Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Wrapped Up in History: Dr. Tom Prichard on "Crown Jewel"

The following post is edited from an email I received from Tom Prichard after he had read my new book Crown Jewel. A photo Tom took in Houston when he was 15 years old is included in the book. I sent him a copy, and was really pleased to get such a nice note back from him: 

Thank you so very much for the book. I had a chance to sit down for a couple hours and read it. Read and study the pictures.

A couple times…

I was born in 1959 and wrestling was the first thing I remember seeing on TV that really caught my eye. I grew up in El Paso and the Funks were our heroes. We moved to Houston summer 1969 after Dory won the belt. The first time I saw the belt live was at the Sam Houston Coliseum and still remember how cool it looked. Like you mentioned in the book, a lot of people never saw or knew there was a nameplate. It always had a mystery about it to me anyway and I like seeing the details and intricate designs so many of the older belts have.

I’ve found myself googling “Houston 1969” and getting lost in the buildings, structures and businesses that are long gone but played a huge part in my life. I know we can’t go back and “it ain’t yesterday no more” but reading Crown Jewel and looking at the pictures was like wrapping myself up in a cool blanket and going back in time to some of the GREATEST times of my life!

Crown Jewel is loaded cover to cover with
photographs and memorabilia.

History doesn’t seem to mean much to a lot of the guys in the business today. I can understand in some aspects and in other ways I can’t. It’s being diluted more and more as time passes. We’ve crossed the line, jumped the shark, etc. but I still believe it’s important to know who came before you and what impact they had. Good or bad.

For some reason Shawn Michaels reminds me of Rogers. The cliques, entourage, manipulation, heat, etc. Nothing’s really new except we all get a little older as time passes.

I always wanted to be a wrestler. Growing up it was the Funks who inspired me. I got to meet and become friends with some of the people who I admired growing up. Reading and hearing about how things really went down (according to whoever is telling the story) is still fascinating to me.

I had dinner with Bruno about 15 years ago in Tampa. Sal Corrente invited me and I was stoked! Bruno came across so genuine and nice I had to ask him about the Buddy Rogers match. Knowing the rivalry and bits and pieces of the story I asked Bruno if Buddy had a heart attack the week of the match. Of course Bruno laughed and said no, Buddy actually wrestled the entire two weeks right up to that match. I love the stories, fabrications, flim flam and over all larceny involved with the carnies and showman who found their way in and never left.

If I’m going to be honest with myself I believe those aspects intrigued and attracted me to the business more than anything else. Lou took HIS belt when he dropped the TITLE to Hutton. Hutton never had a belt but he was the champ. O’Connor got the belt and the stories were burned into it from there on out. How crazy is it that nobody knows where it is. That huge part of history seemingly gone forever…

This was a great book for all the reasons mentioned as well as the passion I felt from reading it.

Great job. I really enjoyed it.



Follow Tom Prichard on Twitter @drtomprichard and be sure to check out his podcast Taking You to School with Dr. Tom Prichard, part of the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Empire podcast network.