Freddie Prinze Jr

Freddie Prinze Jr. On Why Cody Rhodes Lost At WrestleMania, World Heavyweight Championship Design, MJF’s Brilliance

Freddie Prinze Jr. (@realfreddieprinze) is an actor, producer and former writer for WWE from 2008 – 2009 and 2010 – 2012. He joins Chris Van Vliet in Hollywood to talk about becoming a part owner of the Premier Streaming Network, his involvement at the Premier Streaming Network Showcase on September 9 in Metuchen, NJ, his thoughts on the new WWE World Heavyweight Championship design, why he thinks Cody Rhodes lost at WrestleMania 39, how he and his wife Sarah Michelle Gellar have stayed married for 20+ years, does he think MJF will go to WWE, pitching to Ken Griffey Jr. in the movie “Summer Catch”, the brilliance of Dolph Ziggler and much more!

On why Freddie Prinze Jr. has not started his own wrestling company:

“I have been working on it. I’ll actually talk a lot about the process I wrote, I wrote a wrestling show. And it was also a promotion. It was partially scripted, and then wrestling matches as well. And depending on the talent, you can let some people do their own thing. Some people need to be written for, some people shouldn’t talk, they’re more skilled in the ring than on the microphone. Right? Yeah. But it was different than what is out there today. I felt in a good way. And I started going out with it the traditional Hollywood way, which is find a producer who’s passionate about the material and or showrunner, attach them to the material, and then you add that showrunner producer, and go to networks. I don’t like this process. It adds people that weren’t an organic part of the process to it at a very early stage. And it makes it seem like it’s okay to change everything. It doesn’t always go down like that. But more often than not, it does. And the producers that I found all wanted so much ownership, that by the time I would be done with the network and the showrunner, I’m making less than both of them. And it’s my idea. And that’s normally how it goes when you sell a half hour, or an hour long television show, right? So I wanted to shift or switch tracks, I guess is a better way to say it, and completely self finance, produce and create something that then already exists and licence it then to studios once I can establish what it is the way Vince does Monday Night Raw with the USA Network. He licensed it to them. They don’t own it. He licences it the same way. He doesn’t own the arenas he’s in; he leases them for that night. And that there are ownership laws that exist. But that’s not ownership, right. So I wanted to own it. And it’s an independent wrestling promotion. But I needed an education in independent wrestling from the distribution side, and from the actual physical promotion side as well. Matt Cardona, who we both love, introduced me to the wonderful people that helped create FITE TV, and they’ve created the premier streaming network PSN, you can go on a phone and go to the app store and download it right now. And they have it’s almost like a new cyberpunk territory system, where they’re bringing all these independent wrestling promotions to their network, and you can watch everything they’re doing, but more importantly, everything they’ve done. So a lot of the wrestlers that you can watch are wrestlers that you would see on AEW and WWE, but now you can watch their early matches. You can watch Generico matches, you can watch Kevin Steen, you can watch, you know, all these guys doing their thing at a young age. And with all the new wrestling coming in, they have something, and I usually need to go to my phone for this. But on September 9, in New Jersey, and you [Chris Van Vliet] are actually a part of this, which is so awesome. You’re going to Madison, New Jersey at the Madison Sports Plex. And they’re doing their premier showcase there, which is basically and I love this. Each independent promotion that they represent, sends their best wrestlers to this one show in the hopes that their wrestler will win the Premier Championship, which is a championship that PSN has created and will allow to be defended on any independent promotion that the wrestler wins it from and then goes to. It’s so old school it feels like kumite from the old school Van Damme even though Frank Dukes was a fraud, you heard it. Straight up. That’s real talk. The real ones, no, but it feels like a kumite tournament and you get to have this sort of winner at the end.” 

Will MJF go to WWE?

“I don’t know. You know, the character of MJF will go where the money’s best. But I think special stars get special treatment, and exceptions are made for exceptional people. And I feel like any offer WWE would make Tony Khan would match. And MJF has a tonne of freedom, a tonne of freedom where he’s at. And a WWE you simply don’t. It’s a publicly traded company, there are people to answer to, and I’ve heard that when I worked there. Yeah. So it’s just a different environment. And I don’t know if Max would trust the process there at that company to get him as over as he is at a smaller company. And AEW, by the way, they’re doing fine. They pre-sold over 35,000 tickets in London for a pay-per-view that’s technically two pay-per-views away. So they’re doing well. That’s a big win for them. So as long as they keep producing like that you know, I don’t [know]. If I were him I wouldn’t leave because like the storyline they put him in with the other three, they’re the four pillars. They’re  the young ones that helped build the company with Jericho laying down the foundation right, and Cody. But yeah, man, I don’t, I get the MJF hate, I just don’t agree with it. And I don’t think he would leave. Listen, WWE does great stuff. All right, the whole Bloodline Sami Zayn thing was great stuff. But they also do stuff that feels very tight and constrictive and you feel like the talent is being someone that they don’t believe in. And it’s hard to ask a professional wrestler to just get rid of who they are and be someone else. They’re not a trained actor 99% of the time. They’re amazing in the ring. They know how to do that kind of psychology, but they don’t know how to break down a monologue, which they call a promo. When I was there, that was, I mean, I was literally teaching them what I was learning in acting class on how to break a scene down as far as like, goal, objective route. That’s what I want, that’s what stops me from getting what I want as an actor, what choices am I going to make to get that? Am I going through the objective? Am I going under it? Am I going around? Those were all the things that we talked about with their promos. Like what is it you want out of this promo? I want to get over. Everybody wants to get over, what is it the character wants? He wants a shot at the title. Okay, what’s preventing you from getting that shot at the title? Well this guy is, you know, he’s making me wrestle all these other guys to earn a shot. He’s interfering in all the [matches]. Perfect. What are you going to do? Now what’s the promise you’re going to make to the crowd? What’s the promise going to be? Doesn’t matter how many things he throws at me, it doesn’t matter how many times he cheats, I’m still going to be here. You’re not gonna, you know, then that’s how we would develop a promo basically. But even then, when it was done, sometimes it would get changed last minute, because you know, Vince, caught a wild hare and all of a sudden it was Oh, this sucks. Like he was great an hour ago. Those were your words, this is great, this is sh*t. Like what happened in 60 minutes? You know what I mean? Like who talked to you, man who got to you? What’s his name Kevin? So yeah, man, so things change last minute there at a much higher rate. And I’m sure there’s pros and cons to both companies that people that are more on the inside are far more aware of than I am. But if I were him, I wouldn’t leave. Would you? You finish building your perfect castle, your perfect castle with all the defences you need. You have, the people are happy, they’re well fed. Everyone’s starting to make money. And then you’re just gonna go to this castle over here. No, man, why would you start over? [Cody Rhodes did that]. Yeah, but I think for situations with an older [wrestler] kids and had different priorities than what a young 20 How old? Is he? 24 25 26 is that somewhere in their mid 20s? I mean, your priorities and the way you look at the world is completely different in that age gap between the two men.”

On Cody Rhodes’ journey:

“Check this out. So a buddy of mine, who knows way more about wrestling than me. He’s a Broadway actor and he loves [wrestling]. I don’t want to say his name, because if he got it, right, I don’t want WWE to like prevent him from getting tickets. But he’s, he’s so cool. And he loves wrestling and he hits me up after Cody lost at Mania and he goes, What if it wasn’t Vince that made him lose? I said okay. And he said, he goes what if when he [Cody] talked to Triple H and he says and you know, Triple H is a student of the game like he knows every storyline that’s ever been told. He loved all those old guys. Yeah, said what if the plan was for him to lose all along and they recreate the Dusty Rhodes hard times storyline. So for the whole year, Cody’s just getting F’d time and time and it takes him a year to earn his way back till the very next WrestleMania and Romans The Champ all the way and so I was like well what happens at Backlash? He goes Brock squashes him. Brock kills him. And I go, Dude, you don’t think it kills his career? He goes, if they’re doing the hard time story it doesn’t because that’s what Magnum TA did to Dusty on his road to the title. And I’m sitting there and he pitched it so nice. And I if I could do my impression of him if I could do the whole story, but that would give away who it is. But it was just his pitch was so good. I was like I’ll be damned if they’re not, I’m completely convinced now that that’s what’s gonna happen. So watch backlash. [I think it comes out after then]. Oh, well then you’ll know whether we were right or wrong at that point. But even if he loses, even if he wins, they could still do it. I think they just have to connect it more to The Bloodline story again.”

On the origin of Dolph Ziggler:

“I had to direct the very first Dolph Ziggler segment ever, the first three actually, when he was just coming to [shake everybody’s hands]. Yeah, and Jamie Noble’s [like] I know your name. Like, we were just trying to do anything we could to make this not suck. Because I’ve fought against this idea so much that Vince made me do it. They were like, What are we going to name him? They said Dirk Diggler. And Vince was like, that’s great. And I stood up and I’m looking at the guy who pitched it and I’m like, Dude, you’re gonna we’re gonna get sued. It’s from Boogie Nights. You can’t do that. Why can’t we just give them a normal name? Why does it have to be goofy? And then they were like throwing all these names out there. Well, he looks like Dolph Lundgren. And he’s like, What about Dolph Ziggler? And I literally was like, we’re not doing Dolph Ziggler. And I think this guy, DJ had my back too and was like, Yeah, I don’t, I don’t love that. And I fought so hard. And Vince was like, alright, it’s Dolph Ziggler. And he goes, Freddie, you’re gonna handle that segment. And I looked at him, I was like, what kind of middle finger is that? Just tell me to f*ck off. Why would you do this? And so I went to him, and I think it was either me or Freebird that broke the name to him. And he was just like, okay, and he just went for it, man. The same way he goes for it in the ring, like he committed right away. He knew it was crap, and people hated it till they loved it. It was very reminiscent of The New Day, people hated The New Day. And the same chant that was you suck became Oh my God, we love you guys. And they became and it was the work on the mic in the work in the ring that got those guys over. In Dolph’s case, it was his work in the ring. And then his mic work which developed about a decade into his career now, we’re all of a sudden you were like, here we go. Here we go. Career versus Miz. And those promos were top shelf that I remember that storyline, and I shouldn’t but I do. You know, I mean, that’s how good those guys were in that. And I genuinely thought he was going to lose and that was going to be it and he was gonna retire from wrestling. I mean, that’s how well he made me. But yeah, I was there when they conceived the name, fought against it and was punished for my efforts.”

On the new World Heavyweight Championship:

“I don’t care about the titles. I only care about the person wearing it. I mean, do I have favourite titles that I go oh that looks cool. Sure, but it’s more about the person who wore it and did they make it mean something? Did they need the title to get over? Did they help get the title over like, I think more about the individual than the jewellery and that’s all it is. To me. It’s just jewellery.”

On the success of Freddie Prinze Jr’s podcast:

“Thank you man, it’s Wrestling with Freddie. We call it Wrestling with Friends because my buddy Jeff Dye has been my co-host on it now for two years. And I love talking wrestling. That’s all we do. He’s a stand up comic, so he’s really funny, and his takes are ridiculous and often right. And yeah, it’s just two guys, we don’t talk about the stuff we hate. Although if there is somebody I love that I see something bad happened to, we definitely talk about that because I try to keep things positive and I don’t want to talk about stuff I don’t like.”

On people getting mad at the podcast:

“Some people get mad, but that’s okay. You’re allowed, you’re allowed to get mad and you’re allowed to think my opinions suck. You’re allowed to think, you know, anything you want. I still do the show that I do every week because I love it. And if you think I’m wrong, party on man.”

On being married to Sarah Michelle Gellar for over 20 years:

“I think we’re past 20 Now, I think we just hit 21.I think we hit 21 and I don’t know. I’m a guy. I don’t remember that stuff. But dates, I forgot last year’s birthday until I saw it on Instagram, somebody was like, [I forgot] my birthday, not hers, my own birthday. I was like, Oh, damn. And I said I’m 46 and Sarah said, No, you’re 47. Like, so I’m just not, I’m not that guy. My mind isn’t isn’t on that stuff.”

What is Freddie Prinze Jr. grateful for:

“Health, my kids and sushi.”

Featured image: The Hollywood Reporter

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enter your email address to receive exclusive content from CVV!



Enter your email address to receive exclusive content from CVV!