Bulldog's Bookshelf

Self Help

Life Lessons From The Bizarre Wrestling Career Of Al Snow

Al Snow (with Ross Owen Williams)

Published: 2019

 

Pages: 303

Synopsis: The autobiography of former Hardcore Champion Al Snow

We got in the ring for the match and immediately the whole thing was ruined because the owners had to go into the cell with their dogs on leashes, so rather than the space between the cages being a danger zone, now it was a dog walking area. We started the match and did the best we could with what we had, but we couldn't even get the dogs to bark at us, let alone interact physically.

 

The biggest spot in the whole thing was at the end when one of he dogs pulled away from his 300-pound owner. The fat guy gave chase, tripped and big splashed his own dog. Outside the ring, all of the dogs were urinating, defecating and fornicating. Two of the owners had to exchange numbers in case their pets' ringside exertions led to puppies. Echoing what the dogs were doing outside the ring, the whole thing was the f*cking, pissing shits, the absolute worst situation we could have been put in.

 

When it was mercifully over, Vince McMahon found me backstage to apologize. I told him I was absolutely appalled and embarassed to have been part of that. He said, "I'm sorry, we'll make it up to you."

 

They didn't, and things were never the same for me in WWE after that.

What does everybody want?

 

While the automatic answer to that question may not necessarily be "A book about the life and times of Al Snow"..... perhaps it should be. In Self Help: Life Lessons From The Bizarre Wrestling Career Of Al Snow, we learn about a 35-year veteran of the sport who accomplished a variety of impressive things beyond the aforementioned Kennel From Hell match (a moment that is still ridiculed to this day).

 

And while The Snowman is best know for his work as an unbalanced, Hardcore-style wrestler who carries a mannequin head to the ring with him, his early career couldn't have been any further from that. Starting out as one of The Fabulous Kangaroos (a newer version of the legendary team, managed by original member Al Costello), Snow soon became the best-kept secret on the independent scene, even teaming up with the future Kane in Smoky Mountain Wrestling.


Eventually, Snow made his way to the WWF for forgettable runs as Avatar, Shinobi and Leif Cassidy. Frustrated by his complete lack of career trajectory, Snow was loaned out to ECW, where he would go on to create his career-defining partnership with Head.

 

Although Snow was quickly recruited back into the WWF as part of The Attitude Era, he constantly criticized booking decisions. Whether or not that attitude put a ceiling on his potential within the company, we'll never know, but it was apparent through Self Help that he never quite got to that vaunted main event status.

 

While still an active wrestler for the company, Snow engaged in feuds with the likes of Hardcore Holly, William Regal and Big Boss Man, and he even had a brief program with The Rock. Along the way, he also had successful tag team runs with the likes of Marty Jannetty, Mick Foley and Steve Blackman (anyone else remember Head Cheese?).

 

Of course, once Snow's in-ring career started to slow down, he became a trainer in the early seasons of Tough Enough, helping to shape everyone from Maven to The Miz. Snow's training style stood out, evident by similar roles he held in TNA and more recently, as the owner of Ohio Valley Wrestling. And speaking of TNA.... did anyone here realize Snow was an employee there for seven years? News to me that he was there that long.

 

Outside of the squared circle, Snow also helped train Dan Severn for his championship run in the early days of UFC, and he's also made appearances in numerous films (starting with an uncredited role in the 1993 classic Rudy).

 

Snow has a tremendous sense of humor about some of the wacky escapades he's endured in and out of the ring, and isn't afraid to let it come through here. From describing some of the crazy ribs that wrestlers put themselves through to witnessing a match between Santa Claus and Jesus.... it's hard not to laugh at some of the crazy tales he tells. As a bonus, Snow does this without once taking potshots at his friend Foley, who based much of his early literary career on attacking Snow in his books every chance he could get.

 

And true to the book's title, Al Snow does offer words of advice - some are life lessons and some are related to his own experiences. These one-or-two sentence snippets are a fun way to break up his story from time to time.

 

The only real criticism about this book is that it probably peaks too soon. Part of that is because, chronologically speaking at least, Snow's career did peak in the late-1990s and everything he did after that doesn't came across quite as monumental. It's hard to fauly Snow for that, though, because he's simply trying to document the ups and downs of his career in the most logical order possible... so I'm not sure what could have been done to work around that.

 

Overall Rating: Oh Hell Yeah! Much like Al Snow himself, Self Help is probably underappreciated in its time, yet manages to pack quite a punch in 300 or so pages. This is definitely one of the more original wrestling biographies to come out in recent years.

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