Former WWE Superstar Al Snow was recently a guest on The Steve Austin Show. Among other things, Snow talked about bumps, the importance of establishing a relationship with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon for WWE Superstars, and the problem with downside guaranteed contracts. Also, Austin shared his thoughts on the Lex Luger top babyface experiment in WWE as well as McMahon wanting everyone to get over.
According to Snow, pro wrestlers should not give bumps, but rather they should execute a move and let the opponent take the bump and make it look good.
"Guys aren't taught," Snow considered, "and I'm not downing the modern day wrestlers because they're all amazing, but they're taught differently in that they're not taught to take a bump for the guy. They're taught to give a bump to a guy. And you should never give the bump to the guy. You should do the move and the guy should take the bump for you and make you look like a million bucks."
To illustrate the point that the person bumping can make the offensive wrestler look good or bad, Snow shared a story of the late great Owen Hart teaching Lex Luger a lesson.
"There's a story, the best example of that was Owen Hart and Owen was such a cutup." Snow said, "and it was Owen and Yokozuna working with Davey ['Boy' Smith] and Lex Luger. And Lex had made some smart ass remark to Owen about being a big star or something like that, so Owen taught him a lesson. So whenever Davey would get in the ring, Davey would hip toss him and Owen would just go flying. Davey'd tag right out and Owen caught a hip toss from Lex and he would just go over like a ton of s--t. And it finally got to the point where Lex Luger is over there hot. And he comes in and he's shaking."
Snow went on to say that Hart would go limp when Luger would go for a gorilla press, yet Hart would let Smith press him and walk him around the ring before explaining that Luger's hubris caused the sandbagging.
"You don't bump a guy. The guy takes the bumps for you. He can make you look like a million bucks or he can make you look like a tub of s--t. Yeah, Luger thought he could get over on his own and that basically it was all him and Owen was like, 'nope, I'm going to show you it's not' and he went out of his way to teach him."
During the podcast, Austin suggested that Luger's megapush in WWE and The Lex Express did not work. While not everyone gets that all-systems-go, green light push, Austin claimed that McMahon gives everyone an opportunity.
"Lex came in back in the day, I guess it was NWA/WCW surrounded by [great talent], working with [Ric] Flair, The [Four] Horsemen, and tons of talent that really helped him get over. He goes over to New York, they paint up that school bus red, white, and blue, and, hey man, Lex Express, and not so fast, my friend. It did not work, so they've got all that. Hell, they've got the U.S.S. Whatever, the battleship where he slammed Yokozuna, flew him in on a helicopter."
Austin continued, "Vince, goddangit, Vince is giving him all the tools in the world to get over. He gives everybody the tools or he gives everybody an opportunity, but he [has] got the rocket strapped to Lex and it just ain't working."
Snow added that "you can't put a rocket up his ass more than that."
Snow admitted that he has learned through experience and making mistakes that wrestling for WWE is a partnership between a pro wrestler and McMahon. As an independent contractor, it is up to the talent to give McMahon something that he can exploit, which allows talent to move up the card and make more money.
"It's all based on experience, where I screwed up, where I made the mistakes, and I think [Austin]'ll understand because [Austin] kept it in your head and I lost track of it and what that is not a job. This ain't Wal-Mart. You don't get hired and you don't get fired. I know they use that a lot, those terms, 'oh, so-and-so got fired from WWE'. A wrestler can't be fired. He [has] never been hired. He's in business for himself. It's literally the partnership between Vince McMahon and the wrestler. The wrestler, Vince gives you the platform, regardless of what that platform is, whether you are on the top of the card, middle of the card, or bottom of the card, he's giving you the platform and it's up to you to create something that Vince can exploit and that he can use to move you up, and both of you, together, make money."
Notably, Snow argued that downside guaranteed contracts has made talent scared of getting fired.
"I think one of the biggest downfalls in wrestling right now is that Vince gives that downside guarantee." Snow explained, "a lot of places give a guaranteed contract, but Vince gives you a downside guaranteed contract, and the boys now have something to lose. Now they don't go out and perform like trying to make themselves an attraction. They perform to try to get themselves over, to move up, and make as much money as they can in whatever time in their prime that they have. They play it safe because they don't want to upset somebody. They don't want to hurt somebody's feelings. They don't want heat and then get fired."
Snow went on to say that talent need to understand that they can make money outside of WWE if they can reinvent themselves.
"What they don't understand is that they can use that platform to get themselves over even if they get cut from WWE." Snow elaborated, "you can still go out and make money elsewhere and if they utilize that to get themselves back over and reinvent themselves, much like Matt Hardy, Vince would always bring them back, so he could capitalize on them again and promote them again, so the two of them can make money."
Snow stated that having a relationship with McMahon is very important for talents, though he never established one because of his old school outlook of 'the boys' versus 'the office' mentality. Snow divulged that McMahon never understood the head gimmick because he had his "head up [his] ass" presumably not 'Head'.
"Now, Vince, in his defense, never quite got the gimmick." Snow continued, "You have to [have a relationship with McMahon]. It's important. And I never did because I was always brought up in that 'hey, there [are] the boys and there's the office. Do you know what I mean? Exactly. And you go do your thing, you don't bother them, and all that kind of stuff. I never took the time to, which I should have, to establish the relationship with Vince. And I've explained this before, that 'what does everybody want? What does everybody need?' Everybody thinks that's about getting oral sex. It had nothing to do with that because I was shooting an angle. And nobody realizes whenever I would do that, if you pay attention, I would get angrier as I was doing it because I was shooting an angle. I was going to turn on the head and I wanted to work an entire angle with the head! But I never explained that to Vince. He never got it."
Although Snow acknowledged there is a glass ceiling and backstage politics in WWE, he indicated that McMahon legitimately wants every WWE Superstar to get over.
"Guys talk about 'there's a glass ceiling and there's this and there's that'. There is. I mean, there's politics. You're not going to fool anybody. I mean, it's an ultra, ultra, ultra competitive situation over there. I mean, you've got three seconds of television time and there [are] 80 guys in the back who want that television time and are questioning why you got it and they're going to do everything they can to take it away from you, but it's just what it is. But Vince wants genuinely for every guy, you hear guys all the time, 'well, Vince doesn't want me to get over' and I used to say the same thing, and that's why I say my head was far up my ass, because Vince wants everybody to get over because the more people that get over, the more successful he is ,and the more he can take credit of the boom of the business because the more you get guys over, the more business we do."
Finally, Austin recalled watching a Steve Blackman match with McMahon backstage at a Madison Square Garden show. Mentioning the positive crowd reaction to McMahon, he replied that he hoped 'The Lethal Weapon' would get over.
"We were at the Garden and [Snow] know[s] how short that entrance to the Garden is, that blue curtain right there and I was sitting there watching the matches and Vince was right there. And goddangit, it was always cool when Vince went to the Garden because s--t was on. It was a big show. It was their backyard, so we were sitting there watching and goddangit, they hit Steve Blackman's music, and [Snow] remember[s] Steve, man, MMA guy, he had the nunchucks, or the sticks, or whatever, good body, good dude, and goddangit, he got a real good pop out there from the crowd. And I looked over at Vince and said, 'goddang, that's a pretty good pop!' Vince looked at me, and it's one of the things, one of the many conversations, but this was one of the things that I always remember, Vince looked at me and he goes, 'yeah, I really hope he can get over.'"
Austin noted, "what I was getting out of that was, here's the Vince McMahon saying, 'I hope he can get over'. He's giving him the opportunity, but it's up to each guy to get [himself] over."
What https://podcastone.com/Steve-Austin-Show-Clean? Check out Austin's recommended viewing in the video above. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show