Sports

Whatever Happened To? Gene Snitsky

snitskySome kids grow up dreaming of playing football in the NFL. Some kids grow up dreaming of wrestling at WWE WrestleMania. Some kids just want to be on television. Pro wrestler, Gene Snitsky has accomplished all of those dreams and he is just getting started.

I had a chance to meet former WWE superstar Snitsky recently. I sat down and interviewed Snitsky for a home video. I have to say that I became a big fan of Gene Snitsky by the time we wrapped up. There is something about a person that goes out and realizes all of their dreams that you just have to admire.

It may seem like it came easy for Snitsky, but it didn’t. Snitsky played college football at Missouri. Snitsky’s line coach was head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Andy Reid. Snitsky made it to the NFL, playing with the San Diego Chargers. Injuries at a young age caught up with him, and he was out of a job quicker than you could say LaDanian.

Snitsky had always been a wrestling fan. Growing up in Allentown, it was kind of hard not to like wrestling. Allentown had been a hub for WWE pro wrestling for years. Television was taped monthly in Allentown through the 1980s. Allentown is the home of many of pro wrestling’s biggest stars. Gene Snitsky would join that class of Allentown wrestling alumni.

A chance meeting for Snitsky would change his life and his career forever. Snitsky hooked up with WWE Hall of Famer, Afa the Wild Samoan. Afat trained Snitsky at his school. Afa became a surrogate father figure to Gene and took him beyond the ring and into his family. Gene proudly calls himself an honorary Samoan to this day.

Snitsky’s road to the top was similar to Randy the Ram’s road to the bottom in The Wrestler. Snitsky had dozens of odd jobs to pay the bills as he continued training and wrestling on the independents. I actually worked indy shows with Gene many years ago. I remember being very impressed with his size and athleticism. I knew right away that wrestlers like him don’t last long on the independent scene.

Snitsky’s first break came when he was offered a spot in the WWE’s own developmental territory. Snitsky worked hard at taking his skills to the next level. Snitsky had plenty of fun along with the hard work. One wrestler learned the hard way not to push big Gene after a harmless rib. Needless to say, nobody messed with Gene ever again.

Snitsky received the call that everyone in wrestling dreams of getting. “We need you on RAW Monday night.” He was immediately paired with Kane and wrestled with main-event stars right off the bat. Making it to the WWE is one thing. Making it in the WWE is another. Snitsky accomplished both and received more television time during his first year than some WWE wrestlers get in a lifetime.

Snitsky did it right and played the political game. Snitsky did everything from playing a foot fetish monster to shaving his eye brows and long hair to coloring his teeth yellow on a nightly basis. In Gene’s words, the yellow makeup was a “pain in the ass.” Snitsky would spend hours putting on the makeup and never once complained. The unfortunate downfall with starting at the top is that there is no where else to go but down.

There are a lot of lifers on the WWE roster who are just happy to have a job. Gene was not one of them. As a former professional athlete, Snitsky is a competitor before anything else. Snitsky was not happy with his downsized role. Snitsky felt he was just beginning to peak as a wrestler. After asking Vince McMahon for a bigger role, Snitsky was rewarded for initiative with a release. It was over as fast as it started. Snitsky was no longer a WWE superstar.

What I really liked about Snitsky is that he took it in stride and looked at it as another opportunity. Snitsky always wanted to show more in the ring. Unfortunately he was told early on that big giants don’t necessarily “wrestle.” Snitsky can now be seen touring Europe regularly for Nu Wrestling booked by “fellow Samoan” Rikishi. Snitsky is having the time of his life traveling Europe, wrestling, and having a normal schedule.

What are his future plans? He would like to go back to the WWE, but is content if he doesn’t. How about TNA? He tries to keep up with the Internet buzz, but was caught off guard with a recent report that he was seeking work at a recent TNA show. For the record, he just went to visit his old friend Daivari. The two used to travel together and hadn’t seen in each other in months. He had a great time at TNA but was in no way seeking work.

Snitsky is also back on the local independent scene. I’m sure his paydays have increased quite a bit since the first time we worked together seven years ago. Snitsky continues working hard at becoming a better wrestler. Snitsky really enjoys going out there and wrestling the way he wants to. I can almost guarantee that the Snitsky you may see on the indys is a much different wrestler than the Snitsky you saw on WWE WrestleMania.

I have a very strong feeling that you have yet to see the last of Gene Snitsky.

See Snitsky wrestle the Big Show in a Grudge Match on the WWE Unforgiven DVD by clicking here.

Order the ECW SERIES 3 SNITSKY WWE JAKKS WRESTLING FIGURE clicking here.

Save up to 67% off select DVDs at WWESHOP!!

Headlocks and Eye Gouges – I will be back on Pro Wrestling Radio Wedbesday night, May 6 at 7 PM/EST. I will talk about Snitsky and some other forgotten recent stars. I’ll also be talking about all of the fallout news in pro wrestling, mma, and more. Call in with a question or comment at -877-800-8834. Listen live at http://www.tvbydemand.com/radio_prowrestling_radioshow.asp 7-8:30 PM/EST this and every Wednesday night.

Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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