Allen Ray Sarven (born July 18, 1963) is a professional wrestler and actor better known by his ring name of Al Snow. He is best known for his work in Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment.
Al is divorced from wife Pam and has two children, Jake and Brittany. He is currently married to Cynthia Lynch.
Recently, Al made a surprise appearance during a live event of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 22, 2008. He was involved in a match helping Curry Man win a match against Robert Roode.
Sarven attended a professional wrestling tryout camp held by Ole & Gene Anderson. There he met Jim Lancaster, promoter of Ohio's Midwest Championship Wrestling, who agreed to train him. Lancaster later described Sarven as "a leader in the ring" who "had drive and natural ability". He made his debut on May 22, 1982. Sarven defeated Lancaster on May 5, 1985 for the Midwest Championship Wrestling title.
Sarven wrestled in various independent promotions throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, capturing both tag team and singles titles, but failed to make any big breaks. He gained a reputation as "the best-kept secret in wrestling". Sarven helped train future UFC Hall of Fame member and NWA World Heavyweight Champion Dan Severn. During this time he would sometimes wrestle as Shinobi, a ninja-style masked gimmick.
He wrestled in the November 19, 1994 tournament for the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He lost to Chris Candido, the eventual winner of the tournament.
After a tour of Japan, Sarven wrestled a match in Michigan against Sabu, an Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) regular, who suggested he try ECW. On February 4, 1995, Sarven made his ECW debut against Chris Benoit as "The Snowman" Al Snow, in a 15-minute match that was hailed as one of the best of the year.
Sarven was also being courted by Jim Cornette for his Smoky Mountain Wrestling federation. ECW booker Paul Heyman agreed to let him work for both companies. However, Sarven soon found that he was not being utilized by ECW and went to Smoky Mountain full-time.
In Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Snow teamed with Unabomb (Glen Jacobs) as The Dynamic Duo and defeated the legendary Rock 'n' Roll Express for the SMW Tag Team Championship. Both wrestlers caught the attention of the World Wrestling Federation and were signed by the end of 1995.
Sarven began working for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) when he signed a contract in August 1995. Sarven wrestled under numerous gimmicks in the WWF, such as Avatar (a superhero gimmick with Sarven putting on his mask right before starting a match) and Shinobi. He also competed in and lost a match against Marty Jannetty under the name Steve Moore. Sarven received his first mainstream exposure with the WWF as Leif Cassidy, the heel tag team partner of Marty Jannetty. The duo was promoted as The New Rockers, a throwback to the original The Rockers team of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. Eventually, the storyline was dropped, and Sarven was reduced to jobbing for mid-carders. In the late 1990s, WWF and ECW began to cross-promote their organizations to counteract the success of WCW; Sarven was one of the wrestlers sent to ECW.
Sarven found success back in ECW, billed once again as Al Snow. Sarven developed a new character gimmick after reading about abnormal psychology, and finding a mannequin head on the street near ECW Arena during a Mummers Day parade. He got the idea to portray schizophrenic transference disorder with the head as a prop.
In this role, Sarven received a lot of fan and management support for his J.O.B. Squad storyline, which promoted him as being driven insane by his years as a jobber for the WWF.
In the storyline, Snow, upset at his lot in life, asked Cactus Jack what he had to do to get anywhere in wrestling. Jack said to Snow that to become famous he had to "get a little head" (meaning he had to be willing to sleep with/have sex with the booker) Snow, however took this literally, and thus he started coming to the ring with a mannequin head (with the words "Help Me" written backwards on its forehead, an action Snow himself began to do) whom he talked to as if it were a real person, which prompted ECW crowds to chant "We want Head", an intentional double entendre. ECW promoters handed out styrofoam mannequin heads at wrestling shows, and audience members started waving them and shouting, "Head! Head! Head!" in time to his entrance music. The entire audience would then throw the heads into the ring before the match started. Once in his ECW career, he wrestled for the ECW Heavyweight title, losing to Shane Douglas at Wrestlepalooza 1998.
Just two days before he was booked to win the ECW Heavyweight Championship, Sarven was recalled to the WWF, where he continued his gimmick of talking to "Head," creating some of the more memorable humorous skits of the "Attitude Era." He was a face during this period.
Snow received some mainstream publicity in 1999 when Wal-Mart pulled his action figure from their shelves after Sabrena Parton, a professor at Kennesaw State University, complained that "Head" was a "decapitated woman's head" that sent an inappropriate message about violence towards women. Parton was quoted as saying "My sons are 6 and 11. What kind of message would this toy send them about brutalization of women?" Snow used the story as part of an angle in which the controversy caused him to suffer from depression. In one skit, Snow called his mother (kayfabe), observing that the stores wouldn't sell his action figures, but would sell shotguns and ammunition. This led Snow to dump Head and his ECW persona, eventually overhauling his gimmick but not before an infamous feud and match with the Big Boss Man during the autumn of 1999.
In early 2000, he began to team with Steve Blackman as an "odd couple" tag team called Head Cheese (so called because of Snow's attempt to get Blackman to wear a Green Bay Packers "Cheese" hat).
Later Snow would side with real life friend Mick Foley, but turned heel by betraying him due to Foley joking about him in his autobiography, Have A Nice Day. He would later turn face again due to fan reaction. Snow was often the butt of Mick Foley's jokes during Foley's tenure as WWF Commissioner in 2000. However, they are close friends in real life. Foley continued to use Snow as the butt of many jokes in his second book, Foley Is Good: And the Real World Is Faker than Wrestling.
Also in 2000, he won the European Championship from Perry Saturn. He then began a tongue-in-cheek gimmick of entering the ring to various European countries' native music and wearing attire which would suit the stereotype of that country. This continued until he lost the title to William Regal.
He was drafted to SmackDown! as part of the 2002 brand extension, where he teamed up with former student Maven. After taking time off again for another season of Tough Enough, Snow returned as a member of the RAW roster and eventually became a commentator for Sunday Night Heat alongside Jonathan Coachman. When the Coach sided with Eric Bischoff, Snow followed suit, turning heel. The two feuded with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, and briefly replaced them at the RAW announce table. When Tough Enough IV came to SmackDown!, Snow was on the scene and turned face once again.
Prior to returning to WWE's active roster, Snow was pinned by MWF Heavyweight Champion "Sudden Impact" Dylan Kage of Paul Bearer's Trifecta at MWF Fireworks On The 4th.
In 2006, Snow returned to wrestling full-time as a member of the new ECW brand of World Wrestling Entertainment. His first appearance in the new brand was in the WWE vs ECW battle royal at the "WWE vs. ECW Head to Head" special, where he was accompanied by Head. He was eliminated from the match. On the June 13, 2006 debut of ECW on Sci-Fi, Snow participated in an Extreme Battle Royal, which was won by Sabu. Over the next six months, he was used sporadically, mostly as a jobber, losing to people such as Test and Kevin Thorn.
On January 18, 2007, Snow was released from his wrestling contract with WWE, along with several other superstars. However, he remained with the company as a trainer at OVW. He resides in the Louisville Kentucky area with his wife, pro wrestler Cynthia Lynch. On the February 3, 2007 OVW TV tapings, Al Snow was named the new OVW Troubleshooter by Danny Davis in response to Danny Basham's WWE release.
On Raw XV, the 15th-anniversary WWE Raw special on December 10, 2007, Snow participated in the 15th Anniversary Battle Royal.
After the WWE ceased affiliations with training facility, Ohio Valley Wrestling, Al Snow was released from his position as an OVW Trainer.
Al made his film debut in 2006's They're Just My Friends and will be starring alongside fellow WWE alumni Diamond Dallas Page and Jacqueline Moore in 2008's Knight Fever.