On episode 26 of Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard, the professional wrestling veteran discussed the shoot fight between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero "attacking" Angle backstage, and the incident involving Daniel Puder and Angle.
On the subject of the shoot fight between Lesnar and Angle, Prichard recalled that other WWE wrestlers were stirring the pot to get the two to fight. Apparently, the tussle lasted only eight seconds because WWE Chairman Vince McMahon rushed in and put a stop to it.
"Weeks or maybe even months of the boys stirring the pot. Here you've got two world class athletes in Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar. Both amateur [wrestlers], both at the top of their game, both legitimate tough guys. So the boys kind of poking both bears with sharp sticks and guys going to Brock Lesnar and saying, 'hey Brock, Kurt said he'd take you no problem.' And then going to Kurt and saying, 'wow, did you hear what Brock said about you? He said he'd take those Olympic gold medals and shove them up your ass if he ever had the opportunity.' And this goes on and on and on and on and on. Kurt and Brock didn't say s--t to each other and there was no argument and there was no nothing, but the talent would get each one of the riled up in their own way leading up to I found them both out in the ring at the same time together and it wasn't a heated 'f--k you - f--k you' at all. It was like, 'okay, you want to try, let's go.' And the entire encounter lasted maybe eight seconds because as they started to lock up, Vince McMahon came out onto the floor and saw what was going on in the ring and abruptly, 'hey, Goddamnit! Knock it off!' and put a stop to it pretty quick, so there was no winner. There was no loser."
As for the spat between Guerrero and Angle, Prichard suggested that Angle was not listening to Guerrero during their match and this upset 'Latino Heat'. As the story goes, Guerrero tried to double-leg Angle, but Angle countered with a front facelock before the pair were pulled apart.
"It was a short skirmish. And Eddie got upset. Kurt and Eddie had been out in the ring beforehand, and, as I said earlier, man, if Kurt Angle wants to take you and do something with you, he's going to do it. And Eddie was a little pissed off because Kurt wasn't listening to him. They came back and Eddie was pretty upset. [He] attacked Kurt, tried to double-leg Kurt and take him down and Kurt just front facelocked him before they were pulled apart very quickly. And the funniest part about it was afterwards, JBL going up to Eddie Guerrero and saying, 'Eddie, he's an Olympic gold medalist. What the f--k were you thinking?' and Eddie just kind of putting his head down, like, 'I know, man. I'm just so stupid!' But that was it, just two guys pretty heated after a match and Eddie trying to double-leg Kurt and Kurt wasn't going anywhere."
With respect to the Daniel Puder incident, Prichard admitted that it was a huge mistake to set up that situation for WWE Tough Enough.
"It was a s--tty idea. It was s--tty execution. And it was old school wrasslin' type booking. And, yes, I had a huge part in it." Prichard added, "you don't mix work and shoot. And by doing that, you're teaching guys to work in a shoot environment, a contest environment, that if they win this contest that the audience is voting on, they win a WWF contract. That all was real. In that, you take somebody to go out and beat them up or stretch them, just that was the old school thinking in us that got us in trouble."
"Kurt volunteered for the spot and wanted to do it." Prichard continued, "Kurt was adamant. He came and plead his case to Vince, plead his case to all of us, that he was the guy, that he would be able to handle anything that anybody threw at him and like the suckers we were, we bit and said, 'okay, yeah, Kurt, Olympic gold medalist. He'll be fine.'"
According to Prichard, Angle was specifically instructed not to engage anyone other than the winner; however, after defeating Chris Nawrocki, Angle would go on to challenge the rest of the finalists and Puder accepted.
"You've got Kurt out there. He's riddled with injuries. He's not the Kurt Angle of 1996. This is a different Kurt Angle, different shape, a lot of injuries. And we didn't really know what the hell we had on the other side, so when Kurt went out, the instructions were very clear and very simple: you take the guy that wins the contest, you have your little match with them, and that is it. You don't do anybody else. You don't do more than one. You just do the one guy and that is it. It could not have been clearer."
Fortunately, WWE official Jimmy Korderas had the wherewithal to make the three-count in favor of Angle while Puder had 'The Wrestling Machine' in a kimura lock.
"Puder got in and he got him. He got his arm hooked, so Kurt had nothing else really he could do at that point. He didn't want to break his arm, so got him down on the mat on his back and went for the pin." Prichard said, "it was embarrassing. It was not a good scene and it all could have been avoided with better judgment on our part, having more foresight as to what the hell could have happened."
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Damien Demento contributed to this article.