Now Part II of our trip into the crazy world of podcasts with Conrad Thompson, WWE Legend Bruce/Brother Love Prichard, Mid-Atlantic and WCW Legendary TV Announcer Tony Schiavone, and Mid-Atlantic Gateway Historians David Chappell and Dick Bourne.
On “Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard” Episode 31, Prichard talks about how he got in the wrestling business at the age of 10.
To hear the episodes, visit www.mlwradio.com/something-to-wrestle-with-bruce-prichard.html
Bruce Prichard (BP): My brother Dr. Tom Prichard (professional wrestler, and one of the greatest wrestling trainers of all time, trained The Rock, Kurt Angle) and I were kids, we were wrestling fans, so when we had a day off from school, my mom would take us down to the ticket wrestling office, which was like a wrestling museum. Tom was in high school.He got a camera and went down and asked Paul Boesch (Houston promoter) if he could take pictures at ringside for a class project, and Paul allowed him to take pictures. We would be the kids that hung around the office when we had an extra minute. ... He would always take us back to his office and talked wrestling. If there were anything extra to be done, we would be the ones to do it. Tom was 14 and taking pictures. I was 10, and they needed somebody to sell posters. I sold more posters. In one night I made $12, that’s a lot of money for a 10-year old kid in 1973. Then they put me in the ring, and I sold a lot more from there. I made so much money that they cut my commission from 25 cents to a dime because I sold too many posters, go figure.
Fast forward to two years later. I’m 12 years old and Paul Boesch would do the they were doing commentary live each week for the TV show and needed an assistant to cue him when he was going in and out of breaks. That became my job, so at 12 years old, I became an assistant director of the TV show. At 14 years old, I became a ring announcer when the regular announcer Boyd Peirce no showed due to very bad weather. They asked me to ring announce. I did, and I asked everyone to stand for the playing of our “natural anthem,” it’s on tape. I ended up the night with Superstar Billy Graham standing over me. He called me a punk kid, threatening to strangle me, because I had announced Jose Lothario the winner. I was scared to death. At 16, I began refereeing at some spot shows and at the age of 18, I was in the office, kind of running the place.
Yiorgio (Y): So Conrad, how did you and Tony Schiavone get together and decide to do the podcast “What Happen When With Tony Schiavone?”
Conrad Thompson (CT): I met Tony through Ric Flair. We had Tony on our “Woooo Nation” podcast a couple of years ago, and I had his number. When I started to think about the success of Bruce’s show and how the numbers have grown because people are thirsty for the WWF/E stuff, I said you know this is only half of the story. The other half, WCW and the Crockett side of the story, the only right guy to do that with is Tony Schiavone. He was there from the beginning: the Starcades, the JCP years, the WCW years, everything. He was there for the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is the guy. He is a professional broadcaster; he is not overexposed. The Tony I saw at NWALegends Fest last year was witty and foulmouthed. He really is the Bob Saget of professional wrestling. Everybody grew up with him being his or her dad, then you go to his stand-up comedy, and you’re shocked with what you hear.
Y: How have you been able to get Tony to open up more with his answers and be more forthcoming?
CT: I love that you ask the question that way. Tony has not changed, I have. Our debut show was Goldberg. I approached it as if I had Bruce in front of me and I did not. I spent a week doing my research, really worked hard on it. We got a lot of info to ask, but I did not get a lot of info back.
Now Bruce and I spend a lot of time together, well over 1,000 hours. Tony and I have maybe spent 24 hours together. So my rapport with each one is different. And in reality, their jobs were different. Tony’s job was calling matches, and Bruce’s job was helping creative for everyone. So I learned in time to ask questions in order to get Tony’s opinion, and he can say it was stupid if he wanted to.
Y: I have noticed that you and Tony are working closely with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway website (www.midatlanticgateway.com) and promoting the book “Four Horsemen: A Timeline History.”
CT: Yes Dick Bourne and David Chappell are friends of ours and of our show and as the co-founders of the website, they help to keep the memories of Jim Crockett Promotions alive and the Four Horsemen book is a perfect companion to our podcast conversations. As a matter of fact, in honor of the book’s release, our episode 20 will be about the Four Horsemen.
Yiorgio’s note: Dick Bourne wrote “Four Horsemen: A Timeline History,” and I had the pleasure of talking to him on the phone the other day.
Y: What is the origin of Mid-Atlantic Gateway, what is it about, and who should be checking it out?
Dick Bourne (DB): The Mid-Atlantic Gateway is a website devoted to preserving the history and great memories of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, primarily between the years 1973-1988, but we have posted about things going back as far as the 1950s. David Chappell and I publish the site, which is updated four, five times a week. Wrestler George South told me once that when he discovered the Gateway, it was like he had discovered his own Noah’s Ark, and it was full of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling stuff. That’s the way we look at it, too; a huge ark full of history and great memories from an era long gone. Wrestling will never be like it was back in the territory days. So we hope fans from that era will enjoy reliving the history and memories from our special territory, but also younger fans that want to learn more about some of the great names of the past, too.
Y: Any wow moments that made you and David Chappell proud to have created the Mid-Atlantic Gateway?
DB: The late Bob Windham, aka Blackjack Mulligan, loved the site and we became friends with him in those years before his death. Jim Ross told Bruce Mitchell during an interview on the “Ross Report” that he loved the stories on the site and that we were an “icon on his desktop,” which we thought was pretty cool! Bob Caudle, who was the soundtrack of my youth and young adulthood watching wrestling, one of the great wrestling broadcasters ever, is a big supporter and advocate of the site, and that is special to us. He introduced us when David and I were inducted into the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Hall of Heroes in Charlotte in 2016. That was just amazing, and something we would have never thought could happen. James J. Dillon is a big supporter of what we do there, as is Les Thatcher and others.
Y: What prompted you to write “Four Horsemen: ATimeline History” and why should people buy it?
DB: Right alongside those years in the mid-70s when I first fell in love with wrestling, the mid-1980s during the Dusty Rhodes booking era of Jim Crockett Promotions was one of my favorite periods ever in wrestling. Most of that was due to the incredible run of the Four Horsemen during a three and a half year period between 1985 and 1988. It was just magic. I only write about, either on the site or in the books, what was really special to me from that time, and so the Horsemen were a natural topic I have wanted to write about for a long time. I had always wanted to capture their entire history in a timeline that would hit every major development, angle, title change, etc. during their entire 13-year run. And so that’s what I did. It’s a detailed history of those major points in a month-by-month, year-by-year, timeline. It covers all 12 distinct versions of the Horsemen over three eras: the Crockett era, the Early WCW era, and the Monday Nitro era. I also talk about how they all came together to begin with, their legacy, and there are lots of sidebar discussions of topics and people on the periphery. Lots of charts and over 40 photographs, many taken in the Norfolk and Richmond area.
Yiorgo is a Hampton Roads arts, entertainment and sports writer. A stage, TV and movie actor, he is also an educator, motivational speaker, writer, storyteller and columnist.