Mick Foley Q&A: TNA, "Beyond the Mat" And his Little "Hardcore Legend"
Mick Foley says that Islip MacArthur Airport in Long Island has been a home away from home the last year, as his family attempted a move to Florida while maintaining New York roots. Now they’re moving back to Long Island as Foley attempts another move, a successful career transition into stand-up comedy.
I checked out his show on Aug. 24 in Long Island for an ESPN.com piece that ran last week. But Mick had plenty more to talk about when I got him on the phone a couple of days before, and as usual, he didn’t hold back, whether the subject was TNA’s viability, his health or his family’s upcoming appearance on “Celebrity Wife Swap.” (Well, he was being a bit coy about what show he had just finished taping, but his prior tweet asking fans about appearing on the show pretty much spilled the beans.) Oh, yeah, he actually managed to type enough chapters of his last book that the formerly notorious computer illiterate is putting the pen and notebook away whenever he settles on his next project. And yes, I actually saw him tweet/text. Will wonders never cease?
Q: Was leaving TNA a factor in moving the family back to Long Island from Florida?
A: I mean, some of it was definitely based on TNA. I had no idea when we moved there that instead of doing most of my shows in their sound studio in Orlando that I be out and about, that I’d be getting pulled over by the border patrol in Massena, New York for looking suspicious.
Q: Mick, how could you possibly look suspicious?
A: The most bizarre thing is that people were actually passing the car saying, “Hey, Mick Foley.” Some fans on the way to the building knew who I was, and the guy still wanted to question me as far as what I was doing in Massena.
Q: Considering you moved your family down to Florida, would you say that the plan was to stay with TNA a lot longer?
A: I don’t know if I’d ever thought I’d be there past the term of my contract, but I certainly thought that I’d be spending a lot more time in the state of Florida and less fulfilling my number of dates out there on the road.
Q: There are a lot of conflicting stories about TNA’s profitability. What was your impression as far as how they were doing financially while you were there?
A: I was never close enough to know anything more than you guys in the media would know. I do think they had a really profitable year in 2009, and then I heard they may have overspent. But Bob Carter said something very prophetic to Dusty Rhodes when I asked Dusty about the status of the company. He said, ‘Until I close the doors, it’s not a loss, it’s an investment.’ So, I’m glad they’re around, I really wish them the very best, it was a very good place for me to go for a few years. I didn’t see eye-to-eye with them on a lot of things, but I certainly enjoyed most of my time there.
Q: What was your main complaint?
A: My main criticism of theirs is one that I had all along and that I expressed freely with the company, that they tried to pack too many things in every show. And at the end of the show it’s really hard for fans to see anything as really important.
Q: How are the kids doing?
A: The kids are great. I was talking to my son about this TV show we did. I was saying, ‘Most of America haven’t seen you since you were in “Beyond the Mat.”’ So I think it’ll shock people to realize that the same kids (Dewey and Noelle) who were 6 and 4 are now 19 and 17. We just did a reality show, just one episode. We had the opportunity, we talked about it over as a family, and we just finished. And we feel it was one of the most positive experiences we ever had.
Q: “Beyond the Mat” has been back in the news a lot after being named one of the documentaries to see before you die by Current TV? Have you gotten a lot of reaction to that?
A: I have, especially on Twitter. It’s funny, because I’ve stayed in touch with Barry Blaustein, the director, since we filmed it. We still get together at least once a year, sometimes more.
Q: What are folks asking about?
A: A lot of them want to know how the kids are doing. They want to know about any hard feelings between me and The Rock. It always positive. It strikes everybody who watches it regardless of whether they’re a wrestling fan.
Q: The WWE and Jake “The Snake” Roberts took plenty of shots at “Beyond the Mat” in Jake’s DVD set, “Pick Your Poison.” Do you have any regrets?
A: No, I always thought it was great. I was always glad I participated. When Barry Blaustein started shooting it in 1995, before I was signed by WWE, I really thought that would be my major way of being remembered. That that would be my lasting legacy, being part of that film. Luckily, I ended up doing some other things, too. But yeah, I always enjoyed being part of that movie.
Q: Since we’ve been talking about the kids, any wrestlers coming out of the Foley clan?
A: Oh, I don’t know. My son Huey’s a tough customer. He’s 8, he’s a high flier, complains that Dad’s too easy to beat, and doesn’t understand why The Rock can hit me 11 times with a steel chair and why I can’t let him hit me with a pillow.
Q: When did you start the stand-up comedy?
A: Well, I had spoken to colleges off and on for several years, but they were never billed as comedy stores, even though some of the stories were humorous. But the first time I got on stage as a billed act was at the Improv in Los Angeles about 2-and-a-half years ago. And I tried it for awhile. I took about a year and a half off, and then decided that it was something I really wanted to apply myself to.
Q: You’ve been very vocal about your work with RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), including the subject of male victims of sexual assault. Why?
A: For men, especially, being the victim of sexual violence it’s almost unspeakable. You really almost suffer in silence. We’re trying to take away the stigma that keeps people silent about that suffering. And in many cases when I’m volunteering someone will be telling me this story for the first time ever if the assault took place years or even decades earlier.
Q: So, when are you going to start working with WWE again?
A: I’m almost sure that we’ll be working in some respect fairly soon. It’s a really good company with a really large infrastructure that offers ways for guys like me to help out that aren’t related to helping out on the TV shows.
Q: What would your role be there?
A: There could be several roles. I have to do some thinking about how involved I want to get, how many days away I want to spend and whether I want my involvement to be completely off-screen. But I’m excited about working with WWE in the near future.
Q: What’s the next book that will come down the pike?
A: You know, every now and then I think about working on a novel. I may have a book about the stand-up experience. It’s certainly a cool, unique world that isn’t too unlike professional wrestling. I enjoy just thinking about bizarre, funny observances and writing them down. So for me doing stand-up is very much like working on novels or getting out in the ring in that you’re telling stories and getting responses.
Q: Anything else new we need to know about what’s going on with you?
A: I got a new haircut, courtesy of the reality show. You can’t beat those perks when you get a free haircut. It makes me look decidedly younger. People will think it’s a fake Mick Foley.
Q: Yeah, I remember in “Beyond the Mat” your wife and daughter said how cute you were, and you added “in a rugged sort of way” with the long hair. Have you maintained that appeal?
A: Oh, definitely, except now you can say almost professorial.
Q: How’s your health?
A: My knees are terrible, other than that I don’t feel too bad. I just ask that if people see me walk down a flight of stairs they close their eyes. It’s not a pretty sight.