Al Snow took several risks in the ring back in his day, especially during his stints in ECW. But he is not a fan of some of the bigger risks that performers take today as he doesn't think they are worth it.
He talked more about that and made a pro sports comparison when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"Everybody in the US loves baseball, football and basketball. Everyone. Why? Because everyone played it as a child. You either played football in the backyard with your parents or family or you hit a ball with a baseball bat or you dunked a basketball on the driveway. You have a physical relationship with what you watched," said Snow. "That's why hockey has a bigger audience in Canada than anywhere else – because more people in Canada played hockey because it's cold up there all the time…
"Soccer is bigger all over the entire planet than it is here in the US. Why? Because soccer is played all over the planet and has for generations. Soccer is becoming bigger in the US because more kids are playing it and now you're building an audience."
Snow said that Americans are so arrogant to think the Super Bowl is the highest rated sporting event, but worldwide it's not close as Americans are the only ones who care about football. He drew a comparison of that to wrestling as fans don't really know what hurts in the ring and what doesn't because most have never been in a ring.
"The same goes for wrestling – if you've never stepped in a wrestling ring, there are only seven things we do physically that you could possibly relate to. Other than that, you ask anyone else and they'll tell you a ring is a mattress or trampoline but God knows it's anything but," stated Snow. "That's why I take exception when performers will do unsafe things like bump a guy on the ring apron or throw him backwards on a bump that he can't control into the turnbuckle. Why? How are you getting more out of that?
"The general audience doesn't realize that the turnbuckle really does hurt. It's made of steel and could potentially injure this guy. Nobody knows that the ring apron is the most dangerous place on that ring and that's the one place you want to avoid like the plague. So, you throwing the person on it isn't gonna make people think, 'Oh my God, he got hurt worse' especially when your opponent stands up 30 seconds later and acts like nothing happened."
Speaking of taking unnecessary risks, Snow was asked his opinion on chair shots and blading.
"Chair shots shouldn't… we now know. Back in the day when I got my first concussion, the most advice I got was, 'Hey, don't fall asleep because you could die.' So, I tried to stay awake for three days and I was in a panic every time I'd start to nod off. So, we know more now," stated Snow.
"As far as blading is concerned, you're not really hurting yourself. Blood can sometimes help increase the drama of some situations. It can make things more personal and create more emotion. If it's overdone and overused or whored out much like anything else, too much of a good thing is bad. But if you use it intelligently at the right time for the right reason – it's no different if you're watching a movie and the hero gets wounded. Then you care more and you get more emotionally connected."
He added that he is not an advocate for blading and will push talent to find other avenues to tell a story. He then commented on wrestlers using the ring apron which he calls one of the most dangerous places in wrestling.
"You don't know the ring apron is as hard as concrete compared to the rest of the ring. If you've never been up in a ring, you don't know. Here's the difference between blading and taking a bump on a ring apron – blading is just a cut or scratch. Even if you gig it hard, you're gonna hit a bunch of blood vessels and you're gonna bleed a lot. But you're not permanently for the rest of your life taking a risk that you're going to suffer a life-altering injury for that. You take a bump on a ring apron and you hit that wrong – it is the most unforgiving thing you could ever strike. It has no give and it's at a nice, sharp angle where if it catches your spine just right, it could sever it," said Snow.
He said that since fans don't know how dangerous and unforgiving the ring apron is, what more is talent getting by using it? Snow then was asked about Darby Allin's Coffin Drop move and why he isn't a fan of it.
"I think for him, it's a short-sighted thing. The first time I ever saw it, I thought he's an idiot because if again, and granted, look at the stupid stuff I did. You know what I mean? I can't judge somebody. I did a lot of stuff and took a lot of risks and I'm paying the price now. I'm in pain every single day of my life. I really am – a dramatic amount of pain and I'm not exaggerating. I hurt all the time. Sometimes I hurt so bad and it's so oppressive that sometimes I have to lay down to take a nap because it just wears me out. It's my choice," said Snow.
"If it gets you more out of the audience, not a temporary reaction: okay. The objective is to try to get a true genuine, emotional reaction and connection that now motivates more people to want to see you perform. But how often are you going to be able to do it?
"Marc Mero, when he first came to WWE and back then the rings – the whole thing was like it was ringing. It was so unforgiving because it was right after the Saturday Night Main Event run. Dick Ebersol didn't want the bouncing on TV and they were like a soundstage. Mark Mero came in and I knew how to do a 450 and I quit doing it. You know why I quit doing it? Because I would spin and have such velocity when I hit the mat, I had so much impact that my elbows and my wrists were swollen all the time.
"They were just, 'Oh, it hurts so bad.' So, he learned how to do it. He's like, 'Oh, it's gonna be my new finish.' I go, 'Man, do not make that your finish.' He goes, 'Why?' I go, 'If you make that your finish, then people are going to pay to see you do it. And if they pay to see you do it, you're gonna have to do it every single night and you're not gonna last that long.' Six months later he blew out his knee."
Allin often does his Coffin Drop to the ring apron which has much less give than inside the ring. Snow has a problem with what Allin does after pulling off that move.
"Then, what did he do right afterwards? Again, do what you want. Okay? Just don't bury your own sh*t. You just took a move that we all go, 'Oh my god, he's dead.' And then you just got up and you had more offense. What was the purpose of you doing it? You just wasted it," said Snow.
"If you're going to take a risk, do two things for me. One, get the absolute most you can out of it emotionally, then sell it and put it over. If it made you look like you were near death and sell it like you're near death. If people expect you to be near death, be near death. Don't act like it didn't matter because now everything else doesn't matter. And not just in your match because it doesn't live in a bubble, now nothing else matters on the whole show. It's all inconsequential and now next time, you fell from the top of the rope to the ring apron. Now I want to see you do it again. I want to see you do it bigger."
You can learn more about Ohio Valley Wrestling by visiting ovwrestling.com. Al's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.