Thanks you once again for joining me here at Sports Obsessive. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and have a phone conversation with Al Snow. If you don’t already know, Al was a major player in promotions such as ECW and WWE during the beloved Attitude Era.
It was an absolute pleasure to have this conversation. Al Snow has been training up and coming wrestlers for years, including AEW Executive Vice President, Cody Rhodes. He has since gone on to purchase and revitalize Ohio Valley Wrestling.
In our conversation, we touched on the landscape of the business during a global pandemic, the OVW trade school, comic books and so much more. So without further ado, lets get into it!
Jon: Alright guys, I’m here with the Legend himself, the one and only Al Snow. Thanks again for taking time out of your day to do this. I know you’re a busy man.
Al: Thanks for having me on. Thank you for giving me the time.
Jon: Absolutely. So, let’s get right to it. Like the rest of the world, professional wrestling has been hit hard by the covid-19 pandemic. What has it been like trying to navigate through this unprecedented time and still run a successful promotion like Ohio Valley Wrestling?
Al: During COVID-19, during the pandemic, it’s been a very challenging time for us because a lot of what we do is reliant on having a live audience to interact with. It’s required us to really become creative and ,for one, look for different avenues to change our business model from more of an attendance based or attendance driven model to more of becoming a content provider. We have expanded our television base, not just regionally, like we’ve been on WBNA for 20 plus years and we’ve been their number one televised program. We’ve expanded nationally on nine different national networks and then we’ve expanded internationally during this time.
Our Roku channel puts in about 27 different countries. Amazon prime puts in 222 different countries. We’re on Sky Sports, which is a sports channel in the UK, and then we’re on Sports International which is an European sports channel that reaches about 690 million homes. Nationally, we reach about 150 million homes, now. So, you know, we’re on all three platforms, whether it be broadcast, linear, which is cable, or streaming.
Our show can be accessed and we’re using that to expand our audience and our fan base and try to begin to monetize our television product through sponsorship’s and pay-per-view. We just did our first ever pay-per-view on Saturday(Dec 5), Christmas Chaos, and we did really well. We’re looking forward to, each month, building up the shows and doing a month pay-per-view and using that as a way to monetize our television product.
Jon: That’s awesome. We’ve seen a lot of cross promotion going on in the industry lately, including your partnership with Anthem and Impact and, most recently, AEW with their partnership with Impact. How important do you think it is for other promotions to work together, right now, or just in general, for the state of wrestling?
Al: I think, in general, it’s much smarter because you can pull resources and you can accomplish much more together than you can apart. I mean, that’s just common sense. I’m really hoping that this era of cooperation continues amongst the different companies.
You’re not going to outdo WWE. WWE has been WWE for decades and nobody does WWE better than WWE. But, if we work together and pull our resources, we can maybe create something that’s different and unique for the fan base that, you know, actually gives them an alternative to WWE. We can offer up something that is unique. So, I’m hoping that it keeps going forward.
Jon: Is there anybody that you haven’t partnered with yet that you would like to partner with and work with?
Al: You know, we’ll see. As the opportunities arise, I’m open to working with people and trying to create opportunities for everyone.
Jon: Who is somebody in your system, whether it be somebody currently active in OVW or a student still training, that we should be on the lookout for?
Al: You know, people ask me that and I don’t pick just one. It’s tough. One, it’s tough to just pick one. Two, I don’t want some of the students or some of the students to go, “Why didn’t he pick me? Am I bad? Do I suck?” So, I don’t want anybody to think that, in any way.
Al Snow Memories
Jon: Right, that makes sense to me. So, you’ve been in the industry for a long time. I’m sure that you have so many great memories. Is there any one in particular that stands out to you as maybe your greatest memory within professional wrestling?
Al: That would be tough to do. Only because I’ve been doing it for so l long. Because I’ve been so blessed to do what I love to do for as long as I’ve been doing it.
You know, every time I go out there it’s an opportunity to create awesome memories and create moments that people, myself included, won’t forget. It’s really hard to just whittle it down. To just go, “Oh, you know what? This is the one. This is definitely the one big one that I’ll never forget. That’s better than all of the other ones,” when all of them have been incredible.
Al Snow and Head Comic Book
Jon: Switching gears a little bit, I saw on your Instagram this morning that The Ballad of Al Snow and Head is almost ready for release. Can you fill us in a little bit about what that’s about and what we can expect from it?
Al: Yeah. The comic book, The Ballad of Al Snow and Head, is going to be, really, a very interesting take. When we first started talking about it, creatively, the idea was proposed to me that I would be a private detective and Head would be my assistant. We would be solving murder mysteries. The initial story is being told in a post-apocalyptic world and we were talking and tossing around the ideas of each story taking place in a different world.
Like, the next story would be in an underwater setting. The next one would be in outer space. And I said, “Wouldn’t it be great if the reason that all of these stories were happening in different avenues is because, it’s quite real to me, but it’s taking place because I’m insane, it’s all in my head?” Not my Head-head, but my head on my shoulders. That gives us the creative freedom to tell different stories in different environments and it all be completely normal because it’s all happening really inside my head.
Jon: Do we know what this will all start to roll out?
Al: Well, it got delayed and pushed back because of, you know, the pandemic. Just like everything else. But, it’s getting much, much closer. I think almost all of the artwork and everything like that, the lettering and everything is starting to get finished up. We’re getting very close.
Al Snow Meeting His Fans
Jon: Speaking of comics and graphic novels, you do a lot of conventions, comic-cons and things of that nature. Is that something that you enjoy doing to go out and meet fans and things like that, outside of a typical wrestling setting?
Al: Yeah, I really do enjoy doing the comic-cons and the opportunity to, one, meet the fans, and two, I’m a big comic book fan, myself. And pop culture and science fiction. I’m a bit of a nerd and a geek. You know, those are like a nerd’s paradise, the comic book conventions and stuff. I’m a fan of that and then I get an opportunity to meet a lot of the fans that have followed my career. We get to talk and interact. It’s a really good time.
Jon: What are some things that we can start to expect from you and Ohio Valley Wrestling in general going into 2021 and beyond, hopefully, as we start to move away from the pandemic, however soon or far away that may be? What can we expect moving forward?
Al: Well, with OVW, we’re just going to continue to expand and grow, as far as the television product. We’re going to reach more of an audience, here nationally and internationally. OVW is really going to start to explore the pay-per-view universe and continue to build on the success that we had this past month and hopefully grow that, as well. We’re really continuing to develop. We’re starting an online aspect to our training, our OVW trade school. The OVW/ASWA wrestling training school is the only state-accredited trade school in the world for professional wrestling, sports entertainment and broadcasting. We’re very proud of that.
We have a two-year program that students can apply and be taught. Not just how to wrestle, but all of the necessary skills for production and direction, live event management, business management, personal financial management, etc. to ensure their success both in the ring and, because it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when their careers in-ring will come to an end. Now they can have the skill to continue to be a viable part of professional wrestling and broadcasting and pursue a career. We’re looking to continue to do that and build the online portion of the school.
We’re starting to offer more and more classes online featuring celebrity professors that are celebrities in their particular field, so to speak. We’ve got Tim Jensen of Grunt Style Clothing, who’s literally a master of social media marketing and management. He’s being the professor for social media management for this quarter. So, you can access physically, personally, here and you can also do it online, as well.
Jon: Is there anything that you want to want to pass on, before we end this end, to your fans or fans of OVW or wrestling, in general?
Al: Just hang in there. We’ll get past this, you know. OVW, and the wrestlers themselves, we really need the support of the fans. Especially fans in the Louisville area and the region of Louisville. We really need your support to watch the television product and when we go back to having live audiences, to come out and have fun and enjoy the show.
Even before covid, we run a very safe and professional operation and we run a very family friendly show. We endeavor to produce a show that’s slightly edgy and interesting to the adult, but at the same time you sit there with your kid and not feel awkward watching it.
Jon: I can’t wait to take my kids up to some shows. Fingers crossed that it will be sooner, rather than later. I definitely can’t wait to see what big things you have in store for us. Thank you so much again for taking time out and speaking to me. Hopefully we can do this again sometime down the road.
Al: Thank you very much, Jon. I hope to see you soon.
Ohio Valley Wrestling currently airs worldwide on Roku and Amazon Fire, nationally on YTA on Fridays at midnight and in Louisville on WBNA 21 Tuesdays at 8PM. Make sure to check out their next pay-per-view, OVW Nightmare Rumble, live on January 9th 2021. Limited in-person seating will also be available. Tickets are on sell now.