WWE Hall of Famer Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat Returning to the Ring

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat will be returning to the ring for the first time since 2010 for the Big Time Wrestling promotion in Raleigh, North Carolina on Nov. 27. It was not announced at the time who is opponent will be. The former NWA World Heavyweight Champion's last match took place in Florida Championship Wrestling (before it was rebooted as WWE's developmental territory NXT) where he teamed with his son Richie to beat The Dudebusters in Ft. Myers, Florida. His final televised match was at the WWE Backlash pay-per-view in 2009 when he faced Chris Jericho. 

Steamboat was in the headlines earlier this year when news broke that the pitch for the Ric Flair's Last Match event during SummerSlam weekend was going to have Ric Flair team with FTR to face Steamboat and The Rock 'n' Roll Express. Those plans fell through after Steamboat declined to participate and the match eventually turned into Flair and Andrade El Idolo vs. Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal.

"Well, I was approached and given it really some serious thought," Steamboat said regarding the match offer back in May. "A lot of respect to the guy in the ring. You know, both of us are night and day when it comes to stuff out of the ring. Flair wouldn't be Flair without it. I thought about it for a week and just recently just declined on it. I know when I wrestled Jericho at WrestleMania 25, then we had the return match at Backlash in a singles, but at 69, and I know it's a six-man tag and I could get a little this and that in, but with all due respect to our fans, I want them to remember me that last time I was in there with Jericho when they chanted, 'You still got it.' I don't want to scar that phrase."

"Even that night with Jericho, you know, I was working for the WWE. I was one of the trainers at the school and was pretty active in the ring, so I had a lot of confidence in myself," he continued. "But knowing Ricky now and not being in the ring for a number of years, I don't want to tarnish the memory that the fans have of me. It'd be a good payday, sure, but I don't want them thinking, 'Maybe he should have stayed retired.' You know, and I could get out there and maybe pull it off and say, 'Well, you know, for a guy who's 69 years old, he sure did pretty good,' but that's the double-edged sword right? So, you know, The Dragon does have a lot of pride in his work and the way the fans remember me in the ring, and I want that lasting impression. I know my physical capabilities right now. I would love to be able to go out there and perform like I did with Jericho. I was 56 or 57 years old, but I think I want my fans to remember me as that guy and not have a chance of disappointing. That's how much I love my fans."

h/t Sports Illustrated