|Interview with Al Snow and Steve Blackman
By Alex Marvez
Al Snow and Steve Blackman aren't exactly Laurel and Hardy, but the comedic interplay between the two is pretty entertaining. Before a recent World Wrestling Federation show in Sunrise, Fla., Snow and Blackman discussed their gimmick and offered some thoughts on the retirement of Mick Foley.
Alex:Why do you think you guys have drawn the crowd reactions you've had since you've started working together?
Blackman: It's such a contrast. We're so different.
Snow: I think so. It's entertaining. I'm a lunatic and I come up with totally irrational ideas that help to highlight what little of Steve's personality he has. The stuff (WWF wrestlers) do in the ring I think has become almost secondary to what we do outside the ring, especially in this case. This is a very good example of that. We're both good workers. It's just that the stuff we do outside the ring looks much better. When we walk out, we get a great reaction. That's because fans look forward to what we do behind the scenes more than they do in the ring, because we haven't been involved in anything dramatic in the ring.
Alex: Where did this gimmick come from?
Snow: I was speaking to one of the writers. It was an idea they wanted to do but Vince (McMahon) was uncomfortable with it. I said, 'If you want to put me with somebody, why don't you put me with Steve? I'll put his on-camera not having a personality into his personality. We'll make it obvious and standout. I think we can do some funny, creative stuff.' The next thing you know, they tried it once and they liked it and we've been together since.
Alex:This is a lot like the Phil LeFon-Doug Furnas thing from a few years back?
Snow: Paul (Heyman) tried to do it (in ECW), but unfortunately, Doug couldn't quite get the personality thing across so it never worked. There was no contrast there. There was no black and white or opposites.
Blackman: My whole thing is going to the ring stone-faced and doing my fighting. For two years, people never saw me really do anything comical. Not even slightly or remotely comical. Since we've been doing these things together, people find it amusing. This is totally different. But then again, Al and I are totally different, too, with our gimmicks.
Alex: Al, could you talk about some of the comments you made about Mick Foley and his retirement and how it fell flat? What is your take on that?
Snow: He's given his all for years. His body is aching. He felt it was time to go. I told him I thought it was best for him to retire. You have what you call your day in the sun. The day starts out bright and shiny and you can do no wrong. Fans are really getting into you and they have no expectations yet. You hit high noon and you can do absolutely no wrong. If you screw up in the ring, the fans and the (front) office will make excuses for your screw-ups. When you get to afternoon, people now want to see a little more. They have expectations. When you start heading into evening, people aren't going to excuse your screw-ups. They're going to actually expect you to perform at that level every time. The sun sets and guys stay beyond their day in the sun. Hulk Hogan is a good example of that. Mick had accomplished everything he wanted to accomplish. Why not (retire)? He's financially set. He's done anything any of us could have possibly wanted to do. Why not retire? But I just thought (Foley's appearance at Wrestlemania 2000) kind of cheapened (Foley's retirement) in his eyes and my eyes and the fans' eyes. I think a lot of people have said that, that he retired then came back. I understand it may not have been by his choice but Vince's, but still it kind of made it, 'Here's another guy saying he's going to retire and he's back wrestling again.' It kind of hurts it.
Blackman: It does. It's the same old song and dance. They've seen it a dozen times.
Snow: They've seen it too many times. It may not destroy everything he worked for by no means. But I don't think it was necessarily a positive thing for him to do. Could you see Mick coming back a year or two from now to do something better retirement-wise?
Blackman: Who knows? Anything's possible in this business. I didn't expect Mick to come back at Mania and he came back. So if he does, I think it will be a long time (from now).
Snow: I was so under the impression that his last match was going to be at Mania that he was there at (Madison Square Garden) the next day after (losing a retirement match to Triple H in February). He was walking around and everything, but I barely even talked to him because I figured they were going to do something to get him in Mania. I was shocked to find out the next day that the only reason he was there was to shoot a "Got Milk" picture thing, then he left. That (loss to Triple H) was supposedly his last match. I called him up and apologized for not really getting with him because I thought he was going to be around. It turned out he was after all. I think the fans, too, as far as Mick is concerned and the way that he's come across, they all assumed, too, that when he said it was his last match that it was going to be his last match. I think they were kind of let down, like, 'Oh s--t, here we go again. We've been taken in again.' Not that he intended it that way, but I think that's the way the fans took it.
Alex:Steve, I think your work has improved quite a bit in the past few months. How happy are you with the way things are going?
Blackman: I'm happy with the way it's going. When I first came in, I felt comfortable with the working ability. I just felt uncomfortable with the microphone. Now, I feel comfortable doing both. To get over in the business, you need to do both.