Freddie Prinze, Jr. was a guest on Talk Is Jericho recently and talked about his struggles gaining respect in the WWE locker room as a writer for the company in light of his background as an actor. Also Prinze talked about Vince McMahon’s approach to talent, as well as the limits imposed on WWE by Broadcast Standards and Practices. Here are the highlights below:
According to Prinze, he had to work very hard to gain the respect of WWE talent when he first began working as a writer for the company.
“I was very straight forward and humble to the point that just about every guy on the roster thought I was full of s–t. And MVP hated me when I started there because he just thought I was some Hollywood bulls–t guy. I remember the first time I saw [John] Cena, who couldn’t stand me [from] the first day I was there. He called me Ashton Kutcher every day for, like, three months. And then, finally, like, month four or five, I don’t remember how far down the road it was, one of my guys cut an amazing promo in the ring and as soon as he finished, I took my headset off and I was sitting there next to Vince [and McMahon said], ‘ah, good job’, which is the best complement he gives, and John goes, ‘hey, I’m glad you’re here’ and I was like, ‘oh, okay. Right on.’ I didn’t want to sell too much because I was t going to give it to him!”
Prinze compared the WWE roster to a child’s toy chest and he said that, ultimately, McMahon is a big kid who is very protective of his toys, but this protectiveness is from a place of love.
“I don’t mean this in a bad way. I mean this in a very positive way. [The WWE Universe]’s Vince’s toy box. He’s a big kid. He opens up the toy box, he pulls out the toys he likes to play with most at that time, and those ones get great stories and they get great titles and he cares a lot about them. I’m not saying he treats them like toys. I’m painting the Toy Story 2 analogy.”
In Prinze’s view, McMahon was most protective of Kane’s dialogue.
“[McMahon] is so psycho with Kane, like, he’s more sensitive with Kane’s dialogue than anyone in the company. It used to frustrate me to no end. Just a word, like, if you write the word, ‘destroy’, [McMahon would say], ‘Kane would never say ‘destroy’, Freddie! He would say ‘eviscerate”. And it wasn’t him trying to be psycho.” Prinze continued, “when I was there, he had kid gloves with Kane and if you put a ‘the’ in the wrong place, it was like a kid saying, ‘don’t play with my toy like that! I said be gentle!'”
During the podcast, Prinze was quick to defend WWE and its writers, saying that a lot of good ideas and storylines never see the light of day because Broadcast Standards and Practices are too restrictive.
“Censors suck. They just suck and I know WWE is in control, but they still have a buyer and that buyer is USA [Network]. And USA has Standards and Practices and censors and you cannot do what wrestling did in its golden age, where it was say whatever you want on the camera mic, it doesn’t matter. Like, you can’t do that. You will get fined on a weekly basis,” Prinze stated. “Like, [USA Network] need wrestling. It rates higher than their other shows. But they’re the boss and when they say, ‘you can’t do this’, you really can’t do that.”