Something To Wrestle with Bruce Prichard – Survivor Series 1993
Release Date: 11/30/18
Recap by: Jeff Rush, PWPodcasts.com Assistant Editor
-This is a topic Bruce has wanted to cover since they began the show.
-Survivor Series 1993 was the first WWF PPV to do under a 1.0 buyrate.
-Lex Luger was the anointed one at this time and it wasn’t working. There were doubts internally, but Vince was stubborn.
-This was the last major show at the Boston Garden.
-Bruce tells a story about working a Hart Foundation match as a ref. Neidhart told him to move seconds before an ice pick was thrown in from the crowd. It would’ve hit him.
-JR hosted Radio WWF, with co-host Johnny Polo. The guest was Randy Savage who shot on Hogan hard. Hogan was invited on but sensed something was off and declined.
-The interview was about Savage losing respect for Hogan, saying he lied on Arsenio Hall about using steroids.
-Vince was still reeling from the Arsenio interview and was attempting to own the conversation at this point.
-Crush turned heel by attacking Savage. Vince wanted to get him over. Crush and Savage were friends and Savage wanted to do it himself. This is a weird instance of Conrad sticking to his notes and not paying attention to Bruce’s answers. Bruce has already explained that the two were friends and said at least twice that Savage volunteered to get Crush over. Then Conrad asks what their relationship was like and if it was fair to say Savage was trying to get his buddy over. Look alive, Conrad!
-Sabu wrestled a couple dark matches, but turned an offered gig because of his FMW schedule.
-Bruce says Sabu looked like a younger version of his uncle, the Sheik, and they were looking for foreign menaces to feud with Luger.
-Glenn Jacobs had some tryout matches around this time. Bruce says he was very green. NEW JERRY JARRETT IMPRESSION: Jerry thought Jacobs was as good as Sid.
-Bruce says Jacobs was in Boston for the show and was going to be one of the Knights, but was too green to use in the match.
-Lots of talk about house shows here, A shows and B shows. Bruce says they were in the process of building lots of guys but didn’t have any true stars at this point, at the level guys like Austin and Rock would reach down the road, where their presence alone would buoy a show. A shows were in major markets, B shows in smaller ones.
-Conrad says a few years earlier, everyone wanted to be on the same show as Hogan, since that’s where the money was. Bruce says at this point, they mostly just wanted to travel with their friends.
-Madusa came in around this time. Vince wanted to get the women’s division going and Heyman had been calling, pushing Madusa.
-There was an SNL skit about the steroid trial, but neither Conrad or Bruce had ever heard of it.
-During the summer of ‘87, Vince wanted to put Bruce on play-by-play, announcing with Mike McGirk. The plan was scrapped and the made her a ring announcer instead.
-We finally address the Jerry Lawler statutory rape charges. Lawler has been a topic long mentioned on Something To Wrestle as something they would get to one day. While this isn’t quite that in long form, it’s the first time Conrad and Bruce have discussed Lawler’s legal issues in 1993 at any length.
-Bruce says as it was happening, the last thing anyone wanted to do was talk to Jerry and know anything about it. That includes Vince who offered to help him with an attorney, but wanted to wash his hands of it until Jerry was cleared. As such, Jerry was suspended.
-They discuss the Memphis territory’s reputation for wrestlers getting involved with underage girls. There’s lots of “not saying it’s true” and “rumor and innuendo” though Bruce says he had heard such rumors and it didn’t help Jerry’s case.
-HBK was brought in as Lawler’s substitute. There were no other plans for him on the show since he was doing a suspension storyline. Bruce says they made the call to bring him in as a way of over delivering on the replacement.
The Reo Rogers gimmick
Bruce used to drop into his Dusty impersonation all the time around the office. It was just a go-to of his. Jerry Jarrett LOVED it. After they sent Lawler home, they needed someone to fill in on color. Jarrett suggested Bruce “do that funny voice he does” and become an on-air character. Bruce was like “it’s not a funny voice, Jerry. It’s Dusty.” But Jerry was undeterred and pushed and pushed for Bruce to do his funny voice on the air. Bruce says Vince acquiesced as a way to throw Jerry a bone. So, for the record, Reo Rogers – 100% Jerry Jarrett’s idea according to Bruce.
Bruce says he always did everything asked of him, but this was the closest he came to refusing. He finally called Dusty and explained what they wanted to do. Dusty was like “Fine, you want to make fun of me to get this character over, I don’t care,” and Bruce was like “I’m not making fun of you. They just want this to be a character.” Dusty took the high road, and Vince took that to mean Dusty loved the idea, so they went with it.
Bruce added a lot of components to the character to get it away from being Dusty – a baseball cap and a handlebar mustache, for example. And it pretty famously bombed in short order.
Conrad points out that Cody Rhodes has said he hates Dusty impressions, but that there are two he enjoys – Bruce’s and Paul Heyman’s. This leads to a pretty epic moment where Conrad asks Bruce to do an impression of Paul Heyman impersonating Dusty. Bruce’s brain basically explodes as he tries to pull it off.
Conrad reads more about Meltzer’s coverage of the charges against Jerry Lawler. Its messy, awful stuff, and Bruce says they were kept up on things attorney to attorney.
Lawler defended himself against the charges pretty openly, but also specifically in an interview with Wade Keller. He also continued to perform on USWA TV. Bruce says were he in such a position, he’d be off TV and not talking to any media outlets.
Even though it sounded like Lawler would be cleared by Survivor Series, they never considered bringing him back for the show.
Titan Sports arraignment related to the steroid trial came down that same November. Conrad asks if this is the worst month in the history of the WWF. Bruce says they knew the arraignment was coming, but yeah, it was a bad month.
Bruce says there were people outside the company that felt the WWF was going down. Bruce personally felt the whole thing was a witch hunt.
Lots of more Steroid Trial talk. You can check this episode out for that, but if you’re into this, I’d say you’re better off checking out the episode they did about this topic.
Some brief discussion about Stan Lane, the former member of the Midnight Express, who was brought on as a announcer at this time. Bruce says Vince felt he was too much of an FM DJ, which I guess was his day job, and could never get past that. He tells a funny story about how they would use Stan as the interviewer during talent auditions. After each try out, Stan would ask ho she looked, how he did. Bruce was like “You already have a job, Stan. This wasn’t about you. Don’t worry about how you did.”
They did a Reo Rogers skit on the go-home show to SS where Bruce and Shawn Michaels visit Stu and Helen Harts house. It’s a fake Stu and Helen, but the best tidbit is that they actually used Howard Finkel’s house in CT as the setting. I’ve watched this skit recently and recommend pulling it up. Its crazy to get a look at the real house of Howard Finkel in 1993, and also to basically watch Bruce do the exact same Dusty impression he does on STW on WWF TV 25 years ago.
Regarding the actual Survivor Series Match, which was the Hart Family vs. HBK and a bunch of masked knights, Bruce tells a condensed version of the story he told, I think, on the Owen Hart episode. Bruce Hart pitched the Bret-Owen storyline, but with himself in the Owen role. No one liked that, including Bret, but they all loved Owen in the role, so that went forward.
Bruce also talks about Terry Funk being lined up to be one of the knights. Once Pat pitched the idea that the knights all be unmasked at the end, Terry decided against doing it. He left his knights robe folded outside of Bret’s hotel room door with a note saying his horse was sick, which Bruce says was Funk’s excuse every time he left during his various WWF runs.
I’ve heard this story before, as has Conrad obviously, which made it all the weirder that he got worked up over this. Bruce is like “what are you gonna do? The main story was Bret and Owen at the end anyway and ultimately the knights didn’t matter.” Conrad feels it was unacceptable and gives Bruce crap for not taking more responsibility. I was just like “whoa, tiger. We’ve heard this story before. What are you getting all worked up about?”
They brought the Family Feud host, Ray Combs, in for the show. Bruce says he went way back with Bobby Heenan and they were good friends.
Bruce touches on Vince’s obstinance about brothers not feuding with brothers. He was super opposed to the Bret-Owen storyline at first because of this. He doesn’t have brothers, though, and didn’t realize families fight with each other.
We also go over the details of putting the match together, including Bret reprimanding Bruce Hart, telling him the match was going to be about Owen, not Bruce, even though Bruce kept trying to center it around himself. At one point, Shawn Michaels even stands up and says if my brother was designing the match and was the best wrestler in the business I think I’d shut up and listen.” A rare instance of Shawn and Bret being on the same page.
Lots of bad stuff on this show, including a match involving the Bushwackers and Men On A Mission teaming on the same side against Bastion Booger and others.
One of my favorite stories on the show: They shot a short clip for the PPV of Lex Luger sitting at home in front of a fireplace with his wife and two kids. It was supposed to be a simple video of the Luger family wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Apparently Luger was wound super tight and yelled at his son and made him cry. So his face was all puffy for a while. The thing was a total disaster. Bruce says it took nearly five hours to shoot what amounted to a 30 second clip. It was hot in Atlanta that day, but they wanted the fireplace roaring. The air conditioner would mess with the audio, so that was turned off, and apparently the house was a sauna. Its the first thing to air on the broadcast, so I had to go check it out. It’s horrible. Lex is clearly stewing over his poor son. Most of his lines are done through gritted teeth. It’s amazing.
We wound down with a little talk about Ludwig Borga and the Undertaker’s coat being weirdly lined with an American flag. Conrad also notes that this was Bobby Heenan’s last PPV and that he actually gave his two weeks notice at this show.
Review: I loved this episode. It was a nice throwback of sorts for this show. There were tons of fun Bruce impressions, which is really what put this show on the map in the first place. It was also fun to cover this era of WWF, as it’s been a while. Even though a lot of ground covered here was discussed on previous episodes, you could see why Bruce wanted to cover this show ever since they began this podcast. Had all these stories been told for the first time, this might be the all-time best episode of this show.
Even though we’d heard some of this stuff before, the new items were great. It was super interesting to hear them discuss the Lawler controversy, where Conrad dug in way more than I anticipated. The Reo Rogers segment was a highlight. They’d talked about it a bit before, but the details on this episode were way better. Bruce doing Heyman doing Dusty killed me. And finally, that Luger story at the end was priceless. If you listen to this episode, or are even just listening to this, go to the Network and watch the opening of Survivor Series 93. It’s epic. Rating: 8/10
You can catch Jeff, along with PWPodcasts.com contributors Caitlin Lavelle and Joe Aguinaldo each week on The Pull Apart: The Pro Wrestling Podcast Podcast. To enjoy a ton more VIP content, visit PWTorch.com.