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Bruce Prichard Discusses How Vince Russo Was Responsible for Taz Getting Signed by WWE, Explains Why They Added a ‘Z’ to His Ring Name

October 15, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Taz Taz’s CBS Sports

– On the latest edition of Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard discussed Taz signing with WWE [then WWF] back in 1999. Taz was previously a top guy and former world champion in ECW before he signed with WWE. Paul Heyman claimed that Taz was still under contract with ECW, but he was never able to produce a contract when WWE signed him. Below are some highlights.

Prichard on Russo being the one to pursue a deal to get Taz signed with WWE: “Oh boy. It’s a convoluted story, and kind of a convoluted deal because [Vince] Russo had contacted Taz unbeknownst to Jim Ross and myself, and Jim was the head of talent relations. And Jim was pissed that Russo was contacting talent and agreeing to terms and deals and things that that was JR’s job and informing JR after the fact. And here Jim is, he’s gotta deal with contracts. Jim’s got to deal with the budget and managing the department, and this guy’s over here making side deals. So, that was Taz. That was a side deal, and we were just kind of told, ‘Make the deal with Taz,’ which became problematic at times because Russo had no idea what the hell he was doing in contract negotiations and would say, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ and the guys would take that as it’s a done deal. Well, it’s not a done deal until you get a contract. And Jim and Vince were the ones at the time deciding who’s getting paid what and what the contract terms were. So, I also had to deal with Taz’s agent or attorney or whatever, who’s not one of my favorite people. [Conrad asks if it was Barry Bloom.] No, I think it was Brad Smalls at the time. Barry wasn’t one of my favorite people at the time either. I didn’t like agents as a whole.”

Prichard on the office perspective hating Barry Bloom: “I like Barry personally. I mean, I’m fine with Barry personally. Having to deal with Barry in early years when I was not used to dealing with managers or agents was a pain in the ass. So, I wasn’t a big fan.”

On how the deal caused friction between him and his existing relationship with Paul Heyman, who ran ECW at the time: “Well, on top of that, I’ve got a relationship with Paul [Heyman]. So, no one told me that, ‘Hey, we’re talking to an ECW talent, Taz,’ and Paul’s getting blindsided by this. Paul’s calling me thinking, ‘Hey. You’re talking to my talent directly. I thought we had an agreement. I said, ‘I’m not talking to anybody, directly, and if I was, I would’ve called you first like with everyone else. If we were interested in someone, I would call Paul first and say, ‘Hey. What’s the deal the deal with this guy?’ So, when I did get involved in it, it was after the fact, and deal had pretty much had already been made, so there wasn’t that much to talk about. But Paul insisted he [Taz] was under contract, and Taz insisted he was not. I said, ‘Produce the contract, and we’ll have our lawyers look at it and see what we can and can’t do.’ I don’t know if any contract was ever presented because the deal was done with Taz, and everybody moved on.”

Prichard on Taz not debuting in WWE until January 2000: “I recall the, ‘Hey. We’ve got Taz now, and this is when he’s going to start. That’s about it. There wasn’t a whole lot to discuss at that point other than, this is where we, make it work, and move on. It wasn’t this big huge deal. He was coming in as ‘Tazz’ and next. It was Paul had expressed that he had had him under contract, never produced a contract, or never produced anything that would make us go back and say, ‘We can’t do this.’ So, it was done, and Taz was set to join the roster.”

Prichard on renaming him “Tazz” for WWE: “We add a ‘Z’ and trademark it. The name Taz, T-A-Z, was attributed to the Tasmanian Devil and owned by Warner Bros, I believe. I don’t think that Warner Bros. or anybody from Warner Bros. cared that ECW was using it.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.