Freddie Prinze Jr. on How Bonding with His Grandma Over Wrestling Eventually Led to New Podcast

WWFreddie — Wrestling with Freddie premieres later this month on Nov. 17 with new episodes airing every Wednesday

Freddie Prinze Jr.
Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty

Freddie Prinze Jr. can credit one special family member with kickstarting his love of wrestling and the WWE.

While recently chatting with PEOPLE about his new podcast, WWFreddie — Wrestling with Freddie from iHeartMedia's My Cultura Network, the 45-year-old actor said his grandmother played a big role in why he become a hardcore fan of the sport.

"My grandma, rest her soul, she took it pretty seriously. She's a Puerto Rican woman and wrestling's no joke down there," he tells PEOPLE exclusively. "... She used to have me do wrestling moves off the couch and smash pillows to try and do it like the Luchadores used to do, and I had tons of fun."

Noting that his late grandmother would take him to matches in her home country, which he described as "crazy," Prinze Jr. says, "They put a cage around the ring. I thought it was a steel cage match, and she said, 'No, that's to keep the wrestlers safe from us because the fans are so crazy.' It was a trip."

"But growing up ... professional wrestling was made for my generation. That was its golden age, its silver age, its platinum. I got all the great ages. So I've always been kind of spoiled," he adds. "... It was a special time and I got to see kind of the evolution of it all these years, and then I got to actually work in the business for a little while and be a part of the behind-the-scenes culture of it, which was pretty sick."

Freddie Prinze Jr.
Jesse Grant/WireImage

Years ago, Prinze Jr. says he went to WrestleMania and ended up meeting with people who worked for WWE. "We were just talking wrestling and they liked my philosophies on their business, and they said, 'You should sit down and speak with Stephanie McMahon,' " he said. "And I did."

A conversation with McMahon led to the She's All That star meeting with her father, current CEO of WWE Vincent McMahon, and Prinze Jr. eventually landing a job working with the organization.

"I was doing some really good promo work for them, which you would call monologues," he explains. "I just wrote a lot of the lines that no director ever let me say, and it worked out really well for wrestlers.

"So I kind of molded from that into kind of an acting coach and helping them develop their own monologues or promos and helping them break down other people's dialogue or, best case scenario, teaching them how to write for themselves to sort of take that third voice out of the equation," Prinze Jr. adds.

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Now, Prinze Jr. is using his love of the WWE to bring to life his latest venture, his podcast with iHeartMedia. The actor says the project will find him sharing stories from his time with the organization, as well as interviewing some of the WWE's biggest names.

"There's a lot of funny stories, [and] a lot of stories that some people won't believe, but I've already had a couple guests on and they've backed up the stories," he tells PEOPLE. "Just because it sounds crazy, doesn't mean it isn't true."

As for guests set to be featured, the father of two mentions his "brother" and "current king of the ring," Xavier Woods, who he has a deep love and appreciation for.

"I love him to death. He's a brother," he says. "I'd lie for him in court. If he needed to get out of the country, I'd get him $100,000 and a plane ticket in under an hour. That's how much I love the guy."

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Throughout the experience, Prinze Jr. will always have his grandmother on his mind and he still remembers her for the hardcore fan that she was.

In fact, Prinze Jr. recounts his grandmother once being upset with his wife, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, for working on 2006's Southland Tales with wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson.


"I remember my wife did a movie with Dwayne Johnson, and Dwayne's [WWE] character, the Rock, turned his back on the people and he became what was known as the corporate champion, and all the fans hated him for it," he tells PEOPLE. "And when my grandma found out that Sarah was doing a movie with him, she got pissed off at my wife for siding with the corporation and not the people."

"She was genuinely upset and genuinely mad at her, I think till the day she died," he adds with a chuckle. "But that's how serious [she] took it."

WWFreddie — Wrestling with Freddie premieres later this month on Nov. 17 with new episodes airing every Wednesday.

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