Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat originally retired from in-ring competition back in 2010 after he teamed with his son, Richie, in a tag match in Florida Championship Wrestling. However, after turning down an offer to take part in the Ric Flair's Last Match event with "The Nature Boy," The Rock 'n' Roll Express and FTR, Steamboat has now agreed to wrestle one last match for the Big Time Wrestling promotion on Nov. 27 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The former NWA World Heavyweight Champion will team with FTR to face AEW's Jay Lethal (in his "Black Machismo" persona), Brock Anderson and a mystery third partner.
Steamboat spoke with Wrestling Inc. this week ahead of the match and explained why he chose to come back for one last match — "It was very difficult. And before I could give a final, this past month or so, I've been... Glenn Jacobs, that name ring any bells? Yeah. And Tom Pritchard, they have a wrestling school outside of Knoxville... So for the past month or so, I've 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 I've 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, 'Ricky, don't be stupid. Don't be stupid. Don't let ego get in the way.' So [I'm] still able to sprinkle some of that dust, Steamboat dust, and hopefully the fans in Raleigh will enjoy reminiscing, going back," he continued. "But you asked why. I was thinking that the longer I wait, the less chance I will have. I'll be 70 in February and Mother Nature does creep up on you and the older you get, it creeps up on you faster. And Raleigh's Dorton Arena holds a special place in my heart. I've been around the world, wrestled in Japan, the Madison Square Gardens, Philadelphia Spectrums, and the list of places that I've wrestled and headlined goes on and on, but good old Raleigh, North Carolina, Dorton Arena. And I've 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 '60s, this guy. And so that was the first time I ever stepped in the ring with the world champion."
Steamboat then gave a second reason for his coming, explaining the historical connection he has to Raleigh — "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 I've been. You could go with me and Savage at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, at WrestleMania III. But that match, it wasn't filmed, it wasn't 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 '77 to '85. So eight years of being in one territory back in the day was a pretty good stretch."