The WWE-themed A&E Biography shows are always at their best when they tell a story that we don’t know by heart, and are at their fast-forward worst when they delve into something we’ve heard a thousand times.

There was some of both in the episode on Rick and Scott Steiner that aired on Sunday, June 30.

It started off terrific, where we got to learn about their upbringing from their mother Janece Rechsteiner. Rob was first, then Scott came along 16 months later. They were “very busy” boys and their strict Marine father kept them in line.

Foreshadowing their own bullying/pranks in wrestling, their father duct taped their mouths and put a belt around them so they had to look at each other and not fight — and they had a photo of it!

Between a cousin, college friends and their coach at the University of Michigan, we got a good impression of brothers who were majorly competitive and wanted to win all the time. Rob — Rick’s real name — hurt his knee as a senior so didn’t do as well as Scott did.

“They were good natured guys, but you didn’t want to cross them. If you crossed one, you had two Rechsteiners you had to deal with,” friend Joe McFarland said, again, predicting what was to come.

Rob Rechsteiner was the first into the wrestling business, having met Jim Myers — George “The Animal” Steele — at a wrestling practice in the summer, altering Rob’s plan to become a full-time teacher. Instead, he sent a resume to Verne Gagne of the AWA and was soon training.

This is the first place where the narrative is a little incorrect, and it wasn’t Gagne who schooled him but Brad Rheingans, who we get a photo of but no mention. January 1985 AWA footage of Rob Rechsteiner versus Curt Hennig had me wanting to stay there and watch that. There was no footage of Rob in Montreal with Tom Zenk, and little about Mid-South, other than that was where he was redubbed Rick Steiner.

Scott and Rob drifted apart a bit during this period just because Scott was still in school, but the wrestling ring called him too. Again at an amateur wrestling practice, Scott met a pro. In his case, it was “The Great Wojo” Greg Wojciechowski, who invited him to start training with the WWA crew. Some footage aired from that time period, including Scott Rechsteiner beating The Great Wojo for the WWA title in his debut match.

Scott Steiner at Michigan

Scott Steiner at Michigan

But this is a Steiner brothers episode so all that intriguing early day stuff is pushed in the past as they enter WCW, become tag team champions and run amuck backstage.

Here’s a small issue I have with the glorification of hazing / pranks / ribs. If someone had a problem with drugs or alcohol, there would be a note about a place to call if you or someone you knew had issues. This was all serious bullying. In today’s world, you would not only be fired for duct taping up a referee who you outweigh by 100+ pounds, but perhaps criminally charged. Yet it’s just run out like it’s ho-hum.

“I saw a lot of guys get pissed,” said Booker T but “no one would do anything” because they were so legit.

To Scott, “none of the ribs were that serious or vindictive, it was just young, dumb and just trying to have fun. They knew not to mess with me because of my brother.” That doesn’t excuse it. [Here are some Anti-Bullying and Youth Hotlines in the US and Canada.]

It’s a theme for Scott, who talked about all the partying while at Michigan, and then in WCW, pre-marriage in 1998: “It was college times 10 because you had so much freedom. You’re basically on the road with no supervision. It was a free-for-all.”

Same for his anger issues. “I’ll tell you how I feel about you,” he admitted.

Eventually, new boss Bill Watts lets them walk to WWF — he offered Rick a renewal but not Scott. Their WWF run was championship quality but not that long at less than two years. It was great to see their time in New Japan Pro Wrestling not only acknowledged but celebrated, though it would have been good to hear from someone in Japan rather than leaving it to someone like Kevin Nash to say “they rocked Japan.”

When WCW and NJPW start a working relationship, the Steiners return home to WCW just before the boom time of the Monday Night Wars. They were key players in it all, and Scott turning on Rick was inevitable. Rick gets pushed down card and eventually out of the business; Scott changes his “diet” and becomes a live wire.

Kudos to Biography for not ignoring Scott’s body transformation into Big Poppa Pump and questioning the legitimacy of it, though they had analyst Peter Rosenberg be the one to wonder about extra-goodies making him so ripped. Scott just replied: “You can make all the accusations you want, I’ve never failed a drug test.”

Scott’s health scares come up a couple of times too. There’s the time he “almost died in Puerto Rico” when he got kicked in the throat, tearing his trachea. (Bonus was getting to see Jeremy Borash as a talking head.) The operation was done there, and he was back wrestling a few months later.

The other was a paralyzed foot that he had near the end of WCW’s days — it was odd hearing Scott and Rick talk about WCW closing so soon after Who Killed WCW? ended on VICE — that he would tape up even over a brace to wrestle on, including his pretty poor run in WWE. He had surgery and then went to wrestle in TNA, which was actually mentioned by name.

Other people not already mentioned who talk Steiners include Ron Simmons, Diamond Dallas Page, Lex Luger, JBL, Eric Bischoff and their former manager Ted DiBiase. (Oh, and Sam Roberts, but if you have been reading these recaps, you already know my feelings on him.) There are so many others I would have liked to have heard from, like the Nasty Boys or any of the women that accompanied Big Poppa Pump to the ring, but Jim Ross and Sting were two who were there for all the years. Rick’s run in the Varsity Club isn’t even mentioned, though there’s a photo.

The Steiners entered the WWE Hall of Fame in 2022, which is, of course, made a big deal over.

Rick and Scott Steiner at The Big Event fan fest on The Big Event fan fest on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at Terrace on the Park, in Queens, NY. Photo by George Tahinos,

Rick and Scott Steiner at The Big Event fan fest on The Big Event fan fest on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at Terrace on the Park, in Queens, NY. Photo by George Tahinos,

The theme that united the episode was family, and, like the early years, this was all new and fresh and compelling.

Jayme and Rob met in Tulsa, introduced through Michael Hayes — who is excellent in this show, resplendent in his hat and suit. “I didn’t know he was a wrestler. I just liked the way he looked,” recalled Jayme. They dated about three years before getting married, and setting in Georgia, raising three sons. (More about one of them in a bit.)

Christa and Scott met at a gym in 1998, and she thought he had a great smile. Rick called her an “angel” for settling his brother down. They married in 2000, and Christa noted how different he was at home.

Finally, we to where we knew it was going, with Bronson Rechsteiner talking about his father, Rob. “He was around a lot,” he said of Rick’s days as a father, a real estate agent, and working for the school board. After four years of football, Bronson wanted to follow in his father and uncle’s footsteps. “My dream was to become a WWE superstar,” said the man now known as Bron Breakker. From that November 2020 tryout, things have gone so well that I suspect WWE banked a lot of footage while making this show on Rick and Scott to keep around for a Biography on Bron Breakker in five years.