Thursday, 5 June 2014

Full steam ahead: WWE returns to Malaysia

Local wrestling fans got to meet WWE Hall of Famer Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat — SS KANESAN/The Star (Inset) A younger Steamboat with his sole Intercontinental Championship belt, won in 1987.

Local wrestling fans got to meet WWE Hall of Famer Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat — SS KANESAN/The Star (Inset) A younger Steamboat with his sole Intercontinental Championship belt, won in 1987.

Wrestler Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat was in Kuala Lumpur recently to launch the WWE Live Malaysia 2014 tour.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! WWE is coming back to Malaysia! WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and Astro announced recently that the WWE Live tour will be coming to town, with two WWE Live Malaysia 2014 shows in October.

The last time a WWE event was held in Malaysia was the WWE Smackdown event 12 years ago, which featured The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Big Show and many more. This time, WWE fans can expect to see John Cena, Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family, The Shield, Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett and many others. Malaysia will be the only country in South-East Asia to host a leg of the tour this year.

Sweetening the deal further at the recent lauch event in Kuala Lumpur, local pro wrestling fans also got to meet one of WWE’s most celebrated wrestlers – Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009, Steamboat (real name Richard Henry Blood) is a former WWE Intercontinental Champion who made his pro-wrestling debut back in 1976.

These days, however, he spends more time travelling around the world promoting the WWE brand than being in the ring. Although his days of jumping off the top rope are over, he still makes occasional appearances in the ring, and recently made a backstage appearance at Wrestlemania XXX.

With hundreds of matches under his belt, Steamboat said it would be hard to pick one fight that was his all-time favourite, but singled out two that stood out the most – his 1987 Wrestlemania III bout with Randy Savage, and his trilogy of matches against Ric Flair in 1989.

“Not too many guys can say that they have been in the business for 40 years. I’ve had so many matches (over the years) that I used to have a favourite match every year! But those two are the ones that stand out the most because those were the ones I get the most responses from,” he said.

The fight with the late Savage, in particular, is considered one of the greatest pro wrestling matches of all time. From clotheslines to suplexes, judo chops to flying elbow drops, the two wrestlers exchanged blows and throws with such ferocity and pace that there was almost no time to them to catch a breath.

“What a match (that was). The pace, the story we were telling ... we changed the blueprint of matches forever,” he recalled. “We had 20-some false finishes, in a match that lasted less than 20 minutes ... the pace was non-stop!”

Steamboat eventually won the match, and the Intercontinental Championship belt, and he says that moment was one of the greatest highlights of his career.

“Hearing the roar of 93,000 people under a dome … THAT was my moment,” he said.

Steamboat’s numerous fights with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair throughout his career were also legendary, though the highlight of that feud was at the 1989 Chi-Town Rumble at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion, where Flair was defending the then-NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Steamboat. In the first of a “trilogy” of matches between the two, Steamboat eventually defeated Flair to win the title.

“This is a guy I’ve wrestled several hundred times, and I could count on just my hands, how many times I had won,” he said of Flair. 

“So to finally win the World Championship from him … I couldn’t have picked a better guy (to win it from). Winning that night, and the response from the crowd at the Randy Savage match … those were my two most memorable moments.”

> The WWE Live Malaysia 2014 shows will be held at Putra Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on 10 and 11 Oct. Ticket prices range from RM128 to RM1,230. To purchase tickets, visit or call 03-7880 7999. WWE Live is supported by Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, an agency under Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Ministry.

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment , Ricky Steamboat , The Dragon , WWE , pro wrestling , World Wrestling Entertainment , Astro , WWE Live


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