RF Video Shoot Interview with Al Snow, Volume 1


This was filmed in April of 1998

The interview was conducted by Eric Gargiulo

It runs for two hours and seven minutes long

He became a fan of wrestling as a kid while watching the Sheik’s territory then wanted to get into the business while watching Georgia Championship Wrestling and started to get magazines and call offices of Verne Gagne among others until he called Gene Anderson and got invited to a tryout camp that cost $250. He sold his car and took a bus from Lima, OH to Charlotte, NC then walked 5 miles to a hotel and was out of money already. He got to the camp and about 25 guys where there and then Ole Anderson arrived with a few guys and they ran around the parking lot of the Charlotte Coliseum for five miles then went inside and did 500 free squats then ran around and up-and-down the stairs of the arena then after that did 400 pushups. Then, while waiting to go into the ring, you had to run back-and-forth with someone on your back or do jumping jacks. Snow said that by the time you got inside you were so blown up. Ole asked him if he wrestled before and Snow lied and said he did and told him that Jim Lancaster said hi but used his real name and Ole had no idea who that was then Snow did some moves with various guys trying to get out of chinlocks and leg locks with Ole yelling at Snow if he was going to give up as Snow jokes with the interview that he probably would have but his jaw was clenched so tight that he could not speak. Ole had been stretching guys out hard before that and even broke one guy’s jaw after knocking him out then had Gene get in and put Al in a chinlock but Gene started to dig into his mouth and eyes as Snow had no idea what he was doing until Gene clenched his balls then Snow grabbed Gene’s nuts as they tussled as Snow wanted to get out. Snow said his nose got broken as Gene also threatened him after kicking him in the ass. Snow said he thanked them both and said he would see them soon as Gene said he doubted that then Snow bought a ticket to the show and the next day woke up with bite marks all over his back.

After taking the bus back home, Snow contacted Lancaster, who first laughed then told Snow that a few other guys called him wanting to get trained and used mats since Lancaster did not have a ring. Snow had trouble finding a building until he found a community center and used the boxing ring a few times a week.

Back to the training with the Andersons, Snow said they ran that to make money as they never called anyone back nor did he see anyone there in the business as later on in Smoky Mountain, Sandy Scott told him that the Andersons would run those camps with the sole intention of making money and not training prospective wrestlers and later on he saw them while he did jobs for Crockett when they came through Ohio and West Virginia but they never recognized him.

Snow said he got married and had a regular job while wrestling on the side. He noted that he was referred to as “Wrestling’s Best Kept Secret” then got noticed during a match against Sabu around 93-94 and that got him booked more. Gargiulo mentioned how Feinstein paid Snow out of his own pocket to work a show he was booking at his local high school.

When asked if he was frustrated over not getting a break, Snow said he viewed everything he did as having a purpose that will eventually paid off but once he opened up his school and saw that some of his students were having more success then he did start to get a bit frustrated but it got a lot more frustrating when he got to the WWF.

Back to his matches against Sabu, Snow was asked about the aerial-style he used. He said that he did whatever style that would help get the match over and if he did copy a move from Sabu, he figured since Sabu came up with it first that he would miss the move and let Sabu hit it and would adapt to whatever style was necessary to get over the match. He then talks about the progression of the business how eighteen years ago a suplex was the finisher and now its just a highspot as he talks about when a move gets over, everyone wants to try it then it gets old as they keep having to amp up the craziness to get the fans to pop. He then compares the Lucha Libre style in America to watching fireworks as the fans go “ooh and ah” but do not have any attachment to the matches and that it will not put people in the seats. He does call it a nice addition to the shows but that heat is what sells tickets.

On why his initial ECW run ended so quickly, Snow said that Cornette asked him to go to SMW and team with Glen Jacobs (Kane) when Eddie Gilbert left to go to Puerto Rico and that Paul Heyman was not booking him as much as initially promised.

His initial impression of Smoky Mountain was that it was a good avenue to get to the WWF and give him his break. He then talks about how he hates doing promos as this was his first time doing them and they had a set amount of time for each promo and had to get across several points in just a limited amount of time.

Snow talks about being loyal to Cornette as he always stood behind him and was even the only one who did so in the WWF.

On teaming with Glen Jacobs against the Rock n’ Roll Express, Snow said that Morton, along with Ricky Steamboat, were the best babyfaces in the business. He then said he never traveled with anyone who he was teaming with but broke that rule in the WWF when he traveled with Marty Jannetty. He said it was hard to travel with someone who you were with essentially married to as you were teaming with them daily.

When asked why SMW went out of business, Snow said it was due to them having the same people over and over again then said that wrestling was like a movie that needed questions and answers and when the fans knew what would happen before buying a ticket, there was no reason to come to the shows and there was not a lot of talent to come in at that time either. Snow also said that Cornette’s role with the WWF took up a lot of his time too and he could not devote himself as much to the company.

Snow talks about what makes you want to watch a wrestler in the ring and how its not what you do but when and why you do something and not a lot of guys have the experience to do that. He then says that WCW and WWF should be kissing Heyman’s ass for grooming guys for them to use in the future as there are no more territories and their training camps are not going to find people. He says there is a reason guys start at the bottom and work their way up before getting ready for the push. He said that fans are sophisticated today and that they can tell when a guy is not ready and needs to get carried in the ring, citing Rocky Maivia as an example.

He talks about going to WCW and how he was told by Kevin Sullivan to come to Center Stage but was never given any directions. He said that Dave Penzer was a dick the entire time and wanted him to sign a piece of paper but did not want to tell him what it was so Penzer stormed off when Snow refused to sign without knowing what it was. Terry Taylor and Sullivan then came out and asked why he did not sign as Snow explained he just wanted to know what it was as Sullivan said it was just a piece of paper to sign so he got paid for the tryout and Snow signed but said that Sullivan thought he was a dick after that and  despite having a good tryout with Ric Flair, he spoke with Bischoff who was going to offer a contract after the next PPV then Snow said that he was speaking with Jim Ross in the WWF and Bischoff told him that he owed it to himself to seek out the best deal then later on Snow noted that Taylor, who was nice to him in person, was ripping him on the WCW Hotline for his attitude as Snow was taken aback as Taylor was the nicest guy to him there. Later that week, Ross called and he flew up to meet Vince as he notes how the way Vince markets his company compared to WCW and it like night and day as the WWF gives you the tour and fine accommodations.

Snow said Vince asked him what he wanted, which was an opportunity. Snow said that he left and a few weeks later, Jeff Katz called him and said that Sullivan was trying to get a hold of him but Snow said it wasnt too tough to do then he ultimately signed with the WWF.

On how the Avatar gimmick came about, Snow said that Mortal Kombat was big and he was doing the Shinoni gimmick at the time. Vince originally wanted him to do vignettes to build up his appearance and it was going to be exactly how they would end up marketing Glacier in WCW but when he showed up, he was told then he would be on a live RAW. He then said he was not used to the ropes the WWF used and was using a lot of springboard moves. Snow said that he thought the match was good then had a good match the next night with Chris Candido then a few house shows and did nothing until working a few squash matches. Snow said he was told by others that he was perceived as being cocky and the “independent kingpin,”  which rubbed guys like Kevin Nash the wrong way. Snow said he didnt work again until April 1996 with the New Rockers gimmick.

When asked about the Kliq, Snow said they indeed ruled the WWF, essentially acting like second bookers. He said it was obvious too. On whether or not the Kliq disliked him to his face, Snow said no but if they did hate him they weren’t going to tell him to his face as that is how business worked.

Snow also said that locker room morale was horrible at that time as there was nowhere to go and no one to talk too with your problems.

He talks about trying to talk to Vince about his problems but Cornette called him instead on Vince’s behalf as Snow explained how it was difficult to even get the chance to speak with Vince. As the New Rockers, he knew they were done when they were asked to put over the Harris Twins so he approached to Vince at TV, who told him to call the office and he would get back to him but that never happened as Cornette again called him back a few weeks later and calmed Snow down. Again, Snow approached Vince at TV about his character and how he feels he got the Leif Cassidy gimmick over to a point and worked hard and has charisma, wanting to get a chance to do something. The next night, he sat down with the Smoking Gunns and how Vince wanted Billy to walk out yet have Bart beat the New Rockers by himself. Marty threw a fit then left even after Jake Roberts was brought in to calm them down as Snow jokes about how ridiculous this was but remained a professional. They were told that they did not want Bart to look like shit as Snow questioned what does that make them look like by jobbing to one guy.

Still on that match, Snow said that he went over a couple of spots with Bart then Jake Roberts walked in pissed off and told him that he wasn’t always rising to the occasion as that set Snow off, who told him that he didnt give a fuck what he thought as he busted his ass in his that role. Jake said that Vince thought the same as Snow challenged him to go to Vince together. Snow talked about how he always volunteered to go over while teaming with Marty and he had nothing to lose at that point as he jobbed all the time anyway and took pride in everything he did. He then sat home for a while shortly after that until working at Survivor Series. Marty got hurt and couldnt work the show so Bob Holly, who was going to leave the territory the next day, was his partner yet they asked Snow to do the job anyway as he saw that as the ultimate sign of disrespect.

Snow tells another story about how he was asked to work against Tiger Ali Singh in England and how despite being a nice guy he was terrible in the ring and not ready for a push. He was then told that Singh was going to make the company money and the next night, they had a production meeting where Cornette came out and told Snow they wanted him to put Brakkus over. Cornette went back to the staff and said Snow refused, the first time they have done so as Bruce Prichard said they wanted to fire him as Cornette said he wants to quit then Jerry Brisco suggested they withdraw his pay but was reminded he was not being paid anything as Snow said the company was pissed as they could not punish him and the first time he said no to something they wanted to let him go.

We have reached the phone call portion of the show and its a few questions about if he wants to go to WCW or WWF as he said not at this time.

Snow talks about the Head gimmick, which is sitting next to him during the interview. He said that it was brought to a show by a fan to give to New Jack to use as a weapon then he took that to replace the head that he broke. Snow also jokingly called Feinstein gay, who denied the allegation.

More phone calls as one fan accuses Snow of running away from him when he asked for an autograph. The fan was apparently a wise ass who was chased away by Balls Mahoney. He is still under WWF contract at this time despite being in ECW. A lot of these calls are a waste of time, similar to the “YouShoot” fan submissions of people trying to get themselves over. Snow was good natured in goofing around with the callers.

He talks about the “Job Squad” and how it started as a joke at catering once when everyone was part of a gang to he said guys like Barry Horowitz and Aldo Montoya would be a part of his gang and joked about that for a bit.

Snow puts over ECW, saying its the happiest he has been in wrestling. He also does not rule out a potential return to the WWF.

On the Montreal Incident, Snow understands why both parties did what they did but that Vince always breaks the tradition of the business despite preaching it and that Bret sent a message out to everyone that he is not to be trusted and neither is Vince for that matter as he proves that his contract does not mean shit.

Snow agrees with Vince that Bret was a pain in the ass and that if you are not a pain in the ass in this business then you prove that you are willing to be in this to make money and being a nice guy gets you nowhere.

When asked about his upcoming title match against Shane Douglas at Wrestlepalooza, Snow said that if he makes money for this match then he has achieved his goal because he has had memorable matches and up until this PPV he has not had a bigger match.

Final Thoughts: Solid interview, although it did slow down significantly the last 35-40 minutes when they took fan questions (a feature that RF Video thankfully removed from their shoots) and when he was talking some about UFC. Snow was pretty upset about the way he was treated in the WWF but did seem very happy about his time in ECW. I felt Snow was honest here. This also seemed a lot more groundbreaking in 1998 than it does now as I do not feel it holds up to the legendary status that it did at the time.

Being one of the earlier shoots for RF Video, the call-in feature was regular and it hurt this interview a lot. 75% of the questions were if he would ever go back to the WWF or go to WCW.

Snow displayed a lot of insight here as well as a great sense of humor. He was definitely an engaging guy to interview.

Overall, I recommend this interview but once the call-ins start up, be wary as it is repetitive and unbearable at times.

Next week, I will review a shoot interview of one of the most overproduced and overhyped gimmicks in the history of wrestling in Glacier.

You can purchase a DVD of this shoot for $15 or download a digital copy to own for $9.99 by clicking on the links below:

http://www.rfvideo.com/shootwithalsnow.aspx

http://store.rfvideonow.com/downloads/al-snow-shoot-interview/


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