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Bruce Prichard's credibility


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#41 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 06:41 PM

From what I remember listening to Bruce's show, he definitely has insights that only someone who worked closely in the office could have. Obviously, it comes with all of the usual carny BS, but I don't think he's any more nor less reliable than Kevin Sullivan, Cornette, Bill Watts, JR, Funk, Flair, or pretty much anyone who ever had anything to do with the business.

I think Dave has that very old school smart tendency -- jdw also has / had it -- of thinking that because someone is a BSer EVERYTHING they say has to be BS.

Fact of the matter is, when it comes to what happened in the office, Bruce was there and Dave wasn't.

All anyone can do is check competing accounts against each other.

Things pretty much everyone does, regardless of the field, when recalling things and in autobiography:

1. Exaggerate their own role. This is the availability heuristic.
2. Mis-remember certain details.
3. Embellish certain details.

So obviously basic common sense on this.

Also, given how many Observers I've read through, Dave is not exactly a shining beacon of impartial truth. He had his favourites that happened to be his sources, and had his least favourites who also happened to be the guys who'd crackdown on the newsletters.

There are only a few guys who are SO full of shit that they are literally not worth listening to.

I'd include ...

Hogan probably
Russo
Honky Tonk Man
Iron Sheik
Warrior when he did shoots

That sort of ballpark obviously where you have to take EACH AND EVERY THING with a pinch of salt.

But Bruce is not in that ballpark.

#42 Mad Dog

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 06:47 PM

I find Cornette to be interesting because of his almost obsessive need to write things down. So with Cornette, he has his obvious biases but you also tend to get the clearest picture when he's being honest because he has it written down somewhere.



#43 SomethingSavage

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 08:50 PM

I still to this day love listening to Cornette. I agree with most of his philosophies and ideals regarding wrestling and the "way things OUGHT to be."

But it's weird. Because there are a lot of cases where my idea of talent or skill and his (mostly regarding modern workers) couldn't be further apart.

But when it comes to sharing stories from the good old days or just general discussion about how wrestling should work, I could listen to Cornette all day over just about anyone.

But yeah. Everyone comes with their own prejudices, their own biases, their own slants, and on & on. Everyone is only ever going to give THEIR side of any given story. That's life. That's human nature. You're not going to find anyone that simply delivers 100% undeniable truth.

Might as well go with the guys that you enjoy listening to, in that case.

#44 Mad Dog

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 08:55 PM

I find with Cornette that he's just completely out of touch with modern wrestling. The guys he really likes and speaks highly of have bombed like Seth Rollins and the guys that he hates are the guys that are draws.

#45 Victator

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 09:50 PM

I was poking fun at the other poster for calling "undead monster" and "fire demon" great gimmicks with a straight face.

Yes, they're considered great because Mark Callaway and Glenn Jacobs made them great. But let's not pretend they were good on paper.

Imagine literally anyone else in those gimmicks. It takes a very special performer to make them work. With Taker, we actually have an example of someone else doing it: same costume, same music, same presentation - and it stunk. Remember, for weeks, the Brian Lee Taker was presented as the real deal, with camera angles and other magic tricks obscuring his actual identity, but it somehow wasn't good all of a sudden. The missing, magic ingredient was Mark Callaway.

Well yeah those are great pro wrestling gimmicks. They were great gimmicks. What Kane and Taker did was make them credible long term gimmicks. 

Brian Lee as Undertaker was always intended to be a short term gimmick. Someone impersonating as the Undertaker. You initially think it is Taker then you see the holes appearing. Paul Bearer appears and promises the real thing will appear.

It worked fully as intended. 

I don't even know what mentioning Faux Diesel was suppose to mean. 



#46 fxnj

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 10:07 PM

Fuck the people spazzing out about shodate. The cable news example isn't political at all and actually quite apt for this topic.

 

Everyone knows that any news network out there has some bias or agenda that it wants to push, albeit some are more obvious about it than others. The good thing is that means if a big network gets things completely wrong, the other places will call them out on it. The result is that these networks have a dialogue between them and the consumers are free to choose who to side with. No place is going to be right 100% of the time, so it's great that we have options.

 

The situation with Meltzer in wrestling is that there's only one real source of consistent news, so the consumers have no choice but to accept whatever he says. If you want to learn about what went into some old angle, even now your best bet is to just look at old Observers or ask Meltzer. He tries his best, but he's still a human with his own biases and he's been wrong numerous times. We have a Meltzer thread here with 8000 posts that mostly consist of criticizing him.

 

It's a bit concerning, then, that when an actual insider like Pritchard, who tries to set up a legitimate alternative to Meltzer for historical information and begin the same sort of dialogue that actual news networks have with each other, he gets branded out of the gate as heading some "anti-truth movement." It understandable that Meltzer himself would call Pritchard a con-man as he essentially serves a competition in a space that Meltzer has dominated up to now, but it's not good for people here to just go along with that. 

 

In wrestling the truth is always going to be a lot more blurry than it would be elsewhere, and that's part of the charm. It's nothing but a good thing to have options and for Meltzer to be treated a public figure open to criticism rather than a purveyor of truths.



#47 Johnny Sorrow

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 10:09 PM

Shit, Vic. I was so confused by it I honestly thought he was talking about Issac Yankem.
That's totally on me, to be fair. 😀

#48 C.S.

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 11:03 PM

I don't even know what mentioning Faux Diesel was suppose to mean.

 

Shit, Vic. I was so confused by it I honestly thought he was talking about Issac Yankem.
That's totally on me, to be fair.


Did either of you read the full thread?

My original point was that gimmicks often live or die based on what the wrestlers do with them.

- Red Rooster could have been good. It wasn't because of Terry Taylor.

- Undertaker could have been bad. It wasn't because of Mark Callaway.

- Polka Dot Dusty could have sucked, and it certainly wasn't at the level of NWA Dusty, but he still made it work.

- Fake Undertaker is an example of the gimmick being bad in the wrong hands. Yes, OBVIOUSLY, it was always intended for "holes" to eventually appear. Not sure why that was even mentioned. But at first, everyone* thought it was the real Undertaker - and yet it somehow sucked.
*Everyone meaning "mark" child/teen fans, not Observer readers.

- With Fake Diesel - not the best example, I concede - it demonstrates what Kevin Nash did with a pretty pedestrian bodyguard/muscle type vs. what Glenn Jacobs did.

- While an evil dentist gimmick has delicious horror movie potential, I'm not sure anyone could have made Isaac Yankem, D.D.S. work. Maybe Matt Borne? (The original Doink - another gimmick that was proven to be a slow death in the wrong hands but great when Bourne had it.)

#49 BrianB

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 11:19 PM

I don't think Bruce's credibility is the dirt worst, but it's not generally speaking above Meltzer's (not that Meltzer isn't without errors, but if somebody bothered to compile everything they've said and put it side by side, Bruce would be wrong more frequently.). He strikes me as about like anybody who was involved with events and sometimes a decisionmaker. That's what makes his Vince McMahon perspective so interesting, but it also makes a number of his biases more clear (e.g. he's likely to slam the creative when he was on the outs of that, e.g. Russo although a lot of that era was bad, but it's really night and day). 

 

I'd agree with parv that Bruce isn't on the list of guys you immediately ignore. That list of guys where when they make a claim, you immediately default to wanting 2 independent sources to confirm or seriously entertain their claims. I would say, in general, I trust people like Cornette to be reliable fact-wise, since Cornette took meticulous notes. 

 

I'm going to bring a little bit of politics into things (sorry), but it all feels a lot like the current administration and the amount of leaking going on, people serving their own interests, and how the NYT/Post are handling it. Meltzer's problem, I think, was in the way he presented information. It always felt like a universal truth in the Observer as opposed to "my sources tell me," which would have gotten tedious line after line, but even anonymous sources are treated a certain way in the media. I feel like Bix has written about this re: Meltzer before. I believe that most of the time he wasn't just making things up and he was getting things from his sources, but he rarely attributed the information he received in meaningful, contextual ways and that makes all of it age worse than it probably should.

 

There are times, too, where you can definitely tell that Meltzer was putting together dots in a logical way (in the Bischoff podcast, there was a bit about Hogan's turn re: merch which would have mattered in most other points of history but merch wasn't a big line-item in early 1996 WCW apparently), when he really didn't have sources. It was much more "expert analysis" than news, but even then it was presented as objective and concrete, not just analysis. He was probably right more often than not when he did this, just like we often are when we do it, because if you follow the wrestling industry in any meaningful way, you note causal relationships and patterns, but it was still presented too definitively as "this is why this is happening." 

 

There was often no differentiation between the two.

 

That's fair. It's also a big difference between the Torch and the Observer where facts/reporting are clearly delineated from analysis/opinion. 

 

I was pretty late to the game on reading actual wrestling observer newsletter (well into college), so I was definitely surprised and taken aback at the formatting and presentation from the most prestigious wrestling journalist, especially on how the sourcing can be hard to tell.

 

But the more I've learned about pro-wrestling and its history, the more I can see Dave's approach and why he took it. He's had longer longevity at the top of the pro-wrestling journalism field than anybody else. And not too many of the more traditional journalism type newsletters were/have been able to sustain long runs as newsbreakers.



#50 NintendoLogic

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 11:26 PM

Prichard has a point: Why would Vince hire a wrestler and invest money, promotion, and TV time just for the sake of a rib? Okay, there was the Dusty polka dot look that was supposedly a rib, but I could just as easily see Vince thinking something that gaudy was actually fashionable - after all, look at the outfits Vince himself wore back then. Either way, Dusty earned Vince's respect by getting that over.

 

The WWF had no fewer than three gimmicks dedicated to ridiculing Dusty in the late 80s. In addition to the polka dots, there was Virgil and Akeem the African Dream.



#51 The Thread Killer

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 11:29 PM

The situation with Meltzer in wrestling is that there's only one real source of consistent news, so the consumers have no choice but to accept whatever he says. If you want to learn about what went into some old angle, even now your best bet is to just look at old Observers or ask Meltzer. He tries his best, but he's still a human with his own biases and he's been wrong numerous times. We have a Meltzer thread here with 8000 posts that mostly consist of criticizing him.

 

It's a bit concerning, then, that when an actual insider like Pritchard, who tries to set up a legitimate alternative to Meltzer for historical information and begin the same sort of dialogue that actual news networks have with each other, he gets branded out of the gate as heading some "anti-truth movement." It understandable that Meltzer himself would call Pritchard a con-man as he essentially serves a competition in a space that Meltzer has dominated up to now, but it's not good for people here to just go along with that.

 

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but I don't think Meltzer and Prichard have the same agenda, really.

 

Meltzer reports on what he thinks is wrestling news - that's how he makes his living.  Prichard is now making a living off entertaining wrestling fans, not educating them. I don't know that we can really compare them, although when you think about it they are a lot more similar than you would think. I've lost count of the number of times Prichard has played the "Meltzer has never worked a match or promoted a show, so has no business even talking about it" card.  In other words, he's accusing Meltzer of leeching off the Pro Wrestling business without being a part of it.  Yet without Meltzer, Prichard loses most of his show.  Conrad doesn't have sources for his show outlines, Prichard doesn't have anybody to rant about, and most of all...Prichard doesn't make money from his "Fuck Dave Meltzer" nWo parody shirt...

 

brotherlove1063.png

 

Prichard is pretty much leeching off Meltzer at this point, really.

 

Having said all that, once again I don't think it's Prichard who is the problem.  It's these weird fans who treat everything he says as gospel and use it to troll Meltzer on Twitter, etc.  Then again, Twitter Meltzer kind of deserves to be trolled, so I don't feel all that sorry for him.  You reap what you sow.



#52 C.S.

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 11:33 PM

The WWF had no fewer than three gimmicks dedicated to ridiculing Dusty in the late 80s. In addition to the polka dots, there was Virgil and Akeem the African Dream.


True, but outside of the names and some of the 1980s WWF silliness that applied to many things there, Akeem and Virgil were still presented as legitimate competitors/presences for the most part. Even Polka Dot Dusty, while he was never going to be the world-beater he was in the NWA no matter what he wore, was still positioned as a strong upper-midcard babyface and given a WrestleMania match against Randy Savage. "Macho King" may not have been a main event gimmick, but Randy Savage was still a fairly big deal.

#53 BrianB

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 11:36 PM

 

I still to this day love listening to Cornette. I agree with most of his philosophies and ideals regarding wrestling and the "way things OUGHT to be."

But it's weird. Because there are a lot of cases where my idea of talent or skill and his (mostly regarding modern workers) couldn't be further apart.

But when it comes to sharing stories from the good old days or just general discussion about how wrestling should work, I could listen to Cornette all day over just about anyone.

But yeah. Everyone comes with their own prejudices, their own biases, their own slants, and on & on. Everyone is only ever going to give THEIR side of any given story. That's life. That's human nature. You're not going to find anyone that simply delivers 100% undeniable truth.

Might as well go with the guys that you enjoy listening to, in that case.

 

This is true, and unavoidable.

 

But there's a difference between people like Dave, who will go out of way to dispute and refute Bruno's alleged MSG sell-out record right after his death, and people that will put their own personal opinions on the same or a higher tier than the truth. I highly doubt that if somebody Bruce knew well and talked to frequently died, that Bruce would bother to correct people exaggerating facts about that person. If anything, he's the kind of guy that would enjoy embellishing.



#54 BrianB

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 11:42 PM

Whatever irritation twitter Dave feels over the Prichard trolls or die-hards ragging on him, he probably waves away when he looks at his subscriber numbers.

 

The overall wrestling audience might be more niche than ever, but Prichard and other Conrad shows are organizing and generating a whole audience of people that are interested in pro-wrestling history and finding out the behind the scenes stories...in other words, they're growing the hardcore, possibly a lapsed hardcore audience, that will subscribe to the wrestling observer to look thru the back issues. 



#55 Bix

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 12:17 AM

Lots of different stuff to address so I'm not gonna bother quoting any specific posts:

Bruce is a charming guy when you talk to him, and in private he has zero problem admitting that the Dave stuff is 100% gimmick. Is calling him a con man fair? Well, the CV on his old website did say that he created the American Idol concept with Simon Cowell. It's usually pretty easy to tell when he's spinning a yarn, but where it gets weird is that it feels like some false stories are things he was told and took at face value. The XFL making a profit is one of them, because he's not so brazen as to tell everyone to look up the SEC filings even though they would prove him wrong. This USA Today/Meltzer thing feels like it could be another because it was so oddly specific that it didn't sound like something he pulled out of thin air.

Bischoff is NOT a charming guy, and will threaten to shoot interviews down over the smallest perceived slight. I haven't listened to the new show yet, but I don't see it clicking for a number of reasons. The key with Bischoff is getting access that you are genuinely interested in his side, and the newsletter notes format could easily complicate that.

Cornette, for all of the faults he does have, really does not have a rep as a bullshitter, and rightfully so. Yeah, his collection of personal documentation helps, but it's not JUST that.

I do agree that Dave's writing and reporting style opened him up to much more criticism than he ever really needed. That "people familiar with the matter" or anything like it isn't really an Observer staple tells you all you need to know. It's also a huge complaint of Bischoff that Dave doesn't usually do any kind of attribution, even to "a WWE creative source" or whatever. When Dave acts like this is a ridiculous criticism on my part, I can't tell if he's doing his Twitter/board gimmick or genuinely doesn't get the distinction that Torch and Matwatch were eaten much more like mainstream news reporting. Nobody's asking for names unless they're particularly dense.

I definitely have concerns over Bruce going so hard in the "FAKE NEWS!" direction, too, but R*sso makes him look like Brian Stelter. Thankfully, he has a much smaller fanbase, albeit one that's all improbably large.

#56 El-P

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 03:34 AM

The Houston edition of Back to the Territories is interesting also when you get to the point Bruce is very bullshiting about WWF and Corny obviously knows is bullshiting. And then watch the interaction between the two.

 

Bruce is a profesionnal bullshiter and a great promo (listen to him improv in his show, he's a better promo than anyone on the WWE roster today). And that's part of why his show can be so fun too actually. Conrad and him have a puppet show where Conrad plays the Meltzer side (not only that, but also the "smart fan" in general) and Bruce cuts promos on Meltz. It's like Shane Douglas cutting promos on Flair in 1994. It gets attention and his audience loves it (at this point it really feels rehashed to hell though).

 

As far as the Twitter Stupid Army, it's a way broader issue, really.



#57 Matt D

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 07:40 AM

Lots of different stuff to address so I'm not gonna bother quoting any specific posts:

Bruce is a charming guy when you talk to him, and in private he has zero problem admitting that the Dave stuff is 100% gimmick. Is calling him a con man fair? Well, the CV on his old website did say that he created the American Idol concept with Simon Cowell. It's usually pretty easy to tell when he's spinning a yarn, but where it gets weird is that it feels like some false stories are things he was told and took at face value. The XFL making a profit is one of them, because he's not so brazen as to tell everyone to look up the SEC filings even though they would prove him wrong. This USA Today/Meltzer thing feels like it could be another because it was so oddly specific that it didn't sound like something he pulled out of thin air.

Bischoff is NOT a charming guy, and will threaten to shoot interviews down over the smallest perceived slight. I haven't listened to the new show yet, but I don't see it clicking for a number of reasons. The key with Bischoff is getting access that you are genuinely interested in his side, and the newsletter notes format could easily complicate that.

Cornette, for all of the faults he does have, really does not have a rep as a bullshitter, and rightfully so. Yeah, his collection of personal documentation helps, but it's not JUST that.

I do agree that Dave's writing and reporting style opened him up to much more criticism than he ever really needed. That "people familiar with the matter" or anything like it isn't really an Observer staple tells you all you need to know. It's also a huge complaint of Bischoff that Dave doesn't usually do any kind of attribution, even to "a WWE creative source" or whatever. When Dave acts like this is a ridiculous criticism on my part, I can't tell if he's doing his Twitter/board gimmick or genuinely doesn't get the distinction that Torch and Matwatch were eaten much more like mainstream news reporting. Nobody's asking for names unless they're particularly dense.

I definitely have concerns over Bruce going so hard in the "FAKE NEWS!" direction, too, but R*sso makes him look like Brian Stelter. Thankfully, he has a much smaller fanbase, albeit one that's all improbably large.

1. I'm a lot more in tune with the news in general these days so the attribution stuff bugs me much more than it used to, but at the same time, why would any of us expect Dave really care when it's worked for him for decades and decades? When he made an entire livelihood despite it?

2. You should listen to the first Bischoff podcast. It felt a little like a best possible scenario given the reasons you listed.

3. The idea that anyone finds Bruce more credible than Dave is pretty outlandish to me because it comes down to intent. Bruce has more first-hand knowledge about these specific topics but Dave is the one who gains from finding the truth, to the best of his ability, and that has less (though not no) vested interest. 



#58 JHawk

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 08:51 AM

Bruce Prichard bugs me more and more as time goes on because things that I even know are bullshit are treated as gospel.  The last straw for me was when he tried to claim the plan for the live NBC special was always Savage by countout when even the people involved in the match said otherwise.  (Not that Honky Tonk Man is credible either, but in this case I'd take his word over Prichard's).

 

With the Red Rooster thing, assuming Prichard's explanation of what the gimmick was supposed to be is accurate, why wouldn't somebody have told Terry Taylor to stop wearing a red mohawk and going "cock a doodle do" and start acting like an arrogant prick?

 

I love Bruce's podcast but the bullshit gets thicker and thicker as time goes on.



#59 SomethingSavage

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 12:16 PM

I'm blissfully ignorant to wrestling Twitter happenings, so I'm unaware of whatever Bruce's fanatics are doing to bother people. But let's not even pretend Dave's fanatics are any better.

There are pockets & sections of the internet where "critics" still take Meltzer's every word as gospel and will deliberately hang on his every written word and match analysis, to the point that their own reviews are basically just regurgitated, parroted copies of whatever Dave claims he saw.

Both have their loyal fan base. So Bruce's fans may actually believe that the Red Rooster wasn't a rib, and Dave's faithful may actually buy that Omega vs Okada is the greatest match that has ever happened anywhere. That could be equally annoying.

But some of us *can* cut through the bullshit and just enjoy the useful stuff we get from them anyhow. This is a day-to-day social skill most people should exhibit, to be perfectly honest.

#60 Victator

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 12:41 PM

In the case of Honky and the IC title, his story has never changed. With all the shoots he has done, that has stayed the same. So I believe him on that.

I think with Bruce it depends on how personal something is to him. If he has no personal stake, you will more or less get the truth. The closer you get, the more mercurial the truth gets with him. 

Dave has lost a lot of ground with me in the last year due to his twitter act. The main thing being his cherry picking of what to respond to. If he can't do a smart ass reply his sycophant can fap to, he is not replying. 

Let me give you an example. For some reason, Dave was shitting on Lex Luger, saying he was always bad and just carried. Which is conventional wisdom but also bullshit if you watch his work. You know who else thought it was bullshit? 1989 Dave Meltzer, who said Lex has had too many good matches for it all to be carry jobs. I sent this to him on Twitter and got no reply. Now you can say not everyone replies to every tweet. But I found Dave would reply to me a lot. But here he is silent. 

I had to think Dave Meltzer will never utter the words "I was wrong and made a mistake." If he ever has, I will gladly admit I was wrong.

 

- Fake Undertaker is an example of the gimmick being bad in the wrong hands. Yes, OBVIOUSLY, it was always intended for "holes" to eventually appear. Not sure why that was even mentioned. But at first, everyone* thought it was the real Undertaker - and yet it somehow sucked.
*Everyone meaning "mark" child/teen fans, not Observer readers.

 

Well as a twelve/thirteen year old in 1994, i did not think it sucked. I was very invested in finding out how Ted Dibiase had turned the Undertaker. 






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