Ricky Steamboat on How Creative Differences with Dusty Rhodes Led Him To Quit the NWA

May 21, 2019 - by Steve Gerweck

Photo credit: World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Filed to GERWECK.NET via Chris Featherstone:

I had the pleasure of interviewing WWE Hall of Famer Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat on a recent episode of the Pancakes and Powerslams Show. During Part I of the interview, Steamboat stated that NWA talent was “head and shoulders above the rest,” but he did discuss how he had some animosity with Dusty Rhodes over his position in the company, leading to his departure.

“Dusty Rhodes came in as the booker for [Jim] Crockett, and he was still working, of course. Top babyface for Crockett, Mid-Atlantic. He was the guy with the pencil, and just using me to make heels look good for him to take the heel after I’ve had a run and then beat them. That started with Tully Blanchard. Now, I enjoyed working with Tully. He was the TV Champion at that time. Even though the main event match was 60 minutes, the TV Championship was only up for the first 10. And, we would have our match, I would beat him in 15 minutes, and I’d win the match and he’d go home with the belt.

“Then we’d get on TV, and the time limit extended to 20 minutes and I’d beat him in 22. I’d win the match, but he’d go home with the belt. We went around the territories, both North and South Carolina, and Virginia for a couple of months like that. We had a big show in Greensboro, and Dusty booked himself with Tully, and went out there and beat him in eight minutes.

“And then the next thing I found out is that I was being hooked up with Nikita Koloff when Nikita was just very green, very, very green. We were gonna do an angle on TV, and he gave me a clothesline from behind, and I think my head went into the upper bleachers. It wasn’t too long after that I went to Jim Crockett and I said, ‘you know I’ve been here I think about eight years, and I think it’s just time for a move.’ I didn’t put any heat on Dusty, I didn’t say the reasons or nothing, I just said, look, I’ve been here for so long, it’s time for me to make a move, and that’s when I made my move.”

These creative differences caused a bit of animosity from Steamboat towards Dusty. However, Steamboat explained how he buried the hatchet while they were both competing for WWE.

“20 years later, maybe 25 years later when I was working at NXT in Tampa, and Dusty was also working there, I finally had a talk with Dusty. He brought up the fact that when he was booking, I left him. And I said, no, I told him the story, and I said, you were the booker, and using me, I was the top babyface, and you being a top babyface, so I just thought it was best to make a move. And I looked at Dusty and I said, over 20, 25 years I had a [feeling] about you.

“But, I’m telling you right now, that I’m going to thank you for it. And the reason being is that when I left and went to the [WWE], it took Ricky Steamboat to another level, and after all these years, I just want to say thank you. I understand your position, you’re the booker, and we’ve gotta make things happen and make things work. I was there for a long time, eight years working for Crockett, but the ill feeling is gone, and I owe you a big debt of gratitude.”

You can listen to Part I in full below, and please be sure to credit Chris Featherstone of the Pancakes and Powerslams Show for the transcription.

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