10 Best Ever Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat Matches
The Dragon turns 68 today, but these classics are simply ageless...
It's February 28, which means that today is Ricky Steamboat's birthday!
The Dragon turns 68 today, though you wouldn't know it if you've seen him within the last couple of years because he's still in great shape and I bet he could deliver an arm drag better than most of the active wrestlers out there.
On his day, Ricky Steamboat had no equal. A tremendous athlete, he put on blinders everywhere from the NWA to WWE to WCW and beyond, earning a reputation as one of the best workers ever, as well as being one of the nicest men in the business.
A career babyface, Steamboat was so likeable that he never embraced the darkside and turned heel (despite an interest in doing so at various times throughout his career). Promoters didn't think fans would boo Ricky, given the effort he routinely put in and the sympathy he was able to elicit as a hero.
He retired in 1994 and was made a WWE Hall of Famer in 2009, just before he made an unlikely comeback in his mid-50s and proved that there was still some steam left (pun intended) in a series of matches with Chris Jericho.
A former WWE Intercontinental and NWA World Heavyweight champion, Steamboat's biggest legacy is the plethora of classic matches he had.
And with the great man blowing out the candles today, what better way to honour The Dragon than by poring though his back catalogue and looking at the best of the very best?
10. w/Shane Douglas Vs. The Hollywood Blonds - Clash Of The Champions XXVII
Upon his return to WCW in the early 90s, Steamboat eased into a veteran role and found success teaming up with young upstarts like Dustin Rhodes and Shane Douglas.
One of his best programmes from this era was his and Douglas's dispute with Steve Austin and Brian Pillman, AKA the Hollywood Blonds.
A lot of people are partial to the Slamboree Steel Cage match from May of 1993, where Steamboat teamed with a masked Tom Zenk (substituting for Douglas, who had left to join ECW).
Personally, however, I think this match from January's Clash of the Champions XXII edges it and is good enough to warrant a place at number ten on this list.
It is simply classic tag team wrestling, with two fiery babyfaces going up against two underhanded heels, The Dragon being the man to hold the whole thing together and putting on another masterclass in selling and psychology as he gets worn down by his opponents and they tease the hot tag to Douglas.
The action builds to a crescendo as everything breaks down. The only thing that is likely stopping people from appreciating this one more is the disqualification finish, but as the first match in what turned out to be a lengthy rivalry, it really set the tone for what was to come and you cannot fault the work.