The world of professional wrestling is not only about the physical challenge of beating your opponent, but also one of storylines. The audience becomes engaged in the built up to the match created by the writers. There have been some unusual characters/wrestlers that have graced our live events and screens over the years.
Goldust, Berserker and Repo Man are to name a few; there is one in particular who graced out screens in 1998. Introduced by legendary WWF manager Bobby Heenan and wearing a white suit with what looked to be a sunburnt face and slicked back hair was Brother Love.
Brother Love was not there to speak the word of God, but the word of love. Brother Love entered the ring with his unique stride held the microphone and spoke to the crowd saying “I looove you. I love you repeatedly and then leaving the ring to the bemusement of the crowd, This was the lead up to what was know as The Brother Love show, a rendition of Roddy Pipers – Pipers Pit.
Live and Loud was lucky enough to speak to the man behind Brother Love – Bruce Prichard.
Bruce please take me back to the start where it al began I believe you started at a very young age of 12 as a ring announcer is that correct?
“Well I fell in love with Wrestling when i was about 4 years old and we moved from Elpaso Texas to Houston Texas when I was 5 but I started selling wrestling posters at the matches when I was 10 years old. By the time I was 12 years old, I was the Assistant Director of the local television show they produced each and every Friday night so yes I started at a very young age”.
What did Mum and Dad think of you doing this at such a young age?
“Well we went to the matches; they had matches in Houston every Friday night so we went to the matches live, myself my mum and my brother Tom and I every Friday night and we were there anyway when the opportunity arose to make some money while I was there. They didn’t have a problem with that just kinda never looked back. As I said we were already there and making money was an added bonus”.
What attracted you to wrestling the most?
“I cant even put my finger on it, I think it was just the excitement, the crowd and the way the wrestlers told the story in the ring, that would engage in either fighting the crowd and make the audience want to kill someone or the way they made you love the baby face. Love and Hate that intrigued me more than anything”.
Did you ever want to be a wrestler yourself?
“From the start, that was my dream, I wanted to be a wrestler, I wanted to be in the Main Event and I wanted to be the champion and I wanted to do it all. I landed behind the scenes and I just never looked back. It was something I got back there and the promoter at the time told me “Hey the money is here, you don’t have to take any bumps” and that intrigued me so that’s what I did”.
I remember Bruce when Brother Love was first introduced to WWE bu the legendary Bobby Heenan. How did you get involved with WWE and how did the concept of Brother Love come about?
“Well I had gone to work at WWE in 1987 right after Wrestlemania 3 and I was working behind the scenes producing syndicated television and all the cable shows. I had an idea for this character and I pitched this to Vince, he liked the idea but he told me to find someone to portray that character, I told him myself its me and he looked at me and said “You cannot do it with that face you need to change it up and look different. I then went on to create the look if you will, and it was Vince’s idea to wear more makeup and it was something I loved because it was something a lot of the evangelist of the day would do because they were so phony and they all wore so much makeup it made perfect sense. That was my opportunity to be on stage and perform that was my sick head growing up in the south and loathing evangelist at the time”.
Bruce TV Evangelist were looked down upon at that time in the US, what was the reaction from the wrestlers?
“Well I think for the both part, the guys realised the amount of hatred I got and the heat that I got. There were some who felt it was blasphemy and I was making fun of religion, but once I reassured everybody they got to know I m playing a part, this isn’t real and I never mentioned religion. They got to understand Ok this is just part of it and they understood after that”.
The Brother Love character also created the Brother Love show, which was a rendition of Roddy Piper and in turn created many feuds, what was your favourite?
“Oh gosh I think anything that would get a start, a couple of them first off Hulk Hogan and Big Boss Man was the big one, also Jake The Snake and Ric Martel was one of my favourites. Anything that I got to be a bigger part of I really liked, so those were probably my two favourites”.
Who was your favourite wrestler to work with?
“Roddy Piper, I never knew what was going to come out of his mouth”.
Was any part unscripted or was it all scripted or did it happen just as it did
“I had an idea of what, we went in and we knew what message we had to get across. So as far as scripting word for word never. I couldn’t do that I just would have a horrible time with that. At the time you knew the story you had to tell you knew you had to get across to the audience and you did that. It was my job to make sure we get that story across, if the talent that I was working with if they didn’t do their job to get it across on their end then it was my job to do it and no matter what that the story got told. No scripting it was pretty much off the cuff”.
You were also the first manager for The Undertaker how did that come about?
“Well I had been looking for, it was two fold, I was a big fan of Mean Mark and WCW I had always followed his career, he had a unique style and look and I just enjoyed watching his matches. When he became available I had a concept for a character to be this evil evil character his name was Kane and he was the first man to commit murder and he would be the black to Brother Love’s white, that was the basis of the character, Vince came up with the name The Undertaker and the look if you will, that was the basic concept, Brother love would profess to be full of love and snow would bring in the most evil person you can possibly imagine!”
Bruce you are heading to our fair shores to do a series of talks, what can fans expect to hear?
“Well its going to be a one man show we are going to talk a little bit of my history, tell the audience some of the stories we just cant tell on the podcast. All the caricatures and all of the imitations, everything I do on the podcast you will get a taste of that as well. The part I love the best is the interaction with the audience. They will be able to ask me those question and interactions will help steer the show. No two shows are alike love to just get out and interact”.