Mick Foley: the Nexus interview
February 5, 2014 by Jason Schreurs, managing editor
As the saying amongst professional wrestling fans goes, “Mick Foley is God.” Imagine our excitement when it was announced that the man who was infamously flung from the top of a 16-foot tall steel cage by the Undertaker in 1998’s Hell in a Cell, one of the best wrestling matches of all time, was appearing in Victoria. Nexus recently spoke to World Wrestling Entertainment hall-of-famer Foley, also a celebrated author and performer, about his “Tales from Wrestling Past” speaking tour, the classic match we can’t stop talking about, and his ultimate life lesson.
How has the transition been from wrestling to these more intimate speaking tours?
Ah, man, I’ve been doing it for about four years, but it took me two years to understand that people wanted to hear material outside of wrestling, and no matter how good those stories were, that there were other places to go. It was my stories from the road that made me stand out, and once I got that memo, it’s been great.
What was it like the first time you went up on stage to do a show?
It was easy, and that was the worst thing that could have happened. I went up there for 20 minutes with some rough ideas and some stories that I’d told at colleges. I sort of breezed through it and mistakenly thought it would be easy. And then I found out the hard way that there’s a world of difference between going up there and being okay and going up there and really doing a good job.
You do a Q&A after every show. What question do you get the most?
Oh, well, right off the bat I tell people not to ask me if it hurt when the Undertaker threw me off the cell. That’s the question I’ve been dealing with for 16 years on a daily basis.
And the one with the most obvious answer, I guess?
Yeah, yeah… The last thing I want to do is be on autopilot, whether I’m giving an answer to an eight-year-old kid who honestly thinks it’s the first time I’ve ever been asked that, or if it’s someone who asks it when I’m doing the show out in BC. I think when people walk away from my shows they realize I’m doing anything but phoning it in, and I’m giving the best performance that I can.
When you think back on that classic Hell in a Cell match with the Undertaker, how do you feel about it now?
I came to see that match in an entirely new light following last year’s hall of fame induction ceremony. Prior to that, I didn’t find the story particularly funny, but there are just some great laughs at the bizarre nature of everything that took place that night.
Do miss the limelight and the rush of wrestling?
No, because I get that up on stage. Honestly, and I know this might be hard for people to fathom, but I get as much of a rush out of 170 people who are enjoying themselves as I do in front of 16,000. And on stage I have the freedom to create my own show, instead of reciting words that someone else wants me to say. Of course, I love appearing on the WWE show and it’s nice to hear that many people chanting my name, but the responses I receive in the clubs are equally, if not more, rewarding.
Do you think you or the characters you portrayed would have a place in the wrestling of today?
Yeah, sure! You might need to adapt it a bit, but you see guys that are reminiscent of a younger version of me. Sure, I could have found a way to fit in.
How does it feel when you see these new guys who are modeling themselves after you?
Hey, I love it [laughs]. If somebody does something that reminds people of me, I see it as a tribute. As a matter of fact, I tell the guys, “Look man, there’s a pretty rich library of stuff and most of it’s untapped.” If you can find something that I did or said in one specific match and you can use it, by all means, please do.
What’s the one lesson you’ve learned in life?
Well, you hope that the triumphs outweigh the failures, and, believe me, I’ve had plenty of both!
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