Exclusive: Al Snow on the Gladiator Sports Network & Ohio Valley Wrestling's future
Both in and out of the ring, Al Snow is a stand-out success within the world of professional wrestling. Active as a wrestler since the early 1980s, he was a Tag Team Champion, Hardcore Champion and European Champion within the WWF. Behind the scenes, he has been one of the most sought-after trainers and backstage producers for decades.
While Snow still does independent appearances and runs seminars around the world, most of his efforts are rooted in Louisville, Kentucky. Last year Snow acquired Ohio Valley Wrestling, the former WWE developmental territory which counts John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Batista, Big Show, Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton among its alumni. OVW is part of the larger Gladiator Sports Network, which also includes Top Knotch Boxing. Meanwhile, Snow also has a clothing line (COLLARxELBOW) and a forthcoming memoir (Self Help: Life Lessons From The Bizarre Wrestling Career Of Al Snow).
During WrestleMania Weekend, I had the pleasure of interviewing Al Snow himself at New York City establishment Connolly's Pub & Restaurant. Below are highlights from the first few minutes of my chat with Snow. More on Snow's various projects can be found online at www.gladiatorsportsnetwork.live and www.ovwwrestlingnetwork.com.
On what exactly the Gladiator Sports Network is:
"Gladiator Sports Network is a parent company of OVW, our charitable program for boxing for inner-city kids, then we have our boxing promotion [Top Knotch] as well, then we also have Game On, which is our production that we did which was hosted by Chris Redman who played in the Super Bowl for the Buffalo Bills... So we're doing a lot of different things."
On his continued passion for OVW and wrestling:
"The biggest thing though the crux of everything has always been OVW and professional wrestling, partly because it's my passion. I have been working steadily on trying to rebuild OVW. It's always been known as the Harvard [University] of professional wrestling... Don't quote me on the exact number, but I think it's well over 150 [people] that have went on from OVW that went on to have national or international careers. 24 or 25 alumni that have been in main events of WrestleMania or in title matches. So we've done very, very, very well and we've tried to do everything to build OVW back to the prominence that it once was."
On the longevity of OVW:
"We reached our milestone last October. We had our 1,000th consecutive television episode on broadcast TV episode in October. The only other television programs, wrestling-wise, that come close is Raw's got a few more than us. Smackdown we beat by a week. We just filmed our 1,025th episode this past Wednesday. And that's all broadcast television, it's not streaming.
On the future of OVW as a streaming entity:
"We've just developed our own streaming channel which we call OVWWrestlingNetwork.com. We've had already over 60 hours of content up of weekly television shows and our monthly specials. We've got some seminars up there with Road Warrior Animal, Hurricane Helms, Billy Gunn, Tommy Dreamer, things like that. We're going to start putting up more wrestling-centric content... It's going to be more reminiscent of what the WWE Network does. Productions that have wrestling talent but are not just 'ding ding ding, wrestle a match.'"