I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “RD, you’ve already covered The Dragon, you lazy, no good son of a biscuit!”
To which I reply: “What the hell is a son of a biscuit?”
No no, to which I reply: “Ah, not so fast, grasshopper.”
While it is true that I have covered Ricky Steamboat’s foray into firebreathing perviously here at the Crap, today we are looking at something a bit different, something that predates his early 90’s WWF run by several years. And that would be his first trip to the land of paychecks signed by Vincent Kennedy McMahon in early 1985.
Prior to his arrival, Steamboat had toured the world over, competing under several monikers, including Sam Steamboat and his real name, Richard Blood (which he dropped when Eddie Graham told him, “God, you don’t look like no Richard Blood; that would be a heel!”) Of course, his most famous work was in the old Mid-Atlantic region, where he tore the house down in matches with Ric Flair (which would prove to be a preview to some of the greatest wrestling matches of all time five years later).
Soon enough, Steamboat heard that big things were brewing in New York, so he ventured north to see if he could make it there (and thus, by proxy, make it anywhere). Vince saw dollar signs in the handsome Steamboat. He decided to create a persona for Rick based solely on his martial arts background, which would be explored in his introductory video entitled “Becoming the Dragon: The Three Moments of Truth.”
And if you thought this…
…was cornball, well, let’s just say the silly seeds were planted years earlier.
Steamboat arrived at the Temple of Ching Lau with the very personification of kung fu, Gene Okerlund. It was here, The Dragon explained, where he would have to pass three trials. These trials were blocking his way to…ummmm…nirvana?
Don’t know – it was cryptically vague. like a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a black headband.
First up was the bridge of serenity, which saw said serenity protected by…any guesses? No? Ok, then, I’ll just spit it right out – MIDGET NINJAS!
No joke – take a look at the shot to the right. There’s no Photoshop tomfoolery at work there – that’s an actual ninja Steamboat is fighting. The guy couldn’t be more than four foot tall.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, one of Steamboat’s deadly moves was to judo chop the poor kid right in the ballsac.
That’s so weird — I watched a bunch of judo at the Olympics, yet I never saw that move.
The Garden of Tranquility was next. Here Steamboat unloads on even more dwarves with a Singapore cane.
He does this, we learn, “because that’s what the monks wanted,” Steamboat explained.
Hmmm…I’ve never heard of monks who wanted their students to beat the ever loving piss out of their fellow man with a weapon, but I guess that’s why he’s the Dragon and I’m just the Deal.
Finally, it was time for the third and greatest test.
We know this because of the helpful subtitle on the screen; otherwise, you might be confused and think he was just out getting him and Bonnie some crab rangoon to go.
Sure enough, here come his vertically challenged foes, whom he subdued with ancient karate moves like bodyslams and snapmares.
And this move, which I don’t think is based in the martial arts.
Maybe the Karma Sutra, though.
Having proven himself, Steamboat’s mentors welcome him to the Fraternal Order of Weapon Wielding. Ill-Tempered Monks.
Let’s set the record straight: I love Rick Steamboat. I really think is one of the most underrated performers I’ve ever seen, and it saddens me to no end that this – THIS! – was the best Vinnie Mac could come up with for his intro.
I mean, come on – even your ol’ pal RD could have written a better script than what I’ve outlined above.
In fact, I’m so sure I could have done a better job at promoting Ricky Steamboat as a Martial Arts MoFo, I’ll put white pixel to black pixel and prove it right damn now.
First things first: Steamboat shouldn’t be wearing the standard karate gi. That may be ok for some green belt, but this is Ricky F***ING Steamboat we’re talking about here.
I’m thinking he needs a headband that covers one eye completely, and the other about 90%. Like so.
He also needs a shirt that makes a statement. Something that shows he’s a bad ass. Something that says…
Show No Mercy!
Take THAT Daniel-san, you little BEYOTCH!
SWEEP THE LEG!!!
And Steamer needs to be taking on real bad asses, not rejects from They Still Call Me Bruce (But Hopefully One Day They’ll Stop).
I suggest one of the following:
• Tiger Chung Lee
• Karate Kat
• The cow from Kung Pow: Enter the First
Other possible kung fu combatants would include Hong Kong Phooey, GI Joe with Kung Fu Grip, and WWE announcer Todd Grisham, who, while not a martial artist, just really needs to get pummelled black and blue.
Additionally, Steamboat needs other martial arts training too, the type that Vince would find marketable. Surely everyone remembers the infamous Karate Fighters. tournament leading up to Survivor Series 96…just imagine if Steamboat had practiced THAT discipline for years. He’d have been a shoo-in to clobber Sable in the finals.
Finally, Steamboat needs a real mentor. The obvious choice would be Mr. Miagi, but hey, I’ve done played the Karate Kid card above. Besides, I’ve never forgiven Pat Morita for making that horrible Babes in Toyland movie with the very coked-up Drew Barrymore. God knows I’ll never be able to look at a hobby horse the same way again.
(Oh, and by the way, I have a far more horrifying Christmas flick to cover this holiday season. Brace yourselves.)
Anyway, I want someone with a wrestling background as well.
And I know just the fella.
PY Chu Hi, the Tennessee hillbilly who gave up the moonshine and hit the dojo, thus magically rediscovering his Oriental roots.
I just know in time he is a master the Dragon would come to know and love.
You know, it seems not a week goes by where my friend Bryan (or is that “Bryan’s Friend RD’s Friend Bryan”) Alvarez doesn’t note in Figure Four Weekly how quickly he could sink any promotion with his horrible booking.
Fuhgedaboutit – I could beat you at that game any day of the week.