Al Snow recently appeared on Interactive Wrestling Radio. You can download and listen to the interview at Wrestling Epicenter, they sent us these highlights:
His departure from GFW Impact Wrestling:
"Yeah, I'm certain it was a budget thing. Jeff [Jarrett] brought his own group, his own guys that he brought with him and there are only so many spots financially and budget wise that you can afford to have as far as producers. And, have a necessity and need for to produce the segments. It was myself and 2 other guys and he had brought in his own group. Somebody had to go! That's just how it works. I had a great run there. It lasted MUCH longer than I expected. I have no complaints whatsoever. I wish them nothing but the best. I hope they strive and succeed and be a real force in wrestling. Hopefully, someday, I can come back and do business again."
Being an agent in GFW / TNA for 7 years:
"In life, especially in wrestling, it isn't a matter of if it will end. It is a matter of when it will end. You go into it knowing that. You're going to have a run, you're going to finish up, and you're going to leave the territory. That's an inevitability. You can't get around it. Things change and then you move on."
If the negativity from the Internet during TNA's darker days was felt backstage:
"Of course it was felt backstage. I'm not giving lip service. Even if I still worked for GFW, TNA, Impact... I'd still state what the facts are. The facts are that everybody knew there were issues or factors that would occur or come up. But, I've got to tell you, one of the things that impressed me so much is that everybody there, and I do mean everybody there, worked so hard on that show. From the in ring talent to the production team to the camera crew to the office staff... I mean, you've got to think. They put on a comparable product to the WWE with not even a third of the budget, not even a third of the roster, not even an eighth of the resources, not even an eighth of the office staff, not even an eighth of the production staff."
If he still loves to wrestle:
"Oh God, I love wrestling! I've been so blessed to get to do what I've been able to do for so long. It is probably the most awesome thing that anyone could do. I'm not just saying that. I really love wrestling. I've had a love affair with it for 35 years. Every chance I get in the ring, no matter if it is in front of 10 people or 10,000 people, I love every minute of it!"
The TNA Gut Check concept:
"I loved the concept. I think it made for interesting television because, to be honest, a lot of it, about 90% of it, was a shoot. It was a way to spotlight new talent, scout for talent, and build a new audience by doing something different and a little more cutting edge. I thought it was a great segment and should have continued to be done."
His new clothing line:
"Collar and Elbow, I started an apparel line for fans of wrestling because, you know, I'm a wrestler but really I'm just a fan... a fan of wrestling. And, wrestling of all styles. I generally just love wrestling. It is such a great backdrop to tell such incredible stories no matter the style or the form that helps mesh with the audience emotionally. It's the purest competition there is. One person against another person.
"I started Collar and Elbow to kind of represent that. I also wanted to... to be selfish. I got a shirt from a supplement company that has to be the most comfortable shirt I've ever gotten. It is soft... The company went out of business but I don't care! I still wear it. So, I said when I start a company, I want to make shirts like that, and so I have!
"People can say whatever they want about me but I don't think there is any denying that I genuinely love wrestling. As most start-up companies go, you have got to come up with a low-cost or cost-effective business model and still get your product in front of as many eyes as possible. That usually costs a tremendous amount of money. So, I talked to my partners and came up with a suggestion that would kind of help out a lot of people and help us out at the same time. If you're an independent wrestler out there, and believe me I know what it's like - I used to cook food on the engine of my car... the way professional wrestling works, and entertainment works, is you get paid based on how many people came out to see you. If you haven't found your mark yet, if you don't have a marketable gimmick. You haven't found your voice yet, if you haven't been on a national platform like GFW, TNA, Impact or WWE. It is really difficult to not only be the thing that generates ticket sales but also make any other money through merchandise.
"My hope is by building this brand, Collar and Elbow, as a fan's brand, and we will have sponsored athletes and ambassadors... Basically, they get a discount code that helps them take 10% off to help want to use that code. And then they get $5 for every piece of apparel that they sell. If they sell 100 pieces of apparel, they make $500! It is just a way to help talent and independent wrestling in general survive a little bit better and make things a little easier. And, another thing that we did was we instituted a cooperative effort with the Cauliflower Alley Club where you round up... If you buy something for $20.95, you can round up to the nearest dollar, in this case $21.00, That 5 cents might not sound like a lot of money but if 1,000 people round up, that adds up! I'm trying to make money. It's a business. That's what businesses do. I need to make a profit to stay in business. But, I genuinely am trying to give back to wrestling, both the future and the past."
Al Snow's Wrestling Academy network overseas:
"It is still very much a thing. I have a school in London, England. But, I also have one in Cheshire, the Midlands, Romania, Denmark, Greece, Chili, and I'm working on one in Italy. My long-term goal is to create a network of academies that philosophically all teach the same way. I supply a syllabus. By creating a network, a talent from lets say England... They are going to learn, they are going to evolve, they're going to grow to a certain level but then they are only able to go so far because they're only able to get so much of that kind of experience. By creating this network, a student in London could contact a school in Portugal and be confident that philosophically, it's all the same. Then, they can travel there, work their shows, and get a whole different variety of experience. Then, if they ever get an opportunity with a national or international product company like WWE or GFW, TNA, Impact... They will have a polish that will help them fully take advantage of that opportunity."
If he'd do the next WWE Tough Enough if asked:
"Certainly! I loved being a part of Tough Enough. I've got to tell you, I think it is one of the greatest things I think I've ever done in my career. It was such a pleasure. if I'm remembered for only 1 thing, I hope I'm remembered for Tough Enough."