Bruce Prichard has come home. The exiled former WWE executive has returned to a prominent role in WWE creative and the pro wrestling community could not be more divided on the return of WWE’s prodigal creative son.
Prichard has proven to be the ultimate pro wrestling survivor. While not consistently, Prichard has made a good-great living in the industry as a non-performer for over 40 years. Think about that one for a second. How many folks outside of maybe Vince McMahon can make that claim? How many people in any industry can make that claim?
Bruce is a highly polarizing figure in the industry and has been for the last 30+ years. A narrative has been written, mainly by some of the popular newsletter writers in the 1990s. Prichard was generally characterized as being this narcissistic, lying, arrogant, out-of-touch, yes-man, painted as the enemy to those “hardcore” fans that wanted to see more traditional wrestling and less “entertainment” in the WWE. Yet somehow or another this “bumbling idiot” managed to work for the WWE throughout three decades of highs and lows in company history.
Then something interesting happened. Thanks to the world of social media and the new podcast medium, Prichard was able to create his own narrative. For the first time in his career, he found an avenue to communicate directly with the wrestling public. Prichard brilliantly grabbed a hold of those same narratives and discussed them head-on. Going back 40 years, Prichard would address personal and professional criticisms, leveraging those same newsletters into arguably the most successful podcast in a saturated genre.
Prichard experienced a renaissance in his career through this podcast. I am an avid listener, and I think reasonably objective, Prichard has brilliantly turned the tables on those critics and exposed their bad reporting and misinformed hyperbole. Candidly, the biggest takeaway I have had is just how bad we have been worked by some of these newsletters over the last several decades. I will give kudos to them for pulling it off but shame on me for being so naïve.
Those writers have since called Prichard a liar among other names for the things he has said on his podcast. However, if you look past the name calling you won’t find any hard defense with evidence of these writers defending anything Prichard has debunked. It’s interesting when you hear Prichard’s partner Conrad Thompson read back a lot of these reports because hearing them read back it sounds more like speculation than the actual reporting I thought I was getting when I first read that sheet. There are levels of detail that Prichard will reveal that go further and completely debunk some of these misreported stories. I’d say the narcissism lies with some of these writers who either a) fail to even see the possibility they were being worked by their contact or b) fail to acknowledge they got something completely wrong…even after someone will tweet them their exact report!
These writers are continuing to paint Bruce with that same narrative at a time where it just doesn’t hold water. As an avid listener of Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard I heard a guy who went to bat for guys like Mick Foley, Eddie Guerrero, CM Punk, and Steve Austin and crapping on many of the bad ideas that he mistakenly gets blamed for and putting some context behind some of his bigger misses. If you changed the name to say Paul Heyman and he was coming back to work closely with Vince McMahon, those same critics of Prichard would be throwing a parade for Heyman. Prichard certainly deserves criticism for some his own misdeeds but let’s also give him the objective credit he deserves.
I don’t know Bruce personally but I do know people who have done business with him over the last few years. I can tell you that everyone I know who has worked with him has nothing but great things to say about him. They love working with the guy. Again, a bit of a different narrative than those you read from his critics who have probably never even taken the time to speak to the man for any great length of time.
I think Prichard’s return to the WWE creative team could be arguably the most impactful story of 2019. Prichard has been very candid about struggles in the past working with current WWE executives. Knowing he can make a decent living outside of the WWE without half of the stress, it will be really interesting to see how long this new relationship plays out and what Bruce’s new threshold of stress is I 2019.
Then again, I’ll never a count a guy out who has survived 40 years in this crazy business. Welcome home, Bruce.