On episode 33 of Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard, the professional wrestling veteran talked about his two runs with WWE and why he was terminated by the world's largest professional wrestling promotion.
According to Prichard, he was fired the first time in May of 1991 for issues with John Filippelli. Prichard would return to Titan Tower in September of 1992 in a role that would allow him interact with far fewer coworkers.
"Yeah, because the executive producer, the reason I got fired the first time, the guy I couldn't work with was still there, John Filippelli. Well, I didn't know it at the time, but Filippelli was on his way out. I didn't know that at the time, but [limiting Prichard's interactions to only Vince McMahon, Pat Patterson, and talent] was also Vince's way of insulating me and protecting me. So I had heat with everybody at the studio too, allegedly too, everybody hated me there. Yeah, I was a dick, and so he was going to insulate that and protect me from that, protect me from myself, if you will."
As Stephanie McMahon's role with the company increased, Prichard's role changed again to be a writer and advisor to 'The Vincess'. Prichard professed that things got difficult when Stephanie returned to work following her maternity leaves because talent and other staff would go to him instead of her since they got accustomed to going to him while she was gone.
"When Stephanie went away and had her first child, there was a time that either Vince or Stephanie had to approve everything that we did, whether it be pretapes in the back, or if you wrote something, or if you produced something, they would approve it. As time went on and Stephanie had her first child, that became Bruce and Bruce was the guy that would approve things and Bruce is the guy that would look at it. I hated approving scripts because that's just not my bag. But for pretapes and interviews, and working with talent, that was my forte and guys would come to me to get it approved and Vince kind of gave me carte blanche. When Stephanie came back after her first child, she took over those duties again and when she had her second child, she went away again and again it was Bruce, so the writers, the producers, the talent, I think everyone got comfortable with Bruce because I wasn't a McMahon."
In Prichard's estimation, Stephanie also felt that the former Brother Love was going over her head to her father.
"I think when Steph came back from her second child, people had a comfort with me there, I think Vince had a comfort with me there, but that was Stephanie's role. And instead of people going to Steph for approval and going to Steph to have things done, they came to me because that's what they had done for the last three months, including her father. So when she came back and people were bypassing her, that became an issue."
Prichard admitted that he was miserable at that time and either he or Steph would have to leave.
"It was a tough place to be. I was between a rock and a hard place because it wasn't just the other writers and other producers. It was also her dad and Vince would lean on me and ask me questions and ask for input from me that I would give him because that's what I had done for 22+ years. But there was a feeling by directly giving my input to Vince that I was going over her head, so it was just an awkward situation and I don't know that I did anything to try and help and improve that."
Prichard reflected, "could I have made the situation better? Yes, I could've, but I didn't and I fell into a trap, man. I fell into a trap where it put Stephanie in a bad position. It put me in a bad position to where, guess what? One of us had to go because we were both doing the same thing. I was unhappy. I was miserable on the road. I was miserable on these marathon phone calls. I let it be known that I was miserable."
Prichard shared that he could disagree with Vince and it would be constructive, but Stephanie would take people disagreeing with her as insubordination.
"With Steph, if you disagreed with her, I think, sometimes, she took it as being insubordinate."
Prichard acknowledged that he understands the reasons for his second termination and that he thinks he should have worked on his communication with Stephanie.
"I understood the decision, man. I wasn't the most cooperative, and hindsight being 20/20, on dealing with Vince, I don't know how I could have done that differently, I really and truly don't and I've tried, but maybe I could've dealt with Steph differently. I think I could've dealt with her differently and kind of massaged that situation better."
In response to the rumor that Prichard was really fired for pulling a gun on writers, Prichard explained that he had to travel for work with the gun in his possession due to being forced to evacuate his home following Hurricane Ike and that the story morphed into something else.
"Yeah, Bruce had a gun. It was Hurricane Ike. We left our home in League City, Texas and we had a gun in the house and we were told to evacuate, so I took the gun with me." Prichard continued, "people knew I had the gun and stories kind of go from there, so the story gets back that Bruce pulled a gun and that was one thing Stephanie asked me. I told her the story, and we talked about other things, we disagreed. She says, 'well, I'm going to ask you to leave.'"
Prichard recalled that ahead of Survivor Series (2008), Stephanie asked him to meet with her before the show. At that time, Stephanie asked if he brought a gun to work and when he confirmed, she asked him to leave.
"She said, 'I can't believe you brought a gun to work.' I said, 'okay, sorry. I f--ked up.' But a week later was the next time we talked."
Apparently, WWE personnel was instructed not to contact Prichard, but Kevin Dunn, Brian Gewirtz, and many talents called.
"Kevin Dunn called. Brian Gewirtz called. And a lot of talent called. John Cena reached out, but that's all I feel comfortable mentioning." Prichard continued, "Cena was like, 'what the f--k? Love you. If you need anything, give me a call.' Taker, I talked to Taker. Obviously, Bradshaw, but a few other talent. I can't really remember off the top of my head."
Prichard divulged that he was officially fired a week later by Stephanie and that he was never given an official reason for his termination. Prichard went on to say that his severance package was "good and fair" and that they took care of him and were "very generous and very nice about it".
"Frankly, there was no official reason [for the termination] other than I was just terminated and I let my attorney deal with them. There was never any official reason given other than I was terminated. I had my severance package laid out. I would rate my severance package good and fair."
Prichard suggested that the gun situation could have been spun to justify his firing, but he just does not care anymore.
"Well, I believe that narrative exists, but, again, I'm not big on narrative and bulls--t though. To me, that's what it is. It's bulls--t and at this point in my life, I don't give a f--k and I don't care whatever anyone else's narrative is, whatever anyone else wants to think, or what they want to say because I've moved on with my life and I just have the attitude of 'next'. So yeah, I'm sure that narrative exists. I'm sure that narrative is out there, but I don't care. I really don't care anymore. I don't. I don't give a f--k."
Prichard remembered that Shane McMahon called him six months after his own departure from WWE.
"Shane left maybe six months later if even that. We had a conversation six months after Shane left, whatever that timeframe is, six months to the day, Shane called me. He called to say 'hello' and tell me he loved me and he said, 'well, I'm gone!' and that was about it. But we've talked over the years. I have a good relationship with Shane."
Prichard revealed that he is on good terms with Stephanie now and he even called her for a job after he left TNA.
"I was looking for a job after I left TNA and I talked to Stephanie then, but it was all friendly. It was all fine. No [she did not give him the cold shoulder]. She spoke to me, but you'd have to ask them that question [as to why he was not rehired after leaving TNA in 2013]. [She said] 'we don't have anything for you.'"
Click here to hear why Brother Love has no yob with WWE. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.