Twin brothers from another mother. That's what they were called. Skip and Zip, the Body Donnas.
The year was 1996. WWF was short on tag teams, with only The Smokin' Gunns, a mishmash of Ted Dibiase-managed teams, and whoever Jim Cornette managed thrown together. Early in the year, the Gunns went down with an injury, and WWF brought in Phineas Godwinn to pair with Henry, and Leif Cassidy (Al Snow) to form the New Rockers with Marty Jannetty. That wasn't enough, as Dr. Tom Prichard -- formerly of the Heavenly Bodies -- was rechristened Zip, and paired with...you guessed it.
Tom Prichard told Fightful he doesn't look back fondly on the gimmick.
"Well, let me say this—Zip really wasn’t Tom Prichard at that point," Prichard told us during an interview. "It was a horrible time in my life, horrible time in my career. I think it was more of a rib on me. They’ll never admit it. But, it was everything that I wasn’t. I can tell you it was not fun and that’s why I tell people all the time, ‘If you can’t get into it and you’re not connecting with the audience and feel good about what you’re doing, it’s not gonna work.’ So, it wasn’t me. I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t even do my best. Because it was such a horrible gimmick to me. I was not Zip. I played the part of Zip. That’s not what you gotta do. In this business you can’t play a part. You have to be authentic. You have to be the part. That’s what we talk about when we watch these old matches. We talk about the difference between today and yesterday. Yesterday these guys were not playing a part. Bruiser Brody was not playing Bruiser Brody. He was that guy 24/7. Sometimes with the volume turned up. Sometimes you had to turn it down. But, guys like Wahoo McDaniel, Jack Brisco, Terry Funk—they were those people. They were authentic characters. I hate that word ‘character,’ but they were authentic. They were the real deal. When you met them on the street, there was something about them. They were special. These days everybody looks the same—not everybody looks the same—but, most guys are monotone, and look the same, in a variety of ways if that makes any sense. They’re just going out and doing moves for the sake of doing moves, whereas there’s no emotional feeling and no authenticity. With the Zip character, just to tell you, that was terrible for many reasons."
Prichard had a successful run as a tag team wrestler prior, but hadn't appeared on WWF TV much in the months prior. Unfortunately for him, they weren't the most reliable to tag with, and ended up painting him into the situation to be pitched "Zip."
"It was a time after the Heavenly Bodies were done in WWE. My partner, Jimmy Del Ray and I were thrown together after my first partner, Stan Lane just decided to quit. He wasn’t making a lot of money and he didn’t like coming from Charlotte, North Carolina to Knoxville to Smokey Mountain. So, we got Jimmy del Ray. We had a couple shows, pay-per-views there. Then, Jimmy decided to be Jimmy and didn’t want to come back. So, it was one of those things where I said, ‘Hey, if there’s any opportunity, whatsoever…’ It was pitched like this, ‘Well, would you like to cut your hair, dye it blonde and be a Bodydonna?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not,’ and they said, ‘Okay.’ Click. I said, ‘Oh. Wait a minute. Hold on.’ At that time, once again, you have to have the right mindset and you gotta think positive. There was not a whole lot of positivity going on back then for me," Prichard told us.
Looking back, Prichard admits that even though he saw that as being near the end of his career, he could have appraoched things in a different way.
"When I came into it, I came into it with all the wrong way of looking at it and the wrong attitude about it. It was a disaster. That’s how I know and that’s why, when I talk to people about stuff like that, I can tell them. You have to have this mindset. You’ve got to think positive. You gotta believe. You gotta know what you want and you gotta know who you are. So, it was pitched as, ‘Well, if you want this, this is what we have. If you don’t, we got nothing for you right now.’ I understand that. I just wasn’t ready to stop wrestling at the time. But, man, when I got in that situation, I almost wish I would have, quite honestly," Prichard closed.
Skip and Zip would become the WWF Tag Team Champions at WrestleMania XII, but would only team together until September of that year. In June 1997, Prichard hopped over to ECW to lose to his former partner at "Orgy Of Violence."
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 AdFreeShows.com. For more information on the Jacobs-Prichard Wrestling Academy, follow this link.