پنجشنبه 13 بهمن 1390 09:43 ب.ظ
Richard Henry Blood (born February 28, 1953), better known by his ring name Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, is a retired American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE working as a road agent. He was one of the few wrestlers who stayed a babyface throughout his career. He is best known for his work with the American Wrestling Association (AWA), the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
 Professional wrestling career
 Early years (1976–1977)
Blood debuted in 1976 as a babyface in the American Wrestling Association (AWA). He took the name Sam Steamboat, Jr. from older Hawaiian wrestler Sam Steamboat and he also wrestled for a time under his real given name before settling on the name Ricky Steamboat (or, alternatively, Rick Steamboat), by which he would be known for the remainder of his career. He went from the AWA to Championship Wrestling from Florida and from there to Georgia Championship Wrestling.
 National Wresting Alliance / Jim Crockett Promotions (1977–1985)
In 1977, Blood, now renaming himself to Ricky Steamboat, entered the National Wrestling Alliance-sanctioned Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) (which ran under the concurrent brand names "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" and "Wide World Wrestling"--later "World Wide Wrestling"--as well as airing syndicated TV programs under those respective names), where he would remain for the next eight years of his career. Steamboat, who had been brought in by JCP booker George Scott on the recommendation of Wahoo McDaniel, was initially billed as a babyface protege of Wahoo, and barely spoke above whispers in interviews. Matching him with his brash young counterpart, Ric Flair, was a natural fit. Steamboat stepped up to the plate during an interview on the syndicated Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling when Flair, the then-Mid-Atlantic television champion, began goading the youngster. Steamboat knocked Flair out with a backhand chop to set up a match between the two. Steamboat's star making performance came when he pinned Flair after a double thrust off the top rope to win the NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Championship at WRAL studios in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Over the next eight years in JCP, Steamboat captured the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship three times and the NWA World Tag Team Championship six times (once with Paul Jones and five times with Jay Youngblood). He also held the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship singles crown twice and wore the NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship straps four times (three times with Paul Jones, once with Jay Youngblood). He also won the NWA World Television Championship title a second time (which by that point had changed to the NWA World Television title).
Fans in the Mid-Atlantic territory to this day talk about classic Steamboat moments: the day Flair dragged his face around the television studio, causing facial scarring, and Steamboat retaliating the following week by ripping Flair's expensive suit to shreds; when longtime tag team partner Paul Jones turned heel on Steamboat at the end of a two-ring battle royal; Steamboat and Youngblood painting yellow streaks down the backs of Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke in order to embarrass them into defending the World Tag Team titles against the two; Steamboat and Youngblood's top drawing feud with Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle; Steamboat and Youngblood being turned on by their friends Jack and Jerry Brisco; Steamboat in a shocking (and surprisingly emotional) feud against former mentor Wahoo McDaniel; and his last great series in the territory, feuding with Tully Blanchard over the NWA TV title. After having creative differences with JCP booker Dusty Rhodes, Steamboat left the NWA.
 World Wrestling Federation (1985–1988)
 Birth of "The Dragon" (1985–1986)
In 1985, Steamboat was offered a contract by Vince McMahon and he joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Shortly after his debut, Steamboat was given the gimmick of a babyface nicknamed "The Dragon"; Steamboat's jacket-and-trunks attire was replaced by a keikogi and long tights. His father was Hawaiian, and Steamboat's mother is Japanese American, hence his Asian features which were crucial for his "Dragon" gimmick. Steamboat kept the nickname and gimmick for the remainder of his career.
He made his pay-per-view debut at the inaugural WrestleMania where he defeated Matt Borne. On the September 14, 1985 edition of Championship Wrestling, Steamboat defeated Mr. Fuji but after his victory, he was attacked by Don "The Magnificent" Muraco pitting Steamboat in a feud against fellow Hawaiians Muraco and Fuji. On the November 2 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, he defeated Fuji in a Kung Fu Challenge. On the January 4, 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, his intense feud with Muraco ended after he and Junkyard Dog beat Muraco and Fuji in a tag team match.
After a victory over Hercules at WrestleMania 2, Steamboat began his next feud with Jake "The Snake" Roberts. Their feud began when Roberts attacked him before their match on the May 3 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, which did not occur due to Roberts assaulting Steamboat. They battled each other in a Snake Pit match at The Big Event, which Steamboat won. Their feud finally ended on the October 4 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, when Steamboat defeated Roberts in their Snake Pit rematch. Following the match, Roberts continued to attack Steamboat and was about to place his snake Damien on him, but Steamboat took his komodo dragon out of his bag and scared Roberts from the ring.
 Intercontinental Champion and departure (1987–1988)
On the November 22, 1986 edition of Superstars, Steamboat got a shot at the Intercontinental Championship against Randy Savage. Steamboat lost the match by count-out but after the match, Savage continued to assault him and injured Steamboat's larynx with the ring bell, beginning an angle between the two. On the January 3, 1987 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, Steamboat returned from his injury and prevented Savage from attacking George Steele like he had done to Steamboat two months prior. At WrestleMania III, Steamboat was booked to defeat Savage for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. The highly influential match was considered an instant classic by both fans and critics and was named 1987's Match of the Year by both Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the Wrestling Observer.
Several weeks after winning the Intercontinental Championship, Steamboat asked WWF owner Vince McMahon for some time off to be with his wife Bonnie, who was expecting the birth of their first son, Richard, Jr. This did not sit well with WWF management as he had been molded to become a long-term Intercontinental Champion. The decision was made by WWF management to punish Steamboat by stripping him of the title. After a successful title defense against Hercules on the May 2 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, he dropped the belt to The Honky Tonk Man on the June 13 edition of Superstars; his son was born a month later. Steamboat came back in time for the Survivor Series in November 1987. WWF Management was still bitter over his impromptu sabbatical from his first WWF run, however, and he was not pushed or given any meaningful feuds (Steamboat himself has implied in interviews that he was being punished for 'one-upping' the Hogan-Andre main event at WrestleMania III). After defeating Rick Rude by disqualification at 1988 Royal Rumble, Steamboat was entered into the tournament for the vacant WWF Championship at WrestleMania IV in March 1988. On WWF television prior to the match Steamboat appeared in a vignette where he stated that he hoped Randy Savage would win his first round match, thus setting up a rematch of last year's Wrestlemania match and "one more classic confrontation". However Steamboat would lose to his first round opponent Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. Although television segments were shot immediately after WrestleMania IV that made it appear that The Dragon would be facing Valentine in a series of matches, Steamboat announced his retirement shortly thereafter.
 Return to the NWA / World Championship Wrestling (1989)
Steamboat made his comeback to wrestling in January 1989 and returned to the NWA (specifically, NWA affiliate World Championship Wrestling) on the January 21, 1989 edition of World Championship Wrestling (it would later become the name of the promotion) as a surprise tag team partner of "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert against NWA World Champion, Ric Flair and Barry Windham in a tag team match that saw Steamboat pin Flair. This earned him a shot at the title at Chi-Town Rumble where Steamboat was booked to defeat Flair in the main event for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He was also the last NWA World Champion to defend the belt in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) in a match against Tiger Mask II. After Steamboat retained the NWA title against Flair in a controversial ending on the April 2 edition of Clash of the Champions, Flair and Steamboat would then face each other in their final rematch at the first-ever WrestleWar in May, where Steamboat dropped the title back to Flair. All three of Steamboat's matches with Flair were given 5-star ratings from Wrestling Observer Newsletter publisher Dave Meltzer.
After losing the title and with Flair now a babyface after being attacked by Terry Funk, Steamboat would remain the number one contender to the NWA World Title, a fact that irked fellow babyface U.S. Champion Lex Luger. This dispute culminated in Luger attacking Steamboat on the June 14 edition of Clash of the Champions, thus turning heel. Luger stood over the fallen Steamboat and arrogantly said, "There's your number one contender!" Steamboat then demanded a no disqualification match against Luger at The Great American Bash for the title, but just before the bell Luger demanded the clause be dropped or there would not be a match. Steamboat lost the match by disqualification after hitting Luger with a chair. However, due to a contract dispute, this would be Steamboat's last match of note in WCW in 1989.
 New Japan Pro Wrestling and return to WWF (1990–1991)
After losing the NWA title, Ricky again ventured into semi-retirement in late 1989. In 1990, he toured with New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he faced high-profile stars like Hiroshi Hase and The Great Muta.
In 1991, Steamboat, now billed simply as The Dragon, began making a return to the WWF; he was soon promoted with a series of vignettes on various editions of Superstars which saw The Dragon breathing fire. Despite his previous success in the WWF as a one-time Intercontinental Champion, Steamboat was treated as a brand-new wrestler.
Steamboat made his WWF in-ring redebut on the March 30 edition of Superstars, defeating the Brooklyn Brawler with his signature diving crossbody. On subsequent episodes of Superstars and Wrestling Challenge, Steamboat would go on to win numerous squash matches. He would also be victorious on televised Madison Square Garden events, defeating the likes of Haku, Demolition Smash, Paul Roma, Col. Mustafa, Pat Tanaka, and the The Warlord.
Steamboat's only pay per view appearance during his second WWF tenure was at SummerSlam. Teaming with Kerry Von Erich and Davey Boy Smith against the Warlord, Hercules, and Paul Roma, Steamboat got the victory for his team by pinning Roma.
The Dragon was undefeated on television during his 1991 run and lost only one match, a house show bout against Skinner. The day after his dark match loss, Steamboat gave his notice to WWF management and then quit the company shortly thereafter. He had been booked for the Survivor Series, teaming with Jim Neidhart (who would be replaced by Sgt. Slaughter due to injury), Jim Duggan, and Kerry Von Erich against Col. Mustafa, Skinner, The Berzerker, and Big Bully Busick (who would be replaced by Hercules after Busick left the WWF), but left before the event and was replaced by Tito Santana. It is rumored that Steamboat was booked to be squashed by The Undertaker on Superstars to build Undertaker for his impending WWF Championship match against Hulk Hogan and that Steamboat chose to quit the WWF rather than lose to Undertaker. Undertaker instead squashed Kerry Von Erich on Wrestling Challenge weeks prior to Survivor Series.
 Return to WCW (1991–1994)
 World Tag Team Champion (1991–1992)
On the November 19 edition of Clash of the Champions, Steamboat returned to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as the surprise tag team partner of Dustin Rhodes, substituting for an injured Barry Windham. Steamboat and Rhodes defeated the Enforcers (Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko) to win the World Tag Team Championship, Steamboat's first World Tag Team Title under the WCW banner. They lost the titles to Arn Anderson and his new partner Bobby Eaton at a live event in January 1992. Steamboat began feuding with the Dangerous Alliance at this point, facing them in a critically acclaimed WarGames match at WrestleWar, which received a 5-star rating from Dave Meltzer. He unsuccessfully challenged Dangerous Alliance member and United States Heavyweight Champion Rick Rude for the title at SuperBrawl II. Their rivalry culminated in a non-title Iron Man Challenge at Beach Blast, which Steamboat won.
 World Television Champion (1992–1993)
On the September 2, 1992 edition of Clash of the Champions, Steamboat defeated "Stunning" Steve Austin to win his first Television Championship under the WCW banner. He lost the title to Scott Steiner at a television taping on September 29. He however, won both his first NWA World Tag Team Championship (unrecognized by NWA) and his second WCW World Tag Team Title with Shane Douglas (NWA and WCW titles were unified) on the November 18 edition of Clash of the Champions by defeating Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes. On the March 27, 1993 edition of Power Hour, they lost the NWA and WCW titles to the Hollywood Blonds (Brian Pillman and Steve Austin). On the August 18 edition of Clash of the Champions, he defeated Paul Orndorff to win his second and final WCW World Television Championship. A month later, at Fall Brawl, Steamboat's TV title reign was ended when he lost to Lord Steven Regal. At Starrcade, the two fought in a rematch for the title which resulted in a time-limit draw.
 United States Champion, retirement and departure (1994)
Heading into 1994, Steamboat engaged in one last feud over the World Heavyweight Championship with longtime rival Ric Flair, which culminated in a match at Spring Stampede where the title was briefly held up due to both men's shoulders being pinned at the same time. On the April 24 edition of Saturday Night, Flair defeated Steamboat to reclaim possession of the title. Their final singles match was on Main Event in July which ended on a disqualification when Steve Austin interfered. Steamboat and Flair's last encounter was in a tag team match on the July 31 edition of Main Event where Steamboat teamed with Sting against Ric Flair and Steve Austin.
He then feuded with US Champion "Stunning" Steve Austin and earned a US title shot at Bash at the Beach but lost. On the August 28 edition of Clash of the Champions, he got a rematch against Austin where Steamboat hurt his back, but managed to pin Austin for the United States Heavyweight Championship. However, he had to give up the belt due to the injury at Fall Brawl; he was replaced by "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. In September 1994, Steamboat was fired by WCW President Eric Bischoff via Federal Express package (while injured), thus ending a nearly two decade relationship with the Crockett/Turner wrestling organization.
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