On Saturday, March 23rd, legendary wrestling personality Bruce Prichard will bring his highly successful podcast “Something to Wrestle (with Bruce Prichard)” Live to the Thornbury theatre. A key player with the (then) World Wrestling Federation in front of the camera as the entertaining manager “Brother Love”, and an equally important figure behind the scenes during the Monday Night Wars, Prichard has seen it all and lived it all.
Bruce’s live show in Melbourne is the second of three stops in Australia for fans to experience the intimacy and candidness that Something to Wrestle has become known for. In the lead-up to these three shows, I was given the opportunity to speak to Prichard about the origins of the podcast, the current state of wrestling as a whole, and a sneak peak at what one can expect when the lights go up onstage at the Thornbury theatre in March.
Chris (C): I’m an avid listener of Something to Wrestle, so very exciting to be chatting with you. The podcast is quite young in comparison to others that have been going for several years, but [co-host] Conrad and yourself have really created something unique, something that stands out from so many of the other wrestling related ones out there. How have the last 2 and a half years been for you since you started podcasting?
Bruce (B): Well its been a crazy ride. I didn’t really think that anyone wanted to listen to my stories or hear me talk when I started podcasting, and I wasn’t even sure what the hell a podcast really entailed! I was shocked at the response. It’s been a roller-coaster, but it’s been a hell of a lot of fun.
C: One thing that really stands out to me when listening is when the two of you mention others in the industry, whether they be producers, wrestlers past and present, as having listened or are active listeners of the podcast. How gratifying is it knowing that “Something to Wrestle” resonates with your peers?
B: Well that’s kind of amazing. To be in the business there needs to be a part of you that’s still a fan. You must come from a place of wanting to be in the wrestling business and wanting to be around it and, hopefully, enjoy what it is you’re doing. So, I think that if that’s the case when listening to us go back, they’re reliving part of their childhood at a time when they really loved [wrestling]. So that’s what we talk about; about the past that they may only have experienced by watching it on television. Then we give them the other side of it, what really happened: not the “rumour and innuendo” but the actual events and how they took place.
C: Can you take us back to the origins of the podcast? How did Conrad and yourself meet and how did that eventually develop into co-hosting the show?
B: We met through Ric Flair, we became friends, I started doing some stuff with him in the mortgage world. We would chat, I would tell him stories. He’d always start [conversations with] “what happened when…?” basically. I would go back and tell him about different times in the wrestling business. And after a particular story he said to me “man, that’s a podcast” and I told him “never going to happen”. He told me to really think about it. I flat out refused, wasn’t interested in doing it, wasn’t going to do it, and there wasn’t anything he was going to say to change my mind.
So, after a couple of weeks of nagging me, I said “Ok, maybe this will be a way to sell a couple of mortgages, and a way to get the word out on that, so we’ll try it”. And they [the producers] told us if we get to 10,000 downloads that that would be great, and we can start making some money, but that might take a little while….
Our first show did 61,000! And then the next went on to 300,000 and then it was over 1 million. We just didn’t look back, went pedal to the metal. And the rest, as they say, is history.
C: Do you have any topics or shows that stand out as your favourite?
B: My favourite has definitely been the one that was on Houston wrestling, probably because it was a little bit of vindication for me.
We had the topic on the [listener] poll so many times, and it never won. Conrad said “Nobody wants to hear that, nobody cares”. We even had it nailed down to when there were only two options on the poll… and it lost by 1%.
But when we finally did that topic, the downloads and the response was absolutely overwhelming. I think if you were to poll a lot of listeners, or at least when I talk to people, they always say that the Houston Wrestling one was their favourite [episodes] from the show. Probably because it was personal to me, about my journey and what it is that I did.
C: You saying earlier that you weren’t sure if anyone wanted to hear your stories, and to get that type of response for a story so personal to you, vindication is a bit of an understatement!
B: Yeah, it’s kind of crazy. It’s humbling, that’s for damn sure. You think about it, all these people tune in to hear your stories…it’s pretty nice, and it’s pretty nice when we go out and do our live shows. People leave their homes, come out and listen to us tell stories, so that in of itself is a kick in the butt [for what we do].
C: You’ve had such an accomplished career, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. When you look back at everything you’ve accomplished, would you say what you’re doing currently with Something to Wrestle is equally as gratifying?
B: You know what, I think it may be even more gratifying, because it’s about me and my body of work. I was anonymous for so many years behind the camera, and I enjoyed that, I enjoyed the anonymity of it all because you’re not out and being scrutinised in public everyday. So that part I enjoyed but to be out there front and centre now, to get the response I’ve gotten, It’s very gratifying.
C: 2018 was a pretty monumental year in wrestling when you review all the things that happened, such as the WWE/Fox TV deal, All In, etc. 2019 has already started with a huge bang with the announcement of the launch of All Elite Wrestling, along with a major show like Wrestle Kingdom already in the history books.
Do you expect the same momentum to continue through 2019 and what predictions do you have surrounding the growth of wrestling as whole?
B: I think now is just a really good time to BE a wrestling fan because you’ve got options and a variety of things to choose from. Business, as a whole, is healthy and it’s a good time to be in business. So for the people that are in it there’s an opportunity to prosper. They have choices.
There’s not just one game in town, so there’s a lot of places for guys and gals to get work and to be a part of whatever it is they choose. That part is really healthy, and I disagree with people who say “oh, business has gone down”. There has never been a time in the business where it’s been healthier. There’s been a lot of different things going on and that is good.
C: The show has taken you all over the world; The UK, throughout America, and now Australia. Wrestling fans are wrestling fans, by that I mean that we share a unifying love and passion, but do you notice a difference in crowds when you travel for live shows, and do you have fun with that?
B: The audiences, you get more traditional wrestling ones when you go to the regular wrestling towns like Chicago, New York [etc.]. But when we did our U.K tours (one solo, and one with Conrad), good God it was just overwhelming! Maybe it’s because they aren’t used to getting that American product on the regular, but I know that when we would tour and go overseas, the response was the people were so happy to see us because they didn’t get to see us once a month, more like maybe only once a year. You look at that [response], and how the international crowds are so appreciative, I think they’re so hungry for entertainment. They want to be up close, they want to experience things firsthand; not just in front of a TV screen or a computer.
C: Australia is experiencing a bit of a wrestling boom currently. There’re some really exciting promotions like Melbourne City Wrestling, not to mention WWE drawing 70,000 in the MCG back in October, so your show is coming over during as good of a time as there ever has been. Do you have any thoughts on the crop of Australian wrestlers who are currently making a name for themselves worldwide?
B: For me, I love international talent, especially in WWE, because that’s when they can truly say “It’s WORLD Wrestling Entertainment”. I also think audiences overseas and stateside appreciate the international flavor. You look around at so much of the different talent and you want to experience the best. And as egotistical as Americans are, the best isn’t always [in America].
You have to go beyond your own scope sometimes to find the best in the world. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Us as Americans, we always want to say that our talent is the best, that there’s nothing else out there…there’s a LOT out there.
C: Especially in this day and age, with the internet and on demand services.
B: Absolutely. To a fan, they’re going to find it, seek that content out, and find their favourites and what/who entertains them. Every fan has a choice. They vote with their views and their support. If you don’t like it, don’t support it. If you do, then get out and let them know and do everything you can to show your appreciation.
C: On the podcast you’ve mentioned Matt Riddle as someone to watch out for as a future superstar. Going into 2019, who else do you think people should have eyes on?
B: Drew McIntyre. I think Drew McIntyre is going to have a breakout year. AJ Styles as well. I think AJ Styles is going to rise to heights this year that I don’t even think AJ knows are possible.
C: You’re doing this show solo, which is a bit of a departure from the other live Something to Wrestle shows you’ve done in the past. What can fans in Melbourne expect from this show, and, without giving too much away, will there be the type of surprises that fans have come to expect from your live events?
B: It’s going to be a little more intimate, a little bit more about me personally since I don’t get that opportunity when both [Conrad and myself] are up there. I think it’s going to give the audience and opportunity to get to know me a little more. Plus, there’s a lot more opportunity for interaction with the audience. I allow them to dictate the direction of the show; by that I mean I let them ask questions and sometimes I’ll go off on a tangent depending on where that subject matter leads me. It’s a lot of fun. You’re going to get stories we haven’t told (and can’t tell!) on the podcast. All the caricatures and personalities you hear are all coming with me, so you’ll get to experience them all, plus a couple of songs, and even a dance or two!
Something To Wrestle With BRUCE PRICHARD LIVE:
Friday 22nd SYDNEY, Factory Theatre
Saturday 23rd MELBOURNE, The Thornbury Theatre
Sunday 24th BRISBANE, The Triffid
Tickets available at: https://tickets.destroyalllines.com/