As noted, pro wrestling veteran Al Snow was recently a guest on The Steve Austin Show. Among many other things, Snow talked about what he learned from sitting under the learning tree of The Sheik. Also, Austin and Snow shared their thoughts on the late great Brian Pillman and his Loose Cannon gimmick.
According to Snow, he learned about character from The [Original] Sheik. Snow recalled that The Sheik believed his gimmick and slipped into character whenever some recognized him in the street.
"He believed so much in [himself] and what he did." Snow continued, "he believed in his gimmick, so there was no way you wouldn't believe it. He never, never broke character. Like, he never spoke, he never did an interview, out in public, you never heard him talk. That's important because that's what he sold to the audience and that's what they bought. And he never gave them something other than what they paid for. He always gave them The Sheik. If he was out in public, and somebody recognized him, he was The Sheik."
Along these lines, Snow revealed that he would sit down at restaurants with Head, so people would believe he is crazy.
"I did that when I was really getting over with The Head and it was uncomfortable, I've got to be honest." Snow added, "but after I'd get done working, I'd go eat dinner by myself. I'd set The Head on the table and I'd order The Head dinner, and we'd sit there and have a conversation while people were sitting in that restaurant looking at us like, 'what the hell are you doing?'"
While that level of commitment is difficult, Snow uses it as an example for his students.
"It's hard to do that!" Snow admitted. "Like I tell the young guys, if somebody's flipping through the channels on the TV and they remember seeing me at the restaurant and they say, 'hey, that's that guy! Do you remember him? He's completely nuts!' So now, if they could believe in me, they could believe in anything I did no matter how ridiculous it was. And let's face it, they made me do a lot of ridiculous s--t! I mean, they made me do a lot of stupid things, but I could do it and get away with it because people thought I was completely insane, completely out of my mind."
On the subject of Pillman, Snow claimed that the former Cincinnati Bengal had no discernible character till the Loose Cannon gimmick. In Snow's view, Pillman became "fascinating" because he was a wildcard to the audience.
"Brian was awesome," Snow reflected. "Brian was solid from top to bottom, but he just kind of meandered in the middle and the reason why was because you couldn't turn [to somebody] and go, 'hey, there's this guy, Brian Pillman, he's A, B, C, D, E.' I mean, he did the same kind of thing that we all did. He floated. Don't get me wrong, he was a good hand, but he didn't have that discernible character until he started doing that Loose Cannon thing and it was like, 's--t! This guy, you can tell, he [doesn't] care.' You don't know what he's going to do. You don't know where he's going to go or what he's going to say, but you've got to watch him because you don't know what he's going to do. It was fascinating."
In Austin's learned opinion, the Loose Cannon gimmick was so out there and Pillman was so committed to it. Austin said he did not ask Pillman about the gimmick because he did not want his former tag team partner to have to break character.
"Man, when he came up with the Loose Cannon gimmick, it was so out there. He was so committed to it," Austin stated. "The thing about Brian, when he started doing all that stuff, we were still very good friends. I didn't want to ask him because I was just watching as was the whole wrestling world and all of the boys. I never knew because I didn't want to ask him and I didn't want him to try to break character because I was truly fascinated by what he was doing. And to work himself out of a contract to get into a contract, he had to create an opportunity for himself, and I just thought it was crazy."
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Source: The Steve Austin Show