My interview with Mick Foley took place before the Chris Benoit tragedy that has shocked the world of professional wrestling. Even so, the number of times we switch on the computer and check the news only to discover another professional wrestler has died is an ongoing tragedy.
Mick is a lucky guy, he has financial security, a loving family and plenty of projects to keep him busy and he doesn’t exactly look like someone who takes steroids. But that’s not always the case and one problem that many wrestlers have is what to do once their career goes in a downward spiral and they have no real replacement in their lives. What does Mick Foley think of the biggest problem in wrestling?
“I wish I had an answer for you. In a lot of cases they need to realize that they are experiencing the best times of their life while on the road. It’s not always as exciting and fulfilling as when they’re in the public eye. The depression is the aftermath of fame. With Bad News Brown that wasn’t the case, he died after a long term illness. I think it’s hard to blame the guys personal decisions, I don’t have the answer but hey need to keep their careers in perspective.” I feel bad for guys who get out of wrestling and have a difficult transition. But I had the writing that I do, I hosted ‘Robot Wars’ and I talk to students at High Schools so I had a sense of people belonging to me.”
Foley doesn’t get in the ring too many times these days but one match he’s had since his ‘retirement’ finally toppled his ‘Mindgames’ clash with Shawn Michaels as his favorite match. So what was so special about that match with Randy Orton at Backlash? “It was a chance to redeem myself after a lacklustre Wrestlemania performance, a last chance to show that I could have a really good match.”
In a way ‘Hardcore Diaries’ is similar to that match with Orton. Although I enjoyed them both ‘Tietam Brown’ and ‘Scooter’ weren’t as successful as his wrestling books. Why? “It’s hard to find an audience. I felt they might jump over and find me but they didn’t make the move. It’s tough to find an audience for an ultra-violent coming of age story. I’m really glad I did those novels, I’m proud of them.”
So any more novels in the pipeline? “I’ve got some ideas for novels but won’t write until I have one that keeps me up all night. When that will happen or if it will happen I don’t know. I’ve always got something to do, I’m a busy guy”
It’s been said that Foley hasn’t had a great match at Wrestlemania but that accusation died when Foley took on Edge in a hardcore match at Wrestlemania 22. Just what was it like diving into that burning table? “Obviously you realize the danger involved and hope no one is dumb enough to duplicate that. It’s taking away the magic but in this case the fire commissioner had approved it and we had five extra so it was as safe as it could be.”
Whereas previous wrestling books have continually taken the proverbial out of Al Snow, this time around it’s Test who becomes the butt of one joke after another. Then again he has slept with Stacy Keibler so he’ll always have the last laugh I guess. So why Test? “I think with Al Snow I’d gone as far as I could go. Test seemed a better punch line.” However is it a good thing to get mentioned in a Foley book as Test is no longer in WWE (or sleeping with Stacy Keibler). “There could be a jinx, perhaps it’s not such a good thing to get mentioned in a Foley book.”
Foley’s comments are usually light-hearted but the views of Ric Flair about Foley’s career in his autobiography certainly weren’t. So what was it like when Foley feuded with Flair in WWE last year and just how did he react to those comments? “It bothered me, I should have been made much more aware of that. WWE often has a thin line between fact and fiction in their storylines. But I’m too old to worry about something like that. If I’d been 24-27 I’d have thrived on that but it’s different now. I don’t want to hate anyone.”
Hardcore Diaries is available now: