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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

The Ten Count 12.20.13: The Top Ricky Steamboat Matches
Posted by Evan Daniels on 12.20.2013

Welcome back to the Ten Count. As always, thank you for reading last week's column. And here we go…

The Fans Picked The Cage (Allegedly) :

I like this match and could have been on the list. One of my favorite Orton matches I would say.

It's Not on the List Since It was in Canada:

No, that's not the real reason. It is a very good match but not quite good enough to be on the list.

Thought I Would Include a Promo:

Just think about the promos we could have had. I remember that at one point Edge made a video making fun of Flair's recent road rage arrest where we see a fender bender, and out comes Edge from his car, dressed in trunks, a wig, and a sequined robe instead of street clothes, and put the other motorist in a figure-4 while shouting, "Wooo! I'm Ric Flair! I only care about myself! Woo! Just ask Arn! Just ask Tully!". Any time a segment has a Tully Blanchard reference you know you've struck gold. (Credit: jlevysan)

So You're Not Doing What Again: I'm seriously not trying to troll or anything, but why is that Royal Rumble match loved so much? I mean, that Rumble itself was pretty boring last I watched. A collection of great superstars sure, but nostalgia can blur things. A stellar performance by Flair? I guess, if you consider him laying around a lot stellar (again I haven't watched the match in awhile so I could be wrong there, just going by memory). Really, I just never understood the love. I'd enjoy a reasonable explanation as to why it would be considered such a classic.

MY THOUGHT: I love any statement that starts with "I'm not trying to be a ()…but". Classic.

Let's Learn a Little About the Other Flair/HHH Match: RIC FLAIR vs. TRIPLE H IN A LAST MAN STANDING MATCH, SURVIVOR SERIES 2005 - NOVEMBER 27, 2005

Background:As with many Triple H feuds, "The Game" would shrug off the initial bloody loss at Taboo Tuesday and the ferocity of the rivalry between him and Flair would only intensify as the two men would constantly assault one another week after week. Bischoff finally resolved the problem with a match that more often than not brings finality to any feud: Last Man Standing. As Triple H bluntly put it, it was no longer about winning or losing, but purely survival.

Why this match (should be) on the list: A damn screwdriver. A screwdriver used to rip Flair's forehead open. That tells you right there how different this Last Man Standing match was going to be; it wasn't going to be who could take the most chair shots or be bashed into the ring posts, but simply who could be the dirtiest, nastiest competitor out there to use anything and everything at their disposal. Triple H started out dominant, but Flair would take over after a backdrop through the announce table. Flair would promptly remind everyone how dirty the Dirtiest Player in the Game could be, bashing Hunter's legs (and groin!) repeatedly into the ring post, biting his forehead and bad knee around the quadriceps, and using a rope-assisted Figure Four to debilitate the Game. Even when Triple H hit Flair with the Pedigree, Flair got back up after a short count and defiantly flipped him off! Two more Pedigrees and a sledgehammer shot would win it for Triple H, but if there was anyone who doubted Flair had THAT kind of match left in him, they were silenced that night.

MY THOUGHT: Thanks Ken. That was a very good write-up.

That's Really Nice to Say: "While this might, okay is not the "best" match on the list but it is what professional wrestling should be. A dance that all of us are happy and honored to have been emotionally attached to and isn't that all we can ask for."

This is the single best line I've read on 411 in a long time. All these "fans" cry for work rate and rip the guys with allegedly limited move sets. I don't care if you're the love child of Dean Malenko and Bret Hart. If your match doesn't have emotion, it doesn't have shit.

I'll admit that I had a tear in my eye at the end of the "I'm sorry, I love you" match.

MY THOUGHT: 1 really good line in 12 columns….I'll take it.

Bring the F Back: Folks, its okay to say WWF when it was the WWF back in '92 when Flair won the WWF title at the Royal Rumble and defended it (and lost it) at WrestleMania VIII. I enjoyed Flair's early 1990s WWF run more so than I did his run from 2002-08. His theme was better then and he was more legitimate after having been the NWA/WCW World Champion in '91. Having Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig as his manager during his early '90s run also helped. Flair was awesome during that run. When he came back in late 2001 as the co-owner of the WWF, it didn't put him back in the main event until he was a manager for Triple H. WWE wasn't around until May 2002, so use the proper name for the company as it was then, the WWF. The World Wrestling Federation. Sounds much better than WWE.

MY THOUGHT: I just think it is easier to call the company what it is today than doing WWWF until 1981, then WWF until 2002, and WWE from 2002 forward.

And Finally, I LOL'ed: This is like doing a top 10 Simpsons episodes after 2000.

MY THOUGHT: You win the comment section this week.

So I Didn't Remember This Buildup: "This Monday Night Raw was in Greenville, SC and Flair wanted a title match that night. Triple H said no, but Flair would not back down and asked Helmsley to be at his best and meet him in the ring. Stone Cold Steve Austin made the match and Flair was ready for a fight. " I don't think it happened like that. If I remember correctly, Steve Austin booked the match, and HHH thought nothing of it, telling Flair he will have to just lay down for him, but after a lot of thought and a talk with HBK, that's when Flair realized who he was, gave the "be at your best" speech and said he would not lie down. I could be wrong though, but that's how I thought it occurred.

MY THOUGHT: Keep the corrections coming.

This is the last time this will be in the column until July for my big fantasy football draft preview. Mark your calendars! I won my last consolation game of the year this week and will have the 5th choice of draft selection in my keeper league. I believe that will yield me the 4th pick in August as one of the guys ahead of me as a keeper he wants in the 1st so it makes sense for him to be at the end. This is not a terrible spot to be in as there seem to be 4 top RBs to be had (McCoy, Lynch, ADP, and Charles) so hopefully next year will be better.

If only this was the final week of the season. Another week, another loss this time to the Chicago Bears. The defense played very well and even scored 2 TDs but they still couldn't win. This is the 6th straight double digit loss season and the 10th in the last 11 years. There is only 1 streak I could find in the last 30 years that is worse than that, the Bucs lost 10 games for 12 straight years from 1983-1994. That's pitiful. This week we have the Jets in a game I think we could win. Odds are they probably won't but I will be watching like I do every other week.

Did the right person win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? It is obvious to me what the answer is and that is a YES! YES! YES! Randy Orton had to win that match as we are moving down the road to WrestleMania. This sets up perfectly for the 10 year anniversary match of the triple threat match at WrestleMania 20. In the role of Triple H is Randy Orton or the man who the internet loves to hate. Playing Shawn Michaels will be John Cena. Of course, the part of Chris Benoit will be played by Daniel Bryan. This is seemingly the match we are heading towards as CM Punk will be occupied with Triple H and the Undertaker will be with Brock Lesnar. You need the good guy chasing the bad guy on the road so Orton is 100% the right winner this past week.

 photo TenCount_zps6b46e6e2.png

Here are the Ground Rules
  • The match must include Ricky Steamboat.
  • Also, the match can only have a maximum of 4 people. Sorry 1992 War Games Fans.

    Without any further ado…

    AND NOW *The Top 10 Ricky Steamboat Matches *

    #10. {Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Rude in an Iron Man Match for the WCW United States Championship; Beach Blast 1992 – July 20, 1992}

    Background:Rude and Steamboat had been in a program for the past 6 months once this match rolled around. Rude was constantly implying that the "family man" Ricky Steamboat had girlfriends in every city and was not the sneaky clean guy everyone thought he was. Back in April, Rude and the Dangerous Alliance broke Steamboat's nose to "ugly" him up. The 2 men hooked up during the 1992 War Games and just wouldn't separate. The match was made as the final confrontation and it was the 1st ever PPV Iron Man match (30 minutes only) but it was a first.

    Why This Match is On the List:In the Bill Watts era of WCW there were a number of rules with the biggest one being you can't come off the top rope without it being a DQ. Rude did that during this match and it made total sense since he couldn't lose the match just a fall. That was the type of psychology involved that made the match really good. I am going to say this a lot in the paragraphs below but it is hard to find a bad Steamboat match. The really good matches like this one have that extra psychology or back story or emotional attachment. The story was good, the moves were crisp, and the back story made sense so this match is at #10.

    #9. {Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship; Spring Stampede 1994 – April 17, 1994}

    Background:Ric Flair had just finished his feud with Vader and was moving on to bigger things in the near future, namely Hulk Hogan. In the meantime, Flair promised Steamboat that if he helped Flair train to beat Vader he would give him a title match. The other backstory was that back in 1989 after Flair beat Steamboat for the title he never got his rematch. This would be that rematch.

    Why This Match is On the List:This will be the 1st of a few Flair/Steamboat matches on this list. The match itself used many of the same spots that they did over their 15 year feud. I believe both men knew that this was probably the final time they would be in a main event on a PPV together so they wanted to do something memorable. I enjoyed that the announcers would bring up that the last time they were in Chicago, Flair lost the title to Steamboat. The finish was a callout to another match on this list as Flair was in the Double Arm Chicken Wing which caused a double pin. Just another great match between these 2 men.

    #8.{Ricky Steamboat and "Shane Douglas" vs. The Hollywood Blondes for the Unified World Tag Team Championship; Slamboree 1993 – May 23, 1993}

    Background: On the March 27, 1993 edition of WCW Power Hour, Austin and Pillman defeated Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas to win their only NWA/WCW World Tag Team Championship.[2] Though Steamboat and Douglas had several rematches, they were unable to recapture the belts. On one night, Austin and Pillman faced an unknown masked team known as "Dos Hombres" (literally "two guys") who they assumed were a couple of luchadores from Mexico. The match started out rather inconspicuously, until the two masked men started showing moves more consistent with Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas than two luchadores. Dos Hombres won the match, earning them a shot at the world tag team titles at Slamboree 1993.[1] However, by the time Slamboree came about, Douglas had been fired by WCW and Steamboat was without a partner. Instead of canceling the already announced Steel Cage match, Tom Zenk was made to wear the mask of "Hombre Uno" and work the match without anyone realizing it wasn't Douglas under the red and green hood.[1] (From Wikipedia)

    Why This Match is On the List:Please note the quotes around Shane Douglas as noted above it wasn't Douglas that was under the mask in this match. With that said, it is amazing that Zenk was able to just be plugged in and have a great match with the other 3 guys. These men had been fighting for the titles for the past 4 months and this was set to be the final match inside a steel cage. While the match was PG-rated it had a ton of action and high flying. It showed more about the Blonds than about Steamboat but it is a really fun match.

    #7. {Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood vs. Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle for the NWA World Tag Team Championship; House Show – March 12, 1983}

    Background:We are going in the way back machine for this match. Steamboat and Youngblood were chasing the tag team champs for a couple months back in the old Mid-Atlantic territory. The champs left the challengers beaten and bloody on numerous occasions with one of the most famous happening in Charlotte a month earlier. This match was the final chance that the former champs would have to win the titles and like most other big blowoff matches back in 1983 it would be inside a steel cage.

    Why This Match is On the List:Classic 1983 Jim Crockett Promotions wrestling. Blood and guts in a cage with a hot crowd and guys putting it all on the line. I am sure there are better Steamboat matches from that era that only the crowd in the arena remembers but this one was on TV. When you watch the entire match you realize how "real" it feels. All the men in the cage were feeling it. The crowd was feeling it and I was feeling it 30 years later on YouTube. Is it a technical masterpiece? No. Did the match do exactly what it was meant to do back then? Yes. The good guys walked out of the cage with the belts and the bad guys were sent packing. Classic wrestling 101….chase, chase, get beat up, win in the end.

    #6. {Ricky Steamboat vs. "Stunning" Steve Austin for the WCW United States Championship; Bash at the Beach – July 14, 1994}

    Background:Following Steamboat's chase for the WCW Title he found his way back to his old nemesis, Steve Austin and his US Title. By June, 1994 neither man really had a feud going and with WCW spending all their time thinking about Hulk Hogan and the money they would be making WCW just put these guys together.

    Why This Match is On the List:As one of Steamboat's final matches it showed that even towards the end of his career he still had the goods. Austin was a really good opponent and was able to keep up with Steamboat or maybe it was the other way around. I think this match would be remembered by the masses a little more fondly if the crowd was better. That might have been one of the worst big crowds in the history of the business. All they cared about was Hulk Hogan and nothing else. Austin and Steamboat worked their asses off in this forgotten classic. It lead to a very good match at Clash of the Champions which was his final match for 15 years.

    20. 91-11-19 Ricky Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes vs... by puropwgwwestuff

    #5. {Dustin Rhodes and Ricky Steamboat vs. The Enforcers for the WCW World Tag Team Championship – Clash of the Champions 17}

    Background:Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham were set to face The Enforcers for the WCW World Tag Team Championships at Clash 17 until something happened at Halloween Havoc. Anderson and Zbyszko attacked Windham outside of the arena and broke his hand in the car door. They believed that this match was not going to happen because Windham was hurt. They were wrong, very, very wrong.

    Why This Match is On the List:There was a big surprise at the beginning of the match as Barry couldn't wrestle. The surprise was the returning Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. That was more than enough to make the match special. I especially loved the Arn Anderson quote "he's only a man". It is those little things that make Arn a really special performer. Steamboat played the face in peril perfectly as always until the really hot tag to Dustin. The good guys ended up winning the titles and set in motion the arrival of the Dangerous Alliance with Arn and Larry.

    31. 89-07-23 Lex Luger vs. Ricky Steamboat... by puropwgwwestuff

    #4. {Ricky Steamboat vs. Lex Luger for the NWA United States Championship – Great American Bash 1989; July 23, 1989}

    Background:Ricky Steamboat had just come off of his NWA World Title run while Lex Luger had just turned his back on the fans once again. Steamboat in all reality had nothing to do after he lost the world title and needed something to do at the following PPV. Although we didn't know it at the time, this would be Steamboat's last PPV match for the NWA/WCW for about 2 years. Luger was at his peak in terms of wrestling ability (insert joke here) and just needed the right opponent to produce something special. Luger attacked Steamboat with a steel chair which set up this match and would become very important during the match.

    Why This Match is On the List:In this match, if Luger got disqualified he would lose the US Title and he was not happy about this. The match itself reminds me of the Luger/Flair matches except Luger gets to play the role of bad guy so the overall dynamic is the same but different. It really was the boxer versus the fighter with Steamboat's emotions finally getting the better of him. Steamboat used a steel chair on Luger which caused the disqualification and cost Steamboat the championship. Overall, this is just a very good match from 2 guys in the prime of their careers.

    10. 89-05-07 Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat... by puropwgwwestuff

    #3. {Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship; Wrestle War 1989 – May 7, 1989}

    Background:Instead of me typing this, I would rather share my favorite 80s wrestling promo music video:

    Awesome, just awesome!

    Why This Match is On the List:It is so hard to talk about why this match is on the list. I will use the old "I don't know what porn is but I know it when I see it" argument here. This match is so good, so easy to understand, and so important in the history of the business that I just know it needs to be on the list. The dynamic of the judges was a nice twist to the psychology of the match as they both knew that there was going to be a decision no matter how long the match was. Amazingly this match was not the best of the 1989 trilogy but it was a good bookmark to end their feud.

    #2. {Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Championship; WrestleMania 3 - March 29, 1987}

    Background:Steamboat and Savage were set to wrestle on TV one night back in October, 1986. Savage saw him as a real threat to his IC title so he attacked him before the match and injured his larynx by dropping a double ax handle from the top rope down to Steamboat while he was over the railing. This started a bitter and bloody feud that came to an end at WrestleMania. In the meantime, George Steele was still fascinated by Miss Elizabeth and was in Steamboat's corner for the match.

    Why This Match is On the List:In many people's eyes this is the greatest match in the history of WWE. It is not the greatest in my eyes but it is definitely a top 10 match. I think the best part of it is all the near falls. I believe there was something like 19 near falls in the 14 minute match. These 2 men had such a high amount of chemistry with each other that each moved flowed into each other like a river. The arm drags were crisp, the psychology was virtually flawless, and the right man won in the end. Savage went on to bigger things in WWE while Steamboat had the greatest match in his career 2 years later.

    04. 89-04-02 Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (2... by puropwgwwestuff

    #1. {Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship 2 of 3 Falls; Clash of the Champions 6 – April 2, 1989}

    Background:In January, 1989 Ricky Steamboat returned to the NWA as the mystery partner of Eddie Gilbert's on an episode of World Championship Wrestling. Steamboat pinned Flair and earned a world title match at Chi-Town Rumble in February. Steamboat ended up winning that match and subsequent matches at house shows up until this match. It was decided that this would be 2 of 3 falls so if someone got a "lucky" win they wouldn't get the title.

    Why This Match is On the List:I think the only thing that was wrong with the match was that the crack production team put "Rick" Flair behind him when he walked down the aisle.

    Everything else was flawless down to Flair in black and Steamboat in white. Terry Funk on commentary, Tommy Young putting on a great performance as the referee, and 54 minutes of action. I can't think of much more to say about the match that hasn't already been said except this…..it you haven't watched it, watch it tonight and if you are thinking of becoming a professional wrestler this should be on your list of matches to study. It was then and is now, the greatest match on free television, the greatest match of both men's career, and is arguably the greatest match in the history of the business.

    So there you have it, the Top 10 Ricky Steamboat Matches! What is your opinion?

    Tweet Me: @EvanDaniels411
    Email Me: evan.daniels411@gmail.com
    Make Fun of Me in the Comments Section: Keep Scrolling

    We are heading into the end of the year so how about some year-end columns. Keep in mind; I am not Larry or the others on this site so I don't watch many of the wrestling companies so they will be WWE-centric lists. Next week, I will take a look at the Top Ten WWE Matches of 2013.

    Until then, remember it's all entertainment and shouldn't be taken too seriously. And I'm out.


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