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Exclusive: Al Snow on Mick Foley, Head, Marty Jannetty, WWE, and wrestling in the Mississippi River

We spoke with Al Snow exclusively
We spoke with Al Snow exclusively
Gary Cassidy

Al Snow may very well be one of wrestling's most recognisable characters. The former WWE and Impact Wrestling man is famed for carrying a mannequin head, named Head, to the ring, being a former Tag Team Champion with Mankind, holding the European and Hardcore Championship, and even wrestling in the Mississippi River with Hardcore Holly - but Snow may have accomplished more over his years outside of WWE, reinvigourating OVW and training some of the world's top talents!

In fact, Snow even recently released his own book, called Self-Help: Life Lessons from the Bizarre Wrestling Career of Al Snow. So, what help might the former WWE man offer to current Superstars, and how does he look back on his in-ring career?

We caught up with the man himself.


Hi, Al. Thanks so much for joining me. First off, one of my favourite memories of you was 100% that match against Hardcore Holly where you ended up spilling into the Mississippi River. Aside from "cold", how was that, as a match, compared to anything else you've done - and how the hell did that come about?

As a match, any time I got to wrestle Bob Holly, it was so much fun, because we just had a chemistry and it worked so well together. It was easy, it was never hard.

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Down there in Memphis, it was a little warmer during the day and it was pretty nice! I was walking around without a jacket on. I was scouting match places. I walked over and saw the Mississippi River and thought, "Oh, that'd be cool if it ended up we fought in the river." At the time, I didn't realise the water was a lot colder than the temperature in the air, and it was a lot deeper, and the water moved a lot faster!


You now own Ohio Valley Wrestling. How did it feel going from being one of the boys in the locker room to the guy in charge?

Ah, being the boss sucks! I hate being the boss!

Everyone's like, "Oh, you get to be the boss, it's so great, you don't have to answer to anybody."

No, actually, I answer to everybody! All day! You name the person and I answer to them, and I hate it.

Al Snow was one of the boys in a locker room with stars like Stone Cold
Al Snow was one of the boys in a locker room with stars like Stone Cold

NEXT: The New Rockers

COMING UP: The secret behind Head, working with Mankind

Snow teamed with Jannetty!
Snow teamed with Jannetty!

This might have resonated with me personally because of the surname, but another memory I had of yourself was being a part of The New Rockers under the name Leif Cassidy. How was it working with Marty Jannetty, and is that a team you think should have gone a bit further or had it run its course?

Obviously it had run its course, that was just where it was - but to work with Marty, I don't think people appreciate or understand how truly talented Marty Jannetty is, was, and how much Marty really contributed to the success of The Rockers.

Everyone's like, "Oh, you don't want to be the Marty Jannetty of the team," but I'll tell you what, you'd be lucky to be the Marty Jannetty of the team, and that's the truth!

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He was an incredibly talented guy. The bad side is that Marty just couldn't get out of his own way a little bit, but make no mistake, Marty was incredibly talented.

I was very lucky to team with Marty, I learned a lot teaming with him, but I don't think his heart was entirely in The New Rockers because I don't know if it was the right thing to do, as that was Marty and Shawn's legacy.

I don't blame him, it's completely understandable. It ran its course. Could it have been more? Maybe, had I not made some of my mistakes and had Marty been a little more into what he wanted to do, maybe it would have gone further, but we had a good run, had some nice success and I learned a lot.


NEXT: Why Head was such a success

COMING UP: Working with Mick Foley

Al Snow may be most memorable for talking to Head
Al Snow may be most memorable for talking to Head

Out of that came Al Snow and, of course, Head! What do you think made Head such a success?

I think, quite honestly, it's because it was who I really was. At the time, I was really pretty personally frustrated, and blaming a lot of people when I should have put the finger towards myself.

I went to ECW on loan, specifically to try and "get myself over" in wrestling terms, and I think what happened was that voicing my frustration through the head is what got it over because it was real.

People could sense it, they could tell - and to a degree, I felt a little unhinged, I'd had a bit of a nervous breakdown because I was wanting to do what I wanted to do so badly and not being able to achieve it, and that was really, really tough at the time, and directing it in the wrong place.

But that was ultimately what created a gimmick that really worked and connected with people, thank God, and allowed me to have a career!


A huge part of that career, of course, was going with and against the man you won the Tag Team Championships with in Mankind. How was it working with Mick Foley, and how is your relationship now?

Oh, working with Mick was easy because, for whatever reason, we just shared some kind of chemistry and clicked as a pair.

Of course, I don't know what Mick's obsession with me is, I think it borders on having a sexual disposition. Anyone who's that obsessed with someone clearly has to be attracted to them. There's no other excuse for it, it's disturbing - and let's face it, he's not that attractive a guy!

Snow and Mankind have a storied history Carmella makes a good Al Snow!
Snow and Mankind have a storied history Carmella makes a good Al Snow!

WWE recently shared images from a photoshoot with the female Superstars dressed as ECW legends, and Carmella portrayed you...

Yeah, I never looked that good!

Mick Foley might be even more interested if you looked like that!

My God, he's interested enough as it is, don't make it even worse!


NEXT: See Carmell...Al Snow

COMING UP: More secrets behind Head

Carmella makes a good Al Snow!
Carmella
makes a good Al Snow!

You might be one of the best known trainers in the world - are there any current Superstars or wrestlers out there that you see some of yourself in?

I don't know. I don't know how other people view me, so I can never look at someone and be like, "Oh, that guy's like me." I don't know. I hope that there are... Those wrestlers up there have an even greater success than I ever had. I don't want them to just do what I did, I want them to outdo me and make the most of the opportunity they have, because they have an incredible opportunity with WWE.

They just need to know that, exploit that, take advantage of it as much as they possibly can. They need to know what it is they're focusing on and why, and what they're looking to do with that opportunity.

It's not about going there like, "I'm going to have a great wrestling match," and "I'm going to be a great wrestler." You can and you should but the real objective is to use that worldwide platform to make yourself an incredible attraction.

Make yourself the next Steve Austin, make yourself the next Rock, make yourself the next John Cena. Use that platform to create opportunities that extend well beyond and above anything you've done in wrestling. Don't try go out there just to have a five-star match. That's not going to parlay into making you a household name around the world.


One man who reminds me of Al Snow, mainly due to the facial expressions and the underlying, enigmatic components of the character is Bray Wyatt.

Oh! Well, I hope that he avoids the pitfalls that I had and capitalises more on what opportunities he has, and really takes advantage of it.

Similarities?
Similarities?

NEXT: More secrets behind Head

Head was a huge part of Snow's career
Head was a huge part of Snow's career

And there's a lot of people out there now who say wrestling is running out of characters... I'll reword this from the way I initially wrote it down, which was "If you could give anyone Head, who would it be?" Bray Wyatt now uses some puppets, Head was a huge part of your career - do you think any other wrestler out there could use something like Head to propel them to that next level?

Well, lots of people tried at that time to recreate it, even back then. There was the stickhorse, the mop... There was a guy I'd heard about who was coming to the ring with a loaf of bread at one point. They say the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, and it quite honestly is, but it was never about the object.

The reason that I think that it worked was it was quite honestly about that connection, that feeling that people thought I was legitimately insane. They did.

If you were to have asked ten people, nine out of ten people would tell you that they really thought I was crazy. Not just in action, but just my behaviour. My belief as far as being insane, I think if you were truly, actually, medically insane, it's not that you walk around acting insane, some people do and it's a little more obvious, but that's not what makes you insane, it's that your version of reality is completely different from everyone else's view of reality.

Does that make you insane? I don't think, personally, that it necessarily does. Just because you have a different viewpoint of reality doesn't mean you're insane. Of course, the general public might think you're insane.

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People would come up and ask me, "Hey, why do you talk to this head?" I'd reply, "Well, it's rude not to talk to someone when they talk to you." They say, "That head really talks to you?!"

And I'd reply, "Let me ask you something, do you believe in God?" They'd say, "Yes," and I'd say, "Do you talk to God?" Yeah." "Does he talk to you?" "Yeah." And I'd go, "Well, I can't hear him talk to you, does that mean you're crazy?!" And that'd make them question the legitimacy, and they would have to wonder, "Well, maybe he's right," and it gave them pause.

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I think that belief, holding that belief to the point where it was who I was, that helps people connect, and the head was so instrumental because people could describe me to their friends, who weren't wrestling fans, who I was - and that was the key! They'd say, "Watch this show, there's a guy who's a lunatic that talks to a head, it's real and he does all these crazy things." Now, if you turn it on, you know exactly who I am whether you've seen me before or not.

That makes all the difference. You can be the best wrestler in the world, but if they can't describe you in ten words of less, you should just give up. That was the thing I'd been missing for years. People would say I was so good and the best kept secret in wrestling. The reason the secret was kept was because no-one could describe me to their friends. Once you find that, you're on the right path.


A huge thanks to Al Snow for speaking to me.

You can follow Al on Twitter here, check out the Al Snow Wrestling Academy here, check out OVW here, and order his book, Self Help, here.

Edited by Riju Dasgupta

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