Last week, we had the opportunity to sit down with a wrestling hero, Al Snow. In London for the Film and Comic Convention, we found him to be thoughtful and engaging. He spoke to us about a range of topics from business to relationships, showcasing his forensic knowledge of the profession. We left, having been thoroughly schooled by the head-master.
The interview that follows includes some content exclusive to ewrestlingnews.com....
I think that TNA should never have abandoned the six-sided ring. It was a great identifier for the brand, something that set them apart. When a casual fan flips through the channels and sees that ring, it can catch their attention and might create a new audience member. I'm not sure it can cause more injuries. If there's a multitude of people out there, it's harder to track where everybody is at - your head is on a swivel a little bit - but the guys in general just need to slow down a little (which they should do anyway). So far as the product that's out there right now is concerned, I think they're making great strides. They're doing the right things and taking the right steps. They rush a little bit but they're just trying hard to make headway.
You're one of the most prolific trainers in the business. TNA has just announced that we'll be treated to British Boot Camp 2. What is your advice for wrestling hopefuls?
There's one key piece of advice about wrestling. You have to know, in your heart, that you want to be in it for the right reasons. So many people are trying their hand at it now in order to be a celebrity - they're enamoured with the idea of being famous and see notoriety as success. Fame isn't why people should be doing this and if they are, they will probably fail. Thousands upon thousands of people around the world all have the same aspirations but there are so few on that roster. Even once you're there in WWE or TNA, you're not going to be happy nor will you last. Ultimately, you're only as good as the last time you performed and you have to perform every single week at world-cup level and when you mess up, there's an army of people waiting to use it as a way to subvert others' confidence in you. It can all disappear in an instant. You have to be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and succeed every week. In WWE, each week - and I emphasise, every week - they sit down and if your name makes it around the table you stay. If it doesn't, you're gone. That's 365 days of pressure a year and it never lets up. Ever. Ultimately, you are one of two things. You're either a thing that sells tickets and motivates people to buy or you're one of the things that helps that thing (selling tickets). There is no third option. You won't be kept around just because you're good. So if you are an aspiring wrestler, keep all of that in mind because you're not going to be happy unless you know going in, you want it for the right reasons.
You worked in the territories in the US, do you miss them and what's the implication of their absence for American professional wrestling?
Yes, I do miss them. The profession desperately needs something like the territory feeder system but not so much for the reasons you would think. Let me explain. Professional wrestling is an art with two sides to it. First, the talent's job is to sell tickets and be an attraction, nothing else. Second though and linked to the first, is the ability to tell a story through physical actions linked to a win or loss. That art form is going away - we press for and push it, but the talent aren't being taught it and are developing habits that are precisely counter to it. Why is it so important? Because the only one thing that's fake in professional wrestling is the outcome, everything else is quite real. If the outcome has no meaning, then everything physically that you've done to the other guy is just a series of athletic moves and now no longer has any reason or purpose. There's no consequence to the action and therefore no drama, no emotional connection and no heat - which is a desire to return to see the wrong righted. Guys focus too much on what they do, not when and why they did it. It's also about relating. People relate to soccer because they've played it....