I am a pro-wrestling fan, although I can’t recall the last time I sat down and watched a show all the way through. These days I keep up through podcasts and Twitter for the most part. However, one of my favorite things has been listening to podcasts with those wrestlers, announcers, managers, valets, etc. from the past. Listening to them discuss the backstage happenings when “It was still real to me, damnit!”
Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard has been probably my favorite for stories from the past. For those who don’t know, Bruce played one of my favorite characters from the old WWF days, Brother Love. However, Bruce was also a big part of the production of the WWF back then, producing TV and video segments, as well as doing some writing and agent work (helping run/plan/execute events). His knowledge and experience started long before then, and continued after, and spans 40 years. His co-host on the show is Conrad Thompson, a mainstay on the MLW Radio Network, more on Mr Thompson later.
While a lot of shows that focus on pro-wrestling will have guests and ask them questions, this one not only chooses a topic and delves deeper, but they let the fans choose the topic for the upcoming week. Anything interactive is a positive, and it also gets people involved in the content. There are two main components to which really make this show a good listen though.
While picking a topic, and discussing it in depth, is not a new format for the podcast world (a lot of History podcasts do this), it is for pro-wrestling as far as I know. Providing a specific topic for each podcast gives the show a direction, it also ensures the discussion will not go way off-topic into something completely different. Both hosts will discuss the lead-up, impact, and anything secondary as the episode progresses, the main topic remains the same.
However, it’s not over-formatted (is that a term?) either. Conrad does a great job of laying out the path of what’s to be discussed. For example, on the episode about Brian Pillman coming to the WWF. The episode starts with a brief background on Pillman, his trainer, how he got involved in pro-wrestling, and the immediate lead-up to him signing with the company. Once they go through all the events, highs and lows, and, as they say “rumors and innuendo,” they wrap it up by bringing to modern day, or as close as they can (RIP Mr. Pillman).
It gives you a much bigger picture of the topic, be it a specific wrestler, event, or instance. During these intros, Conrad ties in Bruce as much as he can, asking if he heard a particular wrestler was doing something at another company, or if he can add anything to the story. It’s a great insight into really how small the industry is, and can often add a different perspective.
For any podcast, the host(s) can make or break it. If you can’t stand listening to someone’s voice, their opinion, or even if they’re disjointed and disorganized, the topic is irrelevant. Both hosts are easy to listen to and stay on topic for the most part. However, their rapport is definitely their strength.
Up until I started listening I was unaware of who Conrad Thompson is, and at first, nothing personal sir, I was not a huge fan. He seemed like a very, stereotypical type of pro-wrestling podcaster: The one who won’t come to terms with the NWA dying. I look back on the fondness of bygone things, however, I can also come to terms with why they are no longer around. These types continue to shit on everything that did not come from that era.
I am happy to say I was wrong on that account. Mr. Thompson is not like that, and he is one of the best podcast hosts I have heard, regardless of genre. He knows when to lay on the sarcasm, he knows when to inject some seriousness, and he has no issue taking Bruce to task. The back-and-forth with Conrad and Bruce really makes this a good listen. They bicker, take shots, and call each other names, but at the end of it all, they are still friends and can have a great discussion.
This podcast is clearly not for everyone. Although, I think it has a much bigger fan base than a typical podcast with a pro-wrestling slant. My friend in Las Vegas, who has not watched pro-wrestling since high school (1999-2002), absolutely loves this show because a lot of it is about when he watched. Now the TNA/more modern based episodes he skips, but when episodes like Vader, Brian Pillman, and 1990 Survivor Series pops up, I get texts like “Holy shit, that one was awesome!”
I would say if you were ever into wrestling, specifically the 1990s, this is a must listen. You will love the format, the hosts, and the topics, and it’s a great trip down memory lane. I often find myself thinking “I completely forgot about that,” or “that’s why people seemed to hate that guy.” Something to Wrestle with………………………………Bruce Prichard” (its a gag from the show) is probably the best pro-wrestling podcast out there at the moment.