One of my favorite things about Mick Foley is that he’s transitioned so easily from in-ring storytelling to everywhere-else storytelling. Listen to him talk for just five minutes or so, and you can see why he’s one of wrestling’s most beloved raconteurs. His one-man show (don’t let him catch you calling it stand-up) tours relentlessly around the globe, leaving satisfied audiences in its wake. Luckily for us, he took a bit of a break from his touring schedule to sit down with Marc Maron and record an episode of the WTF podcast. As is to be expected, Mick is a delightful guest, so I’d recommend checking it out here if you’ve got an hour or so to kill. And yes, he briefly weighed in on another of Maron’s former guests, CM Punk. Here are some of the highlights of the interview.
On his relationship with Vince McMahon: “I called him Vince until about three years ago… Not that there is any competition to the WWE, but I definitely worked for someone else other than them, and then I never quite found my mojo around him when I got back. Now he’s Mr. McMahon.”
On appearing part-time on Raw: “I felt like I was Dorothy… I had the ability to tiptoe back and forth from Kansas to Oz… Literally any time I wanted, I could call up the company and say ‘Hey, can I appear?'”
On being ordered to stop wrestling: Foley says he independently called a top neurologist when he noticed he wasn’t performing well on WWE’s concussion testing. “Basically, he said ‘You’re done.'”
On being high school wrestling teammates with actor Kevin James: “He was one of two guys in school who could bench 300 pounds, and in case you’re wondering, I was not the other one.”
On wrestling’s appeal through the ages: “There’s something multi-generational about it. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that thousands of people have said ‘I used to watch it,’ and they always include the grandfather, the father, or the uncle… For a lot of people, it’s the one thing they feel more comfortable watching with company than alone.”
On avoiding drug use: “I was never a drug guy at all… When I was wrestling for Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling, the character I had was that of a psychologically deranged man. But among the guys [in the locker room], the thing that made them suspend disbelief was the idea of ‘He doesn’t smoke pot, he MUST be crazy.'”
On being “the wrestling guy” amongst comics: “Louis CK doesn’t have a story about ending a match with his front tooth in his nose, but I do. Play to your strengths!”
On CM Punk’s departure: “Punk may be the one guy, he may be the exception that proves the rule… He told me he’s never coming back [to WWE].”
On the origin of the Mankind mask: Bruce Prichard (a.k.a. Brother Love) confirmed for Mick at a wrestling convention that the mask was Vince’s response to Mick’s unconventional look. “All right, dammit… I’ll bring him in, but I’m covering up his face.”
So, Vince gave Mick something that could have been a ridiculous career hurdle just because of the way he looked… Is it any wonder why the hardcore legend has been such a vocal supporter of Daniel Bryan for the past few years?