Tom Prichard may not be as well-known to wrestling fans as his brother, Bruce, but Tom had a couple of stints in WWE as a performer and a trainer. He was a member of The Heavenly Bodies tag team alongside Stan Lane and then became a WWE Tag Team champion as part of The Bodydonnas alongside Chris Candido.
Prichard then shifted to a training role with WWE and he helped groom the likes of Kurt Angle and The Rock. He also helped Vince McMahon train for his in-ring debut at the age of 52 years old in 1998. Prichard appeared on the X-Pac 1,2,360 podcast where he discussed training The Chairman of the Board.
"The first match with Austin, I'd be there with Vince and he would want to train at 11 o'clock at night," said Prichard. "He would come to the ring… we would lock up and would do hold for hold, and we would do stuff and he would try to throw some punches… It was the first match he had ever been into and I thought well 'Holy Christ, this is interesting.'"
After that first match, Austin and McMahon then had a rematch at St. Valentine's Day Massacre in early 1999. It was a steel cage match in which McMahon took an awkward bump from the top of the cage onto the announcer's table.
"We measured how far the table was from the ring in the studio, because he was gonna take the bump on the table off the cage. We practiced it, we put the bump pads down, practiced it and practiced it and he got it right in the studio and then he took the bump in the match. If you notice, he bounces and he bruised his back pretty good on that one but he didn't shy away from it," stated Prichard.
Prichard left WWE in 2004 and wrestled on the indie circuit for a few years. He returned again in 2007 as the head trainer of WWE's developmental promotions: Deep South Wrestling and Florida Championship Wrestling. There he trained many of the Superstars we see today on WWE programming, but one wrestler in particular surprised him with the success he's achieved.
"One of the guys that I was really happy for and impressed with was Tyler Breeze… He's one of these guys, such a nice kid, and when you're too nice you know what happens and that's kinda what was happening to him until he came up with this gimmick. I was surprised that they let him do the gimmick and I was surprised that they let him do what he's done with it. Just because I thought they were moving away from that. The rest of the guys like [Seth] Rollins and [Dean] Ambrose and Roman Reigns, I mean you could see it when those guys were there," said Prichard.
Prichard is a co-founder of the new JPWA Wrestling Academy with Glenn Jacobs, you can get more information about the school here.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit X-Pac 1,2,360 with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Sources: X-Pac 1,2,360