The return of Bruce Prichard to a key backstage position in WWE this past week took many by surprise. Prichard represents a different era of WWE, having been a central behind the scenes figure during the Hulkamania and Attitude Eras. His hire seems to suggest that Vince McMahon is getting desperate in his attempt to fight a new impending wrestling war while also trying to reverse a worrying ratings slide.
Prichard has been hired as Vince McMahon’s number two, which is a very interesting move politically considering that Prichard and WWE COO Triple H reportedly had a falling out in 2008 that led to Prichard leaving the promotion. That this has taken place in the same week that Vince called up NXT’s four top stars apparently without Hunter’s knowledge suggests there is a power struggle of sorts taking place behind the curtain.
It is also worth noting that the hire came in the same week that producer Arn Anderson was let go (and Arn is fairly close to Triple H because Hunter was a huge Four Horsemen fan) and just weeks after the hires of Shane Helms, Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, Sonjay Dutt and Shawn Daivari as backstage personnel and the promotion of Steve Corino from NXT coach to producer.
According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, the idea to bring Prichard back to the creative team in such a prominent role was first mentioned early last week, but he has actually been traveling and working with the company as a consultant since January.
Meltzer noted that Prichard was a “solider” in the previous wrestling war against WCW from 1995-2001 and that nobody else on the creative team was around at that time so does not have experience of fighting a wrestling war.
When Vince found himself under similar pressure in early 1997 he promoted Vince Russo to head writer, which sparked a change in ethos for the promotion and was the catalyst for the creation of the Attitude Era. Could this hire be a sign of similar seismic changes?
Tonight’s episode of Raw will be the first day on the new/old job for Prichard, so it will be very interesting to see whether his influence causes any significant changes or whether he has merely been appointed to serve as a Vince McMahon yes-man to back up the WWE Chairman on major creative decisions.