Bruce Prichard

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Bruce Prichard
Ring name(s) Brother Love
Reo Rodgers
The Wizard
Bruce Prichard
Billed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Billed weight 235 lb (107 kg)
Born (1963-03-07) March 7, 1963 (age 51)
El Paso, Texas, United States

Bruce Prichard (born March 7, 1963) is a professional wrestling personality, best known as a manager and producer for World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly the World Wrestling Federation), where he portrayed Brother Love, the original manager of The Undertaker.[1] After leaving WWE Prichard was the Senior Vice President of Programming and Talent Relations for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling until July 2013.[2]

Career[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Prichard began his career working for Paul Boesch out of Houston, Texas, as a ring announcer and sometimes referee. Due to Boesch's working relationship with Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation in the 1980s, Prichard would also act as ring announcer for some UWF shows.

After Boesch sold his Houston territory to the WWF, Prichard would move there, initially as a color commentator for televised WWF events from the Houston area.

World Wrestling Federation (1986–1991)[edit]

After entering the World Wrestling Federation, he first occasionally worked as an announcer for the WWF's television programs before creating the Brother Love character.

Brother Love Show (1988–1991)[edit]

In June 1988, Prichard debuted as Brother Love, a red-faced, smarmy, effusive and boisterous "preacher" character dressed in a conspicuous white suit, tight red shirt and white tie, who claimed to preach not the word of God, but "the word of love". He was best known for his disingenuous catchphrase "I love you!",[3] during which he would enunciate each word for several seconds in a thick Southern accent. The character was inspired by controversial televangelists of the time.[4]

Introduced to the WWF by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Love hosted a segment on the World Wrestling Federation's syndicated and cable television programs called "The Brother Love Show", in which he would interview wrestlers. The segment debuted on the June 19, 1988 airing of Wrestling Challenge, and would be "promoted" to the WWF's "A-show," Superstars of Wrestling, by early that fall.

The segment was patterned largely after the legendary "Piper's Pit,"[3] where Brother Love – dressed in a white suit and tie with a red shirt, with fingers full of gold jewelry – would berate face wrestlers (especially Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior) and openly support such heels as "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Bobby Heenan. It was explained that DiBiase was Brother Love's main "benefactor." More than once, a wrestling feud was set up because of what occurred on "The Brother Love Show" (including Hulk Hogan's feuds vs. Big Boss Man (1988–1989) and Earthquake (1990),[3] and the Jake "The Snake" Roberts-Rick Martel feud from late 1990 to early 1991).

Brother Love also featured prominently in WrestleMania V in 1989 where Roddy Piper "de-skirted" Brother Love of his "kilt" after taking over Piper's Pit. A year later, Sgt. Slaughter bestowed a medal upon Brother Love during SummerSlam for being the "greatest American."

Manager of The Undertaker (1990–1991)[edit]

On November 19, 1990, Brother Love managed The Undertaker, who at the time was known as "Kane the Undertaker," for his in-ring debut during a taping of WWF Superstars of Wrestling. That match, and another one for a taping of WWF Wrestling Challenge the following night, aired on television after his appearance live at the 1990 Survivor Series in which he was part of a Survivor Series style match between a team led by Dusty Rhodes and a team led by Ted DiBiase. DiBiase would reveal the mystery partner as The Undertaker. This was the first time Brother Love appeared on television as The Undertaker's manager. Brother Love continued to manage The Undertaker until February 1991, when he sold the contract of The Undertaker to Paul Bearer.[3]

Controversy and release (1991)[edit]

The character of Brother Love was controversial, since he was introduced around the time of the late 1980s scandals involving televangelists including Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. Several of his segments also bordered on the lines of taste; one particular segment involved Love playing the part of a charlatan "faith healer" (where he induced an actor, pretending to be blind and crippled, to "see" and "walk" on command). The actor would proclaim, "I can see!" and "I can walk!" after obeying Love's commands.

Prichard was released from the WWF shortly after the "I Can See!" segment aired (he was "offed" when the Ultimate Warrior attacked him and beat him nearly unconscious, breaking his ribs, and destroyed The Brother Love Show set, slamming the podium, tearing the curtains and knocking down a light). Prichard's final exit was being stretchered away injured although his departure was due to personal problems Prichard was having at the time.

Global Wrestling Federation (1992–1993)[edit]

After his release from the WWF, Prichard eventually joined the Dallas-based Global Wrestling Federation, where he worked as a manager and ringside interviewer between 1992 and 1993, using his real name.

He began as a babyface color commentator, but eventually turned heel right in the middle of calling a match with Craig Johnson. He managed Barry Horowitz in the GWF, and gave him the nickname "The Winner". Horowitz and Prichard feuded with GWF Light Heavyweight champion Chaz Taylor. Prichard said mockingly of Taylor, "He may be a lightweight but he's no champion!" After failing to win the title from Taylor, both Horowitz and Prichard left the GWF.

World Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Entertainment (1993–2008)[edit]

Prichard returned to the WWF in 1993 and portrayed two short-lived characters. He first appeared as The Wizard, a heel color commentator on All-American Wrestling (who never appeared on camera during the character's brief run), and then as Reo Rodgers, a satire on Dusty Rhodes. Rodgers did commentary from time to time in his short stint, and his interview segment, "Reo's Roundup," lasted only two segments before the character was dropped.

After this, he remained behind the scenes, working as Vince McMahon's "right hand man" and also as a writer for some of WWE's shows. However, Prichard has reprised his Brother Love character on occasion:

Brother Love returned to the WWF in November 1995. He hosted the Brother Love Show once again, this time on Monday Night Raw. In what would prove to be a monumental moment in WWF history, Brother Love hosted Ted DiBiase introducing The Ringmaster into the World Wrestling Federation, who would eventually transform into Stone Cold Steve Austin. Brother Love disappeared again in January 1996.

Brother Love resurfaced once again for one night in January 1997, making a surprise appearance on the debut episode of Shotgun Saturday Night, helping the Flying Nuns defeat The Godwinns. Love then named the team The Sisters of Love. The gimmick was quickly scrapped, with the team later finding more success as The Headbangers.

Prichard (as himself) once again managed The Undertaker for a match in Michinoku Pro Wrestling on October 10, 1997, where he defeated Jinsei Shinzaki.

Through the remainder of the Attitude Era, Prichard was occasionally seen on-screen as himself, either cleaning up between matches at ringside, or as one of the people called in to break up a backstage fight. He was also the only backstage employee to have an interview segment on the Raw is Owen memorial broadcast.

In 2001, Brother Love participated in the gimmick battle royal at WrestleMania X-Seven.

On a February 2003 airing of SmackDown!, Brother Love confronted The Undertaker, then portraying a biker gimmick, in his feud against The Big Show. Brother Love pleaded with The Undertaker to forgive Big Show for his recent actions, but The Undertaker however wasn't pleased and gave Brother Love a chokeslam, followed up by a Tombstone Piledriver in the middle of the ring. Love later appeared in the Bar Room Brawl at Vengeance 2003, lasting all the way to the end before being knocked out by Bradshaw.

The Brother Love Show made a short-term return on several SmackDown! brand house shows in the summer of 2003 as a replacement for planned Piper's Pit segments (Roddy Piper had been released from his contract). These segments saw Love and Mr. McMahon attempt to humiliate Zach Gowen, only to get their comeuppance in the end.

On December 1, 2008, Bruce Prichard was released from the WWE by Stephanie McMahon because she felt that it was time for him to move on, which Vince McMahon mutually agreed to. Prichard had spent 22 years with the company.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2010–2013)[edit]

It was reported on October 7, 2010, that Prichard had been hired by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling to presumably reprise the role he had in WWE working as a backstage agent and producer.[5] In May 2011, Prichard was promoted to Vice President of Talent Relations to replace Terry Taylor.[6] On October 17, 2011, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling Prichard was promoted to Senior Vice President, Programming & Talent Relations. In this new role, Prichard oversaw talent relations, talent scouting and development as well as the creative direction of the company.[7]

In May 2012, Prichard began appearing as a judge in the monthly Gut Check segment on Impact Wrestling.[8]

TNA released Prichard on July 17, 2013.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Bruce Prichard is the brother of Chris and Tom Prichard. Prichard suffered two heart attacks in March 2012.[10]

In wrestling[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brother Love leaps from ring to stage". Houston Chronicle. November 23, 2009. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0. 
  4. ^ Krugman, Michael (2009). André the Giant: A Legendary Life. Pocket Books. p. 225. ISBN 978-1-4165-4112-7. 
  5. ^ Martin, Adam (2010-10-07). "Former WWE staff member joins TNA Wrestling". WrestleView. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ Caldwell, James (2011-10-18). "TNA News: Press Release – Bruce Prichard appointed to Senior VP role, TNA looking to expand roster, Prichard & Dixie Carter quoted". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  8. ^ Turner, Scott (May 4, 2012). "Turner's TNA Impact Wrestling Results 5/3: Roode and RVD pick opponents for each other, Gut Check fall-out, Flair calls out Hogan". PWTorch.com. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  9. ^ Johnson, Mike (July 16, 2013). "Two more execs, including head of creative, gone from TNA". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  10. ^ Meltzer, Dave (2012-03-23). "Prichard suffers heart attack". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  11. ^ a b c "Cagematch profile". Cagematch: The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 

External links[edit]