AS I SEE IT
by: Bob Magee
This column is seldom full of commerical plugs, with the notable exception of wrestling shows that I think you ought to attend, or that friends have asked me to plug for them. After all, I am a wrestling fan, and I know what I enjoy.
Another exception is the Beyond the Mat plug that readers ought to follow up on...Check the folks at STRICTLY ECW for how to do that.
This plug is a major exception, however.
Mick Foley has been one of us for so damned long that it would be criminal not to plug his book. Yes, I mean one of us.
If there has ever been a wrestler of our generation that embodied the spirit of so many of us who turned on the TV set and saw the spectacle in front of us...who went to the shows at a Madison Square Garden or a Philadelphia Civic Center or a school hall in smalltown America and began to dream...that person is Mick Foley.
I got to meet Mick Foley back in his Cactus Jack days in 1990 at a fan luncheon organized by TWA promoter Joel Goodhart. We met not the character Cactus Jack, but a man with a college degree...the kinds of things that the rest of the country saw years later on WWF TV in the footage of Foley as a kid who cut wrestling promos and jumped off of a roof into mattresses. We met the Mick Foley who was a mark for the business just like us.
At this luncheon, we heard how Mick had just become engaged to his now-wife Colette, and said to the crowd "I never thought I'd have to give up one of the best lines in wrestling -'I'd rather hurt a man than make love to a woman'" then gave Colette a look that would have melted an iceberg.
I also remember the classic 1990-1991 series of matches that Mick had with Eddie Gilbert; first in Dennis Coraluzzo's NWA-New Jersey, then in Goodhart's TWA. For those of you who never heard of the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance, it was an adult alternative for fans in the Northeast to the WWF back in the worst of its Titan 'Toon Adventures era. This series established the tradition of hardcore wrestling in Philadelphia, including their legendary best of three falls match at Philadelphia's Convention Hall. It concluded with one of the most memorable matches in Philadelphia wrestling history on a night at the Philadelphia Civic Center in August 1991, when fans got to watch a best of three falls/triple-header of matches: a Falls Count Anywhere match for the first fall, a stretcher match for the second fall, during which Gilbert breaks a bottle over Cactus's head; concluding with a bloody steel cage match for the final fall.
This match, even with a promotion that never got TV, was probably the most-seen independent match in history (at least of that time), with originals and bootlegs of the tape traveling all over the world.
I got to see Mick in ECW through the years, and got to really watch him in his element; as well as his classic "anti-hardcore" storyline, which told some truths to the hardcore fans of ECW that they probably would have tolerated from no one else.
Like most people, I cringed when he went to the WWF figuring that Vince McMahon would ruin him. But the Mankind gimmick wasn't what we feared. Mankind was a "character", but one that allowed Mick Foley to heal up physically and to take advantage of his ability to create yet another successful personna; one of a psychotic who lived in the basement, ripped his hair out of his head and played around in boiler rooms.
Mankind's character softened somewhat, and as time went on, we got to see the "Three Faces of Foley", with fans getting to see proof that Mick started out as one of us, in the afore-mentioned hilarious real life home movies of his days in his Dude Love personna as a kid, cutting promos and jumping off of the roof of his house into pillows. Dude Love was around for awhile, then Cactus Jack even came back in a few matches with and against Terry Funk.
Then there was the night of the 1998 King of the Ring and the Hell in the Cell Match... Mick Foley and the Undertaker. I sat that night with friends and watched the match, figuring on seeing something special. But I had no idea what I was about to see.
As Mick Foley was at the edge on the top of that cage, I thought "No...Dear God, not even HE'S going to try that...". But as we all know, he did. Off of the top of the cage and through the announcers table... Then Foley came back to the match...If that wasn't bad enough, he then went THROUGH the cage, driving a tooth into his nose. If that still wasn't enough, he decided to take bumps into thumb tacks.
I remember writing in this column that, while the Hell in the Cell match was something never to be forgotten, I hoped I'd never see anything like that again. I still cringe when I see the spot replayed.
As a result of that kind of dedication, fans have come to treat Mick Foley as one of their own. How much this is so was shown on the night when Tony Schiavone made comments about Mick Foley on the NITRO the night when the Monday Night RAW with Mick Foley's first title "win" (heavily promoted online from the actual taping date to the air date) aired. Schiavone made the sarcastic comment about Foley "...he'll really put some asses in seats". This remark drove thousands of viewers who weren't aware of the title switch to RAW almost immediately, and started a firestorm of angry phone calls, e-mail and fan sentiment in arenas toward Schiavone and WCW.
Now, with the publication of Mick Foley's book and his appearance on Beyond the Mat, it's time for us to give back.
Now, with the publication of Mick Foley's book and his appearance on Beyond the Mat, it's time for us to give back. The direct order link to Mick's book on Amazon.com is:
Of course, you can also do so at your local bookstore, or via the WWF.com website which has various special orders. How you do it is up to you.
If you want a sense of how his book reads, here's an excerpt from Mick's book follows, courtesy of WWF.com...
"In March, we headed for Germany and the hangman incident that cost me my ear. I called (my wife) Colette the next afternoon from Germany, expecting sympathy to be showered on me. I had attempted to call home after my operation, but was told that Eric (Bischoff) would take care of it, and to get some rest. 'Hi, Colette, how are you?' I said into the receiver, waiting for the sobs that I so richly deserved. Instead, I got: 'The damn dog is barking, I think Noelle has an ear infection, and Dewey’s being a grouch.'
'Did anyone from the office call you?' I asked slowly, already knowing the answer to my question.
'What happened, are you all right?' screamed Colette, apparently deducing from my question that something indeed had gone wrong.
'Well, I’ve got good news and bad news,' I started. 'The good news is I’m coming home tomorrow – the bad news is that my right ear isn’t coming with me.'"
Readers, it's time to pay back Mick Foley for the years of entertaining us as the characters Cactus Jack, Dude Love, and as himself...for going through unimaginable pain year after year all over the world...for leaving behind children and a wife to go through the brutal travel schedule of a professional wrestler far too many days in a year.
Hit your favorite book store or your favorite online merchant today. It's time to really let Mick Foley know how you feel in a material way.
Until next time.....
To Order Mick's Book
If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org