NWA Powerrr Results (1/17/23): Billy Corgan Interviews Dr. Thom Prichard

NWA Powerrr Results 1/17/23
Skyway Studios
Nashville, Tennessee

You can follow me on Twitter @TheHootsPodcast

Commentary Team: (Joe Galli & Velvet Sky)

Transcription by Josh Lopez

Joe Galli: Hello and welcome to another edition of NWA Presents. An intriguing, interesting, exciting, entertaining conversation with Dr. Thom Prichard and William Patrick Corgan. Just like we saw with the episode with Austin Idol, we’re going to go deep into what it was actually like to be part of the wrestling business during the territory days. And Dr. Thom is going to be talking about how he broke into the business at just the young age of 15 years old.

An incredible career, going from being a professional wrestler to being the trainer of someone of the biggest stars in the sport of professional wrestling. Also, we’re going to be going back into the safe, into the vault of William Patrick Corgan, going into those memorabilia, the pictures, the programs to get all those crazy stories that only Dr. Thom remembers. Some stories that have never been told on camera before. Let’s get to it.

Who Was The First Wrestler That Caught Prichard’s Attention? 

“Well, it was The Funk Family. It was Terry Funk, Dory Funk Jr, and of course Dory Funk Sr had a unique way to deliver his message on TV, especially as the patriarch of The Funk Family and the heroes of West Texas, those were the guys that drew me in. I mean, just because the heels would do angles with young Terry Funk. The Von Broners who I talk about earlier, would come out and knock Terry out, cut his hair, hit him in the ear, blood coming from Terry Funk’s ear. Back in those days, that was unique. Terry Funk has always been a unique worker, but those guys drew me in. Guys like The Von Broners, The Infernos, the heels, the fact that these guys could get away with criminal acts on TV. And I told my mom, call the cops, she says, look, the cops are already there.

But it was convincing that people would hit the ring. Harley Race, Nick Kozak. Handsome Harley Race turned into Mad Dog Harley Race in the Amarillo Territory. But Harley came and was running roughshod over everybody as a heel. A guy named Grizzly Smith, who is a legit seven-foot-tall red head hillbilly from Kentucky and Grizz’s gimmick was he had the cast iron stomach. I don’t care, you can punch him, you can kick him, you can take a baseball bat, hell, I don’t care if you get on your 16 foot ladder, climb up there and you can jump on my stomach, you can’t hurt me and they would do this every week on TV for about four weeks. Harley Race would be destroying on the same show. Four of five weeks come and Harley says, hey, I got my ladder here, where are you Grizzly, you coward? That’s the one thing you don’t do is call somebody a coward in wrestling, you know that.” 

Who Broke Dr. Thom In? 

“Paul Bosch and The Iron Sheik. But I was working in the Houston Wrestling Office from the time I was 15 until the time I actually started wrestling. I love wrestling my whole life, and as I said, El Palso, Houston, I started writing to the wrestling magazines, Norm Kites and Jim Melby, and I said, could you send me a press pass? I got this great 35-millimeter camera. I think this is going to be one of my ways in, write stories, take pictures, get paid for it. Gong Magazine in Japan published some of my stuff. Paul Heyman, Cornette, Eddie Gilbert, a few guys did it, so we were in that group of guys who loved the business, the only way you could really get information, pen pals and things like that.

I was looking for a way in, and my brother, Ken, who has always been there, picked me up from school one time when I was 12 years old. He called Paul Bosch and got me an appointment to sit with Paul and say he would like to take pictures of Jack Briscoe vs. Wahoo McDaniel next week. So, Paul gave this guy a chance. I had my press pass in my wallet because I carried it everywhere just in case you never know when you’re going to need that. He took the press pass, he pulled something out of his desk, like a drawer and said, okay, so you’d like to shoot Brisco/Wahoo this week? Okay, we can make that happen, just like that. A great man. He could see it in my eyes. My brother never told me what he said to him. My brother was a veteran, Paul was a veteran, there’s a connection.” 

Where Has The Wrestling Business Gone Wrong? 

“Because anyone, anyone can buy a ring, get in the ring and wrestle and become that fantasy character they wanted to become. In the old days, when you had the NWA as the leading organization in wrestling. The WWWF was an offshoot from the NWA. The AWA was an offshoot from the NWA. You had to belong. You had to pay your dues. You had to be licensed. You had commissions. You had people who were sitting in the promoter’s office saying, I wouldn’t book that guy if he was the last guy on Earth, because he looks like crap, he doesn’t go to the gym, he doesn’t have professional gear, he doesn’t believe it himself, so how am I to expect him to make others believe. You have to believe it, man. It’s got to come from your heart.

You have to have the passion and the feeling or it’s not going to come true. You’ve got to believe and that’s the problem I think we’re missing today. You can’t teach seven foot, you can’t teach someone to be physically imposing, you can’t teach that attitude, you either have it or steal it. You know, Larson is alive and well. Take somebody’s personality, make it your own and be believable. You have to practice if you don’t have it naturally. Don’t do it until you get it right, do it until you can’t get it wrong. Ernie Ladd didn’t do it, just pretending, that was Ernie. Without that I think that lacks a certain amount of authenticity. People can smell it, feel it, taste it, but if you’re faking it, phoning it in, not being real, yeah, no man, don’t even try to sell me that.” 

Checkout Episode 343 of The Hoots Podcast

Author: Josh Lopez