Al Snow Wants to Regulate Wrestling Before the Government Does, Talks AEW, more
Guest: Al Snow
Your Host: James Walsh
Why, a new Al Snow interview with the Wrestling Epicenter, of course! Here we have the new owner of Ohio Valley Wrestling and former WWE, ECW, and Impact Wrestling star Al Snow discussing his fantastic new autobiography, purchasing OVW, his concerns over AEW, and more. This is a thinking fan’s interview. Check it out!
- Click Here to Check Out our May 2019 Interview with Al Snow!
- Click Here to Check Out our August 2017 Interview with Al Snow!
- Click Here to Check Out our June 2009 Interview with Al Snow!
- Click Here to Check Out or April 2008 Interview with Al Snow!
- Click Here to Check Out or June 2005 Interview with Al Snow!
- Click Here to Check Out or December 2004 Interview with Al Snow!
On deciding to write his autobiography:
“This might sound self indulgent but quite honestly, a lot of people have been after me telling me, “You have to write a book. You have to write a book!” And, I was like, I don’t know. I don’t find it that interesting. And, I also didn’t want it to be like everyone else’s book where they come off bitter and like their experience in wrestling was more like a cross to bare and not what it really has been for me… I’ve been blessed! I’m very fortunate to do what I love to do for as long as I have been able to do it. They always say, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I can attest to that. I’ve been wrestling for37 years and I’ve basically been on vacation for my entire adult life. I’m so grateful for everything that wrestling has brought me… Even the bad times. They’re all experiences and moments. And now, it has given me the opportunity to tell really cool stories. (laughs)”
On how he tried to approach the book:
“I tried to be as honest and direct with it and maybe tell some stuff that people don’t know about me. I’ve never really shared a lot of the personal side. That was not how you conducted yourself in professional wrestling. You were the person that you sold in the ring. Even the other wrestlers didn’t see the other sides than just that. I maintained that for years. Some of it was easy to write about. Some of it wasn’t as easy to own up to and take responsibility for my part of it.”
On the meaning of “Head”:
“Everybody thinks that because it is a double ontondra, I was refering to what the double ontondra is. I actually, quite honestly, wasn’t. I was refering, quite honestly, to the head! What does everybody want? What does everybody need? I was trying to set up a basis for me to become jealous of the head and then turn on it. I treated it like it was a real person because of a nervous breakdown he’s wanted nothing more than success in professional wrestling and when he seemed to have gotten it, it is not him that everyone wants, needs, or loves. It is the head! I would eventually turn on it much like other wrestlers did with each other. Kids got it better than adults did. Adults thought, “Oh, kids are going to get the wrong idea.” Kids don’t view the world like adults do. If you were to talk to a kid, he’s going to say, “He’s talking about the head.” They were absolutely right!”
On “Stone Cold” Steve Austin writing the forward:
“Steve is such a fantastic person and I can’t thank him enough for doing it. I’m so flattered by the things he wrote. He’s a great friend. I think he’s only written one other one and that was for JR!”
On talking about things where he doesn’t come off looking innocent in the book:
“I’ve come to accept it. I’ve come to believe that everything in life is experiences that make for good stories that you can tell when you get old. Even some of the most negative experiences that I talk about in the book, 1. I accept my responsibility for my part in it. 2. You into some interesting situations you can bring up in conversation every once in a while. People are like, “What? There’s no way!” I’m like, yep. unfortunately, there is a way. (laughs)”
On deciding to purchase OVW and what OVW’s mission is now:
“What motivated me and how it came about was I met my business partner Chad Miller, whoa t the time was the head of the boxing/wrestling commission. Please understand that I’m not talking about the cosmetic aspect of what I’m about to discuss. I’m talking about the most important facet of it – To have standards! Requirements. A person that wants to get into the wrestling business and gets trained, there should be standards these people should be required to meet as far as athletic conditioning. And, there are none. I found that odd and maybe a little insulting. My beautiful wife who is a licensed masseuse.. If you want to have any other licensed vocation, you would have to go to a school, you have to go and be taught by a state approved certified teacher. You have to do a certain number of hours of training, take a state certified test, before you’re ever licensed to take that vocation. Then, you are required to pursue continuing education to maintain that license. That is just for massaging someone… Cutting their hair, shaving their beard… Be a mortician! And, those people are dead! You can’t do anything to them! But, as a professional wrestler, at the 8 minute mark, you can be in such poor condition that you can put yourself at risk to having a life altering injury or even possibly kill somebody. To say, “Oh, that’s outrageous.” The number of these incidents continues to grow and is on the rise every year. Just the year before last, there was a young man in Oklahoma. He was poorly trained, I think he was not trained. He went in, took a spine buster, he struck the back of his head, he had brain swelling, he was in a coma, and 3 days later, they pulled the plug and he died. I just find it, again, absurd. I found it insulting,… Believe me, I’m the last guy that wants to involve any more government regulations. But, if we’re going to continue down the road that we’re going to continue, One the wrestling business is going to suffer as it already is. And two, at some point, and John McCain already attempted this once and it didn’t get any traction, but as wrestling goes on another up-swing and possibly another boom period and wrestling gains more attention, if you get the right senator that wants to champion the cause… The next thing you know, because we won’t regulate these things ourselves, the federal government is going to decide that they are going to have a Federal Wrestling Commission to set standards. That is going to pretty much be the death of independent wrestling. It is going to be done! I just felt there is no reason why we should just accept the way things are. So, my partner and I (Chad), he decided to resign from the boxing and wrestling commission and we decided to make the change ourselves. I reached out to the Maryland state athletic commission, South Carolina… Of course, Kentucky. They all turned it down. They gave reasons why they couldn’t do something of that nature. It frustrated me. If we continue down this road, we’re going to continue to devalue the profession of wrestling and the audience who spend their hard earned time, money, and energy to come and see some of these independent shows. You see these guys, they wrestle in T shirts… And, again, it isn’t about the cosmetic. You don’t have to look like Charles Atlas. But, you should have the state of conditioning to where at 8 minutes, you should not be blown up to where you are personally at risk of injurig yourself or our opponent. You should be tought the true fundamentals and not, “This is how you take a bump, hit the ropes, and next thing you know you’re doing high spots like you saw on RAW.” That is what happens everywhere. And then, in 4 weeks, 5 weeks, the guy has his first match. That’s unreasonable. That is not the way it is supposed to be done. People are not taught timing or footwork or propper distance, evaluating propper distance. That concept isn’t even really taught anymore. The only thing that is fake about wrestling is the intent behind it as in everything you do in the ring is in the attempt to win and not lose. Other than that, everything you do in the ring is quite real and comes with some risk of suffering a life altering injury. There are plenty of examples of that with guys who are true professionals. D’Lo Brown with Darren Drosdov. Those were two highly trained, accomplished athletes and one couldn’t walk for the rest of his life. Now you have these guys who are barely trained, barely have any physical conditioning… And they’re in the ring doing the same things or taking even greater risks these days because everyone is interested in becoming a meme and getting that internet fame that they think is going to drive their careers. They’re taking bigger and bigger physical risks. To that end, we’ve applied for and have previsional approval from the Office of Proprietary Education to be designated as an actual trade school. Students can apply for financial aid, student loans, get graints to attend. The important thing is that we’re not just teaching the in ring portion of wrestling. We’re also teaching the backstage aspects. Opreating the camera, lighting, sound, producing. Social media management… Promotion! So that, now, a young man or woman doesn’tjust learn the skills to get into professional wrestling but now have an exit plan of skills that they can use at the end of their careers that is involved in either sports entertainment or some type of broadcasting. Like I mentioned before about standards and we made the announcement WrestleMania weekend, we’re actually holding a combine much like the NFL or Major League Baseball doe where we put the sport back in sports entertainment. We’re going to invite athletes whether they have wrestling experience or not. We’re evaluating them on their athletic ability and also they will take an IQ test and a psych evaluation. So, on June 1st, we’re going to have a combine and have quantifiable standards that we are going to score them on.” We will take all types of athletes… Football players, basketball players, former military, gymnasts, dancers, cheerleaders… They’re all athletes. We’re going to take the top 15 and we’re going to give them a 2 year scholarship to the (OVW) school as well as dorm facilities and we have a job placement set up to where they can get part time employment so that they can pay the bills while they’re attending the school”
On the birth of AEW:
“Wrestling has always been very cyclical. I think we’re seeing the cycle come back around again. People are hungry for and are looking for an alternative. WWE has always been the leader. When they’re doing very good, everybody else is doing very good. When they’re not doing so good, it opens up the opportunity for potential competitors. That is where ECW came to prominance and was not considered just a regional deal. It was becoming considered a number 3 in national promotions which was unheard of. It, quite often, begam to dicate style wise to the other programs in the dicates of how they produced and directed the show and psychology… Everything. People were looking for something fresh. Wrestlers are nothing more than a product. They are peanutbutter. People don’t buy a new car every few years because they need one. They do because the car companies bring out new models with different features. But, Randy Orton has been in WWE since when? He’s great, amazing, he’s a worker in every sense of the word. But, at some point, the fan tires or wants to see something different. Even if they just go away for a whileand come back much like what Taker does. And now, we have that opportunity again. We are poised to potentially have that interest. The only thing that worries me is back then, you had a lot of talent that had a lot of experience from a different generation back then. Now, the talent has experience but not in the same manner. That could play itself out. The other problem is, it seems to me anyway, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, New Japan… I would assume AEW is as well…Even WWE is to some extent as well. They’re all trying to capture that existing wrestling audience. Back then, VInce McMahon was all about trying to capture the casual audience, Mr. and Mrs. Walmart. That is where success was found. It seems everyone is after the same pie and trying to cut a piece of that same pie instead of trying to create a way to capture the casual audience. ”
On if long-time antagonist Mick Foley has read his book yet:
“I don’t think he has. I don’t even know if he knows I have one. I talk to him. We did a comedy tour in Australia last year. I opened for him and we had a lot of fun. If he finds out, which he will, it is going to be… You know… He’s Mick! It is to the point now, anybody that would be… Because it has gone on for years! (laughs) I’m begging to think you (Mick) has some sexual proclivity towards me because why would you be that obsessed with one person to that degree? (laughs) I mean, it is disarming! It is like, God, get another hobby! (laughs)”