Ricky Steamboat and Rick Rude were two great wrestlers from the 1980s/early 1990s. Ricky Steamboat is known for his classic matches against Randy Savage and Ric Flair. Any match with Ric Flair could last an hour; so a half-hour Iron Man Match doesn’t seem that much of a big deal. However, while not a ‘classic’ match, Steamboat and Rude laid the foundations for almost every Iron Man match we’ve seen since 1992, and put on a wrestling clinic.
Watch an Iron Man match today and you will probably see them template that Steamboat and Rude laid out. The heel will gain a few pinfalls and the upper hand through a DQ. However, the face will come back, and equal the number of pinfalls to lead into a dramatic few minutes of both competitors trying to get the winning pinfall. Rude works on Steamboat’s ribs throughout the match, gaining a pinfall and gaining an advantage through a kneedrop from the top rope. It causes a DQ (which seems silly nowadays!), but Rude gets another pinfall. Steamboat manages to equalise. Steamboat earns another pinfall to leads us into a frantic five minutes of a flurry of moves by Rude to equalize the score!
Although some of the action is dated by our modern standards, most of the match holds up today. It does drag in parts, but the final few minutes after Steamboat gets the lead are undeniably thrilling. It’s a well-plotted and structured bout by two great wrestlers. The major irritant of this match is the lack of a scoreboard on screen to count the pinfalls. It’s up to the commentators to keep reminding the audience of them! But I guess I can let that slide. A very, very good early example of an Iron Man match!
VERDICT: 7/10. Some of the action is dated by today’s standards, but it set the template for many Iron Man matches that followed it. The final few minutes are thrilling as well!
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