WWE's Bruce Prichard Discusses How He Knows When A Talent Is Over

In the wrestling business, promoters are likely to look at metrics such as merchandise sales, crowd reactions, YouTube views, and social media engagements to judge if a performer is "over" with the fanbase. On "Something to Wrestle," Bruce Prichard — a member of WWE's creative team for over two decades — was asked if there were other intangibles to determine a wrestler's popularity.

"Consistency, man, it's a feel," Prichard responded. "When we talk to new talents, in developmental or school, we try to explain to them, 'Don't ever think about what you're going to do, feel it. Feel what's right to do next, don't think about what you should do. Feel it and know what to do.' Prichard noted that although merch sales were "a big indicator" of a wrestler's approval rating, they can be misleading at times, especially when "a cool piece of merchandise" drops and "blows off the shelves" due to aesthetic appeal or fresh design. As such, Prichard argues that promoters would rather prioritize "sustained crowd reactions" over sales to judge a wrestler's popularity. 

Similarly, Prichard believes even crowd reactions can be misleading, at times, since the WWE Universe — especially on the "WWE Raw" after WrestleMania — is notorious for stirring up the pot by creating a lot of noise, even for wrestlers they aren't particularly enamored with. "Are the reactions genuine? Or is it due to something the talent is trying to overcompensate for? It's just a lot of factors, and so much of it just feel. Yes, there are indicators, where if you advertise something ... you have somebody on top that hasn't been there before and you see a distinct uptick, then, okay, you're going to take notice. Do it again — alright, there's a trend that you can look at. Take them off, there's a drop — okay." Prichard concluded that there's no set formula to determine a wrestler's popularity.