Book review: Mick Foley¿s `Countdown to Lockdown¿

A recurring story line with Mick Foley’s character in TNA is whether he can still perform at a level that does justice to his past glories.

That theme also is at the heart of Foley’s just-released book, “Countdown to Lockdown,” but it goes beyond exploring whether the hardcore legend can still deliver in the ring. Foley, who set the standard for wrestling autobiographies with 1999’s “Have A Nice Day” – one of two books written by Foley that hit No. 1 on the New York Times’ best-seller list – also raises the question of whether “a fourth wrestling memoir was important enough to write, let alone important enough to expect people to read.”

He ultimately reaches a positive conclusion about the worth of the book, and after reading it, I agree with him. “Countdown to Lockdown” proves that Foley still wields a mighty pen (he wrote the book longhand in notebooks, just as he has done with his previous books). Like the “Rocky” movies that Foley references in the book, his literary sequels may not garner the acclaim of the original, but they’re still pretty darn entertaining in their own right.

“Countdown to Lockdown” chronicles the build-up to Foley’s match against Sting that headlined the Lockdown pay-per-view in 2009. As Foley points out, that match and that show have already been largely forgotten, but it was a significant time period in Foley’s life, both personally and professionally, and I think wrestling fans will find the story compelling.

Foley’s gift for storytelling is once again on display, as he takes readers behind the curtain and into the creative process during what proved to be a bumpy road to Lockdown. In typical Foley style, the tone is frequently humorous and the narrative is peppered with pop culture references.

The book does take several detours while counting down to Lockdown. Among them are chapters devoted to his departure from WWE and his ill-fated stint as a color commentator there, his charity work and – in what he has called his favorite chapter – meeting singer Tori Amos, whose music has played an important role in his wrestling career.

He also addresses some serious subjects concerning the wrestling business, such as wrestlers dying young, the Chris Benoit tragedy, performance-enhancing drugs and substance abuse. “An Open Letter” is an especially intriguing and insightful chapter, as Foley offers his advice to “every wrestler: past, present and future” about the dangerous pitfalls of the industry.

The only aspect of the book that left me a bit unsatisfied was Foley’s recounting of his unpleasant experience as a color commentator in WWE. He acknowledges that WWE chairman Vince McMahon routinely screamed expletives at him over the headsets during broadcasts, but, unfortunately, Foley refrains from going into the specifics of the exchanges, preferring to write about the situation in a humorous vein and “leaving the actual content of the headphone head games between Vince and myself, and between you and your imaginations.”

That’s a minor complaint, however. Ultimately, “Countdown to Lockdown” is an enjoyable and at times thought-provoking read that adds to Foley’s literary legacy.

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