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HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 5: (L-R) Former professional wrestler Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat looks on as actor Mickey Rourke discusses his wishes to not get involved in a match with WWE Superstar Chris Jericho during a press conference before WrestleMania 25 at Reliant Stadium on April 5, 2009 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bill Olive/Getty Images)

Bill Olive/Getty Images

WWE Hall of Famer Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat hasn’t been a featured figure in the wrestling industry for almost a decade, but the legend continues working behind the scenes to build the next generation of Superstars.

After over 40 years in the wrestling business, Steamboat has the bounty of experience and knowledge needed to help current performers tell believable stores, like those which made wrestling of yesteryear so much fun.

In an interview promoting his guest appearance at PCW Ultra’s May the Fourth Be With You show at ILWU Memorial Hall in Wilmington, California, on May 4, Steamboat spoke to Ring Rust Radio about his role as guest referee, the women’s revolution in WWE and teaching the next generation of Superstars.

During PCW’s upcoming show, Steamboat will play the role of referee for the light heavyweight championship match between Shane Strickland and Douglas James. The WWE legend has been a referee on several different occasions in the past for Ring of Honor and TNA, and he is not afraid to get physical if either wrestler gets out of control.

“I’ve done guest refereeing in other appearances and I’m just the type of guy that with being a babyface all my life, I call it straight down the middle,” Steamboat said. “The matches that I’ve been involved with as a referee, sometimes the heel likes to get up in my face a little bit and even at 65 years old, I don’t put up with that crap. Most times or not, the poor guy gets chopped down a few times. A word of warning to any of the two participants; I’m not afraid to throw some of my stuff at them that I’ve done over the years.”

Even at 65 years old, it’s clear from talking to Steamboat that his passion and drive for the business are stronger than ever. His dedication to making every match, segment or promo the best separates him from many veterans who have given up on wrestling.

It’s Steamboat’s respect for the wrestling industry and the performers who give their body and mind to the business that helps him appreciate the giant step female performers have taken since he hung up his wrestling boots.

“You know I’m very happy with WWE, the company in which I still work for. In the last several years, they’ve really given women a chance,” Steamboat said. “I feel that we really have some good, athletic women wrestling out there and they work just as hard as the guys and put on a heck of a show…On any given night, on any wrestling card, a lot of times those women will either steal the show for the evening or they’re working just as well as the guys.”

The women’s revolution in WWE has been inspiring to watch. When a technical master and a game-changing storyteller like Steamboat acknowledges the in-ring prowess of the women on the roster, the magnitude of what they’re accomplishing can’t be understated.

Regardless of who is wrestling, Steamboat is willing to teach those willing to learn about the intricacies of telling a believable story in the ring. The goal for any wrestler should be to get the crowd reacting to the story being told in the ring by using moves that make sense.

Steamboat takes great pride in helping educate the Superstars of tomorrow.

“I understand that wrestling now has changed as opposed to what it was when I worked, but I still think you can apply some of the things that I talk about and just put you 2018 twist on it and still make it work,” Steamboat continued. “It is a lot of pride for me and it’s a way for me giving back. In a way, I am passing the torch and hopefully some talent will look back at the day I was there teaching them, reflect on that and hopefully understand how it helped.”

Steamboat’s in-ring career may have come to an end, but he is doing what many other wrestlers wish they could and helping wrestlers better themselves and the industry. The Hall of Famer is trying to leave the business better than he found it.

As one of the few wrestlers to ever remain a face his whole career, Steamboat has learned and perfected the psychology of being the good guy. Add in the in-ring prowess that helped him be part of one of the greatest wrestling matches ever against Macho Man Randy Savage at WrestleMania 3, and who better to teach a young Superstar the ways of WWE?

Steamboat has always been criminally underrated in terms of the greatest all-around wrestlers, but his impact behind the scenes will continue to prove he is one of the true founding fathers of the modern wrestling style.

For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics or catch the latest episode in the player above (some language NSFW).

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