The name Freddie Prinze Jr. probably makes you think She’s All That, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scooby-Doo, and most recently, the Punky Brewster reboot. However, beyond the traditional Hollywood acting resume are two stints writing creative for WWE programming.
The lifelong sports entertainment fan recounts those unique experiences on his new podcast WWFreddie — Wrestling With Freddie under iHeartMedia’s My Culture Network. Since debuting on November 17, each Wednesday episode has been grabbing headlines within the industry. We caught up with the star who shares his hot takes on the business since his last stint with WWE almost 10 years ago.
You’re quite the storyteller on the show. Have you heard any feedback from some of your former colleagues?
Freddie Prinze Jr.: Sheamus texted me and he wrote in his Irish accent, “Ah Jaysus Freddie… I love you brother.” I wrote back that I loved him, too. I tell a story about the first promo class that Vince [McMahon] held… I have gotten some feedback. They know it’s all love. I had such a wonderful time. Most everyone was good to me. It’s an old school company. They make you earn respect. That’s how the whole company was. I really responded well to that. That’s why I still have good relationships. Even the ones I didn’t have good relationships with, I still speak openly about. Everything I’ve said isn’t something I wouldn’t say to their faces. I don’t say anything mean or anything.
I talk about how John Cena didn’t like me and didn’t want me there and how it took a good six months before he was respectful to me. But eventually, he was. There was an earned respect. He made me work for it probably more than anyone. I had a disagreement with Triple H when we made Jeff Hardy champion. That affected our relationship. He ended up being right about things. I have no problem being wrong on things. I had an awesome time there. I love telling these stories because it’s literally working for the circus. It’s insane. You’re on the road all the time. I went to every single taping Monday and Tuesday, in the office in Stamford every day of the week. It was a full-time job, and I loved it. Eventually, I burned out. They tried to keep me from burning out. I didn’t want to stop because I was in a good creative mode. I burned out and couldn’t hack the travel anymore.
Often fans like to play armchair quarterback without thinking about the gestation process from idea to what we see on television.
The same thing goes on in Hollywood and I make that comparison. The script the writer writes a lot of times is the best draft for that script. Then there are 47 people who want to have notes…. In WWE, creative has these good ideas, but when it goes through a room of 40 people deep and everyone is allowed to have a say, and sometimes all 40 people do, it’s hard to keep that idea intact. It’s a very tricky dynamic.
You’re going on 20 years of marriage. What does Sarah [Michelle Gellar] think of this crazy business?
She knew how I was even before we started dating. She already knew I was a weirdo and never was going to grow up. I’m 45 and was playing Call of Duty this morning. I am who I am, and she knows that. That’s one of the reasons why we still work because I’ve never tried to change her, and she has never tried to change me. We love and accept each other. I kind of told her after I said yes to [a job at] WWE. I called her from New York. She was in L.A. I said, “So I think I took a job with WWE.” She said, “Wrestling?!” I said, “No, I’m going to write. Vince offered me a job.” She said, “And you said yes? Oh my god. You’re such an idiot.” Then I had her full support. It was a wild job, and I could never go back or do it again. I know what my limitations are and they need 100 percent of you. I couldn’t give it to them once we had kids. I have this plan where one day I want to start my own [independent] fed here in California. One that I know won’t make any money and will be a loss, but I can still stay connected. That I can hire wrestlers and let them do their work. Just locally.
Social media was abuzz where you spoke about the recent WWE releases and that you wish you had your own company.
I was talking to Ariel Helwani about a two-year plan I had. I might have a partner in crime with one of my guests Macaulay Culkin, who has a passion for it as well. So we may do MFW, which does not stand for what you think it does.
All these years later you’re seeing the evolution of WWE and the business in general. From your perspective, what do you think the state of the business is?
I’ve never been more excited with the exception of a few things. Wrestling is like show business; it has ups and downs like a rollercoaster. Some companies are on the up. You can watch AEW and see their original talent development. They are in an upswing if there ever was one. Their women’s division is much thinner and leaner than what WWE provides. In WWE, women’s wrestling I think personally was at a higher place in the last year than it has ever been. I think it has taken a step down a little bit recently… I don’t think the communication in WWE is great right now. They are literally running three shows and one of them is a seemingly separate entity. I loved NXT. The changes they made I do not connect with in any way. I don’t even watch it anymore, which is weird because that is one I loved the most. That’s not for me.
What about the other shows?
I still think there are solid segments on Raw and SmackDown. I know there are bad ones too, but I try not to focus on the stuff I don’t like. I want to see women’s wrestling get back to where it was about a year ago. I think they deserve that time. I think WWE could have its own women’s wrestling show. I think that wrestling is in the best place possible. I like NWA. I think WOW [Women of Wrestling] might have a shot. They have a good showrunner in AJ [Mendez] and a solid home in Viacom and CBS… I still feel motivated and optimistic for the future of wrestling even after WWE sells. And they’re going to sell. Whatever happens, I think there is going to be enough wrestling for everyone, and I think there will be enough brands to make a living.
New episodes of WWFreddie — Wrestling with Freddie drop Wednesdays on iHeartRadio and all major platforms.