Mick Foley Speaks Out – TNA Run, Ric Flair, WWE, More

Mick Foley

Mick Foley

Mick Foley recently discussed his TNA run and new book with Main Event Radio, here are the highlights…

How writing Countdown to Lockdown differed from the other three books, which were done under the WWE umbrella: I should promote this book more as an anti-WWE book. I would say that people who read the Hardcore Diaries would know that I actually had more negative things to say about them in that book that they actually published. I dedicated that book to Vince because he let me have the latitude to say what I wanted to. I had never felt restrained. This book was different in the sense that I sold the book to the publisher based on one chapter and an outline. Have a Nice Day just kind of came out of nowhere. Foley is Good was completely written by the time I handed it in. And the Hardcore Diaries was actually something that Vince McMahon suggested I do. I just thought Vince was making pleasant conversation but he really likes my writing style, and apparently he still does.

Does he regret not going to TNA back in 2005 and instead waiting until 2008?: No I don’t regret it. There’s been about 6-7 times in my career where I’ve had to make major decisions. Staying with WWE was the right move to make in 2005 and leaving was probably the right move to make in 2008.

On how the announcing gig came about: I was actually originally offered to be an announcer when Jerry Lawler left [in 2001]. Paul Heyman ended up doing it at the time. I always thought Lawler would be back and I always felt when I did guest commentary that I was the straight man, that I didn’t have much of a personality when I did the announcing. I was pretty knowledgeable as an analyst but I didn’t think I would be a good guy to try and live up to Jerry Lawler’s legend. A few years went by and I’m not sure if it was on his mind or if it just came up suddenly; Vince is kind of like a gut player. I’m glad I did it. I hate tp sit around and wonder “what if?”. I did try it but it wasn’t a really good fit for me. It allowed me to go TNA without feeling bad about it.
His interest of doing a feud with John Morrison: I was never gonna put him over. Just kidding. There was chapter in the book called “Repackaging Mick” which was kind of a downer. In rapid order I lost my right from dressing how I like. I was told I had to wear a sports coat. Vince felt I wasn’t connecting with the audience so they were going to take me off the show and thinking of a way to repackage me. The plan that I wanted to do involved Morrison and it would have been a good program with him. It would have been fun for me to have tried to do something similar like with Randy Orton. He’s done really well without my involvement but I think it would have been interesting and that we would have found a way to, despite the disparity in styles, have a really good match.

In the same chapter Mick mentions that he heard that HHH is not his biggest fan. That seems contradictory to when he was benefiting so greatly from when Mick put him over. Does Foley think that HHH was being disingenuous when he was doing interviews in the past and said that Foley was one of his favorite opponents?: No I don’t think that is a conflict. And I don’t know for a fact that he wasn’t one of my biggest fans. That would mean more that he wasn’t one of my biggest fans in 2008. I heard he got a big promotion. He may be the future of WWE from a business standpoint. And from a business standpoint, you really can’t say that guy put me over in 2000 so we gotta keep him around. It’s really his job to say who’s valuable in the company at this present time. I had heard he hadn’t been a booster of mine but if you had asked him who his favorite all-time opponents were and my name was on it, I don’t think that is a contradiction.

What can be done to increase the amount of buyrates for TNA Pay-Per-Views: I honestly do not know. It’s a tough economy. It’s been a hard sell to try to get people to watch the show for free to spend $34.99 to watch it on a Sunday. I really thought Sting and I did a great job building up Lockdown which is detailed in the book. I don’t know what the buys did but I know that they didn’t do what I was hoping. At that point it was like what exactly will our audience pay money for? I think WWE is like the Jello of the world of flavored gelatin. They are so synonymous with wrestling. It’s tough to get the brand established. I don’t mean to be down on my company at all but one thing I’ve fought for is to give guys exposure when they’re doing an outside project. That is something that WWE is really good at. I think they need to capitalize on many their guys look bigger than just the business. They showed the Motor City Machine Guns doing a match at Comic-Con. Those guys weren’t familiar with them but by the end of the match their jaws were dropping. Those guys need to be put in that atmosphere; where they can appeal to people who might not be wrestling fans. You can do that with a lot of the guys. There is so much talent there. The problem becomes how do you expose the talent to people who are not die-hard wrestling fans?

His praise for Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin in the book: I’m thrilled to see them as tag team champions. It makes me feel like Nostradamus. I was really high on them a year and a half ago. I don’t if they were actually going to be let go or not. But I think my talk helped a little bit. The only challenge now is: a) get them exposure and help them become big stars outside the business, and; b) keep that ball rolling – recapture that magic time with Beer Money in some way.

Who the next big breakout star will be in either company: I really should have a piece of paper with some names written down. I always end up picking guys who are not even that young. AJ’s been around 12 years. Samoa Joe has been around a long time too. There are a lot of young guys who have a lot of talent but they haven’t found a way to stand apart. I think Fortune has been great for a guy like Kazarian. When I first started watching TNA, I was thinking which one is the guy with the ponytail? They all kind of looked alike. When I saw AJ and Kazarian doing the bit from Step Brothers, I thought this is great and that they were showing some personality. Maybe I’ll go with Kazarian as one of the guys who could break out in WCW…I’m sorry, I mean TNA. In WWE, they’ve done a good job with a guy like Sheamus. When HHH returns, the investment they’ve put in him is going to pay off. TNA has more talent but we haven’t found a way to break out talent in the same way. It takes a long time to really break somebody away from the pack. It takes some patience and sometimes ratings will suffer while that period is going on. I don’t want to say there is pressure to do ratings but there is pressure to do ratings. It’s tough. They have to hold the wheel steady. Once they commit to somebody they need to follow through.

Working with Sting at Lockdown 2009: This was a huge challenge. Trying to recapture that emotion that I used to have; recapture that magic with Sting. Also the challenge of trying to follow seven other cage matches, some of which were pretty bloody. And realizing that unlike the cage matches that I grew up on, you couldn’t just rely on the toss into the cage and the rake into the face to get your mandatory pops. It was hard. Guys our age. We had to try and tell a story and I think we told a really good one. For me, the way that match came off was a big personal success. Other people saw two old guys who couldn’t move. But if you looked hard enough you could see that it was a pretty good story. It may not have been on the level of a couple of really good matches we had in ’91, for me it was a great way to end that book with a non-massage related happy ending. I really liked it [the match]. Not to give too much away from the book, but Sting always really respected my opinion even when he was the top in WCW and I was trying to climb up the ladder. I was really thrilled and went home with the feeling of accomplishment. Unfortunately they wanted to do vignettes at my house the next day which driving from Philadelphia to Long Island, sleeping one hour. I’m glad – I think it was a good time to document for me.

Thoughts on his promo saying “Stinger, as far as those big dives, I’ve still got a couple left. Bang, bang.” Was he disappointed by the fact that he didn’t end up doing a big dive because the cage was not the one he was expecting to be used: Yeah, when I said that about the big dive I thought they were going to construct this special cage that would work around my limitations. I think they made the right call that a half a million dollar cage would not be worth it just to accommodate my lack of climbing. I did not get to drop the big elbow like I had teased. I couldn’t believe that I was able to even climb that cage.

The decision to make him World Champion in TNA: I’m not involved in the decision making process. I’ve never petitioned for a title or sat there wishing I would have one. But anybody who doesn’t think that it’s a big deal when they actually win it needs to find another line of work.

Facing Ric Flair this Thursday on the live edition of Impact and whether this will be, as rumored, his last match: Any match could be my last match. I think I said this will be my last match one-on-one with Ric and I think it will be. The promo we did in the ring was one of my favorite moments of all-time. Just really kind of reminded me of what I loved about wrestling to start with. I think we’re going to have a really good match. It’s going to be emotional and I hope it will be something that people will remember.

His call for the Lethal Lockdown match at Bound for Glory: I think the type of match favors our guys. I don’t know what I’ll have left in the tank after wrestling Ric but it’s Bound for Glory, it’s our biggest show. After it’s over, we hope that people say that it was worth their investment in time and money.

Any plans for another book sequel?: I don’t know. I was thinking of putting together odd writings on different subjects. Maybe self-publishing and giving all the profits to a charity. I like writing. And I accept that not many as people are going to buy this book as my first couple. I learned once before that you never say never in wrestling so I’ll never say never again.

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About Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan is a longtime wrestling fan and Owner/Editor of TNA UK . Also a contributing writer to a number of other online wrestling media including 1Wrestling.com, Wrestle Zone UK & Lords of Pain.

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