Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat is a WWE Hall of Fame superstar and is widely considered one of the best wrestlers to ever step into a ring. He wrestled in what many call the greatest WWE match of all time against “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Ricky Steamboat also wrestled in what many consider the greatest series of matches in WCW history against “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
In an interview with ESPN, Ricky Steamboat said that there is something missing in today’s world of professional wrestling. While he admits that today’s wrestlers can do amazing things in the ring, he says they are missing out on the ability to tell a story in their matches.
“It’s not much of storytelling. They are out there just doing stuff to fill in the blanks, just doing stuff to do stuff. I would like them to be able to tell a story so the fans could actually follow the match along.”
Ricky Steamboat admitted that the WWE is working on improving this aspect of professional wrestling at the WWE Performance Center. He has helped out there on occasion and worked with a number of young wrestlers who are redefining the WWE today.
However, Ricky Steamboat says that sitting in a class and listening to what a person should do will not teach them how to tell a story to the crowd. He even said that wrestling each other at the WWE Performance Center will not teach them what they need to know. Ricky says that the young wrestlers have to learn it in the ring, wrestling every night.
Total Wrestling Magazine interviewed Cody Rhodes, and he pointed out that many WWE superstars would have no idea what to do if they had to wrestle in an indie wrestling promotion. However, he also pointed out that the ones who are successful right now were groomed in the indies and have carried what they learned over to the WWE.
“You have your Sami Zayn’s Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose who have come from the indy’s, but those that haven’t are getting a lot smarter about how they can check it out, who they can follow on social media.”
The current indie scene is slightly different from the one that stars like Ricky Steamboat worked his way through. In the old days, a major company in the NWA had smaller territories like World Class, Mid-South, CWA, Pacific Northwest, and more that it had major stars tour through. Ricky Steamboat wrestled in a number of areas before making it to the WWE.
Today, there are places like Ring of Honor, Chikara, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Evolve, and more that are not connected but often share stars. There are also smaller wrestling indies that have former WWE stars like Carlito, Charlie Haas, and others making appearances.
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It is the young stars, those on the indie scene, that Ricky Steamboat is looking at helping develop skills necessary to tell better stories and hopefully make it one day in the WWE. He has already worked with stars like Ricochet (Lucha Underground) and Matt Taven (Ring of Honor).
“After doing it so many times, you know what works. You know when to fit [moves] in and when not to. But these boys, they don’t have that luxury. I went to school that way. Watching the guys apply [what they learned] is one of the main reasons I do what it is that I do.”
Ricky Steamboat worked as a face his entire career and never had one single heel run. Despite this, he knows exactly what both men are supposed to do to tell the story that will make fans watch everything intently. WWE stars like Kevin Owens and AJ Styles have mastered when and where to pull off offensive movies and cowardly moves to make a face even more exciting to cheer for.
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Ricky Steamboat calls ring psychology, selling, and telling a cohesive story by focusing on one body part “Ricky’s Rules” when training wrestlers. The WWE Hall of Fame superstar says that is what makes wrestling exciting and will elevate a match from an average outing into an all-time great.
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