belong and have a point in being there (even Steve Lombardi, who gets crowbarred into every release ever, actually belongs in this one), the vignettes are cheesy or brutal, having Jake Roberts on my screen is always a blessing and the matches themselves are worth the price alone.
Regardless of your feelings towards WWE programming, the company rarely fails to impress with their profile releases, especially the ones on retired talent. This is no exception and stands up there as one of the best.