Mick Foley on Coveted Wrestling Destination

“When you think of pro wrestling in Boston, you automatically think of the Kowloon”

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Mick Foley: “When you think of pro wrestling in Boston, you automatically think of the Kowloon”

Not long before Mick Foley risked life and limb in his Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker, he had a career-altering conversation with Terry Funk.

Funk, who passed away last August at the age of 79, left an indelible mark on the professional wrestling industry, as well as a permanent mark on Foley. They fought in all sorts of memorable battles, most prominently their iconic exploding barbed wire deathmatch in 1995. And it was Funk who jokingly suggested that Foley should start his Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker on top of the cage.

Mick Foley started his famed Hell in a Cell match on top of the cage
Mick Foley started his famed Hell in a Cell match on top of the cage / WWE

“Terry said the only way I could compete with what The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels accomplished in the very first Hell in a Cell match was to start the match on top of the cage,” said Foley. “It began as a joke, but by the end, neither of us were laughing. And then I started thinking that was exactly what I should do.”

Foley will revisit the iconic Hell in a Cell match from the 1998 King of the Ring later tonight at his one-man show, which will commemorate the 26-year anniversary of one of wrestling’s most seminal moments. This will take place at the Kowloon in Saugus, Massachusetts, a legendary spot among pro wrestlers.

Even though it resides 10 miles away from the TD Garden in Boston, the Kowloon is a permanent fixture any time pro wrestling comes to the city.

“When you think of pro wrestling in Boston, you automatically think of the Kowloon,” said Foley. “Al Snow actually credits me for the modern craze of wrestlers going there after matches.

“The owner, Andy Wong, is an incredible person. The food is amazing. I’m a Celtics fan, and I heard Jayson Tatum loves the salt-and-pepper shrimp. So do I.”

One of the greatest to ever grace a professional wrestling ring, Foley developed a rare brand of versatility. He could be maniacal or comical, and wrestle as a crowd favorite or a detestable heel. Foley’s greatest skill may have been his uncanny ability to bring the best out of his opponents, and his charm and charisma were undeniable forces.

Foley turns 60 next year, and there was serious consideration about a return match, possibly against Matt Cardona. But the “Hardcore Legend” is no longer as agile as he once was. He is wise to spend his time at shows sharing stories instead of forcing more bumps and bruises on his body.

Foley’s storytelling will be at its best at the Kowloon as he shares the inner details of his famed cell match.

“I take pride in coming up with new twists to old stories,” said Foley. “People remain fascinated by this one match. It has captured the public’s attention for so long.”

Only a handful of restaurants around the globe are as synonymous with pro wrestling as the Kowloon. Foley even drove there from Worcester after he won the world title in 1999.

“After I won the title, I drove to Boston in a blizzard–and I went to the Kowloon,” said Foley. “It’s a really special place, and I’m so honored to have a packed house [tonight]. People already know a lot of the stories I’m going to tell, but they’re coming to hear me tell them. That means a lot.”

Hell in a Cell in 1998 forever changed pro wrestling
Hell in a Cell in 1998 forever changed pro wrestling / WWE

Foley took immense pride in adding a completely unexpected element to his work, which he now does at his shows. He is honored to share the behind-the-curtain details about one of wrestling’s most famed encounters, detailing one of the most famous matches in the history of professional wrestling.

“People have chosen to pass this match on to their children,” said Foley. “To me, that’s very humbling.”

The (Online) Week in Wrestling

  • Doesn’t Punk need to sing “Country Roads” when he announces he is fully cleared to return? And should Drew McIntyre, after “quitting” on Raw, spoil Punk’s homecoming on SmackDown?
  • Jon Moxley defends the IWGP world heavyweight championship against Tetsuya Naito later this month at Forbidden Door. While it is likely Naito regains the belt, it would be fascinating to see Moxley have an extended run with the belt.
  • Jeff Hardy is back in TNA, having returned this Friday at Against All Odds at Cicero Stadium in Chicago.
  • Highly recommended: ESPN’s Mike Coppinger wrote a gripping story on The Rock’s recent return to WWE.
  • The Wyatt 6 have arrived in WWE.

Two criticisms from this week’s Raw

WWE produced a very engaging episode of Raw this week.

Far away from the chaos of Vince McMahon, Raw has become extremely enjoyable on a weekly basis. There is a rhythm and flow, stories make sense, and there is a start, beginning, and end to disputes among the wrestlers on the roster. Also, and this is important, there is some very good wrestling.

But that doesn’t mean it is perfect.

This past Raw had two moments that generated loud reactions, yet both–for different reasons–left me wondering what comes next.

The first took place during the ongoing saga of Chad Gable and Alpha Academy. Gable continues to be superb as a heel, mocking and criticizing Maxxine Dupri, Akira Tozawa, and Otis at every chance he gets. Even though they refuse to cheat on Gable’s behalf, he finds a way to use them to his advantage. While Gable has yet to win the Intercontinental title, coming up just short in an outstanding match against Sami Zayn this past weekend at Clash at the Castle, he is undoubtedly headed for a title run.

Or so I thought.

Gable announced his intentions on Raw for the world heavyweight championship, which seems like an awfully rushed decision considering he has yet to even stake claim to the IC belt. Worse, Otis pummeled Gable on Monday, sticking up for his friends after a bevy of bad treatment from Gable. The crowd loved seeing Gable get what he deserved, and Otis is a wonderful fan favorite. But it all felt so quick.

Otis and Chad Gable
Otis and Chad Gable / WWE

Why not extend the storyline? If Gable bullied Otis throughout the summer, then he could finally stand up to him at SummerSlam. I know we are in a different era, but the whole story reminds me of the way “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase would berate and mistreat Virgil. That was a masterful story, with Virgil finally–after more than three years of doing his dirty work–knocking out DiBiase at the Royal Rumble in 1991. That type of length wouldn’t work in 2024, and I understand that–but this still feels incredibly rushed.

And why was Gable, a heel, seemingly left for dead near the end of the show by The Wyatt 6?

I will forever be a fan of the late Bray Wyatt. Watching him on a weekly basis, and seeing him evolve, was a genuine joy. In only a few years, he created a body of work that will endure. That is extremely rare, and so was Wyatt. There is no one else like him in professional wrestling–not in AEW, not in New Japan, and not in WWE. And therein lies the foundation of the problem–how can you have a Wyatt ensemble without Bray Wyatt?

The Wyatt Sicks
The Wyatt Sicks / WWE

To me, Wyatt is irreplaceable. There are some very talented people involved in the new Wyatt Sicks faction, but asking any one of them–or even, collectively, all of them–to play a role manifested by Wyatt seems like an unrealistic idea.

Tweet of the Week

The best bad guys in wrestling are usually the good ones in life.

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Justin Barrasso


Justin Barrasso has been writing for Sports Illustrated since 2014. While his primary focus is pro wrestling and MMA, he has also covered MLB, NBA, and the NFL. He can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.