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Tom Prichard On Why WWE Went Scripted, Old School Options In Wrestling & More

Newly appointed MLW Senior Agent and former WWE Head Coach Tom Prichard talked with VOC Nation Wrestling about the evolution of WWE Developmental, talks why the company went the the scripted promo route and talks about wrestling fans still having “Old School” options like MLW and AEW. Quotes and full audio from the doctor are below:

On the growth of the WWE training facilities: 

“We started in the warehouse of a TV studio.  Now they have a complete performance center with a working studio, full gym, locker rooms…first class like an NFL training center.  Hunter has done a great job of really evolving the developmental system that we first started in 1996.  Just the fact that everyone has come to the realization that there does need to be a place where everything is centralized…I think that is the key.  Now they’re going all over the world with plans to put performance centers in England, China, Saudi Arabia…”

On WWE originally trying to potentially limit the success of FCW: 

“We had Harley Race come in to FCW to talk to the guys.  We were running a show that night and we wanted to advertise that Harley would be there.  The (WWE) office said no; we couldn’t advertise Harley being there.  We never got an answer why.  Were they trying to sabotage FCW?  I don’t know.  But the culture is very different today.”

On WWE originally not wanting to sign independent wrestlers: 

“We weren’t looking to sign independent talent.  We didn’t want to bring bad habits to the WWE.  Now they are going after all of the hotshot indy guys, and that’s a good thing.  There (is a lot of talent) out there.  To build a brand you have to have your audience.  Obviously there is an audience for old school wrestling like with MLW.  You have your AEWs, and you have your NXTs.  Not everyone likes the same thing.  It’s great to have (brands) like that.”

When talent started to be scripted and over produced: 

“I think when it really started to change is when WCW was no more and it was pretty much WWE as your main course menu.  I think that happened because when you are doing 5 hours of TV each week, you can’t always trust everyone to go out there and cut a promo if they’re not great at cutting promos.  I believe it should be authentic, and when you cut a promo it should come from you.  Some guys can do it because it’s instinctive.  A lot of guys don’t know how to tell a story, have a point, and get it across.  I think (time and the impact of live TV) is a huge part of why it’s scripted.  MJF is one of the guys (that can cut unscripted promos); I don’t think they script everything for him (in AEW).”

On his new wrestling school with Glen Jacobs: 

“We’re only 8 months old and we already have some very promising guys…Jake Tucker is a top student…Dylan McQueen, Haley Jones, Kenzie McHenry…If you’re going to open up a wrestling school, you can’t promise anything, but you can do everything in your power to give them the tools to be able to be looked at.  We’re open to working with any (promotion) as long as they take care of our guys….I think we have a few connections at WWE…Glen is still under contract, and I heard my brother is up there doing something…”

On perseverance when trying to break into the business: 

“It took Nattie Neidhart six tryouts.  Six times she went, six times she was told no.  On the seventh attempt she got hired.  She came from a wrestling family, understands the business, went to Stu Hart’s dungeon…those things happen.  Failure is part of the process to get where you want to be.  We’ll give (talent) the chance to succeed and fail.”

On the potential impact of Bruce Prichard, Eric Bischoff, and Paul Heyman in WWE: 

“I don’t know about ratings because old people watch TV and young kids watch devices and (programming) on demand.  The TV watching of today is nothing like it was 30 years ago and even 20 years ago.  You have to have the talent, the vehicle, and the attention of the audience that you’re looking for.  Once you’re in (the WWE) environment, you really do become in a bubble because you’re in that environment 24/7.  You’ll accept calls at 2am, or if you won’t, you won’t be there much longer.  They need people there that understand what made them successful before.  Bruce was part of the team that was a huge success before; Bischoff knows what it’s like to compete; Paul Heyman is Paul Heyman.  I think it’s nothing but positive.  WWE will be a success and a money maker regardless.”

On AEW: 

“I don’t see a war coming anytime soon even though AEW is going to give it a great shot.  I am rooting for those guys…I think it’s beneficial for guys to have more places to work.  I’m interested to see how AEW does in their first six months.  They do have some innovative people there, but they are sailing into something that they’ve never really done before.  It’s intriguing to watch.”

On breaking into the business with Bruce: 

“I started watching wrestling first.  When we moved from El Paso to Houston, our mom took us to the matches every Friday night (and we fell in love with the business).  I worked in the office first, and Bruce came right behind me.  He really adapted to it; he had the moxy to get in there and do the real heavy lifting in the office.  He wanted to wrestle too but he had bad knees, so he really dedicated himself to learning everything there is to learn on the other side of the table.”

(Transcription credit should go to VOC Nation Wrestling)

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