Steamboat - Jericho

February 24, 2009

I was meaning to write a commentary about Randy Savage this week, but after RAW last night I decided to do an about face and talk about Ricky Steamboat and the angle with Chris Jericho. I still plan to do the Savage piece but it’s going to have to wait. The reason I had Randy Savage on the brain was that I’ve been dubbing my old wrestling videotape collection to DVD so I’ve been watching a lot of old footage.

I quit collecting tapes a long time ago and actually got rid of a lot of what I had but I still had a pretty good size box of tapes just sitting in my basement. When I opened Storm Wrestling Academy I took all my tapes and any newer DVDs I had to my school hoping students might watch them, but it didn’t take long to figure out that no one has a VCR anymore so none of the tapes were getting utilized.

So in hopes of producing an extensive and useful Wrestling Library for the school, I began the huge task of dubbing all of my old VHS tapes to DVD. I’m really anal retentive when it comes to organization so in addition to dubbing all of these tapes, I’ve been cataloguing every match and printing up professional looking DVD cases for them all. It’s been a very long process and I still have a ways to go but I’m up over 100 DVDs in the SWA Library and will likely be closer to 150 before I’m done.

It was when I was dubbing my Saturday Night’s Main Event tapes that I got on the subject of Randy Savage, but like I said last night’s RAW appearance switched my focus over to Ricky Steamboat, another great worker I’ve seen a lot of great matches of recently. I’ve watched a few of his SNME matches, his title program with Flair, as well as a best of Steamboat from Japan tape. To say the least Ricky Steamboat was awesome, and in some ways his performance last night was one of his best.

If there was ever something you could criticize Steamboat for it was his promos. Ricky has never been a great talker, he always relied on his in-ring work to carry his performances and his skill level was always up to the challenge. Last night on RAW Ricky didn’t have his in-ring skill to carry him and boy did his promo skills rise to the occasion. I think his performance last night on RAW might have been the best promo of his career. That segment was so fantastic. Steamboat is truly deserving of HOF honors and I was so happy to see him back in front of the camera. Steamboat was the kind of worker I looked up to, as a fan and aspiring wrestler, and I have to admit I “marked out” when he came out on the stage. This is a guy who took part in the two matches most often referred to when people talk about great matches. The Savage – Steamboat match from WrestleMania III is regarded as one of the greatest matches of all time and the Flair – Steamboat program is, at least to my generation, the match up mentioned most when describing the perfect wrestling match. For those two claims to fame alone The Dragon deserves to be in the HOF.

His interaction with Jericho last night was perfect. It had enough of a real feel to it not to come off as just a wrestling promo, and because of that really it hit home for me. If they announced Jericho vs. Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania tomorrow I would order the show based on that match alone. That brings us to an interesting question. Where does this angle go from here? They built a ton of heat on Jericho with his legends bashing but I think this angle is close to it’s peak and I have no idea where they are going.

I don’t think they can do just another Legends promo and beat down next week, because it’s happened twice now and someone needs to come to the legends defense. You have a locker room full of wrestlers that now know Jericho is disrespecting the history of this business and beating up legends, if he keeps doing it everyone from this point on looks stupid. So where do they go? I hope to hell it isn’t Mickey Rourke. At one point I think that was the plan but I don’t think they can or should do that now.

Chris Jericho has disrespected Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, and Ricky Steamboat, an actor who played a wrestler once in a movie can not be the guy to step up and defend these legitimate wrestling legends, it has to be someone within the business and it has to be someone big. There aren’t a lot of people I can see in this role either, which has me concerned. It has to be someone on the level of those Chris has disrespected or higher, and it has to be someone who can have a decent match, which makes for a fairly small list of candidates.

Steve Austin would be my first choice, but I guess that all depends on him. The fact that he is just going into the HOF this year makes him a perfect candidate in that he’s young enough to still be seen as a active wrestler, and this could be his last match, defending the HOF’ers he’s about to join. Hulk Hogan could also do it, although the match level would drop considerably. I keep hearing Flair’s name come up but I really hope that isn’t the case. Last year was one of the classiest things this business has ever done, and Ric coming back would really take away from that. I don’t think Piper’s body has more matches in it, and I really have no idea what kind of physical shape Steamboat is in. I’d love to see Steamboat – Jericho almost as much as I’d love to have a match with Steamboat myself, but it’s been a long time since The Dragon was in the ring and I wouldn’t want to see a rusty or winded Ricky Steamboat. The only other name that I can think of that works would be Bret Hart but I don’t see that happening either.

Hopefully we will find out soon, because this is the Mania program I’m most interested in and likely the only one that will put me over the edge to order it this year. I ordered it solely to see Flair’s last match last year, so a Steamboat return might be enough to get me this year. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Lance Storm

P.S. If there is anyone else out there with a Wrestling tape or DVD collection that they aren’t putting to good use, the SWA library takes donations.