Former WWE Superstar, Impact Wrestling executive and Tough Enough trainer Al Snow recently appeared as a guest on the Pat Buck WrestlePro Show for an interview. Below are some of the highlights.
On pro wrestling outcomes being scripted but the bumps and bruises being all too real: "It's just the outcome. All the wrestling moves are quite real. All the stuff you know, you know how to actually go in there and truly, not competitively, you know how to apply an armbar and break a guy's arm. You know how to hook a guy in a hammerlock, you know how to hook a headlock, you know how to take a leg, waist lock a guy, all those moves are quite real. They are all legitimate moves. Some of the bumps we take are 'video game-esque,' but when you take the bump it is quite real. One thing that is fake is the outcome, where the fact that when you go out there I am going to win and you are going to lose."
On the psychology behind selling in matches and what it's designed to do: "I don't sell the pain, I sell the fact that it might create an opportunity for you to beat me, and that is what I am selling because physically the audience never relates to what we do. I mean there are eight things to what we have experienced, but if we were to tell them after the show tonight to stand outside the door as they come out and ask the audience what do they think the ring is made of? They will tell you it's a trampoline or a mattress and we all know it is not. But you can't convince them of that because they see the ring either give or that the padding provides some sort of cushion. They don't understand because they have never done it... Before you step foot in the ring, you have never once took a backdrop, took a dropkick, did something off the top rope, you can't physically relate, but audiences have known since the late 30's that Wrestling is predetermined."
On pro wrestling being no more fake than movies: "Because for a long time we have tried to, initially when everyone first tried to smarten up, we still tried to perpetuate the lie, and even though it is kind of an odd situation, even though everyone knew that it was fake, that they were being worked (predetermined), which is where the code word, 'Kayfabe' came from. You never yelled the word out or made it obvious, we always integrated it into a sentence so that the 'mark' or the fan did not know that you were signalling to everyone that they were in the locker room. Kayfabe, of what it is being used now, that wasn't protecting the business, that was protecting the audience. Kayfabe, in the way that it is used now is like when you are going to watch a movie. The producers of that movie spend an ungodly amounts of money for one reason: that is to protect you that not one solitary thing is not out of place where for one second it takes you even for a second out of that movie.
"It's a way for you to protect the audience, and the one way you do that is to never stop selling the finish. The two things that an audience pays to believe in, either tonight or anywhere else, doesn't matter style or how you approach it, because the number one thing in Wrestling is if it sells that is what you do. Two things that they pay to believe in is: who you are, second reason is why did you do it? The magic in Wrestling is once we step into that ring, you and I can absolutely do anything. To prove my point personally I have made a living and made really good living doing this [training] than the 15 years prior making people believe I can knock people out with a plastic head. People till this day, believe that I can win by hitting someone with 'Head.' It's the only time I use it when I want to win. If I hit somebody and did something else with it, I end up pouring it out and it'll no longer be what it is, and I believe it when I am in the ring so they can believe in it to, which is what they pay for me to do. They wonder when I am going to act crazy and hit somebody with a plastic head. The concept that I can actually render another person unconscious is ridiculous, but has anyone ever question it? Until I bring it up nobody thinks about it."
Check out the complete Al Snow interview from the Pat Buck WrestlePro Show at SoundCloud.com.