On this week’s episode of Bruce Prichard’s podcast “Something To Wrestle With,” the main topic of discussion was Prichard’s run with TNA Wrestling. Prichard joined the company in 2010 and eventually became VP of Talent Relations. He worked with TNA until July of 2013.
There are tons of TNA stories included in the podcast but one of the most interesting stories is about former TNA World Champion Bobby Roode. Prichard said that, in 2013, Roode’s contract was supposed to roll over for another year so essentially TNA had the option to extend it for one more year. Prichard said that he signed it well ahead of time and he had the emails and copy of the signature. Prichard said that he got a call from Roode saying that his contract expires in 3 days and he had not heard anything from the TNA office. Prichard responded, “Bobby, I sent you an extension. I signed your roll over a couple of months ago.” Prichard then forwarded the email to Roode but this was the first time that he had heard about any of this. Roode’s contract stipulated that he had the option to negotiate elsewhere if TNA did not sign off on the rollover.
Prichard went to the person that was supposed to mail out the original signed contract that was supposed to be sent to Roode and he says that the person told him that she mailed it out so he asked for a copy of the bill showing that it was mailed out. Prichard said that her face (the person at the TNA office) kind of went white like she saw a ghost and said “well, I don’t know if I can get that.” Prichard was told that there was a problem with their FedEx account so they were only using UPS. Prichard knew at that point that the roll over contract was never sent out to Roode. Prichard said that “the folks that were in charge of actually doing that felt that Bobby Roode wasn’t necessarily necessary and that if his contract expired then they wouldn’t be obligated to pay him what his contract called for and they could renegotiate at a lower rate. The problem with that is that Bobby Roode was worth every penny that he was being paid [and] probably more. The other thing about it was that we had him figured into our [creative] plans. We had long-term plans with Bobby.”
Prichard said that there was a lot of finger pointing and blaming and “he said, she said.” Prichard said that he worked on trying to get Roode to stay with the company. I believe the timeline of this was in early 2013 during the weekend of TNA Lockdown in San Antonio, TX. Prichard said that TNA ended up paying a lot more money in the end (presumably to get Roode to stay) and that there’s a philosophy in TNA people in the corporate office that “if you just let something just go then it would just go away and there were no consequences and I just hated that attitude. I hated being told by somebody that builds power plants (Panda Energy) that wrestlers are just like plumbers – you can replace them with another plumber. That analogy used to drive me absolutely nuts because a plumber can’t paint a picture and tell a story.” Roode eventually left TNA for WWE earlier this year and there were reports that he was owed a lot of money.
Prichard remembered that there was a time that wrestler pay was late by several weeks. He said that he would turn in payroll every week and he was told that the people in accounting would tell him that checks were sent out. Prichard said that they would send him emails documenting the check numbers and dates when the checks were supposedly sent out. Prichard would hear from the wrestlers and they’d tell him that they didn’t receive their checks. Prichard said that the excuse in Dallas was “well, it must be their mailbox or their post office.” Prichard said that makes sense if it’s just a group of wrestlers in the same city not getting their checks but there were people in different cities and different states not receiving their checks. Prichard said, “It can’t be all of the post offices. It’s gotta be something else.” So, he says that pay is now 6 weeks late and it gets to the point where guys are saying that they can’t afford to go to the TV tapings because they haven’t been paid. Prichard said that guys could not afford to park their car at the airport because they weren’t getting paid. He said that he showed up at the TV tapings and by then they received their overnight checks and there were 3 guys with FedEx envelopes in their hands. Prichard opened up the FedEx envelopes and said that they contained checks with postmarks for the dates that match up with the emails that accounting sent him weeks ago so basically they were making out the checks and they were never sent. Keep in mind that this is after TNA told him that they would reissue checks but that’s not what happened. Prichard then brought the issue up to Dixie Carter and the response was “well they got paid.”