Wrestler of the Day – March 4: Rick Steiner

Up to Michigan for Rick Steiner.

Rick got his start in Mid-South back in 1983 under his real name of Robert Rechsteiner and amazingly enough you can actually see some of those matches.

Robert Rechsteiner vs. Nick Patrick

Yes that Nick Patrick. Robert easily takes him down to the mat and to make things even more interesting, Ric Flair is on commentary. A hiptoss puts Nick down but he comes back with a hiptoss of his own. Patrick grabs a headlock and gets two off a cross body but Robert takes him right back down into a chinlock. A big gorilla press and a belly to belly suplex are enough to pin Patrick with ease.

After a few years in various territories, it was off to the NWA where one of Rick’s first major matches was at Starrcade 1987 in the opening match.

Sting/Jimmy Garvin/Michael Hayes vs. Eddie Gilbert/Larry Zbyszko/Rick Steiner


This is right after Jim Crockett acquired the UWF, so a lot of these guys are making their big time debuts. Gilbert was a big deal back there, as was Hayes. Sting didn’t mean anything at this point, but he would have his day very soon. He had recently left Gilbert’s stable in the UWF so they have a built in feud already. Steiner jumps Sting to start but misses a charge and falls to the floor. Sting dives out onto him as the lighting is really bad here. It looks like the lights haven’t been turned all the way on.


As they head back in, Sting hits a missile dropkick as everything breaks down. Sting’s team clears the ring until we get down to Hayes vs. Steiner. Michael pounds on the arm for a bit and it’s off to Garvin. Michael and Jimmy would wind up as a tag team in a few years but here’s they’re just randomly paired together. Off to Larry to fight Garvin and it’s time to stall already. Larry was legendary for stalling and it drove a lot of people crazy, myself included.


Back to Hayes who grabs Larry by the nose and pounds away. Michael struts and moon walks to get the crowd fired up as it’s off to Gilbert. Hayes avoids a right hand and struts some more before sending Eddie into the corner. Back to Sting as things speed up a bit, but at this point he’s not capable of carrying a match on his own. Sting grabs an armbar on Steiner and it’s off to Garvin for more basic offense on Rick.


Steiner takes him into the heel corner and it’s off to Larry for a spinning kick to Garvin’s ribs. A powerslam gets two for Rick and it’s off to Gilbert for an atomic drop. Gilbert stays on the back for a bit but misses an elbow drop. It’s not enough for the tag out though as Steiner comes in for the save. Off to a bearhug to further the punishment on Garvin’s back but Jimmy fights out. Larry saves another hot tag and puts on an abdominal stretch. Garvin finally hiptosses his way out of it and it’s off to Sting to pick up the pace.


Everything breaks down but Gilbert comes in with a cheap shot to the back to take Sting down. Eddie sends him out to the floor for a bit before throwing him back in for some triple teaming. It doesn’t seem to do much good as Sting counters a Zbyzsko suplex, only to be stopped by Steiner.


Sting avoids a charge from Larry and it’s off to Hayes with less than two minutes to go in the time limit. Everything breaks down and the good guys all pound away on a bad guy in a different corner. The DDT gets two for Hayes on Larry but he’s in the ropes. One minute to go as Steiner breaks up a sleeper on Larry. Steiner comes in legally for a bearhug of all things before turning it into a belly to belly suplex. Everything breaks down again and the time runs out with no winner.


Rating: C. This was probably the best opener the series has had yet and it’s very obvious that that’s not saying much. The main idea here was to introduce most of these people to the Jim Crockett audience and it only worked to a degree. Steiner actually came off looking the most polished here, but Hayes would have the immediate success. Sting would be several months away from his big break.

Soon after this, Rick would join the Varsity Club, a group of wrestlers who were successful in college. Rick was an All-American at the University of Michigan and fit in perfectly. However Rick’s character was presented as being slow mentally, so the rest of the club treated him badly. This led to Rick being thrown out of the Club but getting a TV Title shot at Starrcade 1988 against Club leader Mike Rotunda.

TV Title: Rick Steiner vs. Mike Rotundo


This should pick things up a bit. The idea here is that Rick used to be in the Varsity Club but was used as a whipping boy by Rotundo for the better part of a year. One day Steiner, whose mind is a bit scrambled because of a car accident he had a few years earlier, got sick of Mike’s treatment of him and suplexed Rotundo into the middle of next week. Rotundo agreed to face Steiner here to embarrass him, because Rotundo claimed that no one could beat him in a twenty minute match, which is the time limit for TV Title matches. Mike is defending if that’s not clear. Kevin Sullivan is locked in a cage hanging from the ceiling.


Mike gets knocked out to the floor to start as Rick is really excited early on. Back in and the champion puts on a wristlock but gets caught in a quick fireman’s carry to get us back to a standoff. Rick hooks a headlock for a bit until Mike shoves him away. Steiner is perfectly fine with that and takes Rotundo’s head off with a Steiner Line for two. A drop toehold puts Rick down but he immediately counters into a hammerlock. Steiner has been out wrestling Rotundo the entire time here.


Mick finally counters into a headlock on the mat but Rick, the good guy here, pulls the hair to escape. Back up and Steiner puts on a headlock but gets suplexed down by the champion. They head to the mat again with Mike holding Rick down in a headscissors. Apparently that’s too boring for them so it’s back up for some more circling. Rick starts dancing a bit so Mike bails to the floor for a breather.


Back in and Rick runs him over again, only to miss a charge and go flying over the top and out to the floor. Mike pounds away with some elbows to the head back inside followed by a kick to the chest. Off to a chinlock by Rotundo for a LONG time as the match slows down again. A hard clothesline puts Steiner down again as the commentary has stopped for some reason. Rick comes back with a sunset flip for two but gets punched in the jaw for his efforts.


Rick fights back again and hits a quick Steiner Line to take Rotundo down. Now the commentary is back and Steiner is pounding away on Mike in the corner. A big backdrop puts the champion down and a powerslam gets two. Rick hits the belly to belly suplex but Steve Williams rings the bell. The referee thinks it’s the time limit but we’ve only gone about seventeen minutes out of twenty allotted.


The timekeeper tells the referee what happened as Sullivan is lowered. Another referee comes down as well and Sullivan gets on the apron. Steiner rams Rotundo into Sullivan, knocking the champion out. Rick gets the pin (from both referees) and the title, blowing the roof off the place. It’s one of the loudest pops you’ll ever hear anywhere in wrestling.


Rating: C-. The match mostly sucked, but man alive the ending to that was awesome. This is a perfect example of how you blow off a story at the biggest show of the year. The fans went NUTS for the ending as they identified with Steiner as someone standing up to a bully and finally getting his revenge on said bully. Rotundo would get the title back in a few weeks, but THIS match was the important moment and it was done perfectly.


Rick hits the floor and sprints around the ring, pointing at a confused Rotundo and shouting I BEAT YOU I BEAT YOU I BEAT YOU! He grabs the TV Title and runs out of the arena before Williams can kill him as the fans come unglued. This is one of those moments where if you don’t smile just a little bit, odds are you don’t have a soul.

Soon after this Rick would be joined by his brother Scott Steiner to form the Steiner Brothers. The pair would win the World Tag Team Titles later in 1989, eventually entering into a feud with two masked men called Doom. The teams would face off at Clash of the Champions X: Texas Shootout in a title vs. mask match.

World Tag Team Titles: Doom vs. Steiner Brothers


This is titles vs. masks and Doom is now managed by Theodore R. Long instead of Woman. Scott brawls into the corner with Doom #1 to start and Scott is accused of pulling on the mask. Instead he comes back with a powerslam and rides #1 on the mat amateur style. #2 comes in to try his luck and hammers away on Scott’s chest. Scott comes back with a dropkick to both masked men, knocking them out to the floor. #2 is pulled back in and Scott goes after the mask to no avail.


Rick comes in to face #2 and bark a lot. #2 is whipped from corner to corner but he again gets away when his mask is threatened. Back inside and Rick hits a gorgeous overhead belly to belly and it’s back to #1 vs. Scott. #2 gets in a cheap shot from the apron to stop a charging Scott and Doom takes over. Choking and double teaming ensues with a double backdrop putting Scott down again. A big clothesline sends Scott over the top and out to the floor where #1 gets in a few cheap shots.


Back in and Scott gets a quick sunset flip for two but it seems to just tick Doom off even more. Scott grabs a Frankensteiner out of nowhere and the hot tag brings in Rick. He cleans house and gets #1’s mask off to reveal Butch Reed. Rick puts the mask on as Reed apologizes to his partner, allowing Rick to get a quick rollup for the pin.


Rating: C-. This was a standard formula tag team power match but not as fun as the previous match. It doesn’t help that there was no doubt about Doom’s identities as there were only two men in the organization that looked like them and one sounded exactly like Ron Simmons and the other wrestled exactly like Butch Reed.

Scott would get injured about a year later, putting Rick into a quick singles run. During this span he was given a WCW World Title shot at Clash of the Champions XVII.

WCW World Title: Rick Steiner vs. Lex Luger


Mr. Hughes is ejected before the match can get started. Rick drives him into the corner to start before taking him down to the mat in a nice amateur move. Luger walks around the ring and is easily knocked down by a shoulder block. A big Steiner Line sends Luger over the top and out to the floor for a meeting with Race.


Back in and Luger gets a single kick to the stomach before ramming Rick into the buckle for no effect. A belly to back suplex gets two on the champion but the referee gets bumped, allowing Luger to crotch Rick on the top rope. Luger clotheslines Rick in the back of the head to put Steiner down again and an elbow drop gets two.


Rick is sent to the floor where Race gets in a cheap shot and Luger is very pleased. Back in and Steiner hits a big right hand and puts Luger down down with a powerslam. The top rope bulldog gets two and a belly to belly superplex looks to pin Luger but Scott and Mr. Hughes fight into the ring. During the melee, Luger is able to get in a shot with the belt for the pin to retain.


Rating: C-. Scott would have been a better challenger had he been healthy but Rick throwing those suplexes was always fun to see. The match is a pretty big letdown after the Sting stuff but it certainly wasn’t a bad effort when Steiner had pretty much no chance at all of winning the belt.

After a pretty worthless 1992, Rick and Scott headed over to the WWF and won the World Tag Team Titles. One of their major defenses was against Smoky Mountain Wrestling’s Heavenly Bodies at Summerslam 1993.

Tag Titles: Steiner Brothers vs. Heavenly Bodies

Jim Cornette manages the challengers, who are Jimmy Del Ray and Tom Pritchard. This is part of the cross promotion with SMW. Heenan sings Cornette’s praises, which was how Cornette got over as a heel. He had debuted not long before this and Heenan immediately hugged him. Since Heenan was a heel and Cornette was a friend of his, Cornette was instantly hated. No shades of gray, no thought to it, just basic heel work. I miss stuff like that so much.

The Bodies jump the champions and send Scott out to the floor early on. A double flapjack puts Rick down and Scott is knocked back to the floor, but the Bodies spend too much time double teaming. All four are in now with the Steiners cleaning house to the delight of the crowd. I’m sure it has nothing to do with them wearing University of Michigan colors. A tilt-a-whirl slam (called a suplex by Vince) puts Del Ray down and the Steiners stand tall.

We officially start with Pritchard vs. Scott and Tom is slammed down in a BIG gorilla press. A backdrop puts Del Ray down and it’s off to Rick vs. Pritchard. Rick cleans house with Steiner Lines to send the challengers to the floor. Back in the and the Bodies finally start cheating, allowing Pritchard to hit an enziguri to send Scott to the floor, followed by a Del Ray moonsault press to wipe Scott out.

Back in and Del Ry hits a Rocky Maivia spinning DDT but doesn’t cover like the schnook that he is. Heenan has the match 1112-9 in favor of the Bodies. A powerslam gets two for Del Ray and Cornette jabs Scott in the throat with his tennis racket. Scott finally comes back with a belly to belly out of nowhere and makes the hot tag to Rick.

Everyone gets Steiner Lines (Heenan: “Mrs. Steiner just gave her daughter a Steiner Line!”) but the top rope bulldog only gets two on Del Ray thanks to a save. Cornette throws in the racket but a shot to Rick’s back is only good for two. Del Ray misses a moonsault and the Frankensteiner retains the belts.

Rating: C+. This was as by the book of a tag team match as you can get but it was still good stuff. I don’t think anyone cared about the Heavenly Bodies but that’s where a good manager like Cornette can come in handy: the fans are going to boo anyone he’s out there with, including a tag team who never did anything of note in the WWF.

After not doing much else in the WWF, Rick would head to ECW for a bit before they went home to WCW. Slamboree 1996 saw another Battlebowl format with “random” tag matches. Rick and Scott would be on opposing teams in their first match.

Battlebowl First Round: Scott Steiner/Craig Pittman vs. Rick Steiner/Booty Man

Is this like a sick joke or something??? Teddy Long is Pittman’s manager for no explained reason. At least we can look at Kimberly. Pittman and Booty Man start. Oh just shoot me now. It has to be less painful. Wow it’s weird seeing Teddy out there as a manager. The announcers are orgasming over Rick vs. Scott. I can’t say I blame them as they didn’t have a showdown for a long time. And there it is.

Actually they tag twice so Scott isn’t legal. The fans pop to it too so this is a good idea. To their credit, they actually get in there and wrestle rather than do a short sequence that will be forgotten in 8 seconds. I’m not saying this steals the show or anything, but they actually throw each other around and pound on each other, but no punches.

This worked and when Rick made the tag it didn’t feel like it had been weak or short or anything like that. They were in there about 2-3 minutes and it was fine. I like that. After an arm hold on Booty Man, Rick comes in and a German suplex on Pittman ends it with Rick and Booty winning.

Rating: C. Best match of the night by far to this point. Rick vs. Scott was a nice touch indeed and while no one at this point is buying the pairings being random, this was certainly entertaining and came off well. It’s a pleasant surprise if nothing else, but at the end of the day Pittman and Booty Man just weren’t going to be able to get anywhere.

One of the major differences for Rick’s second run in WCW was he wrestled more singles matches, including this one from October 7, 1996 on Nitro.

Chris Benoit vs. Rick Steiner


Scott is injured but is here with Rick anyway. Steiner goes right after him to start and pounds him down with ease. I still don’t get why this mini-feud is even happening. Belly to belly gets two. Off to a chinlock and we talk about an Olympic silver medalist talking about joining WCW, which wouldn’t happen. Another suplex has Benoit holding his neck and head, which makes me wince a bit given what we know now. After a two count we take a break.


Back with Benoit in control with a chinlock but he goes to the corner and pounds away when the cameras are back on. Scott goes after Nick Patrick a bit and Patrick freaks. An NWO limo arrives with Hogan inside with Giant. The match isn’t that important I guess. Hogan says watch this place because he has business to take care of. Benoit had Rick in a chinlock at the time so at least he was smart enough to think through it.


Eric rants about Jarrett some more and Benoit hooks another chinlock. Rick wakes up and hits a huge Steiner Line but Benoit just gets mad because of it. He chops Rick so hard Rick’s headgear falls off. FREAKING OW MAN! Swan Dive gets two. Benoit jumps into a suplex and then a DDT gets two for Rick. The top rope bulldog gets….two? Since we were having a decent match, here’s Debra to make sure it gets screwy. Mongo goes for the briefcase but Rick steals it and waffles Mongo with it (great looking shot) and then hits Benoit for the pin.


Rating: C+. Without the shenanigans and distractions, this would have been a pretty solid match. Rick certainly wasn’t much in his later career, but when he was on he was on pretty well which was the case here. Benoit was so hungry at this point and you could tell how awesome he would be if they gave him the proper push, which unfortunately never really happened.

Around this time the NWO was already in full swing and the Steiners went to war with the Outsiders over the World Tag Team Titles. This led to a singles match between Rick and Kevin Nash for the Tag Titles (it’s WCW. Just go with it) at Spring Stampede 1997.

Tag Titles: Kevin Nash vs. Rick Steiner

Only in WCW. Nick Patrick is referee because we need more gimmicks in this. Rick jumps him but gets knocked down almost immediately. DiBiase and Syxx are at ringside so this is 4-1. Nash pounds on him in the corner and hits his knees but runs into a boot. Belly to belly suplex looks like Rick is picking up a boulder. That suplex/powerslam move he uses gets two.

Syxx pulls the top rope down and Steiner crashes to the floor. Back in the side slam gets two. Why isn’t Patrick fast counting him? The Outsiders are the champions coming in here. DiBiase gets in a right hand and Nash hits the running crotch attack while Rick is in 619 position. Big boot puts Rick down as we’re totally in squash territory. There’s the Jackknife but Steiner kicks out. I don’t remember many people ever doing that other than Undertaker.

Steiner hits him low on another Jackknife attempt which Patrick actually doesn’t DQ him for. He’s kind of doing a bad job of being an evil referee here. Rick hits the bulldog but it only gets two, even though Nash’s shoulder never came up. Down goes Syxx but Nash comes back with a clothesline to take over again.

Syxx takes off the buckle pad and Snake Eyes onto the buckle sets up Snake Eyes on the buckle which sets up Snake Eyes on the buckle which sets up Snake Eyes on the buckle which sets up the Jackknife for the pin and a forced count (Patrick was hesitant) for the pin. The interesting thing here is that DiBiase says that’s enough in the middle of this and Nash yells at him. DiBiase walks out.

Rating: D-. So Nash wins a squash on PPV in a one on one match for the titles. I guess the more important part here is that DiBiase looks to be defecting which would mean more if he was an actual wrestler. This would lead to him managing the Steiners which would last for awhile until I think February. The match sucked.

The Steiner Brothers would split in early 1998 with Scott joining the NWO. Somehow it took them six months for a blowoff match but those matches sucked and Rick got hurt afterwards, so we’ll jump ahead to Slamboree 1999 after Rick turned heel and was challenging Booker T for the TV Title.

TV Title: Rick Steiner vs. Booker T

Booker is champion here if I didn’t make that clear. Rick starts out with a belly to belly release and a couple of Steiner Lines. I think he’s the heel here but I’m not sure. More control by Steiner until Booker kicks him in the face to put him down. Steiner pops up of course because he isn’t going to sell anything. Off to a chinlock by Booker. I think he’s either heel here or borderline heel.

Steiner takes over on the floor and things slow way down. Time for a chinlock again. The crowd is very quiet. Steiner punches a lot and the fans don’t care. A bunch of punches gets two and here’s that chinlock again. Booker fights back and hits the axe kick, a spinebuster and the missile dropkick but STEINER WON’T SELL THEM. Here’s what happens after every move: Steiner lays there about 2-4 seconds then gets up like nothing happened. Scott finally runs out for the distraction and a Steiner Line gets two. Scott trips Booker and the Bulldog off the ropes gives Rick the title.

Rating: D. Just a horribly boring match here as Rick is beyond worthless in the ring at this point. Naturally the answer to that is to give him a title for four months. He wouldn’t sell ANYTHING Booker did here and Booker looks like a joke as a result. Bad match but as usual, most of it is due to Rick being lazy and not selling anything.

Around this time Rick would become a bigger heel and be part of a somewhat infamous match on August 9, 1999 on Nitro.

Hulk Hogan/Sting/Goldberg vs. Sid Vicious/Kevin Nash/Rick Steiner

This is a huge deal as it’s Hogan’s first time appearing in the red and yellow in over three years. The feuds here are Hogan vs. Nash, Goldberg vs. Steiner and Sid vs. Sting. The fans absolutely lose their minds as Hulk shoves Rick down to start. A quick big boot sets up a series of elbow drops and Hogan cleans house of all the heels. After a huge ovation, it’s off to Nash vs. Goldberg with the shorter guy getting two off a big shoulder block. Sid comes in and pounds away on Goldberg’s chest to almost no effect.

Goldberg puts Sid on the top rope for a Stinger Splash but Sid gets his knees up to stop a top rope splash. Nash comes in with a side slam for two before ripping off a turnbuckle pad. The referee won’t allow him to drop Sting with Snake Eyes but Nash bumps him so everything breaks down. Sid starts swinging a chair but Hogan takes it away and blasts the villains, allowing Sting to put the Deathlock on Nash for the win.

Rating: D+. The match was nothing more than the moment at the beginning but it kept the crowd going throughout the entire match. There’s nothing wrong with throwing all three feuds into a single match and it works as well as anything else could. Not that any of these feuds would go anywhere, but at least there’s an idea.

Soon after this Rick would receive another TV Title shot at Halloween Havoc 1999.

TV Title: Chris Benoit vs. Rick Steiner

Benoit is champion coming in. This is the main event of the last two Nitros I’ve done too. Steiner immediately stalls on the floor and catches Benoit when the Canadian chases him. Steiner Line and a suplex puts Benoit down for two. Benoit fights back and hits a superplex but Steiner no sells that too. A Crossface attempt is avoided and we head to the floor. Benoit hits a suicide dive and Steiner is up in seconds.

Steiner keeps stalling every time Benoit gets anything going. There’s a kick to the balls and Steiner takes over with a rest hold to the leg. Time for a chinlock because Steiner has already wrestled like 6 minutes. Steiner uses various boring power moves as Benoit sells like a master for him. The American hits two Germans on the Canadian for two. Make that three which is all Steiner seems to be able to do. It must run in the family.

A suplex is countered into a DDT by Benoit to finally give him a breather. Not that Steiner sells it or anything. A flying shoulder block and Steiner is up first again. Three Rolling Germans get two and Steiner won’t freaking stay down. There goes the referee and Steiner brings in a chair which goes into Steiner’s face but he throws it at Benoit during a Swan Dive attempt. Malenko comes in and turns on Benoit by hitting him with the chair. That’s enough for the pin and the title for Steiner.

Rating: D. Rick Steiner messes up almost every match he’s in. What can Benoit do when Steiner won’t stay down off ANYTHING Benoit hits him with? This is one of those great examples of why Benoit left. Why should he stick around here when he’s getting jobbed out to Sid for the US Title a few months earlier (Sid wouldn’t sell) and now to another washed up old guy who won’t sell? The TV Title would be around for a little over another month as Steiner would drop it to Scott Hall and Hall would literally throw the title away.

That was pretty much it for Rick in WCW as he wouldn’t do anything of note in 2000, win a quick US Title right before the company folded, then head to Japan for a few years. Rick would appear at a reunion show called World Wrestling Legends in 2006.

Virgilvs. RickSteiner

Virgil is called that but his name graphic says Mr. Jones. Whatever as the guy is a jerk anyway. Virgil has a big old beer gut. He tries to jump Rick to start and the bald man is in command. Steiner Line and a T-Bone hit, and when I say hit for the suplex I use that term more loosely than a head cheerleader’s vagina, for two. Death Valley Driver gives Steiner the win in maybe a minute forty. See what I’m dealing with here?

We’ll wrap it up in TNA with a Steiner Brothers reunion from Genesis 2007 for the Tag Titles.

Tag Titles: AJ Styles/Tomko vs. Steiner Brothers


Yes, those Steiner Brothers. In 2007. They’re faces here and AJ set this up by challenging Scott to a takedown contest. Rick is in a Steiner Brothers t-shirt and workout pants. I think that’s better for everyone. Scott vs. AJ starts us off and AJ’s luck isn’t very good here. Scott beats AJ like he stole something but Tomko’s distraction lets AJ hit a jumping enziguri (not the Pele) and a dive over the top to take over.


Steiner grabs the spinning belly to belly and it’s off to Rick vs. Tomko. At least the workout pants have bulldogs on them. A Death Valley Driver puts Tomko down but the champs take over and make him the face in peril. And scratch that as a Steiner Line brings in Scott. Tomko grabs a powerbomb and AJ adds a splash for two. Scott has a chain hanging from his beard. That can’t be a good idea.


Rick comes in off the not very hot tag and cleans house on the champions. The Steiners load up the Steiner Bulldog to AJ and I shudder with Rick on top for a big move. It actually doesn’t kill Styles but Tomko has to make the save anyway. Scott and Tomko have a brawl on the floor as Rick powerbombs AJ. The referee is down on the floor thanks to the brawl so Rick’s cover doesn’t matter. Somehow a chair gets into the ring and Styles kicks Rick low and a chair shot ends this.


Rating: D+. I have no idea what the point of this was. The Steiners hadn’t meant anything in about 12 years at this point but it’s the TNA attitude of once a draw, always a draw. This was nothing to see at all and the match was pretty weak, especially with the champs having to cheat to win. They would hold the titles for a then record 6 months.

While he doesn’t have the success on his own that Scott ever had, Rick still had a very good career on his own. Some of his time with the Varsity Club was great and the Mike Rotunda match was as awesome of a moment as you’ll ever see in the NWA. He would be around for years but his later times were getting pretty dreadful, hence why I skipped over most of the period. You’re better off with a Best of the Steiner Brothers marathon.

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