Bruce Prichard was a producer for WWE in 2005 when the Royal Rumble match ended in a botch between Batista and John Cena. Prichard appeared on the latest edition of the Wrestling Inc. Podcast and discussed the mistake with Raj Giri, Glenn Rubenstein, and Chris Featherstone.
The plan for the 2005 Royal Rumble was for Batista to win the match and go on to the main event of WrestleMania. While he was attempting a Batista Bomb, Cena countered with a head-scissors takedown and both he and Batista fell out of the ring at the same time.
Prichard said backstage there was a bit of a panic before officials decided to check the footage to see if Cena landed first. Unfortunately, both of them hit the floor exactly at the same time. So when that solution din't work, Vince McMahon had to improvise.
"The initial reaction was, 'F**k!' The second reaction was, 'Let's take a look at it and see if, hopefully, Cena hit first,'" Prichard explained. "We looked at it and every angle, there was no angle that you can even argue that Cena hit first, they hit precisely at the same time... You couldn't have planned this better, they landed at the same time so Vince just went out and decided, 'Start it over, g*damnit, just get them out of there!'"
The match was restarted and Batista eventually won. Prichard said it's not the first time the WWE had to adjust on the fly. He recalled a story from the first Royal Rumble where in the planning stages producers forgot to determine who would eliminate Rick Martel. Martel lasted in the match longer than initially planned before they realized someone had to get him out of there.
"Sometimes it's not a perfect world, it ain't ballet, and things are gonna happen, so you make the best of it and you adapt. The very first Royal Rumble we ever did, Pat Patterson laid it out and we forgot to get Rick Martel out," Prichard said. "He knew he wasn't winning, but he just stayed in because he didn't have anybody to eliminate him. He was still in the ring for a long time and we're looking at it and I'm going, 'Who's getting Martel out?... We gotta get Martel out of there.' So the next guy we sent down we said, 'Go in and tell Martel, just eliminate Martel, get him out of there.'"
You can watch the full interview in the video above. Prichard and his "Something to Wrestle With" podcast co-host Conrad Thompson will host a live episode of their show at the Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat NBA game on January 19th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Tickets are only $35 for the podcast and the game, you can purchase them at BoxOfGimmicks.com.