Al Snow is an admitted glutton for punishment. The man who has helped countless talent cut their swath in the squared circle has spent the past four years as the creative mind behind OVW, but he has bigger plans in store for the established developmental system.
“Quite honestly, in all seriousness, I don’t understand why so many people are enamored with or enraptured with the idea of wanting to be in charge of creative because I am telling you what, is a monumental pain in the ass,” Snow says flat out to WrestleZone’s Dominic DeAngelo as he spends every Tuesday evening orchestrating OVW’s TV tapings in Lexington, KY. “It’s an extreme responsibility that you have to carry every single week that you got to take what you did last week, make it better, make it bigger, take it in the same direction, but make it connect to last week to make sure it connects to the following week. And then you can only do what the talent give you. No matter how grandiose your plans are, no matter amazing they are in your head, if the talent go out there and go completely opposite direction, you’re screwed.”
Tuesday evenings may be hectic for Snow, but he’s more than capable of keeping his head on straight and finding solace in the insanity.
“It’s a challenge and I enjoy it, which says a lot for my psychological disorders and I’m clearly a glutton for punishment,” he admits. “I enjoy working with it and helping the talent in trying to build them and direct them and help them possibly, potentially achieve opportunities on bigger and better platforms.”
“I really, truly, fully believe that their success is my success and without them succeeding, I can’t. So I’m going to do everything to help them succeed—even in spite of themselves in some cases—and it’s been a struggle and we’ve went through a reshaping and development of the roster which will be an ongoing, continually evolving thing, but we’re in a good place now roster-wise. People are really starting to understand what it is they need to sell and why they need to sell it,” Snow said. “Professional wrestling has always been about selling who the wrestler is and why they’re doing it. That’s what really motivates an audience to buy a ticket and watch it on TV, drive television ratings is the who and the why, not the what.”
With Al Snow’s creative mind and new ownership taking the reigns in January, OVW finds itself on many platforms on its own. The promotion is on six US cable TV networks (YTA, Eleven Sports USA, COX Sports Television, RCN, Lilly Broadcasting, Game +) and reaches over 100 million households in the United States and over 700 million households around the world. They’re also on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and YouTube.
“As a part of OVW, which OVW has always been a developmental, but we’re not solely a developmental. My goal is to create an operational (which it has been in the past) but truly an operation regional, for live events, territory. For television-wise and PPV, because we’re just starting to foray into that area because we have a lot more clearance on a national level. We’re on eight different national networks.”
With those outlets at the ready for the promotion, Snow has more in mind for OVW. In conjunction with the promotion, he still continues to run the Al Snow Wrestling Academy (ASWA), but there are plans in mind for seasoned vets who are looking to rebuild their brand.
“We can reach a much broader mass audience and create a platform for the wrestlers themselves, but my goal is to make a place to where I can develop younger talent and inexperienced talent and I can also create a base of operations that if you’re a wrestler who’s had a run on a larger platform, here’s a place that you can come, make a living—and you’re not gonna get rich, none of us are—but you’re going be able to come and make a living and do what you want to do, do the thing that you want to do,” Snow said, “pursue the passion that you want to pursue and reinvent yourself. Have a place that you can get exposure that then bigger platforms can still see you on and see what you’re doing, take an interest and give you another opportunity to come back.”
Al Snow believes that there’s a misnomer when it comes to younger talent on how they perceive a “pro wrestling career,” specifically after they’ve left the mainstream eye. He gives two facts for aspiring starts to consider.
“One, you’re never hired as a professional wrestler. You’re not an employee. It’s a business relationship between you and the employer and two, since you’ve never been hired, you can’t be fired which means your career does not come to the end simply because you are no longer performing for one particular company.”
“It just means if you utilized your time it’s most effective while you were there to make yourself an attraction, you can continue to have your career for years to come, working for other different companies around the world. It doesn’t have to be a ‘be all, end all’ to just get to one particular platform, one particular company and then hey, once you’re cut from there, ‘Well, we’re done, wrap it up, you’re career’s over,’ because if you’re smart and you understand what the business is really all about, you’ve taken that opportunity and you sold your product, which is you, your brand into such a level that you can continue to make a living. You may not make as great a living that you did for that particular platform, but you still can. You can by all means still go out and still have a viable existence elsewhere.”
Check out the full interview as Al Snow breaks down the over-used “seven-step formula” of working a match and how it could be the death of the wrestling business. Plus, he shares his true intentions for getting ahead of “Head” in WWE and his time with Steve Blackman in Head Cheese, and much more.