Monday, April 22, 2013

Rants from Ringside: A Tribute to Mick Foley

Recently, Mick Foley officially announced what we already knew; he is done as an in ring talent. I am very conflicted when it comes to this news. Mick Foley is by far my favorite performers of all time. I catch a lot of flack for that because he is not athletically gifted, but hey, look at Hulk Hogan. Now, don’t go all crazy thinking I am saying Mick is on the same level as Hogan. But I am saying that if it were not for Foley, the attitude era may not have existed and it sure as heck wouldn’t have been the same had it occurred without him. On the other hand, I am glad he got out of the wrestling aspect of the business when he did. His body was beginning to break down pretty quickly and because of the time off he has had when was inducted in to the HOF the night before Wrestlemania, he looked good. He was walking tall and his back was straight, which was something fans had not seen from him in quite some time. I loved watching him “pin” Jericho for the 1,2,3 that night.
But with this announcement I started to look back at the impact that Mick Foley has made on the business. You know, they call Tommy Dreamer the “Innovator of Violence” and that might be true that he is the man who helped bring the hardcore style to the popular scene, but the funny thing to me is that Mick had the idea of how violent pro wrestling could be back in the days when he was simulating suicide for a home movie. He talks about it in his first book, “Have A Nice Day,” that he knew the moment he saw the shock on people’s face that pro wrestling was what he wanted to do for a living. In my mind, the real “Innovators of Violence” for America anyway, is definitely Mick Foley and Terry Funk. Don’t get me wrong if it weren’t for guys like Dreamer, Sabu, Sandman, Rhino, The Dudleys, etc. etc. the hardcore movement might not have made its way to the US and there sure as heck wouldn’t have been an ECW. Now, a very close friend of mine does not agree that ECW is such an important part of the history of professional wrestling. I feel like in the short few years that ECW was given, it was growing a nice fan base of people who knew what they were talking about when it came to the business. The problem came when the top guys started to leave and things went down the crapper. I guess what I am trying to say is that Mick Foley was one of a handful of guys who took what was going on in Asia and brought it to America. It can be debated why the hardcore scene is not still around like it was in the day of ECW.
But Mick’s impact does not stop with the hardcore movement. He was also one of the first guys that I can remember stepping up and saying, “you know, I may not be the most athletically gifted performers out there, but I am going to make the fans love me by showing them the passion I have for this business.” It had been done before by guys like Hogan and Jake Roberts and countless others, but Foley is by far the most vocal about it. He has found fans through his humor using characters like Dude Love and having gimmicks like Mr. Socko. I was so happy when I heard that Foley was being inducted into this year’s HOF and I was even happier when I heard that Terry Funk was going to be his inductor.
In closing, I want to thank Mr. Mick Foley for putting your body on the line for the business that you love. I want to thank you for being a performer for the fans. I also want to thank you for just generally being the major impact on professional wrestling that you have. I don’t see you leaving the business altogether, but if you do think about it, please think twice. 

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