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Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard

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Yeah. I'm right there with you. I've kept up with the show for the most part, but it's been Attitude Era overkill for what feels like six months straight. I know that's not actually the case, but it sure feels like it.

The funny thing is - Bruce talked up his excitement over discussing the 99 Rumble for a few weeks. He hinted that he had some fun stories to share about Vince and the decision-making that went into the Rumble that year.

We got none of that though. Zilch. Unless, I guess, you count his brief mention about Vince getting upset with the chicken for not cooperating in those segments. That would've been funny, but he barely spoke about it, wasn't there in person for it, and really only referenced it by way of answering a listener's question.

I was there in Beaumont for the lead-in Raw, and wrestling was red hot at my school around this time. But I remember mostly regretting the experience. There was way too much Undertaker/Ministry bullshit, and the Mark Henry stuff felt embarrassing even at the time.

The only other thing I really committed to memory was seeing Road Dogg outside the building, and a BUNCH of those stupid laser pointers. Like, laser pointers for fucking days.

There just wasn't much to discuss here. I guess someone should seek this episode out if they care to hear Ryan Shamrock's origin story, or maybe why Mabel was brought back. But other than that? Yawn. It's a bore.

Looking forward to the 2004 Rumble one though. I've been calling for them to explore more of that 03-08 territory, as it still feels fresh and relatively ripe with potential stories from Bruce.

Conrad sounds thirsty as fuck to talk about anything Benoit (no surprise there), and Bruce is always down to discuss his time around Eddie. Plus there's a noticeable change in the air around this period, with the vanilla midgets getting their shots on top & whatnot.

Plus Bob Holly! Fuck yeah! GIVE 'IM THE BELT!!

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And if I'm not mistaken, they actually bumped the Rumble 99 show up a week in place of an older SNME show because of fan demand. I'm sure the demand was enhanced by Bruce saying he really wanted to talk about the show, but I agree that I came away from the episode wondering why Bruce had seemed so eager to discuss it. 

A takeaway from these AE shows is how much of the stuff just doesn't hold up; even Bruce can't put a positive spin on a lot of it. Business was booming, crowds were molten, and two decades later, this wave of top stars still feel like the last bunch to really be made to look like stars. All that together and I can see why there's this desire among the fan base to revisit the era, yet when broken down, a good chunk of it is so lousy that company man Bruce Prichard has to concede that it's "the drizzling shits."

Anyway, they can only revisit this era so many times before the well dries up, so I'm hopeful that we can get more content focusing on the bookends of Bruce's time with the company.

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Royal Rumble 99 was a very interesting topic to me, because as I've said about a million times before on this board, this is the show that marked the end of my WWF fandom. The Rumble always was my favourite event of the year, and this one just killed the WWF fan in me. I was glad to hear Bruce say that it sucked and wasn't good at all, for every reasons I thought it sucked back then. He also pretty much shared my feelings about the undercard (ok matches, with Gangrel vs Waltman being the best, despite the botched finish by the ref).

The part about the Rumble itself was ok, I thought the most interesting part was about the shows leading to it, with them going into details in some of the worst Russoesque shit happening at the time. Again, I was glad to hear Bruce thought it was godawful, as the Taker cult bullshit and the Mark Henry awful sexual stuff really put me off back then. Crazy to think Vince still saw money in Mabel in 1999. The Attitude Era maybe was the hottest period ever, but damn 1999 was unwatchable at the time and it obviously has aged the worst way too. It's refreshing to hear Bruce shit on the product without looking for excuse or justifications. Even the "We had a story to tell" line couldn't counterweight the "but as a result the match sucked" this time around. 

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9 hours ago, El-P said:

The part about the Rumble itself was ok, I thought the most interesting part was about the shows leading to it, with them going into details in some of the worst Russoesque shit happening at the time. 

I've found that's typically what makes these PPV episodes worth checking out, though I personally find a lot of the ratings and monetary talking points a bit monotonous after a while.

But there's usually some good stuff mixed in when Conrad is covering notes of the month or so leading up to the PPV in question. It's one of the main reasons I don't like how they only seem to do watch-alongs for the older PPVs. Those just come across as less focused and generally uneventful episodes, even though that's the era I'm most interested in hearing about.

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The Rumble 2004 episode was fairly... Basic? Yeah. Just basic.

I mean, some interesting topics were brought up and batted around briefly. But none of it was ever really mined or discussed to any great extent.

I was honestly expecting A LOT more Eddie talk from Bruce, but we barely got any of that. Pretty underwhelming, to be perfectly honest.

It was neat hearing about Vince's pep talks with the two crews, and it was funny hearing how aggravated McMahon got with the dirt-sheet leaks around this time.

Everything else was pretty meh. Bruce's strength is his storytelling, but there's just such a noticeable difference these days. There's no color or energy in these things. His impressions and his vibrant stories have fallen to the wayside.

Bruce only really goes beyond brief, one-statement answers whenever Conrad makes it a point to prod him or prompt him by literally asking for an impersonation. It feels & functions like such an apathetic approach. It gives off the vibe of being a chore or some kind of burden for Bruce at times.

For instance, I was intrigued by the idea that Vince was more easily sold on Benoit than Eddie, when I would've bet money Vince would've bought into Eddie's personality quicker - despite any size issues. But it's like pulling teeth for Conrad to get ANYTHING out of Bruce nowadays, so we just get the bare minimum & that's about it.

I realize Bruce has no interest in "what ifs" or "what could have been", while Conrad typically enjoys fantasizing about those things. But Bruce doesn't really even attempt to play along for the sake of the show anymore. It all just shouts, "minimal effort" to me.

I understand Bruce is probably burned out by all the live shows & traveling he participates in now, and that would reasonably explain the decline in quality for the podcast. But this *is* the platform that propelled him back to that level of success in the first place, so it sort of sucks to see it suffer the most under the weight of that schedule.

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Totally. The Sid show was a winner. I wouldn't call it a full return to form or anything, but it was much better than a whole batch of recent episodes. Best one since the Regal profile, maybe? Sounds about right.

The conversation flowed nicely, and they touched on everything substantial. I was surprised to hear Bruce give so much praise to Sid, especially once they started covering his departures & disappearances.

Damn decent episode. Definitely a refreshing change of pace from the 97/98/99 stuff. The Rumble 2004 should have achieved that, but it was just so mundane and meh. This was good stuff though.

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Agree that I really liked the Sid episode. It helped that due to the nature of Sid's runs, the episode wasn't bogged down with Conrad just reading through TV and house show results. And yeah, it was quite refreshing to hear Bruce agree with Dave's takes and not just instantly crap on them.

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That's a great point about Conrad not relying so heavily on results. That stuff becomes such a chore on a lot of these profile pieces. It's also something you don't get on Bischoff's show. Their spotlights are a lot more business and negotiation centric there.

Anyway, I still need to seek out the two specific Sid promos Conrad suggested. I'm sure I've seen them at some point, but clearly they didn't stick with me or anything.

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The show Conrad referenced a few times - Sid appearing on Sean Mooney's podcast - really is the perfect companion piece to this episode, by the way.

The first hour is tremendous. It's just Sid being basic, simple Sid. And it's a GOLDMINE of great stories. Sid's first night in the Mid-South Coliseum, his first trip to Japan, his negotiations with Vince, etc. all gets covered.

The second hour takes a... unique turn. Things get a bit rocky from there. The fun stories just sort of stop, and Sid starts talking about a lot of uninteresting stuff. He's apparently writing a book, found religion, etc.

So yeah. It's really a tale of two different podcasts.

Sid seems SUPER appreciative of Eddie Gilbert though. He even credits Eddie for "creating" the Sid character and aura. He's also grateful to Bischoff for that sweet contract he received in '99. Sid says it set him up for life, which is cool.

Sid has an interesting outlook on his career, because he seems to regret most of his WWF stuff. Conversely, he made the majority of his money with WCW and reflects more positively on his time there. He's also an outlier in that he claims WCW was a more professional, business-like operation. You usually hear it told the other way around.

Just judging by the way he talks about life & what he enjoys, I really get the sense that Sid would line up nicely with a guy like Lesnar today. He likes a routine. He values his space & his independence. You can definitely understand why he got along so well with Bob Holly. Sid doesn't seem big on fraternizing or making friends, which is a common trait among a lot of top guys.

But yeah. If nothing else, check out the first hour of Sid on Mooney's podcast. Listen to how he first got smartened up by Jonathan Boyd. Hear about how Japan hoped he could be a Brody clone. And laugh as he talks about Vince getting pissed when Sid couldn't pronounce "WrestleMania" during promos. There's no shortage of fun stuff in that first hour, for sure.

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Listening to the Gorilla episode made me think: I kind of like the episodes that have Bruce getting a bit choked up or crying talking about a dearly-departed colleague. Maybe it's that it helps chip away at the blowhard persona that froths over Dave Meltzer, but I like seeing that human side of Bruce. It really drives home how much personal loss you have to endure if you put enough time in to the wrestling business.

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On 1/31/2019 at 7:25 PM, SomethingSavage said:

Sid has an interesting outlook on his career, because he seems to regret most of his WWF stuff. Conversely, he made the majority of his money with WCW and reflects more positively on his time there. He's also an outlier in that he claims WCW was a more professional, business-like operation. You usually hear it told the other way around.

I think if you consider the times he was employed by both companies, it might make a little more sense. He was hired by WCW in 1989 and had a lot of front-office attention because of his look and was put into big-time programs almost right away. He also made guaranteed money with them, where in WWF it was maybe not as financially lucrative as it might have been during the 80's and the Attitude Era when they were printing money. He joined the WWF in 1991 just before the steroid scandal hit, and rocked the company to it's core PR-wise, to the point that when he returned in 1995, they were doing Raw from miniscule venues compared to the ones he even performed in 3 years earlier.

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I never liked the American Bad Ass character, but listening to the latest episode and also thinking back to most of the 1991-95 Undertaker stuff, you really get a sense of how brutal most of the in-ring fare is because of Taker getting paired with every lunk around. 

Solid episode, though, as it's always enjoyable to listen when Bruce can admit something wasn't good, especially if he was directly involved in it. The 2004 GAB stuff was especially good, with the classic Vince logic popping up. (e.g. Undertaker being the one to kill Paul Bearer will make him a bigger face)

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I never knew Vince pitched for Mark Henry to end the streak at 22, so that bit was interesting.

I feel like the Undertaker gimmick brings out the worst tendencies in Bruce, from a creative standpoint. Just look at some of the ideas Bruce oversaw, by his own admission. They're mostly garbage. Taker possessing Josh Mathews is something I have no memory of, but it sounds so bad I'm not even going to seek it out to see for myself. Aside from a select few matches, this was just such an awful period for poor Taker.

I will say - I remember the HIAC with Randy being really good. I may go back and see how that holds up. But yeah. That was at a time when most HIAC matches still felt like they were actively adding to the legacy & the reputation of the match stipulation itself - before it became an issue where fans basically just crossed their fingers & hoped like hell that the match didn't disappoint.

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On 2/23/2019 at 11:26 PM, SomethingSavage said:

I feel like the Undertaker gimmick brings out the worst tendencies in Bruce, from a creative standpoint. Just look at some of the ideas Bruce oversaw, by his own admission. They're mostly garbage.

A litany of awful angles and awful matches. Taker gets a pass for being involved in so much godawful stuff, but when you really think about it, I'm not sure the ratio of good angles and matches is very high when you consider his entire career. This 00's stuff is almost worse than the 90's, which had the charm of being new at least.

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3 hours ago, El-P said:

Grumpy JR ? 

*yawn*

The biggest coup ever would be Patterson, of course, but that will never happen.

They could call it "a podcast with subtitles."

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