There isn’t a podcast genre that has become more oversaturated in the last 24 months than pro wrestling. Yet one podcast managed to pull off something different by opening up the locker room doors and answering all of the WWE rumors and innuendo that have surfaced over the last several decades.
Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard has skyrocketed to become arguably the number one podcast in pro wrestling in a remarkably short time. This should be no surprise as each episode is full of history and answers to some of the biggest unanswered questions or unconfirmed WWE rumors of the last thirty-plus years. There is plenty of opinion in pro wrestling podcasts but this is the only one hosted by a guy that had a seat at the table next to Vince McMahon off and on for over thirty-years.
I stopped listening to wrestling podcasts a while back but when I heard this one for the first time I was hooked. It was like listening to one long-form shoot interview or having a beer with Bruce asking about the time that this and that happened. The podcast is fun and what makes it great is that co-host Conrad Thompson will regularly challenge Bruce when he senses that Bruce isn’t being truthful which makes the show highly entertaining.
You won’t find a guy closer to Vince McMahon and the daily WWE activities during his heyday than Bruce. What makes this podcast so much fun is that co-host Conrad Thompson is a big wrestling fan and has been a reader of the sheets for decades. Thus Conrad hits Bruce up with dozens of questions during each episode related to something “reported” in a sheet. This allows Bruce to offer up the other side of the story for the first-time and makes this podcast a must-listen every week.
As a fan of this podcast, I thought it would be fun to look back at 10 things I learned from Bruce and Conrad. Quite honestly I could do a blog on 10 things I learned each week but I thought I’d limit it to ten to make it more readable. These are some fun facts that were either cleared up by Bruce or offered up for the first-time publicly to my knowledge.
Now I will say this before I get into the list. Sheet writers like Dave Meltzer and Bruce Mitchell have been highly critical of Bruce, calling him a liar at times with some of the explanations or stories he has told on the podcast. On the other hand, Bruce has also exposed a lot of these sheet writers as highly misinformed, debunking dozens of items reported over the years as fact. Who is right and who is wrong? When Conrad asks Bruce simply responds, “Were they there?” Whether Bruce is working some kind of angle or not, he makes some very valid points when he does refute these reports to the point that I have seriously begun to question the accuracy of some of these sheet writers over the years.
Regardless, here is a list of 10 fun things I learned on the Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard podcast.
New Japan Pro Wrestling tried to play WCW and WWE against each other for Ken Shamrock – According to Bruce on the WrestleMania 13 episode, he caught NJPW representative Tiger Hattori playing him against Eric Bischoff for Ken Shamrock. Bruce claims that he while negotiating with Ken that the WWE tried to keep his date with NJPW. Bruce said that he was negotiating with Tiger and says that Tiger had very bad English during their conversations. He claims that while on a call with Hattori, Hattori was switching back and forth using Call Waiting. During one switch, Tiger inadvertently thought he had switched over and was talking to Eric Bischoff, yet he was actually still talking to Bruce. Bruce says he busted him and ended all negotiations.
WWE made a hard play for Vitor Belfort in 1997 – Bruce claimed during the WrestleMania 13 episode that Vince McMahon was fascinated with bringing “real guys” into the company to make the action look more real. Bruce said that he thought Vitor’s charisma made him a great fit for the WWE. Bruce said he made a hard play for Vitor but Vitor wasn’t interested in the “fake” stuff and it never happened.
Vince McMahon paid off Bruce’s car debt to Paul Boesch’s son – During Bruce’s fascinating episode on a Houston Wrestling retrospective, Bruce claimed that he owed Paul’s son several thousand dollars on a car loan. The Boesch’s developed tremendous animousity for Bruce during preparations for the Paul Boesch Retirement Show. At the show Paul’s son asked Bruce for the money back. Bruce didn’t have that kind of money and once Vince McMahon found out about it, he offered to pay off Bruce’s car note. Bruce then went on to say that while many will criticize Bruce for not being more critical of Vince during his podcasts, that this is one of many reasons he is forever grateful to Vince.
Bruce did bring a gun to television which got him fired…sort of – On another fascinating episode which explored why Bruce got fired from the WWE, Bruce addressed the rumor that he pulled a gun on the writers.
“Yeah, Bruce had a gun. It was Hurricane Ike. We left our home in League City, Texas and we had a gun in the house and we were told to evacuate, so I took the gun with me.” Prichard continued, “people knew I had the gun and stories kind of go from there, so the story gets back that Bruce pulled a gun and that was one thing Stephanie asked me. I told her the story, and we talked about other things, we disagreed. She says, ‘well, I’m going to ask you to leave.'”
“She said, ‘I can’t believe you brought a gun to work.’ I said, ‘okay, sorry. I f–ked up.’ But a week later was the next time we talked.” He was fired a week later for it and hasn’t returned to the company as an employee since.
Bruce also goes into great detail about his relationship with Stephanie McMahon deteriorated throughout the years and while the gun situation was a big deal, it was more of a reason for Stephanie to fire him as opposed to him having a great relationship and having been let go over this.
Vince McMahon called Killer Khan a p*ssy – This is a fun story that I can’t recall ever hearing about before, told on the recent Hulk Hogan 1987 episode of Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard. According to Bruce, Joel Watts interrupted a meeting between Vince and Killer Khan in 1987 in which he described to Bruce, Vince getting in Khan’s face and calling him a p*ssy and challenging him. It was so intense that Joel remarked to Bruce, “and you thought Bill (Watts) was nuts?”
Ted DiBiase came very close to signing with Jim Crockett before he came to the WWE – We have all heard the rumors about DiBiase being the heir apparent to Ric Flair as NWA champion in the 1980s, but I never heard this nugget before. According to Bruce, who was very tight with DiBiase, the former Million Dollar Champion was on his way to the Carolinas before he wound up signing with Vince McMahon to become the Million Dollar Man. Jim Crockett would have had DiBiase under contract after he bought Bill Watts’ UWF sans for the fact that DiBiase was working for Watts without a contract. Ted didn’t like the offer made by Crockett, especially knowing how much Lex Luger was making. After hearing Vince’s pitch for the character, Bruce advised Ted that he had to come to the WWE. Bruce thinks that if Ted did not come that Ric Flair could have wound up with the gimmick later and even opined that Gino Hernandez (who had passed by this point) would have made a great Million Dollar Man.
Big John Studd left the WWE in 1988 because he was sick of being beaten up by Andre the Giant – Bruce unveiled another interesting nugget on his Ted DiBiase episode. The conversation turned to Big John Studd and Bruce says that Andre didn’t like other giants and was very stiff and rough with Studd in their 1989 encore. The company had big plans for Studd as evident with his Royal Rumble win but he walked out because he was tired of working with Andre. The rumor had always been that Studd left over his payoffs. Bruce disputes that and says that Studd left because he was tired of getting beaten up by Andre.
The n.W.o. almost came to the WWE in 2001 – It’s easy to bag on the WWE for the botched invasion angle but this story reveals that it may not have gone down as planned. According to Bruce, the company sent feelers to Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan, and Kevin Nash in 2001. Bruce says that Shane McMahon called Scott Hall and Hall “made an ass of himself” and the talks broke down. Another interesting bit to this story is that the negotiations were only for Hall and Nash as the company had no interest in Hulk Hogan as part of the group at that time.
Lex Luger was never supposed to win the WWE title at WrestleMania 10 – There is an urban legend that Lex Luger was booked to win the WWE title from Yokozuna at WrestleMania 10. As the story goes, Lex was bragging about this at a bar during WrestleMania weekend, a small-town newspaper picked up on it, and once word broke the WWE changed plans. Bruce vehemently denies that story and said that Lex was never booked to win the world title.
There was a HUGE idea on the table for Scott Steiner in 1994 – On a recent episode of the podcast, Bruce talked a bit about the Steiners coming to the WWF. Bruce says that he and Pat Patterson pushed hard for Scott Steiner to come to the WWE as a surprise in the 1994 Royal Rumble, win it, and win the title at WrestleMania IX. Vince McMahon didn’t like the idea and didn’t see Scott as a singles wrestler.The WWE almost brought Hulk Hogan back right after his WCW heel turn – Could you imagine what would have happened if this went down? According to Bruce, two months after WCW turned Hulk heel and created the n.W.o. his contract was coming due. Bruce says that Vince flew to Denver to meet with Hulk during that time to negotiate a return. Bruce says that Hogan’s demands were too much and the company opted to move on. However, Bruce thinks that Vince helped Hulk get a better deal with WCW by agreeing to negotiate with Hulk publicly, in a hotel restaurant. Once negotiations fell apart with Hogan the company signed Bret Hart to the infamous 20-year deal.