September 12, 2004
Turfing of Prichard a mystery
Last week there was some shock in the industry at some levels when "Dr." Tom Prichard was fired from his position in WWE as a trainer, working out of their Stamford office. The move paved the way for former ECW World Champion Tommy Dreamer to take over the position.
The move was surprising mostly due to the fact that Tom's younger brother Bruce has been one of Vince's "confidantes" for several years. (I remember being on the phone one night with Vince when he was at a restaurant/gas station fueling up the limo, and hearing him yell: "Bruce, get me a cup of coffee"). Getting Vince's coffee right is beside the point, as whatever Bruce's role was over several years, there were few people who remained in the office inner circle longer. Bruce, Jim Ross and Pat Patterson were as close to the inside as you get without your last name being McMahon (or Lesveque).
Most felt that due to Bruce's powerful position that his brother would be insulated from this type of termination, but apparently not. Rumour is that Bruce is on a leave of absence of sorts and may not have even been aware. Many of the Internet conspiracy theorists who think they have Vince figured out but have never met him, were suggesting this week that Vince may have done it to send a message to the troops that no one was untouchable. One should always consider the source when reading that type of comment.
Vince is definitely somewhat Machiavellian, which is part of his charm I suppose, but this likely has more to do with a smart business move in putting Dreamer in the spot and is a reflection more on the new power of some (like Johnny Ace) than the old power of others (Bruce). Tom is a great guy and an excellent worker, but in every business things change and the internal order of the universe changes with it, or vice-versa.
Johnny Ace is likely the most powerful person in the company outside of the immediate McMahon family and while no one knows if this was his call, it is clear that he has passed J.R. and Bruce in the food chain. On the subject of food, one must always remember that in a Machiavellian business you eat what you kill. No remnants of the old order left behind is standard operating procedure in a big corporation. Whether this is the case or there are other details that we will never know is anyone's guess, but the situation is more an interesting snapshot of the corporate culture than anything else.
From WWE's perspective, Dreamer will be fantastic at his job, having come up the hard way and earned everything he has in the business. More than most, Tommy also has a real appreciation of what young talent goes through in trying to get a break. In ECW he was the guy who was not just helping the young guys, but actually wrestling them on pay-per-view and putting them over. Also, Tommy is one of the genuine nice guys in the industry. However you feel about internal politics, the end result will bring dividends to the WWE and its shareholders.
Steve "Dr Death" Williams underwent surgery related to his throat cancer. Doctors removed his voice box. Steve is said to be doing well in recovery after the procedure ... Apparently both John Cena and Undertaker are exempt from the WWE's controversial dress code policy. 'Taker due to his status in the company and Cena because of his hip-hop image. There is no upside to this policy -- it makes little sense and irritates talent, while doing absolutely nothing to help business ... Chris Jericho goes for an Intercontinental Title record this weekend at the pay-per-view ... Christian is back from his injury and looks tremendous ... Lance Storm continues to train wrestlers in OVW for WWE and is doing an excellent job.