During the Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard Podcast, Bruce talked about The Rock during 1999. Prichard also talked about one of the toughest nights in wrestling history – when Owen Hart died at the Over the Edge PPV. That night, Bruce recalls The Rock as one of the main people who was shattered by the news about Hart.
“It was very hard on everybody,” Prichard said. “I remember Rock pounding on the ambulance, telling them to go. They were per law, and per whatever the protocol was, there had to be another ambulance [at the arena] before they leave. They left, and I would probably say a big reason they left as quickly as they did is because Rock scared them enough thinking he was going to rip somebody out of that and drive the ambulance himself.
“That’s not an exaggeration. It was intense, it was really really tough. That was something that hit Rock really, really hard.”
In that same year, Chris Jericho debuted in the company to face off verbally against The Rock in one of the most memorable debuts of all time. Prichard said he loved this introduction to the character, and said it gave Jericho a big name and feel on his first night.
“I thought it was excellent,” Prichard said. “Everybody was talking about it. People got it and they enjoyed it; they remembered it. I think Jericho held his own. He did go back and fourth, and held his own, and didn’t sh** the bed. I stand by it. I think Jericho is remembered for that night by a lot of people, and he was able to hang in there and do it. He came right back the next week and did it again.”
The King of the Ring winner in 1999 was surprisingly Billy Gunn, who was set for a major push by first facing The Rock. Prichard talked about Gunn facing The Rock in his first major feud as a singles wrestler, and why Gunn wasn’t the best pick for a top singles star. He also said how Vince McMahon always makes the final decision and that he stopped the Gunn push.
“Vince is always going to make the final decision,” Prichard said. “I’m not putting all the blame on Billy. A lot of it goes to the booking, and the creative, and could we have done things differently, and the answer is yes. We should’ve taken Billy and built him and taken our time with it. Now you’re automatically comparing him to #1 A and #1 B in the company. It was poor booking on our part.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.