Published on June 23rd, 2016 | by Pro Wrestling Stories0
RICKY STEAMBOAT: The Difference between Working RIC FLAIR and RANDY SAVAGE
Throughout his 30+ years in professional wrestling, WWE Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat had done it all and seen it all, wrestling all of the top names along the way. One of the many things that made The Dragon so great was that he was able to adapt to many different styles in the ring.
According to once rival, Ric Flair:
“Ricky Steamboat had everything — charisma, work rate, intensity and one of the best bodies in our business. He was just amazing.”
So what did Steamboat have to say about working with Ric Flair and Randy Savage, arguably two of the best professional wrestlers of the Golden Age?
“I learned early in my career that I should try to adapt to the guy that I was wrestling.
Savage [was] the kind of guy that [liked] to make sure that every single move, every single point, every single reason in the match – the storyline, the psychology – is pretty much taken apart, dissected, planned out…
With Ric [Flair] and I, when the promoter came to us and said we were going to Broadway – we were going the hour – most of the time we wouldn’t even talk about the match. We’d look at each other in the locker room and he’d say, ‘Ok, see you in the ring…’
We’d go out there and just wing it.
When we did that two-out-of-three falls match in New Orleans, we had our three finishes and that was it – the rest we called in the ring. We’d listen to crowd responses and if something came up in the course of a match and we got a good response from it, then ok –we’ve got a little fork in the road here and we’re gonna take a right and it changes. That’s old school…”
RIC FLAIR vs RICKY STEAMBOAT – 2 Out of 3 Falls – World Heavyweight Championship (WCW Clash of the Champions, 1989):
“With Savage, it was, ‘We’re gonna do this step one through step one-hundred and fifty seven..’
Whether or not it works, we just keep going through the numbers…
We got to the point where I’d turn a page in my notebook and I’d say, ‘Ok this is step one hundred and twelve, I’m going to do this, this and this – tell me the rest of the match…’ And he would go through and tell me the rest of the match.
We would take bits and pieces of ideas that we came up with and try it in the house show that we were working that night, and if we got a pop from it, we’d say, ‘Okay, we’re going to use that in the pay-per-view…’”
RANDY SAVAGE vs RICKY STEAMBOAT – Intercontinental Championship (WWF Wrestlemania III):
So which contrasting approach to a match was better? Flair’s feeling the pulse of the crowd and calling it in the ring or Savage’s more calculated detail-oriented approach where every step of the match was meticulously penned down before the match began? It’s hard to say, though one thing is for certain, both men found incredible success in the ring.