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Bruce Prichard on Vader Working in WWE Without a Contract, Why Yokozuna Was Vader’s First Feud, Recalls Great Vader/Owen Hart Story

On the most recent edition of “Something to Wrestle With”, host Bruce Prichard reminisced about the career of former WWE and WCW star Vader. You can listen to the entire podcast at this link, and below are some quotes from Prichard:

On Vader Coming to WWF and Luger Going to WCW As Sort of a Switching of Talent:

I would say from my vantage point, we better got the better end of the deal. We got a fresh talent coming to us that we had never had before, and they got rehashed. They had already done a lot of things with Lex [Luger] before and we had Lex and tried to do a lot of things with Lex [Luger], and I believe we won that exchange. We definitely had interest in Vader, and you have to take a lot of the backstage innuendo with a grain of salt because we weren’t there, we don’t know what the circumstances were, we don’t know exactly what happened, we were like everyone else, we were just hearing different versions of the situation that happened. Of course we got Leon’s version [referring to a backstage fight between him and Paul Orndorff] and you know, it was what it was, but we weren’t interested in what took place backstage in WCW, we were more interested in the talent, Vader, and what we can do with him on our stage.

On Vader Wrestling in WWF Without a Contract:

We had been talking to Vader, and a lot of that was done with Vince and Leon [White] along with his agent, or Manager, or whatever he was. There was an understanding that Leon was coming in, and we wanted to be able to make sure that he still had those opportunities in Japan, and yeah, Vince is crazy, but not that crazy to give Vader exposure without having him locked up with a contract.

On Changing Vader’s Name to The Mastodon:

It was 100% true. Vince wanted to bring him in and call him The Mastodon for the very reason that WWF would own the name, and he didn’t want to promote Vader because Vader had worked everywhere else as Vader or Big Van Vader, so he wanted to capitalize off of his past success but he wanted to create something underneath that, so he wanted to be known as The Mastodon, and kept calling him The Mastodon, Vader and hoping it would morph into just Mastodon.

On Why Yokozuna Was Vader’s First WWF Rival:

Because Yoko was a big monster, and looking for the two big men to collide to see what happens. It was the immovable force meeting the immovable object. Vader had always beat up smaller guys in WCW so you wanted to see what he can do, and give him something new, something different. What is he going to do against the big giant bad a** in Yokozuna, that is interesting. Is it that interesting of him to go out and beat up smaller guys again? It’s kind of like, been there, seen that.

On A Funny Owen and Vader Story at the Slammy Awards:

Vader wins his Slammy Award. You know, the Slammy’s were the Slammy’s, you have your Slammy, you’re proud, you’re happy, it’s probably the most coveted prize in all sports and entertainment [sarcasm inserted]. So, we had a little spot there where Owen Hart went up and got everybody’s Slammy and stuff. The Slammy’s were held in a ballroom, and there were like tables set up for dinner, and so guys sat with fans and different things, and the talent was sat out in the crowd among everyone else. It was a desired opportunity, we had a guy go through the tables with a tray filled of food and drinks, and Owen Hart, unbeknownst to everyone else, were going to become the recipient of that tray of food and drink, mainly Vader. Owen bumps the Waiter and everything goes to Vader, and no one smartened him up to it, and Vader was furious. Vader doesn’t go after Owen, he goes after the Waiter, and he’s hot, and he wants to kill the Waiter, and I forget who it was, but we had to get Vader to calm down, it wasn’t the Waiter’s fault, it was Owen’s, and then Vader wanted to kill Owen, and we were like, it’s okay, it’s okay, it was going to make great television. Of course Vader wasn’t happy. He was out there soaking wet, and every time we went to a shot of Vader he was covered with food and drink, it was hilarious.