Tom Prichard Wasn't Happy With WWE's "Cookie Cutter" Training When He Last Left

Dr. Tom Prichard has had more than one run as a trainer with WWF/WWE, but has not been contacted for a return since his brother Bruce gained power.

Speaking with Fightful, Tom didn't seem surprised by that revelation.

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"The last time in Tampa, I spoke to the new guy who was over Talent Relations in not such a flattering way. It was because there were just things that were happening that I didn’t agree with or I willing to fall in life with, I guess. Looking back on it, I could have. Maybe I should have. At the same time, I don’t know how it would have turned out in the end anyway. Because they were trying, I liken it this way, you were trying to run the war in Vietnam from Washington. You saw how that worked back in the 60s, if you were around. You weren’t, but I was. So, we’re down here in Tampa not getting a whole lot of support and not getting a whole lot of communication, and it would be days. We’d ask a question, even call the office, and not always get the right away answer. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we’re presented with this new idea. ‘Do you have a curriculum?’ ‘Well, yeah, we have a curriculum.’ ‘Where is it?’ Okay, to do professional wrestling, it is not an A-B-C-D-E—this is what you do the first week, second, third, fourth. I can make that and I did make that. In fact, the day I had my one year curriculum that they’d been asking for, that was the day I got fired. There’s your way, there’s my way, but there is no right way and the only way does not exist. So, when we had a curriculum, we knew where we had to get the guys. But, what do you need to do this day? What’s the vibe this day? How are they feeling? Where’s their energy level? What do we gotta do? How do we get these guys where we need to them to be? What do we do?"

Prichard's proven track record of developing talent didn't exactly need a lot of refining according to the man himself. Prichard now breaks down matches on his X-Ray With Tom Prichard shows, and has more than one method of helping to establish and impart knowledge.

"Well, my way is this—if you’re not feeling this today, we’re gonna do something else. We’re gonna get to here and then we’re gonna come back to this when the energy is a little bit higher and it’s gonna be more productive. That was my way of thinking. But, if today you say, ‘Okay, we’re gonna do this,’ and they’re just not clicking and they’re just not having it,’ well, let’s move on to something, get your juices flowing, and let’s get something going that way. They wanted something like first week, second week, third week, A-B-C-D. What are you going to do? You follow that rulebook? No. I don’t think they follow it strict as that today, I could be wrong. But, I know they have a regimen. I know they have a way of doing things. Is that always the right way to do it? I never thought you wanted cookie cutter. You don’t want cookie cutter because it becomes the same and everybody’s doing it the same way. Allow these guys to be creative. Allow these guys to try something. Allow these guys to step out and it may work. It may not. But, that’s kind of the way I approached it. Instead of, ‘Today, we’re going to learn how to circle. We’re gonna learn how to keep the guy in the corner.’ If you’re not feeling that, well, let’s move on to something else today that we might do Thursday. We’ll do this on Tuesday. That’s kind of how I thought.

Now, Prichard has his own school with the same rules, the methods he mentioned before. He can do what he wants, and practices what he preaches.

"We do the same things. We do the same elements. We have the same basics, fundamentals. But, I don’t do them exactly in line if nobody’s feeling it. Because I have a different number in class each time. This class we had twenty-one people. I’ve had two people in class. I’ve had one person in class. So, I have to adjust and I’ve learned to see if they’re receptive or not. If they’re hitting this today, great. If they’re not, great. I’m gonna move on, because I want you to stay stimulated. I want you to stay engaged with me. If you’re not engaged in this right now, maybe it’s not something we really need to hit on," Prichard said.

There are some things that particular trainees or wrestlers don't excel at or aren't comfortable with. As Prichard has explained, not everyone needs cookie cutter, rinse and repeat training. He likes to cater things for individuals.

"If you’re not really great at doing a leap frog, there are some things people can’t do. Pat Patterson never took a back drop. He just couldn’t take a back drop. Some people can’t do certain moves because it’s just not there. So, what if we substitute that with, ‘Let’s work on the positives and accent that, as opposed to making you have to do a leap frog or making you have to do a back drop.’ Let’s substitute something else in there. Let’s see what your body type will do. Let’s see what your body language looks like when you do this. It may not be something you’re supposed to be doing. It’s the same approach I do. You’re still going to do the basics. You’re still gonna learn the fundamentals. We’ll allow you to be creative as well as soon as we get six weeks under your belt. If you have a curriculum that says, ‘You have to learn this. You have to learn that. You have to learn this.’ Well, okay. We’ll try it. If you can get it, we’re gonna get it. But, how much time do we spend there? That’s kind of a judgment call, a coaching call. Is it that important? I don’t really think it deterred Triple H’s career too much. So, I mean, everybody has their way of doing things. I have my way. You have your way. The right way, the only way, does not exist. That’s the great thing about professional wrestling. There’s nothing etched in stone that says, ‘This is the only way to do it,’ and that’s a quote from Vince. There’s nothing etched in stone that says, ‘This is it. Period. Done. Over.’"

Accentuate the positives and hide the negatives. If you're great at one thing, it might overshadow what you're not great at. Prichard is big on highlighting that in his training.

"You may be a great talker and not be able to work a lick. You may look great. The Ultimate Warrior. I don’t think anybody ever walked out of the arena and said, ‘Boy, what a headlock that Ultimate Warrior had tonight’ or ‘Boy, what a hammerlock John Cena put on that guy tonight.’ No! Yes, you need to go through the basics and you need to have the fundamentals under your belt. But, the bottom line is you want to connect with your audience and communicate with your audience. Did the Warrior communicate? Hell, he stumbled and fumbled on promos. He grumbled and groaned, but he had that connection, man. Even when people today ask, ‘Who did you watch and why?’ It’s the Ultimate Warrior that comes up. I understand because the colorful, the entrance, the energy and just that charisma was oozing out. That’s really what this is about. The Ultimate Warrior worked on the basics and fundamentals in California. He did go through wrestling school. He did put in that work. Did he need them during his career? No, not really. But, he needed them to get that next step. He needed them to get his foot in the door. So, there’s ways to do it. Everybody has their way of doing things. They obviously didn’t like my way at that time."

You can see our full interview with Dr. Tom Prichard at the top of the page, and can check out his podcast, X-Ray with Dr. Tom Prichard on For more information on the Jacobs-Prichard Wrestling Academy, follow this link.

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