Q&A: ‘WOOOOO! Nation’ Co-Host Conrad Thompson Talks WWE Network and More

Ric Flair's podcast co-host reveals what it's like being buddies with Slick Ric.

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For Part I of my interview with Conrad, click here.

For Part II, click here.

John Corrigan: Do you listen to other wrestling podcasts?

Conrad Thompson: “I do, I think Stone Cold was really the pioneer in the genre. I really, really enjoy his. Taz does a phenomenal job. He’s added a video element and he’s a real innovator with that. I really enjoy Chris Jericho’s. He takes a fun, light-hearted approach to it. He takes some chances that other people don’t. And I have so much respect for Jim Ross and his knowledge of the history of the business.

Of all the times I’ve been a fan, you have more as a wrestling fan to enjoy than ever before. Not just from websites, but the podcasts and the Network. We would have just died for this in the Attitude Era.”

JC: What was it like setting up the WWE Network for Ric?

CT: “Well, I think sometimes people are a little harsh on Ric because he calls in to the podcast. The truth of the matter is that he doesn’t want to put one down in the can. I’m not downgrading any podcast, but a lot of guys line up interesting guests and just tape them whenever and now they’re ready to play.

Ric doesn’t want to do that. He wants to talk about current stuff. That just means he’s going to be all over the place. He was in Europe for days and we did one then. The time zone was way different, but we did it. People are critical, but the truth is, he’s a 66-year-old man who has been traveling his whole life. The rage right now for health nuts like Ric is the Fit Bit bracelet. Well, he’s not going to do that because you have to plug it into a computer. As he says, ‘I don’t computer.’

When we have to read copy for the show, he wants me to fax it to him. Hell, I don’t have a fax machine, who has a fax machine? But Ric does because he’s a 66-year-old man. So how to navigate the Network and keep yourself from getting logged out, he needs my help. He’s just a technology-challenged person no different than your grandpa may be. And I mean no disrespect to Ric and he would be really pissed if he read this, but you know, he’s 66. He’s not going to get into all this technology stuff.

It always cracks me up when people ask if Ric does his own Twitter. Like, what do you think? No, of course not. And I know that’s not something I’m supposed to say, but he doesn’t know what the hell that is. He doesn’t know what a podcast is or how to listen and he has a great one!”

JC: (laughs) Well, it’s pretty recognizable that Ric doesn’t manage his own Twitter account, so you’re not exactly letting the cat out of the bag.

CT: “Yeah, he doesn’t do his own Facebook or Twitter…”

JC: And he shouldn’t be. He’s Ric Flair!

CT: “I totally agree. A lot of celebrities don’t do their own stuff. He’s not above doing it, he just doesn’t know how and isn’t interested in learning. It’s not a knock on him, he’s from a different time.”

JC: So after you set up the Network for him, do you guys sit down and watch old matches?

CT: “He watches at his own leisure. And he’s mostly just watching for Ashley’s stuff. The only time he’s watched something of his own was I guess, three or four months ago, and he called me as happy as I’ve heard him in a long time. He said, ‘Damn, I was good. I had no idea.’

He had just watched his match with Vader from Starrcade. He watched it on his phone on some flight. When he landed, he just had to call and tell me because I told him for years that I really enjoyed that one, and he had never watched it.

Up until two years ago, he had never watched his trilogy with Ricky Steamboat. He watched it in my basement. I couldn’t believe that he had never watched it. He always says, ‘Why would I watch them? I was there.’”

JC: (laughs) That reminds me of the podcast where the fan asked him what his favorite movie is. I can’t imagine Ric sitting still for a movie.

CT: “Oh, he is always on the go. He doesn’t like to stay in one place very long. If he’s in Atlanta for more than three days, he’s got to get the hell out of town. But he goes to the movies all the time. He saw the new ‘Fast and the Furious’ movie in the summer and thought that was cool. This time last year he saw ‘American Sniper’ and thought it was the best movie of the year. Yeah, he goes to the movies all the time with his girlfriend Wendy.”

JC: Wow, that’s pretty cool.

CT: “Let me mention this. Here’s something everybody will get a kick out of. Ric Flair’s favorite TV show. Want to take a guess?”

JC: Uh…

CT: “I’ll give you a hint. It’s a sitcom from the 80s and maybe early 90s.”

JC: I want to say “The Cosby Show.”

CT: “That would be hilarious, but no. It’s ‘Married with Children.’ He thinks it’s the funniest damn TV show in the history of television.”

JC: (laughs) You know, I see some similarities between Al Bundy and Slick Ric.

CT: “I’m sure he would drink a beer with Al Bundy and think he’s hilarious.”

JC: So what about you? What’s your go-to on the WWE Network?

CT: “I like the stuff WWE produces in terms of retrospectives. I really like the idea of letting your performer look back and tell you what was important and what he was thinking at the time. I also enjoy the documentary style like the ’24’ for NXT: Brooklyn and WrestleMania XXX. I also like the concept behind ‘Table for 3.’ I think some have been better than others, but I enjoy that aspect of the Network.”

JC: I’m surprised because I thought you would be all about the Vault.

CT: “Don’t get me wrong—I really enjoy a lot of the old stuff. Unfortunately, some of the stuff they have makes it less enjoyable. I am a huge ECW fan, but it is so challenging to watch that stuff on the Network without the original music. I just don’t feel as connected. I’ll be into something, and then they’ll go to a video package, and it will be house music and it’s just not the same.

I’m a little disappointed that there’s not more Crockett on there. I know they have the pay-per-views, and I’m very grateful for that. I have Direct TV, but I added Comcast to some of my TVs just for the WWE 24/7 service because you could go back and watch the Crockett TVs.”

JC: What’s some of your favorite Crockett memories?

CT: “Almost any Dusty and Flair promos. The Midnights, the Rock N Rolls, to me, it’s still the golden age of wrestling. People talk about the Attitude Era, but to me, the golden age was 86, 87, 88, and I don’t know why, but I always loved 89. I didn’t hate 90, either.

89 was awesome. People have been critical of the creative at the time, but you go back and look at how loaded that roster was. And on the WWF side, you had Macho Man and Hogan, and I think that’s just the perfect feud. They were each other’s best opponent.”

JC: Speaking of that timeframe, Ric often mentions how he was offered to jump ship to WWF during one of those summers.

CT: “That’s exactly right. Bruce Pritchard was on a show and he and I made a connection and stayed in touch. He’s a great guy—I can’t believe he’s not with WWE. But he was there back then and said Ric was supposed to come to WWF at SummerSlam 88 and work a feud with Macho Man and then Hulk Hogan. So instead of the Mega Powers exploding, it could very well been Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania V. Had that happened, we wouldn’t have seen the Steamboat trilogy or the I Quit match with Terry Funk. And we wouldn’t have gotten the 92 Rumble like we did.”

JC: How crazy it is to think what if. So you’re friends with Bruce Pritchard–have there been other guys you’ve become close with because of the podcast?

CT: “Michael Hayes is a great guy. We’ve been to each other’s houses. Kevin Sullivan is a phenomenal guy. He’ll call a couple times to just check in. We’ve talked this week about the Charlotte/Reid deal. I’ve recently become acquainted with Jeff Jones from Ring of Honor. J.J. Dillon, Arn Anderson. Arn is probably one of the nicer people I’ve ever met in wrestling. Kevin Nash is the coolest motherfucker who ever lived. Kevin Nash reading a newspaper would be hilarious. I’ve never laughed as hard as when I’m around him.”

JC: How do the wrestlers react when you go backstage with Ric?

CT: “I know my place. I know I’m not supposed to be there, but as a guest of Ric’s, I speak when spoken to and stay out of the way. Along the way, by being polite and respectful, I’ve become friendly with some guys. It seems really random, but I’ve become friends with Kane. I got to know Pat Patterson a little bit, and Sheamus.”

JC: You’re living the dream of every fan, don’t you think?

CT: “Yeah, it’s been surreal. If you’ve been to my house, you’ve seen all the memorabilia I have so I’ve always had an appreciation for it. But the experience of being able to see this stuff up close and personal is an entirely different thing.

My first WrestleMania was WrestleMania XXX and I went with Ric. He introduced me to The Rock and Roddy Piper and Stone Cold. I have pictures of meeting all these guys, and Ric Flair was the camera man. It doesn’t get any more surreal than that.”

John Corrigan
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John Corrigan

Columnist / Assistant Editor at Wrestledelphia.com
John Corrigan
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