WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley will be coming to Baltimore on April 8 for his “Tales of Wrestling Past” show. I had a chance to talk to him about his show, as well as his now-infamous reaction to the Royal Rumble, and Wrestlemania.
Q: Mick, even though you're not an active wrestler anymore, it seems like you're staying incredibly busy. We see you on WWE Network panels, you're doing your one-man show. What's your life like right now?
A: Things are pretty hectic. Even on my day off today I'm fielding phone calls and placing ads, and those everyday things like running to the bank and taking care of being a dad.
Q: How does that compare to being active with WWE? It seems like you're doing just as much, even if it's not all within WWE.
A: It's just as hectic a pace, without the late-night emergency room visits. I've also got a documentary for Santa Claus that I'll be screening personally for Morgan Spurlock next week, so there's never a dull moment at the Foley household or on the road.
Q: A documentary about Santa Claus? How did that come about?
A: It's a movie I had the chance to be a subject of. A guy wanted to take a look to see what Santa might do for the rest of the year. I became so involved that I took on an active role as a producer. After last Monday's RAW in Brooklyn, I headed right to Philadelphia and did about ten hours of editing to make sure this movie would be ready for our big screening for Mr. Spurlock.
Q: About two months ago, you made a lot of waves in the wrestling world after the Royal Rumble, and really became the face of the anti-WWE movement, if you want to call it that. What sparked your outrage and why did you decide to go so public with it?
A: I'm still a big wrestling fan. I buy the Pay-Per-Views. I think that gives me the right to speak out just like any other fan. I can't guarantee that anything I said changed anybody's mind about anything but I do know that I really like how the card is shaping up. It'll be a while before you hear me complain about anything again. I choose my words carefully. I make it a point in my on-stage show to only drop one F-bomb. Therefore, that F-bomb makes a heavy impact. In the same sense, I don't criticize WWE very often. But when I do, it gets some attention.
Q: Looking back two months later, do you think they were working us fans even then, or do you think it was something they might have misjudged and have gone back on it?
A: Either way, they deserve a lot of credit. If they knew all along and planned it, then they're smarter than any of us. If they adapted and reacted then they still deserve a great deal of credit for doing that. Either way, I think the fans are going to get a great great show.
Q: What are you thoughts on this year's Wrestlemania and the build toward it?
A: I watched this week's RAW and thought they really went home on a high-note. Hopefully the 15,000 people on their seats chanting “YES YES YES” will foreshadow the idea of 75,000 people chanting it at the end of Wrestlemania.
Q: Any concern that the man who stands tall before a Pay-Per-View often doesn't get the win?
A: I'm going to wait and see before I speculate on anything regarding the results. I believe it's going to be a great show, no matter what.
Q: What are your thoughts on some of the other matches on the show, particularly John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt?
A: That's a really interesting match. Bray Wyatt is one of the most captivating characters to come down the pike in ages. I think he and Cena and their contrast of styles and personalities have the potential to have a great match.
Q: Is there anyone, particularly amongst the newer wrestlers, who has really stood out to you lately?
A: Well, obviously Daniel has really captured people's attentions in a relatively short time. I hope that they give Dolph Ziggler another shot this year. I really enjoy watching the younger talent like The Shield rise up on the card and make a huge impact. I think the future is looking bright, especially with all the attention that the WWE has put on their developmental program.
Q: Are you going to be involved at all down in New Orleans?
A: My schedule is actually going to be really busy there. I have a legends panel Thursday night, I have an appearance at Axxess on Saturday and I believe I'm going to be part of the pre or post-show panel for Wrestlemania. That's in addition to attending the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. And I have to make sure that the winner of my Wrestlemania raffle for RAINN [Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, an organization that Foley is heavily involved with] has the time of his life so that we can do it again next year.
Q: When you were coming up through the territories, kayfabe was something that was sacred to many promoters and wrestlers. As someone who experienced that, what's your take on the “reality era” where there's so much blended between storyline and reality?
A: In a sense, I think the WWE Universe has become one of the greatest characters of the modern era. They have really changed the way that business is done. I personally believe the long-term plans were changed by the outcry of fans. I know WWE is listening, they'd be fools not to. I know for a fact that they're not fools. I think this era is really interesting. People always say that there's nothing like the Attitude Era. I think that this era is just as interesting in different ways. It's a really unique atmosphere, every Monday night especially.
Q: Next week, you are coming to Baltimore to perform your one-man show. What can people expect when they come out to it?
A: These will be the last few days of the “Tales of Wrestling Past” tour. I started it after last Wrestlemania, with the themes surrounding Wrestlemania and the Hall of Fame induction. While the stories changed from place to place, those themes stayed the same throughout the year. I'll be concluding that tour and starting an entirely new show right after my Baltimore and Virginia shows. It's an entirely new show from the last time I was in town, where I had the great fortune of competing with Game 4 of the ALDS [in 2012]. I think anyone who enjoyed the books or enjoyed me on the microphone will enjoy the show. It is a wrestling show. It's a series of wrestling stories that I have put a lot of work into. Although there is some ad-libbing, when it gets to the guts of the show, it's the product of quite a bit of trial and error and hard work, in addition to the Q&A that people enjoy as well.
Q: Is there any specific time period of your career that you focus on, or is it more all-encompassing?
A: That depends on the questions. I make the call on what I talk about specifically in the hours leading up on the show. If I have a town-specific story, like I do with Baltimore, then I make sure to plug that in. And I make sure to talk about the Cell match, which took on an entirely new life for me after my Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Q: As far as stories go, it was recently the 20 year anniversary of you losing your ear against Vader. Will you be talking about that in Baltimore?
A: I had a special day on the anniversary where I did a panel with Vader and then did a show that night where I talked specifically about the ear. But perhaps, yeah, I might make mention of it. There's always the chance that someone asks about it during the Q&A.
Q: How long have you been doing your show?
A: I've been working on it for 4 ½ years now. But this will be my third time in Baltimore. It will be a completely different show than the other two. I've been at it a while. I've done unannounced sets in front of ten people while working on stuff. I wouldn't be out there on the road if I wasn't having fun and wasn't giving people the very best show that I'm capable of.
Q: Is there any specific story you usually tell, that might be lesser-known, that really gets a great response from the crowd?
A: I've been working on this show for quite a while, and all of the stories that I tell are great. I don't mean to sound egocentric, but they all get a good reaction. The next week in North Carolina, when I start all over again, there will be some trial and error, but all the stories I tell in Baltimore will connect. Every story I tell will at least go warning-track deep, if not out of the park.
You can see Foley at the Baltimore Comedy Factory on April 8, at 8:00. You can get tickets through their website at http://www.baltimorecomedy.com/.
As always, if you have any questions or comments you can leave them in the comments section below, or you can find me on twitter: @TheAOsterCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun