On Wednesday, the extremely popular podcast Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard aired for the first time as a videocast on WWE Network called Something Else to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard. With fans not sure what to expect in the premier edition of the show, first appearances showed the videocast was not going to be much different from the audio podcast.
If you were one of those worried WWE would step in too much, fear not WWE Universe, WWE rarely got involved in the production. The show was quite simple, there was little high-end production value, a few lag issues and WWE let the show sink or swim based on the chemistry and charisma of its two stars; Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson. While it wasn't flashy, this is the way it should have been, and by most accounts, everyone here succeeded in offering something completely unique to the WWE Network.
For fans who can't access the show, or others who are thinking about checking it out, here's a quick review of Something Else to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard.
If you know the audio podcast, you know Something to Wrestle With focuses on one specific topic, often veering in strange ways with comedic outbursts. Having said that, it usually does an effective job of sticking on task. This premiere episode looked exclusively at WrestleMania XIV and Prichard and Thompson ran through each match, set the stage for some of the pay-per-view's biggest moments and provided a few nuggets of inside information that may ruffle a few feathers.
If the duo is to be compared to a play-by-play man teamed with a color commentator, Conrad runs the show and does a good job of serving up the softballs while Prichard knocks out the answers giving exclusive inside access to past events, stories about wrestlers like Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels and a little detail about how WWE works behind the scenes. In between stories, Thompson also volleys a few opportunities for Prichard to get his sometimes excellent and often subpar impressions in. Neither are afraid of a little foul language either.
At its high points, this was a wonderfully insightful, sometimes funny look at a pay-per-view that changed WWE with the ushering in of the Austin Era. At worst, it was boring for casual fans, especially if you didn't have nearly two hours to listen to two guys talk about one event from top to bottom.
For fans who were looking for a high-end show, this was not it. Flashy and quick-paced this one hour and 49-minute episode was not. But, for WWE, this was kind of the point. Conrad Thompson had done an earlier interview with media outlets about the upcoming episode suggesting that one of the things WWE was looking for in their new Network content was podcasts and independent style productions wrestling fans were getting elsewhere and not coming to WWE to access. The company clearly geared this show towards that market, and not everyone is bound to like it. We found it completely refreshing, however.
The Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard podcast is a show for wrestling enthusiasts and fans who want to be in the know. This show is too. Fans who will love this won't care that the videocast was shot from their homes, the mics often losing volume and the production lacking any clear graphics or special effects. Wrestling purists will love it. If WWE can fix the glaring technical issues (there weren't many), everything else becomes what makes the show unique and interesting.
With the show the length that it is, Prichard and Thompson should be able to uncover a few things from WWE's past that fans didn't know. In this episode, we learned Shane McMahon had grandiose ideas about what to do with WCW when Vince purchased it and how had Shane gotten his way, we might be looking at a drastically different WWE. We also learned Mr. McMahon vs. Steve Austin was a "happy accident" and never meant to be a long-term idea.
Something Else to Wrestle With is can't miss for fans who want to know everything. A few years ago, WWE would never have let something this see the light of day. The fact that the WWE is now intentionally airing it shows how much the company has changed.
In this sneak peek of "Something Else To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard," available tonight at 8pm ET on-demand, @bruceprichard & @HeyHeyItsConrad analyze the historic #WrestleMania XIV match between @ShawnMichaels & @steveaustinBSR. pic.twitter.com/oTg4m9ibKG— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) April 18, 2018
Our prediction is that this show is going to do extremely well. The average fan won't love it and those with short attention spans will tune out, but the avid member of the WWE Universe will be eagerly waiting for each episode as it's uploaded and that's a huge win for WWE.
Expect this to be just the beginning of this kind of programming. The concern now will be that WWE doesn't try to change the format of the show once they realize they have a hit for a smaller demographic of the WWE Universe on their hands. If the company tries to make it a show for everyone, it won't last.