Interview: Al Snow speaks about his departure from GFW, Kenny Omega, Dream opponents from 2017, Wrestling 'Head' and his brand CollarXElbow
I began this interview by telling Al Snow that I've watched him on television for almost two decades. Snow was flattered and tells me in turn, just how much he loves professional wrestling and how it keeps him going after thirty-five years!
While the purpose of the interview is to promote his new wrestling-themed apparel brand, COLLARXELBOW, the conversation soon veers to wrestling. Snow is full of insight, wisdom, and optimism with regard to the professional wrestling business.
Here is a glimpse of our conversation.
On his departure from GFW/Impact Wrestling: It was just a matter of finances. They have only a certain number of spots for agents/producers and Jeff Jarrett brought in several new guys. And to make room for the new guys, the older crew had to go.
So, you know, it's just how wrestling works. Whenever you are in any company or organisation it's about when it's going to come to an end, not if it's going to come to an end. I had a wonderful time there and wish them nothing but the best for the future. Maybe one day I'll be able to go back and continue to do business with them again.
Is GFW better off under the new regime with Anthem?: I certainly hope so. I'm very cautiously optimistic. I think wrestling, not only in the United States but all around the world, needs as many viable outlets as possible not only for the wrestlers themselves but also the wrestling fans.
I think the more that wrestling has alternatives, it has competition, it will not only survive but thrive. I not only want to see Impact Wrestling survive but thrive and become very successful.
About CollarXElbow: I have started a wrestling apparel company, and I believe it's the only one by a wrestler, for the wrestling fan in all of us. I genuinely love wrestling. I've been involved in professional wrestling for 35 years.
CollarXElbow is for someone who loves wrestling in all its forms from catch-as-catch-can, to freestyle, to Greco Roman, to jiu-jitsu, to judo to MMA to professional wrestling. CollarXElbow is the brand for all of them. They can go here and we're shipping them worldwide. They're wonderfully comfortable well-fitted shirts and apparel, and they're a way to represent how much passion and love you love for wrestling.
Is Kenny Omega vs. the blow-up doll a nod to Al Snow vs Head?: (Laughs) I don't know if it's meant to be a tribute but if it is, I am very flattered.
I think Kenny Omega is a very talented performer and I think he's found his niche in New Japan Pro Wrestling. I wish him nothing but the best and hope he continues to go on becoming an even bigger star.
Memories of wrestling a mannequin Head: Head's a very capable opponent, you'd be surprised. Very tricky, very canny... always thinking of the next move, because they have no arms or legs, that's all they can do! You think you can defeat Head with a headlock but you can't. Far too cagey.
On Bob Holly bringing out the best in him: Bob was very intense, very physical, he would push you physically and be very aggressive. So you had to up your game and be just as aggressive with Bob or he would eat you alive.
One of my favourite memories with WWE is the time that we got to do a tour of India and the time that we spent there. Such a beautiful, wonderful and amazing country. People are so nice. I'd love to come back again sometime in the future.
One thing he loves about pro wrestling in 2017: The one thing I love about wrestling is the one thing I've always loved about wrestling. It is the ultimate backdrop for storytelling of human drama.
There's nothing better than to watch a story of human competition and the drama and the human connection that happens between the audience and I'm telling you, it's the most incredible experience you can have. Being in front of an audience, telling a story and having an audience connect emotionally and follow the story as you tell it.
One thing he hates about pro wrestling in 2017: The belief that professional wrestling has somehow changed. It's evolved, it has grown, it's developed. Professional wrestling has always been and will be a story about winning and losing.
The audience pays to see, who the wrestler is and why he did what he did, in the context of win and not lose. So many wrestlers these days have gotten so far removed from that very concept. I wish they would just steer their way to that. I think it would help professional wrestling as a whole flourish.
On audiences booing the babyface in 2017: If you go back and think about it, audiences were booing John Cena when he was being pushed in a direction of trying to be a babyface. But that didn't sway or steer Vince McMahon. Nor did it sway or steer John Cena.
As long as those in the wrestling business who are driving the bus, who have their hand on the steering wheel so to speak, don't allow the passengers to dictate the direction of the bus, everything will be just fine. The worst thing that could have happened is if you go out there and the fans are completely apathetic.
I don't care if they boo or cheer, because there have always been fans who cheer the heel, cheer the bad guy, and there have always been fans who boo the babyfaces. As long as they're emotionally involved... great.
Current wrestlers Snow wishes he would have faced in his prime: Right now there is more athletic ability in professional wrestling than there has been in the history of professional wrestling.
Maybe Ethan Carter III, Alberto El Patron, in spite of the fact that I trained them and broke them into the business - John Morrison & Cody Rhodes, and another one of my trainees, The Miz. Kurt Angle, but he's retired now.
Funny Vince McMahon story: The day in Philadelphia, I came in and found out they had banned my action figure from all the major Walmart stores here in the United States, Vince came up to me and asked, "Al, what have you been up to?" I went, "Vince, I have been..." and he just turned around and walked away and didn't continue the conversation that he had just started. Like me coming up to you and saying, "Riju, how are you?" You say, "I'm just fine." I just turn around and walk away. (Laughs)
Connect with Al Snow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @TheRealAlSnow