Sgt. Slaughter and Ricky Steamboat sound like proud fathers when discussing the current crop of WWE superstars.
Along with their respective WWE Hall of Fame careers, they each worked behind the scenes with talent.
The Dragon in particular had a hand in the early days of the company’s developmental system from Florida Championship Wresting to NXT.
“It’s very exciting for me to see the company make this very strong attempt for a third brand,” Steamboat said. “We have Raw, SmackDown and now NXT. I like it and am very excited for it because 99 percent of the staff and personnel come out of the school. We are putting our young kids on the road. I also like the fact they are sort of being initiated old school. Every night they go to the towns. They are doing a lot of driving. We were doing that back in the 1970s where it would be 2 or 300 miles a night without GPS. I always wondered how we made it with a map at night. I’m happy to see NXT grow. Everything they are doing, they are going in the right direction.”
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For Steamboat, the future is bright and now.
“There is just so much new talent,” he said. “Look at the talent that has broken through. Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Cesaro. There are a number of talents there. Everyone wonders if you give them the ball, are they going to score or are they going to fumble? Obviously, all the names I mentioned have scored very well. I got to help them while coaching at the school, which is great.”
Slaughter also assisted in grooming some of WWE’s biggest names for superstardom. Among the names he says he was instrumental in recruiting was 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Nash.
“Whether Shawn Michaels called him or not, I did discover Diesel in a box of tapes one time,” he said. “I showed it to Vince McMahon, and he told me to give him a tryout…I’ve been around a long time. Coming up the ranks I’ve got to see those who were sons of professional wrestlers get in the ring when they were five years old. I would wrestle around with them. Guys like The Rock and Randy Orton. Just to see some of the other Samoan kids now. That’s all they thought about was professional wrestling. They would get in the ring, and we would work out with them. Now to see them blossoming the proper way to get into pro wrestling and sports entertainment business, just makes your heart feel good.”
The patriotic personality is proud of how much The Rock has evolved. He would love to see him face Brock Lesnar again down the line.
“That would be an incredible match,” he said, “especially, now that both have matured in their businesses. It would be sensational. I said we would have WrestleMania on Mars one day. I think that would be a match to see.”
- Because of a scheduling conflict, Ricky Steamboat was pulled from his appearance at the upcoming Ronin Pro Wrestling show on Saturday, July 25 at Broward College in (South Florida) Pembroke Pines. Ronin officials for the promotion are hopeful to bring him sign him for a future appearance.
Ronin will welcome WWE Hall of Famer Larry Zbyszko for the show on July 25. The card is highlighted by Joey Bricco, Donovan, Jessy Sorensen and Alex Chamberlain battling to become the first Ronin heavyweight champion.
and follow Ronin on Twitter @RONINpw
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and Ricky Steamboat @RealSteambot.
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