Extra Mustard's Andy Gray recently spoke to WWE legend Mick Foley about his time in the wrestling ring, predictions for WrestleMania (which airs this Sunday on PPV) and losing part of his ear.
Congrats. I know you just celebrated the 20-year anniversary of losing a chunk of your ear in the ring.
Thank you. We celebrated it in Lexington, Ky. There was a Q&A and a signing with Vader. It was very emotional
Fans tend to forget the fact that you’re missing a chunk of your ear. Does it ever get overshadowed by the fall from the cage?
Probably. It’s kind like an added bonus. It’s a story that makes the biography a little more interested.
Which was more painful?
The ear was more graphic, but the fall from the cage hurt me for months and changed my entire perspective on my career. When I did make it home a couple days later, the first thing we did was start looking for smaller houses. It was the first time I came face to face with my own mortality.
You publicly voiced your displeasure with the initial Daniel Bryan storyline. Are they finally heading in the right direction with him?
Not only are they heading in the right direction, but they could be building to a conclusion that could go down as one of the greatest in wrestling history. At that point, I’m already preparing myself to have to admit that they knew better than I did. And by they, I mean WWE. I’m looking forward to a great show and like I said, an epic conclusion.
Do you think this was this plan all along or did they change on fly?
Either way, the powers that be deserve a lot of credit. If they did realize it all along then they are smarter than us. And if they didn’t, then their ability to adapt is commendable.
Do you have a prediction for the match?
I still think we end with 75,000 fans on their feet chanting “YES” and crowning Daniel Bryan as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
How do you see the Bray Wyatt-John Cena match going down? Was Wyatt pushed too early?
I think Bray has captured the sports entertainment world by storm. We haven’t seen anything like him in many years. I don’t think it’s too quickly seeing that my very first day in WWE involved me attacking The Undertaker and creating a feud instantly. It’s a clash of styles and personas and could result in something really unique. Bray is a thinker. He does his homework. I bet the result will be a match people will be talking about for a long time.
Pretend you’re a booker. What is the best way to split up The Shield?
I’d have to give it some serious thought. There are so many ways you can go with those guys and the best case scenario is that one breaks off and eventually all three guys — who are very different wrestlers and very different personalities — go onto become singles stars. They all have the potential to be huge stars on their own as well as what they’ve contributed as members of The Shield.
What are your thoughts on The Undertaker-Brock Lesnar battle?
You never bet against The Undertaker when it comes to winning the match and stealing the show because he’s done that the last four years. I think the matchup with him and Lesnar is a really interesting one. He has not been with someone who physically overpowers him in a number of years and Brock is such an intense competitive guy that the potential for a great match is there. My son disagrees with me — he doesn’t think it’ll be a great match – but the potential to fail is one of the great motivators in not only sports but in life so its not a sure thing.
Is there one or two current guys who are flying under the radar and you’d like to see get a bigger push?
I’d like to see Dolph Ziggler get involved in a really intense, personal feud that will bring out another side of his personality. Because the personality is there and the wrestling is there so I’d like someone to come along and bring out his ugly side. If that were to happen I think he’d be a mainstay for a long time to come. I’d also like to see the Rhodes team re-enter the picture on a bigger scale. I thought they stole a couple pay-per-views in a row. Dustin’s story coming back from adversity and looking better than ever in his 40s is a real inspiring story.
How about historically. Is there anyone you always thought deserved more credit?
As I told you, I celebrated the 20-year anniversary of my famous match with Vader. At the time, he was given credit as being the premiere monster in the business but i think history has kind of overlooked his contributions. If he had come to WWE at just a slightly different time — in the Attitude Era instead of just before it — he would’ve been in the Hall of Fame years ago. He’s a guy who drew money all over the world and was a perfect opponent for not only a guy like me, but a guy like Ric Flair or Sting. He was a guy who brought out the best in his opponents, which is the sign of a great wrestler.
Have you been watching the WWE Network?
I don’t have much choice but to be a WWE fan in my house. My two younger kids are huge fans. and my daughter enjoys it as well. Even when I had my personal ups and downs with the company, I’m always watching. And the Network is great. It gives the new generation a chance to check up on old guys like me.
Do your kids enjoy your matches?
My youngest is a little tough on me. The last match of my career was the 2012 Royal Rumble. And I never seen it and was watching it the other day. It was my spot so I ran to the ring and the first thing I realized is that I shouldn’t have run. My knees were just not having any part of that. And then I came in with the patented “Foley Forearms” in the corner and the place starts exploding and chanting “You still got it.”Then my son says, “Dad those look really bad. You’re not even punching him.” And I said, “That’s because they’re forearms. They’re not punches.” And then he said, “Oh, okay. They look good then.” He’s my toughest critic.
Is there a specific time period or era you want to see?
I watch basically whatever the kids have on. If they happen to have one of my matches on I’ll watch it. But I will go out of my way to see anything I’ve done for fear that it may alter my perception of how good I was. I don’t need reality contrasting with my image of it.
I know you’re doing a lot of work with RAINN. Can you talk about how that started?
I was a weekly volunteer on RAINS online hotline for two years and received the 2010 Hope Award. I have it right here. It says “the 2010 Hope Award is presented to Mick Foley for leadership in fighting sexual assault and helping its victims.” I’m also looking at my fourth place trophy from the International Fruitcake Eating Competition in Santa Claus, Indiana, which i obviously earned. Anyway, unlike a lot of awards that are given to guys for just showing up at a dinner, that was something I really earned. And I include that, along with being named RAINS Volunteer of the Month one time, as important as anything I’ve ever done inside or outside of wrestling including being inducted into WWE Hall of Fame.
So this raffle, two years ago seemed like a perfect way to see if the strength in numbers for a cause most people won’t even talk about much less think about helping would work. We raised $60,000 just through raffle that year. This year, things were looking a bit sluggish a few weeks ago, but it was like a switch was turned and people have been great. I think we’re approaching $100,000 raised without a single ad or mainstream media attention.I’m really thrilled. I’ve put together what I think is the best vacation of all time and people should check that out at RAINN.org.
What are your thoughts on the Internet Wrestling Community? Is it good for the sport?
They’ve been there for a long time – since the dawn of the internet has huddled around pro wrestling. I don’t get involved too much. there are some real negative people but at the same time, without the internet, I couldn’t have raised nearly the amount of money I have. It’s a very passionate core. They’re not representative of all fans and their opinions should be taken in but not control wrestling. Political parties could learn a lot from pro wrestling as we have our passionate base too but we don’t necessarily gear our show around them.