Taking the Mick
Wrestling legend Mick Foley talks about returning to the WWE and his foray into stand-up comedy.
Last Updated: 23/03/12 12:28pm
Mick Foley is anything but a one-trick pony.
The three-time WWE Champion has enjoyed plenty of success in the ring but he has also flourished outside it, penning New York Times bestselling books and branching out into the acting world.
Foley's most recent assignment has seen him attempt stand-up comedy and the 46-year-old told skysports.com how he is faring as a funnyman.
The Hardcore Legend also revealed why he decided to return to the WWE, whether he has another singles match left in him, and which bout he is most looking forward to seeing at this year's WrestleMania...
skysports.com: You left the WWE in 2008 but made a return in 2011. What persuaded you to come back?
MICK FOLEY: WWE was always home and the very moment they mentioned my latest book Countdown to Lockdown, any bitterness that I thought I had just disappeared. WWE has a big infrastructure with more ways that a guy like me can play a backstage role without taking up valuable TV time from the younger guys.
skysports.com: Out of everything you've done, does wrestling still give you the biggest buzz?
MICK: I love doing the comedy and interacting with the audience that way, but wrestling has been the love of my life for 26 years. The other things - my comedy, my writing - are like casual flings that I eventually tire of - not that I'd know anything about casual flings!
skysports.com: You took part in the 2012 Royal Rumble, but will we see you in another one-on-one match?
MICK: I could face one of the guys I have some history with or it could be a match with one of the guys who's just about ready to break through. There are so many young competitors hitting their stride that I could pick anyone of five or six to face - but they would have to lower their expectations!
But what ends up elevating people in our business is the great conflicts, not necessarily the great matches. If it was as easy as having great bouts, everybody would be at main-event status. I think I could create a great conflict with one of the younger guys, if not a great match.
skysports.com: What are you expecting from the series of matches already announced for WrestleMania XXVIII?
MICK: The Rock and John Cena, and Triple H and the Undertaker are more than capable of delivering the classic matches that everyone is hoping for, but I know CM Punk and Chris Jericho very well and those guys would like nothing better than to steal the show - but, then again, you shouldn't have a guy in a top match at WrestleMania whose goal is not to steal the show. Punk-Jericho is going to be the sleeper but it will be interesting to see how the night plays out. There are going to be great marquee matches and I'm looking for a great show.
skysports.com: During your career you produced many moments that have got the fans on the edge of their seats. Which current stars make you feel like that?
MICK: Punk is the obvious guy. I enjoy his subtle humour which is something other guys in the WWE are not confident enough to go with. He is the complete package right now. I get real joy from watching Dolph Ziggler, too. He's one of the top guys in the entire business and I think he is only going to get better; it's scary how good he is. Cody Rhodes is really hitting his stride, while Wade Barrett - who has unfortunately just picked up an elbow injury - Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus have come into their own.
Then there's a guy like David Otunga who I'm now getting the biggest kick out of. We're seeing all the pieces fall into place where he's not just the guy with the thermos, he's the guy with the thermos, who hits the poses after he wins, who's got the Harvard law degree, who's married to (singer) Jennifer Hudson. He is an interesting guy and he's becoming an enjoyable guy.
skysports.com: You made your WWE debut 16 years ago. How has the company changed since then and has it been for the better?
MICK: The WWE started going with a harder edge about the time I joined the company in 1996 and I think they wisely made the move to go PG after seeing all these sponsorships that were not being capitalised on. I know as a dad I don't have to worry about all those Sexual Chocolate [Mark Henry's former womaniser character] moments from the late 1990s; they can watch this version of Mark Henry without fear. I think the WWE is bigger internationally than it's ever been and I enjoy the product. Any business could learn a lesson from WWE and see how a company was able to make record profits in the worst economic downturn in a generation.
skysports.com: You have been involved in many daredevil antics throughout your wrestling tenure, most notably during your Hell in a Call match with The Undertaker in 1998. Do you regret any of those incidents, or are you glad that you experienced them?
MICK: I could sit here and pick certain things and say I regret doing them, but I am the sum of my parts and if I hadn't been dropping elbows off ring aprons in small arenas in Tennessee or Texas then I probably wouldn't have made it to the WWE. I had the idea that every match had to be the best that it could possibly be to get me where I wanted but, in retrospect, I wish I'd known more about head injuries. I probably took too many shots to the skull which is why I applaud efforts like WWE's to eliminate unprotected head shots.
skysports.com: You mentioned that wrestling is based on great conflicts but who is the best friend you have made in the industry?
MICK: That's a really tough question. Terry Funk was a mentor to me and remains a very good friend, as does Al Snow, but I got along with just about everybody.
skysports.com: You are touring as a stand-up comic now and recently did some shows in the UK. How would you describe your style?
MICK: It's storytelling and observational comedy and revolves around the idea that I can solve the world's problems through lessons I've learned in wrestling. I'm not afraid to take chances; some stuff works and some stuff doesn't, but I don't think you'll ever get the sense that every show is a routine because every night is a different experience.
skysports.com: Which comedians do / did you draw inspiration from?
MICK: One of the biggest influences on me was Steve Martin. I loved his stuff and would sit there and listen to his comedy albums. I also liked George Carlin. When I got hold of his Class Clown LP, I'd never heard anyone funnier. Those were two people that instilled a love of comedy in me.
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