In 2016 Bruce Prichard wasn't affiliated with any wrestling promotion so he and Conrad Thompson started the Something to Wrestle podcast. That led to the podcast being spun off into a video show that debuted on the WWE Network in 2018.
One year later Prichard officially rejoined WWE as part of their creative team and now he serves as the Executive Director both Raw and SmackDown. Thompson discussed the podcast helping pave Prichard's path back to WWE when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"I don't know what I'm more proud of – the idea that he's back as a 'power broker' for WWE, those are my words not his as no matter how you slice it, because of his position he is one of the most powerful people in wrestling now. The idea that that all came in motion again and became a possibility again because of a silly podcast and an idea that I was involved in is pretty remarkable," said Thompson.
"The only thing that can come close is the idea that Tony Schiavone – and everybody knows the story as he was calling minor league baseball and even had a part-time gig at Starbucks – is now back calling live wrestling on TNT again. That's what's been the most rewarding thing for me – certainly I enjoy working with Westwood One and I enjoy the payday as they say and I've had fun with Starrcast and it's been fun to hang with legends and meet your heroes – all of that is true.
"But at the end of the day, the idea that two guys who once absolutely loved pro wrestling to the point that they dedicated their lives to it and traveled the world 10 times and back, but then they felt that wrestling didn't love them back and wrestling turned its back on them. They had to find a new way to reinvent themselves. For them to feel the redemption of being able to go back and have more fun than ever and make more money than ever and really realize that and to know that I had even a small part in that is the coolest thing in the entire experience. If the podcasts came to an end tomorrow, I could hang my hat high just based on those two."
Hosting a podcast is a much different environment than running the two most popular shows in sports entertainment and Thompson was asked if Prichard is a little more stressed these days.
"It's not a little bit of stress, it's a lot of stress. We don't have specific conversations cause I don't want him to ever think that I'm being the guy trying to dig for scoops, but yeah, every now and again, certainly I'll get a call from Bruce and you can just hear it in his voice," revealed Thompson.
"He's tired. He's sleepy. He's stressing. And I can only imagine the amount of curveballs that are coming his way, not just from running a show on FOX, which my goodness, what a huge undertaking that is. But now you've also got a show on USA, but as if that wasn't enough, it's also happening during a pandemic on a closed set.
"It's just remarkable when you think about all the particular challenges and how many times they must have to – and nobody's told me this – but I just assume they've had to write and rewrite and write and rewrite because there's so many moving parts. There's so many variables with who can travel, who can't, who has a fever, who doesn't. These are things where maybe once upon a time it was just something you didn't have to worry about.
"Everybody's here, everybody's accounted for and everybody's well. And if that's not the case, I can only imagine that wreaks havoc on your plans. So, you have to adjust on the fly and again, I'm freestyling and all of that and nobody's told me that, but I just can't imagine. Cause in my day to day life, during the last three months, everything has not gone according to plan and I'm not writing five hours of TV every week. So, the idea that five hours of TV with hundreds of people comes off flawlessly and there's no hiccups because of COVID? Yeah, that's probably a little unrealistic.
During this pandemic, many entities have elected to go virtual when it comes to such things as concerts or award shows. With that in mind, Thompson was asked about the possibility of Starrcast being held virtually.
"No, that's not really my bag. I really appreciate that and I know people have done a great job with it and they've had a lot of fun with it, but I don't know that that's necessarily my thing," admitted Thompson. "We're doing something, I guess, sorta similar at adfreeshows.com where you can ask JR questions on Zoom or Eric Bischoff or Arn or Tony or whatever. So, we're trying to give you a fun little experience that way, but the idea that I might go try to go hookup with Sting and have him sign some action figures and autographs and ship them out. That's not really my thing.
"You know, I wanted to piggyback big events and create a happening and create sort of a destination, so instead of just flying to a random town, we got a three-hour wrestling show to go to on Saturday or Sunday. Well, why don't we try to make this three or four days of just nonstop overdose on your favorite thing professional wrestling with likeminded people? And I don't think I can really do that on Zoom. So, Starrcast is shelved until things get back to normal and hopefully things will be back to normal next year. I don't know, maybe we'll be back in Chicago cause we've got great partners there. We've had two there already at the Schaumburg Hyatt Regency and if there's an opportunity to do something from there again, I would jump at the chance."
You can follow Conrad on Twitter @HeyHeyItsConrad. Conrad's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.