Wrestling veteran and former WWE Superstar Al Snow recently joined PWMania.com’s T.J. Stephens for an exclusive interview.
Snow discussed his upcoming comic book, WWE shifting into Triple H’s vision, his wrestling school, doign stand-up comedy, AEW’s issues, and much more.
Below is the complete PWMania.com interview with Al Snow:
You have your hands in so many different ventures outside of wrestling one of these is, you have a new comic book coming out, “The Ballad of Al Snow and Head”
“Also ‘The Adventures of Al Snow and Head’ they’re two separate comic books, two titles. So that one is an individual story that just involves myself character wise.
“‘The Adventures of Al Snow and Head’ is where I team up with other professional wrestlers such as Jesse Godderz of Big Brother fame that we just recently ended the Kickstarter campaign, and with Chavo Guerrero, Jr. prior to that. Coming up soon will be Tommy Dreamer and Scotty 2 Hotty as well and at some point Ricky Steamboat, and I’m blown away and flattered by the artists and of all the the people that are working on these comic books are top name people in the comic book industry, they’re really big time, people. And they’ve done just an amazing job. And the stories are based on the wrestling characters and very true to the wrestling characters. There’s lots of easter eggs in the stories that are related to the wrestling characters. But the stories themselves are not revolving around wrestling, they’re revolving around the fact that all of these different adventures take place in my psychotic head. And so that gives us the freedom to put them in any place at any time. In any situation.
“For instance, the original ballad is set in a post apocalyptic world and where I believe that I’m a detective and run a detective agency that along with Pierre and Pepper and Head, and I try to help people that don’t want my help. Because I’m insane. I basically overhear that a waitress, a barmaid has had her heart stolen, meaning she’s in love, and I take it upon myself to resolve this issue for her and retrieve her heart, even though she’s not actually lost her physical heart. And then in “The Adventures of Al Snow and Head” had the team up with Chavo is set in the old west and Chavo is riding Pepe the stick horse in the story. And the way the artists did it was amazing. Because you never see Chavo’s feet, there’s dust clouds and things and he rides the Pepe as fast as I do a real horse. And we combat a railroad tycoon that’s trying to take over a town. And in the one with Jesse Godderz that’s set, in like the 30s in the 40s, I’m involved in the circus. And then a gimmick that we were going to use in WWE where I have “the swarm”, which are little miniature versions of me, in all my old, different incarnations. And they all attack people at my command.”
The artwork on Kickstarter is phenomenal, so how did you get in touch with these people? And how did a comic book even get on your radar for something that you wanted to do?
“Well the publisher Eric Watkins, he’s also the writer and editor contacted me and was very interested in doing it and was proposing ideas and I said, ‘that’s great, but what if the premise is, is that it all takes place in my psychotic head?’ We’re free to do these adventures anywhere in any situation in any circumstance that we want. Because it’s all just me, in my head, we can do one underwater adventure we can do it outer space, and in all of these different adventures have one commonality to them and that is that it’s all happening in my own imagination in my own psychosis.
“He loved the idea and that’s what we’ve went forward with. For instance, I just stated those different things as far as the adventures bow so and had. The one with Tommy Dreamer is set during the Prohibition days with gangsters and it’s completely different and unique. That’s one of the other things it’s very appealing, all the artwork for every one of these books is amazing. But each one has its own unique individual style that lends itself to the story that’s being told kind of like Mike Mignola is, the artwork they did with Hellboy. That artwork is what also helped tell the story. That’s really a testament to Eric Watkins and Broken Icon comics and all the artists and everything that they’re able to pull that off. The quality of the comic book, and the writing and the artwork and the lettering and the penciling and the inking.
“I’m not dogging anybody, but I’ve seen a lot of wrestling comic books in the past that aren’t quite up to snuff on those levels, and they center all everything around in the in an arena, around the ring, you know. Where this is a completely unique adventure each and every time and it’s true, and honors the characters of wrestling, but it’s not solely about wrestling. So they’re are a lot more fun, they’re are a lot more entertaining.”
What made you decide that comic books were something that you wanted to pursue?
“I love comic books, I’m a voracious reader. I read comic books every single week, the weekly ones I have for years. I had gotten out of reading comic books, I’ve read every piece of classic literature you want to read, and then switched out of that to paperback books. I was on the road so much, I couldn’t, the publishers couldn’t get them out quick enough for me to read, I’d read them too fast. And then that was what got me back into comic books was, especially at a time where the writing of these comic books was becoming so much more sophisticated and elevated and so much more depth to the characters as opposed to ‘Well, I don’t like you, well, let’s just fight,’ and you know, you can relate more to, to the stories and stuff. And then the incredible writing ability of some of these writers just, it’s astounding, So I really started enjoying and getting back into them again and I’ve been hooked ever since for years now. Now I’m getting my own comic book and it’s like, ‘Whoa,’ the only thing cooler is when I’m featured on a video game, or an action figure. Just as an adult, that’s the coolest thing I could get.”
When should we expect a collaboration of Al Snow and Dude Love in one of these comic books?
“You know, I don’t know exactly. We reached out and talked to Mick and Mick was open to the idea and then he just never really pursued it. We were definitely interested in doing something.”
You’ve proven your talent outside the wrestling ring in several different ways over the years. Another one is you are now on stage as a stand-up comic.
“Yes, yes, I am. As far as I know, I mean, I can’t judge but people that go come to the show certainly seem like they enjoy it and are entertained and have a good time and laugh and you know, and I’m very appreciative of that.”
What is the basis of your material? Are you just doing stories from the road? Are you doing no stand up sets?
“I don’t know what you would call it. I don’t really necessarily have a routine per se. I do some weird wacky road stories that I’ve experienced everyone but not a lot. When I feel it and I think of it and I do it. Recently on stage I talked about this one bird that I have in my neighborhood that that we have heat and it’s a true story. Our mailboxes are down by the street away from our house. Not extremely far but at the bottom of the lawn, right by your driveway. Okay, there are multiple mailboxes on this street. All right. And for the last, I don’t know how many years, every spring through summer, there is this bird, and at first, I didn’t really pay any mind to it. Until I started seeing the pattern of every time I look out my window, there’s this bird sitting on my mailbox, nobody else’s, mine, staring at my house. And when I come out the door, the bird sh*ts on my mailbox and then flies away. I have an issue, I started taking it personally because the bird made it personal, and doesn’t sh*t on any other mailboxes. There’s no bird sh*t on any other mailbox. It’s only on my mailbox, and it’s only from this bird. So I’m now trying to find his nest so that I can then be at his nest when he shows back up and I could sh*t in his nest and walk off. Or I can go out on the front porch and eat a plate of eggs every time I see him like, ‘Hey, if you keep sh*tting on my mailbox, I’m gonna eat your children.'”
You’ve got four dates coming up. You’ve got Memphis, Tennessee on November 11. Riverton, Illinois on November 12, which is actually near me. January 14, in San Diego and January 15, in Burbank.
“Burbank, California. And I do tell some wrestling road stories, not just about me and my problems with the animal kingdom, like when I went into the whole bird problem, and then, for a year and a half I thought the animal kingdom had a hit on me, like they were trying to kill me. I had numerous incidents through a year and a half where animals were throwing themselves at my car. I took out like an eagle, a possum, ambushed me by falling out of a tree on a country road and hit my windshield. They were really stepping up their game, sending smaller animals to scout for the larger ones that would then attack me. That went on for about a year and a half. They cause some serious trauma.”
Do you think all this is related because of a certain match you had with Big Boss Man?
“I don’t think so. You know it because it didn’t happen around the same time. And I don’t know what it is that I did to p*ss off the bird or the animal kingdom, but they were definitely, they were out to kill me for about a year and a half. I was like the Jack Kevorkian of roadside animals.”
I don’t think this gets enough credit for what you’ve done here with OVW, Ohio Valley Wrestling. You’ve actually got a course curriculum through the school that’s accredited. What does that entail? What are the different avenues you can take? And how did this happen?
“Well, what we did, myself and my partner, Chad Miller, it took us about two and a half years, it was not easy. It took a long time and a lot of effort. And I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the forms that we had to fill out and put in a binder, I think the binder must have weighed about 10 pounds when we got done of paperwork that we had to go through.
“We created a curriculum that is, we teach both the in-ring skills to prospective professional wrestlers, but we also teach all of the backstage skills of lighting, sound, camera operation, editing, graphics creation, social media management, live event management, producing, directing. We teach all of that. And it’s a two-pronged effort in the sense that if you’re a performer in the ring, and you now have an understanding of just exactly what a cameraman is looking for when they’re on the floor shooting you then when you go to the ring as a performer, you now better know how to play to that camera and capitalize on that very valuable TV time to sell yourself as a product and an attraction and you really have a better chance of success. Not just a simple lesson that so many wrestlers are not taught today of hey, work the hard camera, because you’ve been one of those people behind the camera what that cameraman is looking for and you now better know how to deliver it to that cameraman so that you now on TV come across more like a star.
“The other flip side of this is that with all of the other skills that you’re learning, as far as backstage production, etc, and camera operation, lighting, sound, not only do you better know how to utilize your ring time to succeed, but it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, your in-ring career is going to come to an end someday, whether that be through injury, or attrition or age, whatever it may be, it is at some point going to come to an end. Now you have skills and understanding and experience that can make you a valuable asset, both in the ring and behind the scenes. And you can now continue to be an asset to the wrestling business, and have a career in the same world or pursue it outside of there into other forms of entertainment.
“So doing that type of curriculum, we were able to, you know, apply to the state. And we have become the only one in the world, a wrestling school educational system or institution that is accredited by the State Office of Proprietary Education, every state has one and they oversee secondary education, which is trade schools, universities, colleges, etc. And we’re the only one in the world that is actually accredited by the State Office of Proprietary Education as a trade school for professional wrestling and sports entertainment and broadcasting.”
How does one join your school?
“If they have an interest, they can go to OVWacademy.com and there’s all the information there that they need to get. Our winter quarter starts in January, after the holidays, and we started our next session then so there’s time for people to go to OVWacademy.com and check it out and I’m very, very keen on that.
“If there’s anyone who’s listening to me and have aspirations of wanting to pursue a career, in not just professional wrestling, but anything, keep in mind what your goals are, okay? Then go and find people who have genuine experience that they can now communicate to you to better help you achieve those goals. For instance, in professional wrestling, everyone who gets into it has one aspiration and that is to go to WWE, well, don’t bother going to somebody who’s never been there and never done it. Find someone who’s been there has had that experience and that understanding and that knowledge, they can communicate to you so that when you happen to have an opportunity to get there, you can better capitalize on that opportunity, because they have given you insights that otherwise you would never have gotten if they hadn’t been there before you.
“If you’re one that wants to aspire to go overseas and perform, find someone who has been there, that has done it. That way you can gain insights, and then have a better understanding of what’s expected and how to capitalize on those opportunities when you get them. But don’t bother, even if you apply to a college, and you want to go for accounting, okay? You asked who the professor is. And they go, he’s really good. He was top of the class. All right, what’s he done outside of here outside of college, who’s he worked for? What experience does he has? Well, he was top of his class, he’s never really went anywhere. He stayed here at the college. But he was top of his class, well, then what’s that guy going to teach you as far as accounting? He’s never had any experience in the real world, so, therefore, he has no real knowledge. He has lots of information that he can give you. But he has no real knowledge because at the end of the day, contrary to the popular opinion today, we live in a world of information. You can have all the information you want and that will give you an opinion. You’re entitled to it. You can formulate an opinion like that, but it’s the lowest form of human knowledge.
“In order to have real knowledge about a topic, you have to have a commensurate amount of experience to go along with the information that you have. And those two together are what make you knowledgeable. Case in point you want to go be a doctor. You can go to medical school for eight years. You graduated medical school, you’re not a doctor, not until you have served a certain amount of residency, which is hands on experience coupled with the information and then there you become a doctor. But not until you’ve had that experience. That’s the way it works in life. I can go to Lowe’s, and I can put a new faucet in, but that doesn’t make me a plumber. I can put a ceiling fan in my house, but it doesn’t make an electrician. You understand? I can watch YouTube videos all day and learn how to do different things around my home, but it doesn’t make me that person because I don’t have that real knowledge like that person does.”
Well, there’s someone in the sport of wrestling who does have his doctorate. And that is the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. who just had his last match… in quotation marks. At 73 years old here recently in September, you were there. So how… outside of the obvious because I mean, to be fair, Ric Flair is 73 years old, but how would you rate Ric Flair’s performance in his last match?
“I thought he did great. And I commend him on you know, they told him an awesome story. They built the heat, people cared and were emotionally connected and they created a moment that people will never forget, and he went out on his terms. I say congratulations. So what he was 73, Lou Thesz did his last match when he was I think, in the 70s or 80s.
“Al Costello who was a mentor of mine, did his when he was in his 80s. The misconception these days is that this business is only for the young. And I gotta tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the people that you all idolize from the years past, that were true stars really didn’t get there until they were in their 30s and 40s. Because it takes so long to learn and understand what works and how to do it. That you’re not really, truly successful. And, if they’re really smart, I could go down the list of names that worked into their 40s or 50s or 60s. And we’re still draws, major draws, and could elicit more of an emotional response with a look, because of that understanding and that knowledge than most can do today doing three to 100 things.
“Ric Flair being 73 is irrelevant. Did Ric Flair sell out the arena he was in? Yeah. Did tons of people pay to see them on a pay per view? Yes. What is the job? The job and the objective of any performer regardless is to be a draw be an attraction. Was he? Yes. Kudos to him.”
I was in Nashville that weekend and I think an underappreciated member of that match was Jeff Jarrett and Karen also.
“Unquestionably. I think both of them were so good and Jeff was such a great part of that match and helped to tell that story and do what a heels real job is. His real job is to get that baby face over. The term ‘over’ is to make you want to live vicariously through that baby face. Who in that building, who watching that show did not want to be Ric Flair? And a large part of that was because of Jeff Jarrett.”
You’ve been around the business a long time. You worked with Triple H when you were in the WWF he is now in charge of WWE. Knowing him the way that you do, how do you think the product will slowly shift to Triple H’s vision? And what do you think that envision will be?
“Well as far as his vision, I don’t know. That would be a question for him. But it clearly is going to shift because you have a different person. And so they’re going to have their own different direction. They’re going to have their own different vision and their own different take on how to do it and their own different pace in accomplishing it.
“That’s no different than what it’s been historically, forever in the business when we were in regional territories every territory had its own style, its own direction, its own vision that was dictated predominantly by you know who the promoter or IE Booker, or who ran the company’s direction was. You could you’d go into the New York territory and a majority of the talent were bigger men and they were more slow, plodding, methodical matches You go than the southeast and it was faster paced, you know, more wrestling, switching, reversing, takedowns, escapes. You’d go into Memphis and see more brawling, you’d go into the Midwest and into Detroit and it was a cornucopia of different approaches and styles up and down the card. If you went to Louisiana, bigger men, but there was a mix of smaller, and very logical, progressive, realistic storylines based on whether or not you know, the wrestling business was ‘real’ meaning in a sense of a competitive situation, in that the wrestlers were prizefighters, so you if went anywhere, and you had to adjust and adapt style-wise, because the audiences were vastly different.
“Again, contrary to popular opinion, the United States is not all unified in the same culture. Culture in the Northeast is dramatically different than it is in the Midwest. It’s dramatically different than it is in the Southeast, it’s dramatically different than it does out in the far West or the Southwest, there are distinct differences, and those audiences are distinctly different. So what appeals in one, and works in one doesn’t necessarily appeal or work in the other one and you as a performer back then you had to learn to adapt. The two things that were unified and united was that as performers, and promoters we all sold, who we were and why we were in the ring. Triple H is going to certainly have a different tact, and different direction than Vince did, because Vince had his own unique way of doing things and Triple H is going to have his, and that you will be able to see a definitive difference. All I can do is hope that he’s as successful or more successful than what Vince has been for. The last guy knows how many decades.
“And quite honestly, Vince McMahon is, without a doubt the most successful wrestling promoter there’s ever been and without a doubt, his vision, his direction, is what’s led WWE to be that successful for that long. And now Triple H is going to have his own opportunity. That’s a big shadow to come out of, very big shadow. The challenge is going to be there because right now, he’s in I say, that everyone gets the run, and that means he’s got his day in the sun. Right now he’s basking, it’s the early morning glow.
“People will just moon over you and love you, you know, and we move into high noon, the sun’s in the sky, and you can’t do anything wrong. Then we move into the afternoon and we start getting in the afternoon. Well, now if you’re making you make some mistakes were in morning, low and high noon, they don’t acknowledge those mistakes. But now in the afternoon, we start to kind of acknowledge your mistakes, but we make excuses, we make justifications. And then as we go into late afternoon and early evening, we start to call you on those mistakes, we start to tell you what we don’t like, and then as the sun starts to set, we, you know, we start to become disenfranchised, and we start to complain and we start to and that follows with whether it’s an individual wrestler or a promoter or booker.
“We’re watching it transpire right now with AEW, you know. They came in and there was the morning glow. They couldn’t do wrong. High noon *angelic singing*. Now, we’re getting into the afternoon, people are starting to get cranky. Now it’s up to you to realize that and then to manufacture another day in the sun, as a performer, as a promoter, as an entertainer, you’ve got to, you’ve got to reinvent. I hope that Triple H can do that and just continue to do what Vince has done. It’s for the best interests of the business in its entirety.”
I’m glad you brought up AEW because this is going to be our last question. They seem to be making news for all the wrong reasons right now. And it seems with the recent events between The Elite and CM Punk’s camp, that both the locker room and the crowd finds himself in a rift and you’ve been in backstage for a long time for a few different promotions. Is there a way to remedy this in your eyes? Or should they just start over? Clean house start over again? Clean Slate? I don’t I don’t I don’t know an easy break from this.
“I do and it’s to acknowledge one question… why do you keep picking at the scab? Why do you keep acknowledging it? Why do you not just shift focus, and then now try to focus on the now because it’s all about what you’re selling. Instead of continuing to pay attention to it and draw attention to it, forget about it, move on, sh*t happens. You do that in your own life, you literally do it in your own life, you either dwell on something, and hold on to it and focus all about it, and you can’t do anything to change it, it’s happened, what are we going to do?
“The number one rule in wrestling is to take sh*t and make shoe polish. That’s it. So you got sh*t? Well, what do we do? Do we dwell on it, we just keep worrying about the sh*t, or do we just now start making shoe polish out of it? Go forward, let it drop. And then of course, they’re gonna be fans, they’re gonna hold on to it and try to keep putting a spotlight to it, don’t acknowledge it, don’t put it over, you know. That’s one of the biggest mistakes that every wrestling company today makes and that is that they allow everyone out there to become so familiar with whatever they’re doing backstage, that the fans become contemptuous of it. Because they now feel that they understand and know as much as those that are actually backstage do and they don’t. Because again, they don’t have the experience. Regardless of how much information people have, and there are lots of people as far as wrestling have an immense amount of information. But they have no actual experience inside the wrestling business, which means they have no real knowledge about what’s going on. They have an opinion, and they’re entitled to it. But they have no real knowledge about it. And so therefore, you know, you can either enjoy it for what it is, or you can become so familiar with it, that you become contemptuous of the very thing that you used to enjoy.
“It becomes no more fun for the fans, if they are allowed, literally, you bought a ticket to watch a magician in the middle of his act, or right after his act, he gets done. He saws the woman in half and then he stood up on stage and while you’re watching the show, or right after the show is over, and went ‘Hey, don’t worry about that. I put one girl up here, pull her feet up and put the other girl down there and had her put her feet out there and the blade never came near and either one of them.’ Well, now you get to judge how they performed because you now know what they did and how they achieve the illusion and you now get to become contemptuous of their performance. As opposed to you could have just been in awe and wonder, you know, pulling back the curtain. The most disappointing part of the Wizard of Oz was when you found out it was just a guy back behind a curtain turning a bunch of knobs and cranking a bunch of you know, handles to make the illusion. It was cooler to think he was just a giant green head that was talking with fire and had some supernatural power.”