Pro Wrestler Explains Move To New Alliance
When Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment (then Federation) bought rival World Championship Wrestling in 2001 and then acquired Extreme Championship Wrestling, McMahon's monopoly on the biz seemed unbreakable.
Yet in 2002, Total Nonstop Action (then NWA/TNA) surfaced and began differentiating itself with its X Division's fast-paced matches, a six-sided ring, and weekly pay-per-views while keeping costs down by filming in one location. It didn't begin airing its TV series, "TNA Impact!," until 2004. In 2005, the show moved to Spike TV.
As TNA's popularity increased, it attracted the competition's talent. Its more relaxed schedule and decreased travel allowed it to eventually woo big-name WWE wrestlers such as Booker T and Kurt Angle. Mick Foley is the company's latest coup.
Although the WWE still leads the ratings, TNA remains a legitimate contender. And it has added more road shows of late -- including Sunday's "Genesis" pay-per-view broadcast from Bojangles' Coliseum.
In October, after 12 years of working on and off for the WWE, Mick Foley made a surprising jump to the competition: Spike TV's "Total Nonstop Action Wrestling."
On Sunday, the 43-year-old legend -- known for bloody, over-the-top matches -- returns to wrestling in a six-man match at TNA's "Genesis" pay-per-view event at Bojangles' Coliseum.
The Observer recently caught up with the wrestler/author to discuss his big move.
Q. Why the move to TNA?
It felt like I'd done everything I could in WWE. I did give announcing a try for five months, which was long enough to realize it wasn't something I wanted to pursue. The TNA opportunity sounded like a positive way to make a difference in the wrestling business. I thought I would have some doubts, but it's been a guilt-free move; the best thing I could have done.
Q. How so?
Anytime wrestlers have an option and are actually in a position to negotiate and deal from a position of strength, it's good for everybody. I had always believed, and written in a book that WWE published, that the wrestling business would be better off with a viable second (option). I was pretty sure my difference-making days at WWE were over.
Q. Personally, what are some of the advantages to TNA?
Travel is more limited. It's a more regular schedule. I'm glad I had the opportunity to see most of this country and quite a bit of the world, but I have four kids (ages 5, 8, 15 and 17). I'm getting a chance to spend more time with my younger kids than I was able to with my older kids.
Q. You've written several books. Any new ideas percolating?
The new movie "The Wrestler" is getting such positive buzz I'm thinking of revisiting a thought I had to fictionalize a 1987 trip I made to West Africa. It was a hectic trip, and the government was overthrown within weeks after I left. I had always thought I could tell an interesting tale, but until the critical acclaim of "The Wrestler," I didn't think there would be interest.
Q. You appeared at a few independent events in the Carolinas a few years back. Do you have any thoughts on wrestling's history here?
That was an exciting atmosphere where this small promotion was drawing up to 3,500 people to see names from the past. I always felt like I was someplace special when I performed in Charlotte. Charlotte was a city that was difficult for WWE to crack for many years, although they do well there now. The people are open to a different option.