Growing up as a fan of southern 'rasslin in Alabama, Conrad Thompson never thought things would turn out this way. And as a child of the late 80's and early 90's? He never could have dreamed that so many of his fellow fans would ever hear his voice.
Conrad Thompson began podcasting in 2014, when he became friends with Ric Flair, and decided to record an interview with The Nature Boy as a one-time thing. Then, everything grew from there.
He hadn't been a full-time broadcaster or a member of the wrestling industry; he was simply a fan. The Alabama native worked in the mortgage industry when he began collecting Ric Flair memorabilia. Through some friends he made in the industry during this time, he had the chance to finally meet up with the Nature Boy — and the rest is history.
After doing two different shows with Flair, the former world champion decided to step away from podcasting to pursue other projects. However, Conrad Thompson kept on going, and launched highly successful programs with the likes of Bruce Prichard, Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, and Arn Anderson.
Recently, Thompson unveiled his newest project, The Kurt Angle Show, with the former Olympic gold medalist and multiple-time world champion.
Now widely recognized as the "podfather" of pro wrestling podcasting, Conrad Thompson took some time to discuss his career, his new show with Angle, and the current wrestling landscape.
Thompson says that while he enjoys his career on the airwaves, it all started out as somewhat of a "happy accident". And Thompson certainly never planned to have five simultaneous shows with five of the biggest names in wrestling history.
"The (original) motivation was, I thought it would be fun to set an ask fan questions to Ric Flair as a one-off," Thompson told sportskeeda.com about his start in the wrestling industry. "At the end of that? He liked it, CBS liked it, and I became an accidental podcaster."
"And, it has worked. We had our best year ever, both in the mortgage and the podcasting business last year. So it's been a happy accident, to say the least. I don't know that I ever expected to have more than one podcast. So, there's no way I would imagine that I would have as much as we have going on right now.”
Conrad Thompson says that the launch of 'The Kurt Angle Show' was a bit of a lucky break, as the former WWE and TNA Superstar approached him with the idea to work together.
Kurt approached me and said, ‘Hey Conrad, I've been approached about doing a podcast, but before I did something, I thought I would ask about you doing a podcast with me’.”
And of course... when Kurt Angle asks you if you want to do a podcast with him, you jump at the chance.”
As someone who now works with AEW commentators Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone, Thompson says he keeps a close eye on their product.
He also added that the cooperation between All Elite Wrestling and other promotions like IMPACT and New Japan has him fired up as a fan.
I'm super excited. You know? I think it took someone like Tony Khan who realized that the old way of thinking is maybe a little bit out-dated, and a little short-sighted. This is going to be good for everyone involved."
And in the end? He’s sort of the ‘big dog’. I know some people are going to hear that and argue that … But no matter how you slice it? AEW is the number two to WWE, and it’s a long way before we have a discussion about number three, in my opinion."
So, I think Tony is making the right move here. It’s what I would do if I were a wrestling promoter. Because, I think that, he - like me and you - is a big wrestling fan. I think that’s the big difference. I mean, Tony is a fan. He’s uniquely qualified to know what we want to see, because he’s one of us.”
Even though he says it was never his intention to become as big in the podcasting game as he is today, Thompson says that he has no interest in ending the ride he's currently on.
"I don't think there's such thing as an end game (to his podcasting career). I recently had that question, 'What's the end game?' "
Thompson likened his business to many others, and said that if you can contribute to the professional wrestling industry and still maintain your profit and credibility, it's a win-win. He says that as long as he can continue to create compelling conflict that entertians the masses, he will continue on his podcasting journey.
If it's a profitible and sustainable business? You don't do (quit). You keep it going. I just want to continue to grow. I don't know what that looks like... but I know it's been a lot of fun."