“I hated that character because the mask was so… It really restricted my breathing, you know?” With the leather under the nose. I needed as much oxygen as I could suck anyway. But it happened because Jim Ross was one of my great advocates, and Mr. McMahon never took an interest in me. He thought I didn’t look like a star. And finally my name came up in 1995, in the fall, he slammed it on the table, and he said, ‘Okay, I’m going to bring him in, but I’m hiding his face.’ And that’s how I got my foot in the door, and luckily over time he sort of found out I had an interesting story to tell.
“So I was able to inject a lot more realism into this character and that was really the best thing that could have happened to me. The stuff Mankind did with Dwayne Johnson, when he was my opponent and when he was my partner, was really fun and memorable. Fortunately, we were taking people’s attention away from their problems and there are things they still remember 22 years after the fact.
Mick notes how he pushed himself to give the best possible performances on camera, which sometimes transcended to feel like the character himself.
“Most of the time you do your best to play a character and wait for those golden few moments when you are that character. So you don’t even think about what you’re going to do. I didn’t know, for example, that I was very verbal in the ring, I would know by watching him. Verbal as in, I made a lot of noise and had no game plan to do it, didn’t realize I was doing it while I was in there. Especially with Mankind, I made a lot of noise. Especially female tennis players, you know, they can be a little bit verbal when they play and they don’t necessarily realize it, that’s just what they do. So yeah, I did my best to try and give an authentic performance, and there were times when I felt like that guy.
As has become the norm for mankind, a brutal and bloody match between him and The Rock took place in WWE. Royal Rumble 1999. In it, humanity was handcuffed with their hands behind their backs and received several unprotected chair kicks to the head.
“Unfortunately, one of the times I felt like The Rock was really The Rock and I was really humanity was during the I Quit game from January 1999, which past the stage where it should have been. So we were trying to do something special that night and we went a little too far. We don’t have a lot of people asking about this game because it’s really uncomfortable, it’s not fun to watch.
With the ’99 I Quit match and other fights like his Hell in a Cell matches with Undertaker and Triple H, hardcore matches with Randy Orton and Edge, and countless others, it’s an understatement to say that Foley sacrificed his body for the art of professional wrestling. The hardcore legend admits he has concerns about his health, especially the possible long-term effects on his brain.
” Yes I do. I’m very worried. I think we’re all in the same boat… It’s hard to make that decision, it’s hard to realize that you have lost that step before others realize you have lost it. It’s also harder, again, for a wrestler because, unlike baseball, basketball, or anything MMA and boxing, once you’ve lost that something, you’re no more. never the same person. But in wrestling, guys sometimes come back a little better to control the crowd and work out a game in a way they couldn’t. I mean, in a more positive way than when they had 100% of their physical attributes. And so, it gets really hard to convince a wrestler that his best days are behind him because we all feel like we have one more great match left, if that makes sense.
If using quotes from this article, please credit Talking Tough with ah / t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcript.