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Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard

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Downloads have to be down, right? Seems like there's very little buzz.

I had a bad feeling when Conrad revealed the next 20 episodes and none sounded that intriguing. Bottom of the barrel folks.

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I actually REALLY dig the D-Generation X In Your House, so I may check that one out. I don't expect the show to be anything new or extraordinary, since they've gone over that time period again & again like '98.

Still, the show itself is a guilty pleasure of mine. And it's not all for nostalgia purposes. Even on my 97 rewatch back around 2015, I remember it really sneaking up and surprising me.

Brian Christopher's "Jerry's kid" act is a blast, and Taka is great. The Slaughter match ain't pretty, but it's fun enough. Austin steamrolling the Nation is a glorious whirlwind of chaos on your screen. And, as obnoxious as Shawn could be, the match with Shamrock was basically the bastard child to his One Night Only performance against Bulldog - a bunch of pinball bumps and frantic energy for a few minutes.

Either way, I still find some value in this podcast. It has dropped drastically, but there are worse efforts out there. But yeah. I would be surprised if it's legitimately still the "most downloaded" or whatever for too much longer. The content and the output simply isn't there.

I've said it before, but I still wish they'd target some of the gaps in Bruce's tenure & mine those for fresh material.

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On 12/4/2018 at 2:24 PM, El-P said:

Crazy how much I had fun listening to this one year ago and couldn't possibly give a flying fuck these days. The latest reports sure don't give me any urge to check any of the current show. Is anyone still keeping up with the Schiavone show ?

Echoes my thoughts as well.  This was a must listen for a while but quickly became one I avoid unless I see multiple people here tout an episode as an incredible.  There's no reason to sit through Conrad reading old results while Bruce rants about Meltzer or others who just don't know anything.  One trick pony.

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On 12/5/2018 at 4:19 AM, SomethingSavage said:

I actually REALLY dig the D-Generation X In Your House, so I may check that one out.

It was a pretty decent show if you don't mind :

_more discussion about the post-Montreal stuff.

_awful, annoying as hell mobile phone interferences for at least half the episode. I have no idea how they could not grasp that fact when they recorded the thing. It makes the listening really hard at times.

I've also listened the Survivor Series 93 episode since it's a show from my early years as a fan and it was pretty good too. The Lawler stuff (in which they really dive into) still is totally cringeworthy. When you think about guys getting shit for old stuff on message boards these days... It was still a lot more about the context than the show itself, and they really barely talk about the main event scene (Lex & Yoko) apart from the fact the bloom was off the rose with Lex. So, not exactly a detailed exposé on the show, but these days are gone I think.

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Yeah, I haven't caught the DX show just yet. But the Survivor 93 ep was decent. The Lawler talk basically made the show.

And my main takeaway was how much better the Harts/King deal could've been with the proper, planned payoff. Patterson's idea of gradually revealing the Knights one by one - with each elimination - really would've elevated the whole ordeal.

Like Pat's idea for the Rumble entrants, I think it would've been a creative way to keep the crowd engaged and popping throughout the match.

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So, finally an episode I really enjoyed again, last week's Rock Bottom 98. Lots of in-depth about Taker's angles at the time. For those like me who blocked that out of memory, this is the period of the infamous embalming and "not a cross it's a SYMBOL" not-a-crucifiction stuff. It's interesting when you really think about how Taker is viewed as this all-time great character (and he is), but he was involved in a ton of god-awful Wrestlecrap level shit. It was really the tail-end of my true fandom, but it made for quite an interesting episode for once. Russo sorta takes a beating too.

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The only thing I remember learning is something I'd always assumed anyway - that Austin shot down a planned program and PPV match here with the Boss Man.

Add Traylor to the pile along with Big Show, Billy Gunn. Jeff Jarrett, etc. Not that I find those guys to be an elite list of top-tier main eventers at Austin's level or anything, but man. His variety of opponents lacked any depth at a time when the business was luckily at its hottest & the Stone Cold character was at the peak of its powers.

I guess it just would've been neat to see him face somebody not named Undertaker at, like, fifty-eleven different PPVs during the Attitude Era.

Don't get me wrong. I don't fault Austin for taking care and being selective about who he was paired with & who was portrayed at or near his same level. He also had to feel safe and protect his body, which was riddled with nagging injuries at a time when he was smart enough to KNOW he had a shelf life as THE top dog in his industry.

But that's the rational, reasonable, adult in me understanding where he's coming from. The fantasy-booking, inner-child super fan in me says fuck all that noise. Give me a 1980's Hogan-like run for Austin, where he's fed a steady diet of different challengers on house show loops every month. Give me that six days a week & twice on Sundays, please & thanks.

Actually, that would make for a really fun experiment - creating an assembly line of various, unique challengers to feed to Stone Cold in 97, 98, and 99 based on the old Federation Hulk template.

When you factor in all the usual suspects, the guys he actually dodged programs with, mid-carders like Waltman, a serious shot for Shamrock, the rumored Dr. Death deal, his good buddy and noted Real Man's Man Regal, and possibly guys crossing over from ECW or wherever for quick (big money) one & done paydays? You wind up with quite a fun list of challengers to build up Austin as the new champ & true ace.

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Austin has told the Bossman story a few times on his podcast. I haven't listened to STW so Bruce may share the same version of events, but basically Austin kaboshed the angle after Bossman blew his cue at Survivor Series. Instead of Bossman running in and setting up their match for Rock Bottom, Gerry Briscoe did the favour and hit Austin with the weakest Lance Storm chair-shot you'll ever see. Of course Austin had to sell it like it was a home-run and the whole spot just looks awful.

Austin vs. the world is certainly a fun thought and would be a good exercise. However, I'm the total opposite to you SS where my inner child has zero interest in seeing Austin face off against Big Bossman, Steve Williams, Jeff Jarrett on PPV. The Monday Night Wars was all about excess and as ridiculous and sloppy as it got they were right to milk the Austin/McMahon/Taker feud for all that it was worth.

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On 12/4/2018 at 5:59 PM, SomethingSavage said:

Only for the ECW episodes. Tony seems to express a genuine joy watching those shows.

Everything else consists of too much Conrad for my taste. His humble bragging about owning guy's gear, his annoying frat boy friends, the constant 8th grade level dick jokes, etc. is just not my thing at all.

2018 Tony Schiavone the ECW Mark is one of my favorite things. Those eps are definitely a lot of fun, with Barely Legal in particular being great. Tony's name for John Kronus legit made me laugh out loud.

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I've just been clearing through some of the eps I skipped, and yeah. A lot of stuff is retreaded territory. But the Dec. 22 1997 show was pretty fun, to be honest. It was a quick listen and afforded Bruce the opportunity to touch on a wide variety of topics. I was pleasantly surprised & mostly dug it.

The story of Pat Patterson first discovering Scott Taylor on the independent scene was at least new to me, and I forever get a kick out of Pat referring to Shawn as "the Shawn Michael."

I always enjoy the training camp talk from this period also. I actually wish we would've gotten more of that here.

I haven't done a 97 re-watch since 2015, but I never realized one of the Usos showed up as the kid in that Santa segment.

This period of television stands out for me, because it was the last time I really got the sense that Cornette was actively involved in anything on the creative end of things. Maybe he stuck around longer in an official capacity, but it was never as noticeable again.

Overall, the show's quality and consistency is still on the decline. But it's not all bad. Honestly, it just feels phoned in mostly. And way, way too repetitive. This succession of 97/98-centric stuff has beaten my interest half to death. Hopefully there's a shift in the new year. Meantime? Bischoff's show is outshining this one week to week.

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On 11/17/2018 at 7:58 AM, El-P said:

Unless any strong feedback, not interested in this week's show either. Can't bear to listen to them waxing poetics about how "great storytelling" Survivor Series 98 was. It was the first event that put a real dent in my WWF fandom back then, where the booking of the big swerve was more important than the actual pro-wrestling (the entire card pretty much sucked as far as in-ring action went).

This is the WWE, where tournaments have always sucked.

Yes, you can point to a few isolated good matches and some great winners, but let's say there have been 100 King of the Ring tournament matches over the years - maybe 5 of them were actual classics.

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I particularly love how Vince rationalizes his dismissal of tournaments by saying they don't draw, because you can't advertise or announce enough matches.

... Yet BOLA has been the biggest, hottest ticket on the independent scene for years. PWG has proven what really should already be known - if you build goodwill with your audience, then they will place faith in the promise that you will deliver. They don't always need specific brackets or announced matches. Book good shows with satisfying results. That's all that is needed.

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8 hours ago, SomethingSavage said:

Bischoff's show is outshining this one week to week.

I agree with you. I'm glad I'm not the only person who thinks that. I've said that here and elsewhere, and had people argue with me about it, but I swear it's true.  I've said Bischoff is now doing Prichard's show better than Prichard does, and boy does that upset the Prichard fanboys, but I stand behind my statement.

I think it boils down to three reasons.  Firstly, Eric seems way more enthusiastic about his show than Bruce does about STW.  It feels like Bischoff cares more about the quality of the show, whereas Bruce just wants to keep cranking out the same old crap.  Eric overanalyzes his answers and goes on and on about even the smallest issues, whereas Bruce usually resorts to either a "Fuck Meltzer" or a tired Vince impersonation. I just get the impression Eric is having way more fun doing the show, and frequently get the feeling Prichard doesn't even want to be there doing his show  some weeks.

Secondly, as big of an egotist as Eric can be, he will freely admit when he was wrong about something.  I listened to the episode about Halloween Havoc 98 just last night, and at one point Eric basically says that the show sucked, and he can't defend it.  I get the feeling if it was Bruce, he'd spend his time deflecting, ripping Meltzer's review as a distraction, and then resort to his tired old "the match might not have been great...but we were telling a story" line.  I laughed my ass off when Conrad asked Eric if Hogan/Warrior 98 was the worst match in WCW history, and Eric said it might be...but he wasn't going to commit to that because they produced a lot of bad matches and there might be something worse out there.  Bruce will admit at times that something sucked, but very rarely will he cop to his responsibility for it...and I very very rarely ever hear that level of honesty out of him.

Finally, I think it comes down to the relationship each guy has with Conrad Thompson.  I think it's pretty clear that Conrad and Bruce are good friends, and because of that Conrad won't call Bruce on a lot of his bullshit.  He'll do it sometimes - he especially loves to needle Bruce about defending Triple H - but he doesn't go after Bruce anywhere near as much as he does Eric.  Sometimes it feels like STW is a show where Bruce and Conrad review the shows to talk about how great they were, but the purpose of 83 Weeks is to rip WCW apart.  Of course, you can make the argument that the WWF put out a better product than WCW so it's harder for Conrad to find things to criticize Bruce for, but I don't think that's the case.  Let's remember, they spend most of their time discussing the Attitude Era (especially lately) and that is some prime Russo content, which Prichard was present for.  Bischoff wasn't around for the majority of Russo's tenure in WCW, but Conrad doesn't hesitate to rake him over the coals for a ton of it.

The two recent 83 Weeks shows about Starrcade 97 and 98 are a perfect example.  That shit got plenty heated - especially when they talked about the Main Event of 97.  I'm not saying I bought Eric's explanation/excuses, but I am saying that (regardless of whether you think the arguments were "worked") you never hear Conrad go after Bruce anywhere near as viciously as that. He used to, but not anymore.  The only times I remember Conrad getting that pissy with Bruce is when Bruce tries to downplay the impact of ECW.

Lets be honest, Bruce Prichard was out of the business and pretty much an afterthought when Conrad Thompson pulled him from obscurity and helped make him "relevant" again to the world of Pro Wrestling. (And I cringe at using that term.)  Bischoff (while failing at his own attempt to have a podcast) seemed happy to be divorced from the business and has a lot of his own independent ventures which keep him busy.  I don't think Eric needs Conrad as much as Bruce does, and maybe that's why the relationship and dynamic seems so different between them.  Whatever the relationship and personal dynamics differences are, the end result has become 83 Weeks being a way better show.  And I for one was not expecting that at all.  I went into it with an open mind, but a year ago I never would have guessed that Eric Bischoff would be able to work this whole podcast gimmick better than Bruce Prichard.

Oh well.  At least Bruce is still much better than Tony Schiavone.

 

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8 hours ago, SomethingSavage said:

I particularly love how Vince rationalizes his dismissal of tournaments by saying they don't draw, because you can't advertise or announce enough matches. 

It works both ways though.

Everyone who bought the Mabel KOTR went into it expecting Taker vs. HBK, including me. 

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Well yeah. The unknown and the unpredictability is supposed to enhance the anticipation & the suspense. When wielded correctly, that is the function. Imagining results and how the brackets MIGHT shake out is half the fun.

But, again, it comes down to delivering the goods on the actual show. If you book your tournaments like shit, then you can't act all appalled when people react like that shit stinks.

Conversely, if you consistently serve up satisfying results and pairings, then people will go in giving you the benefit of the doubt, merely on the promise that you'll continue to do right by them.

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Listened to the Survivor Series '93 episode last night. I actually sided with Bruce when talking about dumping the idea of unmasking the knights during the Hart/Michaels match, when Terry Funk backed out at the last minute. The match was snakebit because of Lawler dropping out, but making it all about Bret and Owen was the major takeaway and thus good enough as it was. I'm surprised they skipped over the Rock n Roll Express/Heavenly Bodies match.

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I was cooling down with some isolated arm sets at the gym & needed some noise in my ear buds, so I hit Play on the episode covering Foley's first title win. This was the definition of a Nothing Happening show. Bruce seemed like he couldn't care less. Conrad made no real effort to follow up any of his questions or even challenge Bruce on anything.

This 98/99 period has been covered again & again anyhow, to the point where they've really got nothing new to discuss. We get to hear about Shawn's commissioner stuff for the fifty-eleventh time. We hear the origin of Test's name again, in case anyone forgot it since last week or whenever they last brought it up.

Conrad tried to make the Tony Schiavone comment a thing, but Bruce barely even goes along for that. Just a very boring, monotonous episode.

Something I've noticed though - Bruce has started saying, "By Gawd" in almost every sentence he strings together. It reached Meltzer "Ya know" levels by the end of the episode.

Oh. And it was utterly ridiculous to hear Bruce say Shotgun Saturday Night was seen as important as Raw within the company, because it was their only syndicated show. Yup. In 1999. Shotgun. As important as Raw. Riiight.

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17 hours ago, SomethingSavage said:

Oh. And it was utterly ridiculous to hear Bruce say Shotgun Saturday Night was seen as important as Raw within the company, because it was their only syndicated show. Yup. In 1999. Shotgun. As important as Raw. Riiight.

So "important" that they swapped out commentary teams left and right, no less.  If we are talking 1997 then yeah because it essentially replaced Superstars as the syndicated show with fresh wrestling matches but by 1999 the show is the precursor to Metal/Jakked/Velocity.

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Right. Shotgun was a total afterthought by January 99. Whatever value or emphasis it had was already shifted over onto Sunday Night Heat in 98.

Bruce clearly has a personal preference & a fondness for the strange, supernatural side of pro wrestling. He's all about some awful 90s Undertaker, he even named his kid Kane, and his favorite face of Foley is Mankind - but not even the charming, sympathetic, comedic Mankind. No. His favorite Foley is Paul Bearer era Mankind. Weird.

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6 minutes ago, SomethingSavage said:

His favorite Foley is Paul Bearer era Mankind. Weird.

Well, Mankind from 96 to 98 to me is much better in every aspect (character, work, matches, angles) than what came afterward.

The fact he loves Kane so much is a mystery though...

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Meh. Mutilator Mankind may be my least favorite, to be honest. I think I only dug him for that one month of build where they had him throwing & absorbing fireballs.

98 corporate sellout Mankind was a blast though. And Dude Love is a guilty pleasure, for sure. I'm perfectly comfortable if my tastes are outside the norm though. :D

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1 hour ago, SomethingSavage said:

I'm perfectly comfortable if my tastes are outside the norm though. :D

How do you like Volk Han ?

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The Gene show was the best in a long, long time. I piled up on Conrad lately, but I have to admit it was a really cool idea to have his three podcasts dedicated to Mean Gene, especially since they all approached his career from different perspectives and eras. I recommend listening to the three of them, Prichard & Tony being the two essential. Made you feel good about Mean Gene, for sure.

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I must value the fact that Bruce was so closely involved with the inner workings of the company more than I realize, because when I stop and think about it, so much about the podcast in general bothers me. Yet, with few exceptions, I listen each week. 

That's been challenged at periods over the last year, because I've long since had my fill on Attitude Era content. Obviously that's the stuff that gets them the most downloads, and they've got the built-in excuse that the podcast has been concurrent with the 20-year anniversary for a lot of the shows they've covered. As a lot of people have pointed out, though, it's such well-covered ground at this point that it feels like we've already heard most of the anecdotes from Bruce surrounding this time.

I can look past a lot of that, though, but what has really challenged my desire to tune in each week is the anti-Meltzer stuff. I'm not even a reader of Meltzer, but the "FUCK DAVE MELTZER" gimmick is so tedious that it's almost gotten me to stop listening mid-show. Bruce's black and white view of Dave, I think, ends up hurting his credibility when it comes to shooting down legitimate complaints about Dave. Why should someone take Bruce's dismissal of something Meltzer wrote at face value when he's shown again and again a near-total unwillingness to concede anything if it means aligning with Dave's opinion? Or, instead of laying out a cohesive rebuttal to something he disagrees with, he just dives into his "Oh if it had been in Japan, he would've given in 11 stars" shtick. 

Anyway, I'm not even much a fan of the mid-2000s WWF, but I'm glad we're getting a non-AE show this week. It'll be a nice palette cleanser from the seemingly endless Monday Night Wars-related stuff we've gotten so much of.

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