Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1990 WWE as told by Bruce Prichard

This was filmed on June 8, 2017

Sean Oliver is the host

It runs at two hours and twenty minutes long

 

JANUARY

Bruce is asked about the WWF’s dispute with Viewer’s Choice over airing the Royal Rumble PPV. He said the WWF wanted a larger cut of the money and Vince stood firm until he ended up getting a better deal.

 

The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers wrestled their final match as a team at the Royal Rumble. Bruce said that Raymond wanted to retire from the ring and did the team as a favor to his brother Jacques. Bruce also said that Raymond was sick of the road and wanted to stay home and go hunting and fishing.

 

On getting slapped by Sapphire at the Royal Rumble, Bruce said that Vince saw Dusty as a fun-loving entertainer rather than a kick-ass babyface and thought Sapphire could soften his persona and add more entertainment to his act. Bruce said he spent a lot of time on the road with them and said that Terry Garvin found her for the role as Vince wanted a female version of Dusty for the spot.

 

Sean then goes off topic to ask Bruce about the Brother Love character. Bruce talks about growing up in Texas and near a Baptist church and he loved the cadence of the preachers and how they were able to mesmerize people. He then goes to when he was in Mid-South and would prepare for promos by watching preachers with Eddie Gilbert then would start to use his preacher character on the road. Bruce then talks about pitching the character to Vince, who loved it and wanted someone for the role. Bruce said he wanted to do it as Vince said he couldnt with that face so Bruce suggested he come up with a new look.  Bruce then said he came up with a white suit after seeing someone on TV that same day wear it and that the red face was a rib as he had no idea that was going to happen when he sat in the makeup chair. On religion, Bruce said he made it a point to talk about love in place of religion as Vince loved that too.

 

Bruce is asked about his producer role. He was in charge of writing the cable programming and oversaw almost all of the TV stuff.

 

Hulk Hogan won the 30 Man Royal Rumble match. Bruce said he won due to the old New York philosophy of having the babyface win to keep the crowd happy. On Ted DiBiase and why he did not get a World Title run, Bruce again brings up how the WWF was a babyface territory.

 

Scott Hall was brought in for a tryout at the 1/23 Wrestling Challenge TV Tapings in Fort Myers, FL where he lost to Paul Roma. Bruce said that Hall had several tryouts and that time he lacked a character or even charisma as his gimmick was that he was big, despite his work being solid.

 

 

FEBRUARY

On Big Bossman turning babyface, Bruce said it was time to turn him and Bossman was a likable guy in the locker room that they believed could translate across TV. He then talks about shooting the vignettes in Georgia where they asked the real people who knew Bossman from when he was an actual prison guard and they all told them he was loved by everyone, including the prisoners, and they were doing him wrong on TV with how he was being portrayed.

 

At the 2/13 “Superstars of Wrestling” TV tapings in Phoenix, AZ, The Rockers were sent home when they showed up to the arena covered in bruises after a brutal fist fight the night before. Bruce said they got into a brawl in a hotel room somewhere in California. Bruce said they were not getting along all that well. Sean then brings up the rumors of Vince wanting to split them up and turn Marty heel as Bruce said it was discussed and at that time most people thought Marty would end up being the star.

 

Sean asks Bruce about Buster Douglas replacing Mike Tyson as the Special Guest Referee of the Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage match on “The Main Event.” Bruce said that the TV was already taped before Tyson got knocked out and after he got knocked out did not want to make the appearance. They managed to get Buster Douglas by meeting him when he got off a plane from Japan, where he fought Tyson, and they made him an offer he accepted.

 

Jake Roberts snake Damien was suspended by the WWF after biting Jake on two separate occasions. They temporarily replaced the snake with a garden hose that remained in the bag. Bruce said he got bit all of the time and that the snake always got pissed off due to being tossed around in the bag.

 

 

MARCH

On March 8th “Entertainment Tonight” aired an expose on steroids in professional wrestling with interviews from Bruno Sammartino and Superstar Billy Graham. Bruce said a lot of guys were on the “gas” in 1990 but does not believe it was 90% of the roster like what was claimed. Bruce believes both of those guys had axes to grind.

 

The Powers of Pain are split up on March 10th. Bruce said they tried to make them into singles stars to feud with the top babyfaces and thought it could work as they both had a great look.

 

Roddy Piper came out on the March 11th episode of “Wrestling Challenge” with half of his face painted black while singing “Beat it” to interrupt Bad News Brown. Bruce said that this was all Piper’s idea and that Piper looked at it like he could get away with it because he was foreign himself as Bruce said others did not and it was not the best choice. Bruce said that Bad News Brown did not have a problem then said that Bad News was not a gimmick as he once thought he was in character at an airport newstand then was pulled aside by Bad News, who told him he was no gimmick and what you saw on TV was him in real life.

 

The Ultimate Warrior made an appearance on the “Arsenio Hall Show” where he was entirely in character. Bruce said that Warrior took himself too seriously in trying to protect his gimmick but he failed to know the audience in that case as they were not into his screaming and tossing furniture.

 

 

APRIL

Tony Schiavone’s final WWF appearance was on the April 1st episode of “Wrestling Challenge.” Bruce said that was when his contract expired and told us Vince did not like him. Bruce said Linda hired Schiavone but Vince felt he sounded too “Southern” and even went as far as to have him attend dictation and speech classes.

 

On the Rhythm & Blues performance at WrestleMania VI, Bruce said that Vince was looking for something to do with Valentine and decided to change his look. Bruce felt the performance was funny due to how much Valentine hated it and remembers how miserable he was backstage.

 

When asked about Andre the Giant turning babyface in his final match, Bruce said it was hard for him to even get into the ring at this point and he was in tremendous pain and had no patience and difficult to be around. Bruce said the turn was to give him a proper sendoff.

 

Elizabeth returned to be in the corner of Dusty & Sapphire at WrestleMania. Bruce said she took time off to be at home. He then claims that Randy Savage and Elizabeth got separated in real-life when they split up on screen so people could not look it up and call him out to see whether or not what happened on TV was true. At this point, Bruce said they did not have issues but later on had some.

 

Bruce talks about the Ultimate Warrior beating Hulk Hogan. He said Hogan was going off to make the film “Suburban Commando” and Vince wanted to give Hulkamania a rest and give the fans something new so they tried to build up Warrior. Bruce said the intention was to make Warrior the next big thing and not go back to Hogan but it never worked out that way. Bruce felt Warrior did not work out in that role because the Warrior character was not something you could relate with and what he said did not make sense so you could not identify with anything about him.

 

On April 5th the WWE purchased the “Titan Towers.” Bruce said they were originally going to buy the IBM Complex in Stamford, CT that had a large, sprawling studio with multiple buildings but Vince wanted everyone to be together so they bought something else. Bruce talks about the building and how Vince put in a gym.

 

 

MAY

The WWE reportedly showed interest in signing Paul Heyman as a manager but at the end Heyman re-signed with WCW. Bruce said he brought up Heyman’s name at a meeting but Vince did not care for him, stating he was too much of a stereotypical “wrasslin’ manager.” Bruce did say that Bobby Heenan was a fan of Heyman though.

 

Mr. Perfect defeated Tito Santana on the May 19th episode of “Superstars of Wrestling” to become the Intercontinental Champion, which was vacated after WrestleMania VI. Bruce said he was having great matches and with a babyface Heavyweight Champion they wanted a heel Intercontinental Champion.

 

Earthquake attacked Hogan on the “Brother Love Show” to start their feud. Bruce put over Earthquake for being able to move well for a big man. He then remembers when Earthquake first started out Vince wanted to know if he could cut a promo. Bruce went up to Earthquake, who cut a good promo on Bruce, then Bruce relayed this to Vince, who wanted Earthquake paired up with Jimmy Hart.

 

 

JUNE

Terry Taylor’s final match with the WWE was on June 16th. Sean wants to know why they created the Red Rooster gimmick. Bruce said they took a guy who patterned himself after Ric Flair and Vince met him and thought he was arrogant and decided to come up with a gimmick where he was the “cock of the walk” as Bruce says if Taylor embraced the cockiness of the gimmick instead of interpreting it as being a rooster if would have worked. Sean then asks Bruce how can you embrace having a red streak in his hair and get that over as Bruce counters with Taylor failing because he looked at it as a “rib” and a joke and that he is known more as the Rooster than anything else.

 

Crush debuts as the third member of Demolition on the June 23rd edition of “Superstars of Wrestling.” Bruce said that Ax was having heart issues and had to slow down so they brought in Crush for a tryout when they were in Portland and he looked good. Bruce also said there was an idea pitched that they would use “Freebird Rules” so they could occasionally use Ax on TV. Bruce thought Crush fit in and that the changes to the music and addition of masks were to help evolve the gimmick.

 

 

JULY

They talk about Brutus Beefcake’s parasailing accident. When asked, Bruce says he does not remember if he was going to beat Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam.

 

Hillbilly Jim wrestled his last match on July 8th. Bruce said he had a bad neck and needed to retire then became a spokesman for Coliseum Home Video. Bruce said the WWE was a partner for Coliseum Home Video and that H&H Video, who were partners with WWE to form Coliseum Home Video was involved in the adult film business.

 

Sgt. Slaughter returns as an anti-American heel. Bruce loved the character as it was different but soon afterwards the country went to war and it became tough to do.

 

The Legion of Doom made their WWE debut. Bruce said that Vince had wanted them for a long time. Sean asks why Ellering was not brought in at first as Bruce was unsure. Vince changed them to Legion of Doom from Road Warriors as he did not want the movie studios trying to sue them.

 

Power and Glory formed as Bruce said both Paul Roma & Hercules were friends looking for something to do and they pitched the idea.

 

Kerry Von Erich also came into the company. Bruce said there was no interest with Kevin Von Erich but Kerry had the look Vince liked. When asked about Kerry’s battles with drugs, Bruce said he never came to a show or TV messed up but outside of the ring was a whole other story. Bruce also said that Kerry and Vince came up with the discus punch as his finishing move because the claw was too dated and came off as hokey.

 

 

AUGUST

Bruce is asked if Tugboat was “demoted” from being in Hogan’s corner at SummerSlam. He squashes the rumor that Tugboat got too much of an ego and was demoted as a result of that. Prichard brings up how during the Summer there was talk of Tugboat turning on Hogan then having the two face off at WrestleMania VII but that was scratched when Slaughter was signed. Bruce then confirmed the rumors that Tugboat was going to be called “Sheik Tugboat” before Slaughter came back with his anti-American gimmick.

 

Roddy Piper replaced Jesse Ventura as color commentator on “Superstars of Wrestling.” Bruce said that Jesse came to a mutual agreement to leave the company after getting into a disagreement with Vince over being in a video game. Bruce said that Jesse would always debate guys about politics and drugs backstage, usually with director Kerwin Silfies. Bruce talks about Piper as a commentator and how he pushed for him due to his work with Gordon Solie years prior but that it was a different feel and rough to watch as they made Piper too cute and funny.

 

 

SEPTEMBER

The Warrior/Savage feud started after Warrior tore up a contract giving to him by Sherri, who ended up slapping Warrior across the face. Bruce said Sherri was great and one of his favorite people to work with. Bruce also said the guys loved working with her as they felt she worked like “one of the boys” and did not have any ego. He did note that she was crazy in real life too. Regarding the Warrior/Savage feud, Bruce said they felt Savage could slow down the Warrior in the ring and adapt to a more logical style instead of bulldozing through everyone.

 

He is asked about WrestleMania VII originally being announced for the Los Angeles Coliseum then it moved to the Sports Arena, a much smaller venue. Bruce says at the time the country was fearful as it was during a time of war and the arena was open so the cost of securing the event was astronomical. Bruce said the government footed the bill for the Super Bowl security that year but unwilling to help the WWE. Bruce said the cost for security was too much and they were not going to draw enough people to make it worthwhile so they settled for a smaller venue.

 

The WBF is announced on September 15th. When asked, Bruce said everyone thought this was a bad idea except for Vince. He talks about no one got what it was supposed to be as Vince told him it was supposed to be a “lifestyle.” The talent was also pissed as Vince spent more attention to the WBF and those WBF contracts were guaranteed, unlike their own. Bruce said ICOPRO was the most disgusting shit he ever had and said the drops tasted like “bad licorice.” He did say the bars were decent though.

 

On General Adnan, Bruce said he was a friend of Saddam Hussein and he got some serious heat but behind the scenes was a quiet guy.

 

 

OCTOBER

Sean asks Bruce about Rick Martel’s model gimmick. Bruce loved it and said the gimmick allowed him to be something else and did a great job with the character. He puts over his ability in the ring and that this gave him some personality as the two talk about how he is a really nice guy. Bruce said at the beginning they did not have him speak much and did a lot of voiceovers and using the Arrogance cologne bottle. He also said early on Martel was wearing Vince’s old suits as they fit him well. Bruce said they put “stinky stuff” in the Arrogance cologne bottle.

 

Bruce talks about the Ultimate Warrior forcing him to be “Sister Love” and beating him up. Bruce said Warrior was clumsy and rough and that the idea for him to wear a dress was Vince’s idea.

 

On the Oktoberfest food fight from “Saturday Night’s Main Event,” Bruce said that the leiderhosen worn by the guys was very expensive and they were told not to ruin them but they got destroyed and the company had to pay $27,000 to the company that let them borrow the clothes.

 

Regarding the Battle Kat character, Bruce said that Vince had a fascination with Mighty Mouse and wanted a character like that and that’s why the created the gimmick. They gave it to Brady Boone then Bruce does not know why they replaced him with Bob Bradley.

 

Rick Rude quit the company after he was injured yet still billed at shows as facing the Big Bossman and thought since his name was used to sell tickets then he should still get paid. Bruce said he probably would have been compensated if he actually made the towns for appearances but Rude refused to do so. Bruce felt that Rude was a tremendous talent that could have done a lot more in the company.

 

The Rockers defeated the Hart Foundation for the Tag Team tiles at the October 30th “Wrestling Challenge” tapings. However, the match was not shown on TV because the top rope fell off 12 minutes into the match and Vince felt they could not air it as a result. Bruce is asked why didnt they redo the match at a later date as he said Vince will constantly change his mind all of the time and decided against The Rockers being champions.

 

 

NOVEMBER

The company decides to eliminate the “C” shows due to a declining house show business. Bruce said the economy was poor and the state of the country was in flux so they were cutting back what they spent on entertainment. Plus, the “C” shows were losing money as they serviced the smaller towns which were effected the most by the economy.

 

NBC makes the decision to cut “Saturday Night’s Main Event” back from 90 to 60 minutes. Bruce said NBC started showing the NBA games and the SNME ratings were declining so the network cut it back then decided to air the show once a year. Bruce said it changed the business as they had to look more into cable to expand the business without SNME

 

Bruce talks about the Buddy Rose “Blowaway Diet” and that Rose himself pitched the idea at a Denny’s then the idea got to Vince, who loved it, and Bruce said they were laughing their ass off during the segment. He also said the original plan was for an industrial fan to blow the powder off of Buddy’s gut but the fan did not work so he used his hands and they decided to go with that.

 

They talk about the “Ultimate Survivors” match at the Survivor Series as Bruce said it sucked and made little sense because there were two survivors at the end with Hogan and Warrior. Bruce said he thought they were going to have a battle royal with the winners but instead they switched it to faces vs. heels.

 

On the Undertaker’s debut, Bruce said that the character was the opposite of Brother Love and this was a way to counteract his white suit and preaching of love by using a pure evil wrestler at his side. Bruce said that Heyman called him up to say that Mark Callaway was available. Bruce pitched the idea to Vince and they set up a meeting the day after a WCW PPV where he wrestled Lex Luger. However, Callaway dislocated his hip and the match sucked so Vince lost interest and cancelled the meeting. A few weeks later, they got Vince and Callaway together were Vince fell in love with him and they had someone sketch up some drawings as Vince noted that Callaway looked like an old-time undertaker. Bruce also said the original name of the character was Kane then they called it Kane the Undertaker but dropped the “Kane” part soon after that. Bruce also credits Callaway for getting the gimmick over. Bruce talks about how the character was a way to get Brother Love more involved with the storylines but he could not always go on the road so Vince asked he either had to be a manager full-time or do his stuff behind the scenes. Bruce said that he chose to remain behind the scenes then Percy Pringle was brought in for an interview where they learned he was a real-life mortician and added that Road Warrior Hawk came up with the “Paul Bearer” name while he was in the bathroom taking a shit.

 

The Gobbledy Gooker hatches from the egg at the Survivor Series. Bruce said it was always supposed to be the Gooker character as Sean calls him out for acting like “Sean Spicer.”¬† Bruce then says people hate facts and want to believe the “dirt sheets” and that Vince wanted a mascot similar to the San Diego chicken to excite the fans and kids. Sean says the reveal was so anti-climatic and that made it seem strange. Bruce said that Vince was really excited about it and that they got Hector Guerrero to play the part because of his gymnastics background but with that costume they only thing he was able to do was a forward roll because of how restricting it was. Bruce also said they were planning to have Guerrero work matches then later on go in the crowd as the Gooker.

 

 

DECEMBER

Then Honky Tonk Man debuted as a color commentator on the December 8th episode of “Superstars of Wrestling.” Bruce says they were trying to find something for Honky to do and they had success with a three-man booth in the past with Bruno and Jesse with Vince but that worked because Bruno rarely spoke while Honky and Piper kept talking and it was a trainwreck.

 

On the decision to split up Ted DiBiase and Virgil, Vince made the decision after Virgil wanted to become a wrestler. Bruce said Virgil was okay until the bell rang and they counted on DiBiase to do all of the work in the program.

 

TV enhancement talent Chuck Austin became paralyzed after taking a rocker dropper from Marty Jannetty. Sean asks about the process of getting enhancement talent for the TV tapings as Bruce believed at this time Chief Jay Strongbow and Terry Garvin were the contacts that got guys from wrestling schools and local independents promotions. Bruce said what happened here was a freak accident and horrible but unfortunately injuries take place in wrestling on a constant basis.

 

The vignettes of The Mountie character begin. Bruce says he hated the gimmick at first but grew to love it due to Jacques making it work. He believes the idea was either Vince’s or Pat Patterson’s. Bruce believes in vignettes being helpful as it familiarizes the crowd with the character.

 

On the Nasty Boys making their debut, Bruce confirms they were a handful to deal with but got worst over time. He felt they were a natural fit with Jimmy Hart too. Bruce said that Vince liked the gimmick as they were unique characters.

 

Final Thoughts: I thought this was a decent installment of the Timeline series. Prichard was fine as a guest and he has good chemistry with Sean, who jokingly referred to him as “Sean Spicer” a few times throughout the interview when he felt Prichard was giving us some of the WWE spin. The Red Rooster exchange was a really good example of that.

I certainly did not buy Prichard’s reasoning of war and economy as the sole reason attendance dropped because it had been dropping for over a year before this point. The product in 1990 was simply not that good.

Overall, I still feel that fans of this era will enjoy this interview. It was enjoyable for the most part.

 

You can purchase this interview via DVD, Digital Download, or On Demand by clicking here

 

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 2/25/90

Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling 11/3/82

Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 3/3/90

Monday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 3/4/90

Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 3/10/90

Wednesday: EVOLVE 87 6/25/17

Thursday: Shoot Interview TBD