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Wrestler Mick Foley takes it outside the ring
At this stage of Mick Foley’s career, he doesn’t have to get thrown off the top of a steel cage to get the audience’s attention.
Pro wrestling’s ‘Hardcore Legend’ is coming to Nanaimo next Wednesday (Feb. 12) to do two shows at the Queen’s as part of his Tales from Wrestling Past tour. It’s not live theatre, it’s not necessarily comedy, and it’s definitely not a pro wrestling match.
“I’m a storyteller…” said Foley. “I kind of dread the term ‘standup’ because to my wrestling fans, I think it brings the image of a guy in a bow tie telling one-liners.”
The three-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion from Long Island, N.Y. is retired from competition after a hall-of-fame career. During his time in the WWE he wrestled under the aliases Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love, formed the Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection tag team with the Rock and main-evented Wrestlemania XX.
Foley’s career-defining match came against the Undertaker in 1998, when he was thrown from the top of a five-metre-high ‘Hell in a Cell’ steel cage, then later slammed through the ceiling of the cell and piledriven onto thumbtacks. He finished the match beaten, broken and concussed and the story continues to fascinate fans today.
“I talk about a very serious incident and find the humour that surrounds the seriousness,” Foley said.
He can tell these stories years later, safe and sound.
“It’s a very friendly, warm-hearted feeling,” he said. “That’s the best way to do these shows, given that some of the content revolves around pretty graphic injuries.”
He’s been sharing a behind-the-scenes glimpse at professional wrestling for years, having written a series of best-selling memoirs. So gigs like the one at the Queen’s simply take things “from the page to the stage,” he said. He thinks people will enjoy the show.
“I have four kids, I love being home and I really wouldn’t be coming all the way out to Nanaimo to do a bad job…” Foley said. “I think I will greatly exceed people’s expectations.”
Talking about wrestling’s good ol’ days is Foley’s focus right now, but he keeps up with the latest happenings, watching Monday Night Raw every week. He was so upset with WWE programming last week he actually smashed his TV set.
“I’m a fan…” Foley said. “I want to be entertained and I want to be surprised and I want to be fulfilled.”
He hopes the federation can gain back some goodwill, and in the meantime, Foley will be out and about, telling some of wrestling’s best stories his own way.
“In doing so, I’m able to get the same gratification I got from wrestling, without the late-night emergency room visits,” he said. “It feels very much like being in the ring.”
SHOW TIME … Mick Foley's Tales from Wrestling Past will be at the Queen’s on Wednesday (Feb. 12). His 7 p.m. show is sold out; a 10 p.m. show has been added. Tickets $30 at the door or $25 in advance at the Queen's, Lucid or The Dog’s Ear.