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Repost: Al Snow Shoot Interview (RF Video)
Posted by Brandon Truitt on Sep 8, 2003, 19:00
***This article was originally posted on August 26, 2002.***
I know that I was supposed to post the Perry Saturn shoot this week, but circumstances beyond my control came up and I was unable to finish it in time. There is also a possibility that I may have to do another repost on Monday the 15th.
When I do start back up, the first will undoubtably be the Saturn shoot, with other possibilities after that including Harley Race, "King of Old School" Steve Corino, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, the husband-wife team of Luna Vachon and David Heath (Gangrel, Vampire Warrior), and Terry Funk's interview from 2002.
In the meantime, I'm reposting the shoot I'd planned on for next week, which is oddly appropriate considering that Snow is becoming involved in a semi-major angle on RAW for the first time in ages. Even though the angle itself completely SUCKS, it's always good to see Snow on RAW, whether it be wrestling, commentating, or managing.
As always, you can feel free to Drop me an e-mail, read the archives, buy me stuff, or buy yourself stuff at Highspots.com.
This has been a fairly good few weeks for the WWE... their ratings have FINALLY stabilized after they realize that quick fixes won't work, Summerslam was the best card since LAST year's Summerslam, and X-Pac was released.
While it's a bit of a shameful joy to be celebrating someone's firing, I think that it's justified in this case. X-Pac's neck has been crap since 1995 yet he's still been gainfully employed for about 7 years since. He's been pretty much worthless since 1999 (some would argue for longer than that), except for the occasional good match with someone like RVD, Kidman, or Tajiri, usually when he'd beat them and kill off their heat (Remember how over Tajiri was for his first 6 months in the WWF?).
The thing that I find particularly funny, though, is that he's kept his job so long due to politics (generally attributed to Shawn Michaels and Triple H protecting him), but that his long-time buddy Kevin Nash indirectly got him fired when he tore his quad in that 10-man tag match last month. That killed the nWo angle for good, as it had survived Hogan turning face at Wrestlemania (one month after the group entered the fed), Scott Hall's firing, and Kevin Nash's bicep tear.
Considering that X-Pac wasn't endearing himself to the locker room then for various reasons, including a threatened walkout and finding new and inventive ways to avoid jobbing (three times to Booker T alone), he won't get any sympathy from me when he starts sandbagging Jerry Jarrett over something in NWA TNA. He really needs to read between the lines of their recent Buff Bagwell situation to find the message proclaiming "Prima donnas need not apply."
As for RAW tonight, the only announced matches are Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho and Christian vs. Booker T. If the rumored jump of RVD to Smackdown comes to pass, it means that someone will have to come to RAW. Since Kane is rumored to be going to Smackdown, that means fewer possibilities.
If I had to guess right now, I'd say that Eddy and Chavo Guererro jump since they're a tag team on a show with no tag titles.
Al Snow shoot interview by RF Video- 1998
We open on a clip of Al and Lance Storm kicking the shit out of the Triple Threat (Shane Douglas, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Chris Candido) at an ECW PPV in late 1997 or early 1998.
How did he start in the business? He started watching Georgia Championship Wrestling in the mid-70’s and then started trying to get a hold of ANYONE he could to break into the business. Eventually, Gene Anderson told him that a tryout for a wrestling school would be held in the Carolinas in several months by himself and Ole Anderson. He then got a hold of Dick the Bruiser, Jim Lancaster, and some other wrestlers who’d run a fundraiser at his high school and was told that if things didn’t work out in Charlotte that he (Lancaster) would train him. He sold his car and took a 24-hour bus ride from Lima, OH to Charlotte, and ran out of food money almost immediately because of the costs of signing up and getting a hotel room.
Ole then began doing training exercises to wear out his recruits, such as stair runs, free squats, pushups, etc. Once he finally got in the ring with Ole, he was being used as fodder for Ole’s recruits. Once Al embarrassed Ole’s recruits by escaping them then putting them in the holds they were supposed to put on him, they started stretching him. Ole had broken one guy’s jaw as a part of this process earlier. At that point, Gene gets in the ring and starts REALLY stretching Al (hair pulls, eye gouges, ball grabs), at which point Al puts a Greco Roman Nut Lock on Gene, and Gene started freaking out and pulling every dirty trick out of the book in order to escape.
Gene had told Al that he doubted he’d ever see him again, although Al ended up working for Jim Crockett whenever he made runs through Ohio and West Virginia. Al then says that he found out later that Gene and Ole would do shit like what happened to him because it was a money-making venture to bring in about 30 guys and stretch them until they quit. Then Al goes into the trials and tribulations of finding a place for Lancaster to train him and some other guys
Eventually, Al worked in Japan and somehow ended up in a match with Sabu when Sabu was at his highest point. That got him noticed and got him work all over the indy scene in the US. The interviewer then breaks off into a story about how RF video owner and namesake Rob Feinstein had seen that match and had wanted Al to work an ECW show so badly that he paid for him out of his own pocket. At this point, they cut to the handcam from about 1994. It’s a glorified squash with a clean-shaven mullet-sporting Snow getting his ass whipped by the Tazmaniac (Tazz). It was the typical crappy Tazz match seen on every ECW show before he left in late 1999.
They then ask if he got frustrated about being so talented yet not getting a shot. He never really got frustrated until he got to the WWF. It was also pretty frustrating for him that some of his students got further in the business than he did.
He was then asked whether he always had an aerial style. He said he never really stuck with any one style, but rather adapted to the style of the guy he was working with. He began bitching, though, about how EVERYONE does that kind of things and talks about how big guys doing simple stuff impresses the hell out of people and said that “SID is doing this… and let’s face it…”. He said it’s a natural progression of things because one guy will get over doing that stuff, so everyone starts doing that stuff and it raises the bar for everyone.
He then talks about how the Lucha stuff is like a fireworks display, as people will go “Oooooh” for the spots but not buy tickets because of it since there’s no heat. He said it’s impressive stuff, but that it won’t catch on huge in the US.
Said that he doesn’t care what “alphabet soup” organization he works for, as it’s just a vehicle to get him over. He likes ECW the most, though, as he says its perfect for him. His first run in ECW was only about 4 matches long, but he was working with guys like Sabu, Tazz, Chris Benoit, etc. We then cut to a handcam of a house show match against Sabu and another against Benoit.
There were no promises made to him when he entered ECW. There had been talk of him doing a “mirror man” gimmick since he was capable of doing any move that his opponents could do. His stay there was short because Jim Cornette made him an offer to work in Smokey Mountain Wrestling and ECW's booker and, later, owner Paul Heyman refused to let him split time between the two promotion. He then talks about his last week in ECW where he was driving all over creation for house shows before flying to Charlotte and driving to Tennessee to work a 4-hour TV taping for Smokey Mountain, driving to Nashville, flying to Detroit, then driving home to Lima.
Snow had been brought in to Smokey Mountain as a last second replacement for Eddie Gilbert, who had left unexpectedly to book in Puerto Rico. He figures he would have been brought in anyway at some point because he goes back to the Jim Crockett Promotions days with Cornette and that his smartass interview at a UFC PPV where he was Dan Severn’s trainer made Cornette confident that Al could work as a heel. He didn’t doing promos with a set amount of time to them because you had to do about 10 different things such as getting your gimmick over, getting all the information in for the matches in each town, etc, all crammed into a rigid time limit, which could be from 30 seconds to about 2 minutes.
The next clip is a promo he cut when he and Kane (then known as Unabom) were feuding with the Rock And Roll Express. They put on wigs and imitate the Express, then even start making fun of Robert Gibson’s deaf mother. Unfortunately, the sound of the tape give out after the comment “We’re so scared of getting the crap kicked out of us that Robert’s mother wrote us a letter… let’s see what it says. … Robert, you dummy, your mother wrote it in SIGN LANGUAGE!” There’s also a squash match to get the Snow-Unabom team over, and the Express attack them after the match
When asked to compare Jim Cornette to Paul Heyman, he says they’re a lot alike and that’s probably why they can’t stand each other.
He puts over Ricky Morton as, along with Ricky Steamboat, being the best babyface in the history of the business. The Express loved the promos that Snow cut about them, although he didn’t get to do one of the things he wanted to. He planned to bring one of his deaf friends who could talk from Michigan and have them do the Garrett Morris “New York School for the Deaf” routine from Saturday Night Live in the corner of the screen when he cut his promos. He bitched about his scaffold match with Morton because he says the scaffold was MUCH higher than Cornette claimed it was and that he only got a normal payoff for a match like that. On the bump he took in that match- “I was falling so long that I had time to think to myself ‘DAMN this is a long fall.’” There’s a clip with no sound of the scaffold match and of Unabom and Snow hanging Morton from the scaffold after the match.
On Kane- He knew he’d be big in the business because WWF officials referred to him as Sid Lite- All of the talent and look, none of the attitude. He didn’t ride with him because he didn’t want to risk getting sick of his tag team partner, a rule that he had done with every partner to the time of this interview (1998) except Marty Janetty. He says that Boo Bradley (Balls Mahoney from ECW, Xanta Claus from the WWF) traveled with Kane, which is another reason he didn’t ride with him.
He thinks that Smokey Mountain died due to a combination of reasons. The big two are that:
1. There were only so many performers in the territory, so everyone knew caught on to the fact that the Rock and Roll Express would lose the belts then regain them every so often.
2. Cornette was so spread thin by working in the WWF and running Smokey Mountain that his booking wasn’t as good as it should have been.
He says there won’t be a 4th company in the business because there aren’t enough guys who can work (this is from 1998, so he was right… although he didn’t see it coming down to just one company). He said that everyone is so highspot oriented that they don’t know psychology anymore and that psychology is what puts butts in seats. He says that the company training camps are worthless and that even the dumbest of fans can notice when a green wrestler, like Rocky Maivia in 1996 and 1997, was being carried by a much better wrestler.
After Smokey Mountain went under, he was courted by both WCW and the WWF. WCW talked to him first and brought him in, and it was pretty much a clusterfuck across the board. He talked to Bischoff at first, who was kind of a dick the first time he met him. After that, he came to Atlanta and could only find The Omni (where WCW was that night) because Sandy Scott, a friend of his who used to work at WCW, gave him directions because no one at the company did it for him. After he contacted the office, he was told to be at Center Stage the next day, although he wasn’t given directions to there either, so he called up a different friend who worked there and caught a ride. Kevin Sullivan was supposed to be the one talking to him, but kept ignoring him. Terry Taylor was the only guy who would talk to him, until Tayler left and announcer Dave Penzer came in. Penzer kept trying to get Snow to sign something without telling him what it was, which pissed him off to no end. When Taylor came back in, he brought Sullivan with him and they were wondering why Snow was causing a problem. When he told them what the problem was and got an explanation of what the document was, he went ahead and signed it.
From there he had his tryout match which he thought was pretty good. He said guys like Ric Flair were coming up to him and congratulating him afterwards, so I’d say it must have been really good. After that, he talked to Bischoff, who said that they’d be in contact and that there was no harm in Snow talking to the WWF about a deal because Snow owed it to his family to get the best thing for them. WCW never called back and Snow had found out later that Terry Taylor was ripping him a new asshole on the 1-900 line about having an attitude problem.
When Al went to visit the WWF, everything was done right. The WWF flew him in, had him picked up at the airport, took him on a tour of Titan Towers, etc. before he had a meeting with Vince McMahon. His meeting lasted about 2 hours, after which he signed with them.
The Avatar gimmick was pitched to him as a way to capitalize on the popularity of Mortal Kombat. Snow says that it didn’t work because MK and Power Rangers and everything else like that is edited together as a bunch of highspots, which doesn’t work when he’s having to go out and do a wrestling match. He said that the original plan for the gimmick’s introduction was done by WCW when they introduced Glacier.
He only did about 5 matches in 1995 for the WWF. They threw him out on a live RAW as Avatar without a buildup and began using him as a jobber ASAP. After that first match, he was squashed by Kane (then as Isaac Yankem DDS), he tagged with Aldo Montoya (Justin Credible), and was put in other jobber matches before forming the New Rockers with Marty Janetty.
He talked about how The Clique ran everything as if they were a part of management and that it was a reason why morale was in the toilet. Since you couldn’t go up to them and try to take their spots or go to management and complain, people just got very demoralized. He said he heard they buried him, but they never said anything to his face about it.
He then talks about how when you get a reputation at the WWF, it sticks with you forever. He said to look at Barry Windham and Jim Neidhart to see two people who were set for life there once they made it “in”. He, on the other hand, got a reputation as an asshole and a troublemaker. He wanted to have something done about his position, but he was told by whoever he contacted, such as Bruce Pritchard, that he needed to talk to Vince. His response was “I’ve got a better chance of talking to Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.” He eventually went on a LONG rant about trying to get in touch with Vince, but all of his calls would be returned by either Jim Cornette or Bruce Pritchard. Eventually, he cornered Vince at a TV taping after standing outside his office for two hours and asked for a meeting later. Vince's response was to say “set it up with my office”, and of course Al spends another few weeks trying to set it up but getting return calls from Cornette or Pritchard instead. He eventually got his meeting with Vince, which lasted 20 minutes, and he said it was a complete waste of time.
He moves on to the Germany tour in 1996 and how Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were acting like assholes. They were on their way out but they couldn’t be punished because they knew the WWF needed them too much.
He then talks about the split of the Smoking Gunns in October or November of 1996, as Billy deserted Bart and left him to face the New Rockers (Marty and Al, with Al as Leif Cassidy). The office’s decision to put Bart over in what was an impromptu handicap match pissed off Al and Marty to no end, and they made then-booker Jake Roberts’ life miserable with smartass comments until Marty left the room and Jake stepped out to take care of something else. (The commends were GREAT stuff like “Billy’s backstage and he sees Bart pin us, so he gets jealous comes out and pins us. Then Billy’s DOG comes out and pins us.” etc. etc. etc.) Once Jake left the room, Al told Bart to schoolboy him for the three-count as soon as Billy walked out, but that he was getting his ass kicked if he did anything else. At that point, Jake came back in and started bitching Al out, not realizing that Al had just called the finish and that he was doing the job. Jake pretty much ran down Al’s attitude and accused him of dogging it in the ring, which pissed Al off to NO end. Al then wondered why Bart was beating them when Billy walked out because having Bart lose would build heat, and Jake said it was to keep the Gunns from looking like shit. Al’s comment was “Then WHAT THE HELL does that make US look like?”, but Jake didn’t have a response to that.
He was only used once in the next couple months, as the New Rockers jobbed in an elimination match at Survivor Series 96. After that, he got jobbed out in a tag match where Bob Holly replaced Marty Janetty. Al likes Bob, but was EXTREMELY pissed that Bob wasn't the one jobbing since it was Bob's last day before leaving the WWF, which was the WWF’s way of telling Al “You mean less to us than the guy who’s leaving.”
After that, he was sent to ECW as a talent exchange now that Paul E. and Vince had a working relationship. A part of that agreement stated that Al wasn’t supposed to be jobbed out at house shows or on TV with the WWF, as he was Paul’s employee now. This agreement was respected until the One Night Only PPV in the UK, where Al was flown in as a jobber for Tiger Ali Singh, one of the most untalented WWF developmental guys ever and who, coincidentally, just sued the WWE for $7 million this past week. Their match was so bad that it was ended early and Tiger Ali’s father and a “legend” in Japan, Tiger Jeet Singh (who has sued the WWE for $1 million), tried to pass the blame onto Al for the match sucking. Al told Jim Cornette that night that he wasn’t putting over any more guys who obviously weren’t ready because having matches as bad as that severely upset him.
The next night, things got VERY interesting, as Al was stuck in the UK for the TV tapings despite having requested to be sent back to the US immediately after the PPV. He instead had received tickets to go back the Wednesday of that week, but Jim Ross and/or Bruce Pritchard had told him that they’d take care of it. At the TV tapings that night, they decided they needed a guy to job to Brakkus, a guy even more untalented than Tiger, if that’s really possible. Someone said “Leif’s here, so let’s use him.” Cornette started laughing and told them what Al had said the night before about jobbing to crappy wrestlers. They were in shock, then Bruce Pritchard said that they should fire him. Cornette said “Go ahead, he’s been trying to leave for forever but you wouldn’t let him go, Bruce.” Gerald Brisco then suggested holding up his money, but Cornette told them that Paul E was paying him, so no go on that. Pritchard then asked “Then why the hell is he here?!?”, to which Cornette said “He asked to leave last night and you promised to get his tickets fixed, BRUCE.” Cornette and Al got some sick pleasure out of it, as Al was already being treated so badly that they couldn’t think of a way to punish him once he stopped cooperating. (They couldn’t job him out because he was already a jobber, they couldn’t refuse to pay him because he was getting paid by Paul E, they couldn’t starve him out because they were already doing that, and they couldn’t fire him because he wanted to leave.)
From there we go to questions from callers, with random questions from the RF crew thrown in there in between them.
Is it true he turned down an offer to return to the WWF? He never got such an offer, but he’s not sure if he wants to go back. His future plans involve ECW, so that’s where he sees himself.
How did he come up with the Head gimmick? He was near the end of his rope due to a variety of reasons, so he started doing an insanity gimmick. It didn’t work when he was talking to himself, so he ended up finding a mannequin head in the back and using it. Mick Foley gave him the idea because when Foley was riding with him and Marty, Foley had a mannequin head that he kept his Mankind mask on and he’d talk to it as a joke. The current head was a gift from Mikey Whipwreck and Spike Dudley. The gimmick really started taking off from there, despite Al being sidelined for a while after a match with “Agent 00-Oops” Paul Diamond and injuring his shoulder.
How long is he under WWF contract? It runs out in the next few months, but ECW is technically his employer as they pay him.
What direction does he see himself going in the future? He’s not sure where he’s going with ECW because he could take off with his gimmick or he could crash to earth tomorrow. He didn’t expect to be a face with this gimmick, although Paul E did.
What’s your opinion on Kane? Great guy, couldn’t be happier for him. Hopes that he gets kept around in the Kane gimmick after the big blowoff with the Undertaker because he’s good at what he does.
How’d you get involved in the UFC? He trained Dan Severn to be a pro wrestler and after Dan tried (and failed) to get into UFC 3, he hooked him up with Phyllis Lee, who got him booked. It then cuts to a shootfight Al had in Japan and lost.
How would you critique Severn? Dan runs hot and cold. Al says that a guy who’s fighting for his life puts more into it than a guy fighting for his dinner and that Dan just fights for his dinner sometimes. He says Dan can be too one-dimensional in that he didn’t change his style up after each fight, which allowed Ken Shamrock to study tapes of his matches and kick Dan’s ass.
How does he feel about Vince McMahon personally? He has a love-hate relationship with Vince, mostly because he feels that he wasn’t treated correctly and didn’t follow through on promises that were made to him. On a side note, he says that he respects Shawn Michaels a lot, likes him occasionally, but has seen him be a HUGE asshole before. He says Tazz isn’t an asshole, despite what the caller has implied.
Why did the New Rockers break up? Marty Janetty’s contract ran out and he wanted to try his luck in WCW.
The interviewers then ask about an infamous interview he did on a UFC PPV. Al said that the interviewer was an idiot and that the whole show was being done to put over Royce Gracie, so when he was asked how Severn would prepare to face Gracie and Dan refused to respond, he told him “What do you think he’s going to do? He’s going to go in the back and wear himself out having sex.” Says he got no heat from the UFC management from that, although it was clipped from the commercial tape of the PPV.
He’s then asked about the UFC locker room and he says that it was very intense and that everyone’s looking to intimidate everyone else. They thought he was Dan Severn until the rules meeting, when they met Severn and then started wondering “who the fuck is this guy?”
Who’d he like to face if he goes to WCW? He’d like to face Benoit again, as well as Dean Malenko, who he’d never faced, and Chris Jericho.
Who was a better tag partner- Marty or Head? Head was the better partner because he’s gone further than Head.
Will UFC be as popular as it is now next year? No. It’s not a typical sport, so there’s no way that people would have a connection to it because they’d played it before, as people do with basketball, baseball, football, or other spectator sports. In addition to that, if shoot fighting was more impressive than booked fighting, wrestling would still be a shoot. He also says that people signing away all the big UFC stars they can aren’t helping things.
What do you think about what happened to Louie Spicoli? It’s a shame because it was preventable, but there’s no way you can keep destructive people like wrestlers away from stuff like that. If wrestlers can’t drink or take drugs, they’ll do something like run in a circle until they pass out or play in traffic to get the feeling they want.
What exactly is the JOB Squad? The JOB Squad was formed as a joke in the WWF during 96-97, when there were gangs running wild like the Nation of Domination, Los Boriquas, the Disciples of Apocalypse, and Team Canada. The membership was himself, Barry Horowitz, Bob Holly, and Aldo Montoya (Justin Credible). Their power was in numbers, as there are more jobbers than stars. In addition to that, a jobber can no-sell a big move like Undertaker’s tombstone and walk to the back, thereby destroying the credibility of a star while getting themselves over. In ECW, he formed it for real, as if it was UNCLE or KAOS or some other television group.
Nicknames- Big Dick Dudley was Agent 00 Large Organ, Chris Candido was Agent 00 2 Thick, Ballz Mahoney was Agent 00 Genitalia, and instead of being Miss Moneypenny, Al’s wife is Mrs. Aintgottapenny.
When asked if he’s still a member of the JOB Squad, he says he’s still the chief of it but that he’s currently a double agent for PUSH.
On the Montreal Screwjob, he understands both sides but feels both sides are wrong. Vince screwed himself because he VERY PUBLICALLY broke his word to Bret and that it will haunt him for a long time. Bret, OTOH, refused to job to Shawn Michaels in violation of a very old tradition that states that an outgoing guy puts people over before he goes. He says, however, that Vince violates as many traditions as he upholds and, even then, Vince only upholds them when they work to his advantage.
He says Bret WAS a major pain in the ass, but so is any major star. He said that the guy who bitches and moans gets taken care of better than the guy who just does his job.
His three goals that have stayed the same since getting in the business are:
1. Make money
2. Make a mark on the business, much like wrestlers such as Ricky Morton, Ricky Steamboat, and Randy Savage have.
3. Have great matches that people remember for years
From there, there’s a set of matches that have been included, but I don’t really feel like seeing Al do the JOB to a bunch of no-talents like Jimmy Garvin, so I’ll stop here. If I get some time later, I might come back and do a quick writeup on them.
This is one of the best interviews out there because Al knows a lot about the business, is talented in the ring, and won’t bullshit his way through the interview. It makes what he said that much more believable because he wasn’t out there trying to spin-doctor everything. His treatment by the WWF in the mid-90’s is both sad and hilarious. This is a must-see shoot although it’s not THE must-see shoot. (THE must-see shoot, BTW, is the 8-hour Jim Cornette shoot from late 2000. I've put that one off since another reviewer did it about a year ago, but I might get around to it soon)