Don’t do it.
Don’t even think about it.
Please, before you start flooding me with hate mail, hear me out.
I love Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. He was one of the greatest workers I have ever seen. His matches with Randy Savage and Ric Flair are the stuff of legend, and, in my humble opinion, he is probably the most underrated worker I’ve ever seen, which is saying something, considering he is held in highest regard by many in wrestling.
The problem is, Vince McMahon apparently didn’t see it that way. McMahon had problems with Steamboat when Ricky asked (back in 1987) for a week off during his IC title reign so he could be by his wife’s side for the birth of their son. Vince apparently got offended at that, and seemingly did everything he could to abort Steamboat’s career.
Not only did he kill off what could have been the biggest feud of Steamboat’s career (against Savage) by having him drop the IC belt to the Honky Tonk Man back in 1987, he also decided to make a mockery of Steamboat in the early 90’s.
He was going to make Ricky Steamboat the Dragon.
He dressed up Steamer in a funny dragon suit, complete with scales and fins. If that weren’t bad enough, the costume also had a tail. And for the coup de grace, he had Steamboat breathe fire.
YES, BREATHE FIRE. He’s a dragon, see?! GET IT?!
That’s right, instead of having Steamboat put on ***** classics with the likes of Randy Savage or rekindling his feud with Jake Roberts, Steamboat was forced to play a sideshow freak in Vince’s circus of the absurd.
Vince even had commentators Roddy Piper and Randy Savage (who acted like Steamboat was a newcomer!) put Steamboat’s human torch gimmick over as more lethal than his wrestling ability. The Dragon was relegated to lower mid card status. He rarely had a feud of any importance, and indeed, wasn’t around long.
The funny thing was that Steamboat hadn’t lost a step. He still looked crisp and sharp, even when he was paired up with other WrestleCrap inductees stuck with bad gimmicks like Steve Keirn.
The joke was on Vince. While he stuck Steamboat and other talented performers with terrible gimmicks, his promotion plummetted. Had he used Steamboat’s incredible ability to his advantage, fans may have flocked to arenas.
After all, is there anyone who WOULDN’T want to see a Steamboat-Bret Hart WWF title match?