The Steve Austin Show – Dr. Tom Prichard
Release Date: November 13, 2018
Running time: 1:24:00
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
- Steve is at Broken Skull Ranch 2.0 in Nevada and sends his best to those affected by the wildfires in California.
- Steve is on a diet and has stopped drinking for awhile. He confirms that he has NOT given up alcohol or taken up medicinal marijuana. He’s just on a diet trying to get in shape for his niece’s graduation.
- Today’s guest is Dr. Tom Prichard who Austin has known since 1990. They started riding together and became friends. Tom was always willing to answer Steve’s questions about the business and was one of Austin’s early mentors in the wrestling business.
- One day while they were riding down the road, Tom told Steve he should call WCW because Dusty and the WCW were interested in him. Steve called Dusty and got a job at WCW. If it wasn’t for Tom, Steve would never have known WCW was interested in him.
- This is a two part interview. The reason Tom came on the show was to promote his new wrestling school which they don’t talk about on this part of the interview but Steve wanted to drop the info as Tom is one of the few guys he would recommend if someone wanted to get into wrestling.
- Check out http://jpwrestlingacademy.com for info.
Texas vs. Tennessee and Blading
- Steve welcomes Tom to the podcast. He was looking through Wikipedia and discovered he, Tom and Eric Embry were in a faction. Tom doesn’t remember being in a faction but does remember there was a Texas vs. Tennessee storyline happening.
- Tom says there are matches he doesn’t remember or people he doesn’t remember working with.
- Steve asks if Tom remembers being in a big 5-on-5 match during one of those Texas vs. Tennessee matches that ended up being a bloodbath. During the match, the babyfaces (Texas team) were handcuffed. Tom doesn’t remember being part of that match but wouldn’t be surprised if he had been. Back then, they did so many bloodbaths while Eric (Embry) was the booker.
- Steve watched Tom’s interview with Hannibal in 2015 and recommends checking it out. (click here to check…I think).
- When Steve came into the territory, Tom was feuding with someone and Prichard had an open wound on his forehead and didn’t even need a blade to get color. Steve remembers the wound because it seemed like it lasted for months
- Tom remembers that time and says in Tennessee and Texas, people were expecting to see blood.
- Looking back at this, Tom says you had to be crazy and insane to be in the business because there were a lot of crazy and insane stuff going on with a lot of crazy and insane people.
- You couldn’t do stuff like that today (blading) because of the way the world is but a perfect example of using a blade the correct way was when Bret had Austin in the Sharpshooter (WrestleMania 13).
- Steve says back then, when you first got the call to blade, it’s sickening but it’s also a right of passage and you’re proud to do it. It’s a weird feeling but it’s also what you’re supposed to do when you’re a pro wrestler so you don’t really think about it. Now when he looks back, busting out a blade and cutting yourself open is insane
- Tom says the appeal of the business, every part of it from the dirt, the grime, the grit, the arenas, all of that encompass a certain group of people and the mystique that went along with the business. He adds that guys would get busted open. If you got into the business you would learn how the blood was produced. Tom used to think this was the coolest sh*t because nobody else in their right mind would do it.
- Tom grew up training with Mark Lewin in the gym at 16 years old in Houston. He got indoctrinated to the wrestling lifestyle of the 70s. Mark was way far out there.
Growing Up and Getting Smartened Up By Harley Race
- Tom was born in El Paso and he grew up watching the Funks, Mike DiBiase and the Von Brauners. Saul Weingeroff (a jewish gentleman) managing two Nazis in the 60s was major heat.
- Tom’s dad got a new job in Houston in 1969 and they moved to Houston. They started watching Houston wrestling and found Paul Bosche.
- Tom tells a story about watching wrestling in El Paso. Grizzly Smith claimed he had the strongest stomach and would challenge people to jump on him.
- Harley Race came out with a ladder and dropped a knee on Smith’s neck.
- Tom moved to Houston and saw Grizzly Smith working the same storyline but with Johnny Valentine. From that, Tom got the idea the business was a work and even told Harley that Harley had smartened Tom to the business.
Working in the Houston Promotion and Getting Into Wrestling
- Tom’s brother got him a job selling shoes in the summer. Tom used to go by the Houston office and would tell the ladies how much he hated the job.
- Paul Boesche walked out of his office, heard Tom and asked if he would like to work at the office for the summer.
- Tom also got the opportunity to work as a second and as a referee. He always brought his gear just in case
- One day, a football player wanted to learn how to wrestle. Paul asked Tom to bring the football player to the coliseum and they could both train with the Iron Sheik. The Sheik made them squat and do some pushups. Then the Sheik stretched them then had Tom and the football player wrestle each other.
- Tom trained with Iron Sheik for about a month. They realized the football player wasn’t coming back and they didn’t think Tom had a chance.
- Paul kept saying Tom didn’t want to do this. Tom thinks Paul was discouraging him because of what the business was like at that time (big man’s business) and there wasn’t a lot of money.
- Paul also wasn’t ready to smart anyone up either. Tom got smart by osmosis and didn’t act like a complete mark around the office.
- A lot of people told Tom after he start wrestling that they didn’t want him to be disappointed.Tom says you have to have confidence in yourself and he did. The accomplishment for him was making it into the business.
- Tom says he would have been content to end his career after his last run in Tennessee.
Paul Boesche and Gino Hernandez
- Tom says Paul would always pay the bills first. Paul would also treat everyone as if they were special. He knew how important his fan base was and that’s something Tom learned from him. You need to take care of the people who are taking care of you.
- Steve asks if Paul Boesche was Gino Hernandez’s father. Tom says Vice is doing a documentary on Gino and the speculation over the years is that Paul had an affair with Gino’s mom. The Vice people asked Gino’s mom point blank about Paul and she laughed. She had letters from Gino’s real dad and she rebuffed that. Tom used to think Paul was Gino’s father but only Paul and Gino’s mother would know.
Early Career and Working The Territories
- Tom had his first match in Ryan, Texas in 1979. The next week, Boyd Smith asked if Tom would be interested working in Shreveport, Oklahoma and Arkansas. He formed a tag team with Chris Adams
- Tom also worked in LA. The territory was dead but he got a chance to meet the Guerreros and Al Madril (who was miserable all the time). He used to live in the Milner Hotel but then rented a place from Bob Bockwinkel (Nick’s brother).
- He stayed in LA for four years, then went back to Texas, then went to Atlanta, had a stay in Memphis then moved to the Continental Territory. It was a territory that a lot of people didn’t talk about. You may not have gotten rich but you were going to be on the beach and have a lot of fun.
- Tom says the USWA workstyle was borderline ‘rasslin’ hokey. He means that with respect though.
- Tom says his two favorite territories were Portland and Continental. Continental was a cool vibe with no pressure and at that point in his life that’s what he was looking for.
- Tom says Terry Funk was one of his influences. Johnny Valentine was also someone he appreciated. Dick Murdoch as well. A lot of the West Texas guys influenced him
- Steve brings up Dory Funk Jr and when he first started he didn’t get Jr’s style but when he learned more about the business he realized Jr was really good. Tom got to watch Dory Jr when he was young and says all three of the Funks (Dory Sr, Dory Jr and Terry) were great. They brought a sense of realism to wrestling along with Harley Race and Ric Flair when they were world champions.
- Tom says he was OK when he first started doing promos but then people started saying he was copying Roddy Piper’s promo style. He was a guy who he admired. It took him 5 or 6 years to develop his promo skills
- Tom says he liked being a heel more than babyface. He had some challenges in his life which made it easier for him to be a heel. It was more natural for Tom to be a heel, plus he never got close to too many people and didn’t trust a lot of people.
Steve and Tom Start Riding Together
- Steve tells the story of how Dutch Mantell suggested that Steve start riding with Tom Prichard.
- Tom agrees it was Dutch’s idea. Tom wouldn’t want to impose himself on anyone because not everyone knew how to take him.
- The first few times Steve and Tom rode together it was complete silence and awkward. Steve wanted to ask a million questions but Tom seemed like he was in his own world and Steve didn’t want to intrude. It seemed like Tom didn’t want to talk with Steve.
- Tom says this is where he gets misunderstood by a lot of people. He would do things that would irritate people but didn’t always realize it.
What People Thought Of Steve
- Steve talks about his early days in the business and how it was intimidating for him. But he also admits to being a handful at times but that was because he wanted to learn and didn’t want to get left behind.
- Tom says people’s impression of Steve when he first started was that he had potential. After all these years, Steve has never forgotten where he came from. Tom never saw Steve as scared and didn’t think Steve was being an a**hole, it was just Steve trying to find Steve. Everyone knew Steve had something.
- Steve was intimidated with the process and tells the story about wrestling Tommy Gilbert (Eddie Gilbert’s dad). The booker asked Steve to do 8 minutes and Steve thought ‘what am I going to do for 8 minutes’ as that was a long time to him back then.
- Tom says you can tell someone about experience but you can’t teach it. You have to go out and feel it. It’s not just about the move, it’s what you do between the move. It’s the IT factor and there is a reason why there’s a difference between Austin and the Rock compared to Tom or even a guy like Zack Ryder (with all due respect).
Steve wraps up the first part of the interview. Second part will continue on the Thursday episode where they tell more stories from the road, the wrestling business and the JP Wrestling Academy.
Rating – 8.5/10
Full disclosure, I’m a total fan of the history of the business so I really enjoyed this podcast. Both guys are friends and you can hear that through the podcast. It was also interesting to hear them talk about blading, which isn’t something you hear a lot wrestlers talk about openly, especially the older generation. Also, it’s not hard to see why Tom is a top trainer. He has a way of talking and explaining about the business in a way that is easy to understand. Looking forward to part two of this interview. Definite thumbs up recommend from me.
Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post-show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.