Ricky Steamboat On Making His In-Ring Return and Teaming With FTR

Posted By James Walsh on 11/23/22

In an interview with Wrestling Inc, Ricky Steamboat spoke about making his return to the ring and teaming up with FTR for the match. Steamboat will wrestle at Big Time Wrestlingís ĎReturn of the Dragoní event this Sunday. His team will take on Jay Lethal, Brock Anderson and a mystery partner. Here are highlights:

On why he chose now to return: ďThis took almost four months for me to make a decision. It was very difficult. And before I could give a final, this past month or so, Iíve beenÖ Glenn Jacobs, that name ring any bells? Yeah. And Tom Pritchard, they have a wrestling school outside of KnoxvilleÖ So for the past month or so, Iíve been venturing down to that school once or twice a week just to get some back. But I learned more so on my limitations. Like you said, it was 12 years ago the last time I was in the ring. But at that time I was one of the trainers, coaches for WWE. So I was pretty active at the school, getting in the ring with the young guys and being more hands-on. I learned this past month that Iíve acquired new limitations and then some of the things that I thought that I could do well, I capitalized on those when I was practicing.

I kept saying to myself, ĎRicky, donít be stupid. Donít be stupid. Donít let ego get in the way.í So [Iím] still able to sprinkle some of that dust, Steamboat dust, and hopefully the fans in Raleigh will enjoy reminiscing, going back. But you asked why. I was thinking that the longer I wait, the less chance I will have. Iíll be 70 in February and Mother Nature does creep up on you and the older you get, it creeps up on you faster. And Raleighís Dorton Arena holds a special place in my heart. Iíve been around the world, wrestled in Japan, the Madison Square Gardens, Philadelphia Spectrums, and the list of places that Iíve wrestled and headlined goes on and on, but good old Raleigh, North Carolina, Dorton Arena. And Iíve got a specific reason: I stepped into the ring with the world champion for the first time and it was Harley Race. And he was old school, tough guy. He was an old-timer tough, brought up in the í60s, this guy. And so that was the first time I ever stepped in the ring with the world champion. And then the second reason: back in the day, the main events had 60 minute time limits. And it was the very first time I wrestled anybody to a 60-minute time limit, to a draw. And I did it with the world champ. So Raleigh holds a very dear and close wrestling memory out of all the places that Iíve been. You could go with me and Savage at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, at WrestleMania III. But that match, it wasnít filmed, it wasnít televised, it was just what you call a regular house show match. But what a night it was for me to be in the ring with the champion and then go 60 minutes and hold my own with him. So for that very reason, and a big thanks to all the fans in Raleigh that have come out over the years to support Mid-Atlantic. Jim Crockett was the promoter and I was there from í77 to í85. So eight years of being in one territory back in the day was a pretty good stretch.Ē

On if he thinks he might wrestle a big match for AEW or WWE: ďI really donít think, I donít think so. Going down to Pritchardís ring, understanding my limitations and just going to give it one more shot. I donít have the type of ego to where I need to go out there, whether itís to enjoy it or whether to prove something that I can still do it. I donít have that mindset. Iím looking at this really as a big thank you to all the fans in Raleigh. Thatís basically, and the reasons that I gave. Being in the ring for the first time and the support. Being in the ring the first time with the world champion, the support they gave me through the eight years that I campaigned throughout the Carolinas. And thatís the reason, Iím passing off a big thank you card to the wrestling fans. Thatís what come to my mind.Ē

On teaming with FTR: ďWell, let me tell you this. Like I said, this, for me to make a final, final decision was three or four months in the making. I just didnít jump on it the first time I was approached from Big Time Wrestling and I have an agent guy, Tony Hunter, who also works with Big Time Wrestling, and when I was first approached, but FTR, when I was first approached were heels. They were going to be two guys on the other side of the ring that I was going to be wrestling. And AEW turned them baby faces, turned them good guy. So they said, ĎWe canít have heels working against you, Ricky, youíre a baby face. So what would you think if we had them as your partners?í And I thought it was great too because they were at the school WWE, back in the day when I was a trainer and Iíd work with them in the ring and I know theyíre good hands and Iím glad how theyíve grown in the business with AEW. And so the adversaries, the Jay Lethal and then Old Arn Andersonís boy, Brock and they still got a mystery partner and I havenít been privy to the mystery partner. Can you believe this? Itís coming up this week.Ē

On the current direction of WWE: ďTo be honest, I had not watched a whole lot. But what I have watched, and also what Iíve heard, is I like the fact that you have to bring wrestling to 2022, but they have not relinquished, I believe the foundation of the business and some of the old school stuff. The business was founded and carried for so many years on the ideology of the way I worked and Flair worked and all that. And I still see it being sprinkled among the young kids out there now. So I feel good about it, as long as they continue to do that, the psychology of the business, and keep bringing it back. I mean, it worked for so many years and if itís not broke, donít fix it, right?Ē