His fourth autobiography "Countdown to Lockdown" recounting his final days in the WWE before leaving and eventually joining TNA Wrestling and returning to the wrestling ring is now out at bookstores. But his days in the ring aren't over yet as Foley is set to square off against his on-screen and former off-screen nemesis Ric Flair in a Last Man Standing match on Thursday night's live edition of "Impact" on Spike TV (9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. CT). That is leading up to the TNA "Bound for Glory" pay-per-view on Sunday night.
Recently, Foley spoke with FanHouse to discuss his latest book, his fear of returning to the ring, the current direction of TNA, finally going online, drugs in wrestling and much more. By the way, Foley has donated the online advance of his book to the charity group RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) which he also helps regularly as an online hotline volunteer.
Brian Fritz: You've just done your fourth autobiography "Countdown to Lockdown." Do they get any easier to punch out?
Mick Foley: It's never easy to get started. I guess starting is the hardest part. Once I get rolling it's a pretty good feeling. This book was different also in the sense that I finished all of what would be called the "Countdown" chapters where I was building up to the big match with Sting. Then I had the luxury of time where I had several months to really concentrate on some of the other chapters that have, hopefully, a lot of substance to them.
312 pages -- that's it?
It's an easy read. It's a beach read.
(laughs) I think 300 is a good amount. Remember, if this was a WWE book with a lot of the black and white photos in there it would add a considerable heft to it. But I think [Chris] Jericho and Bret [Hart] showed that you can have success with a book outside of the WWE and I would be very happy to have the kind of success their books did.
I believe this is your first autobiography that you've done that Vince McMahon hasn't read before it came out.
(laughs) Oddly, the last one I did for WWE was far more negative of the WWE than this one is. I've heard a couple of people said I was bitter in this book. I just don't see it. I think sometimes people are reading into a book what they want to. I know with the exception of a couple of sentences I really was not feeling any bitterness at all towards WWE when I was writing this book.
You hit on a lot of different things in the book between leaving WWE and going to TNA and then counting down to getting back in the ring against Sting. One of the big topics was that while you've been in wrestling for years and had a lot of big matches, you had a fear of getting back in the ring. Why did you have that fear about doing something you've done for years?
I talked about feeling completely naked out there and I don't mean to turn people off immediately -- figuratively naked -- that I don't have the confidence that I did. I'm aware that my skills have faded. My knees and back are bad and my training is not what it should be. And I don't want to go out there and embarrass myself. It's really difficult to live up to the standards that I set for myself and I think that the fans have set for me as well. Heading into that match, it was not a comfortable, good, anxious feeling. It was a pretty scary, sobering feeling. Although I do feel different about wrestling currently as opposed to when I had this match with Sting. I have a little more confidence thanks to my friend Kurt Angle.
What did Kurt do to help instill that confidence back in you?
Well, we had our singles match which was shortly after the book was written. Actually, it took place while I was writing extra chapters and I had been worried about that match for a long time. His standards are just out of this world. Kurt was banged up and I was working within my physical limitations but I thought we had a pretty good match. I thought I showed some things that I hadn't done in a long time that I probably should have been doing all along. It wasn't so much that match which I felt lucky just to get through as much as the matches on the following two days of "Impact." At a certain point in the singles match we had on TV, I just kind of got the feeling like 'hey, I'm not so bad after all.' It just came to me that things were more natural and knowing that I probably wasn't going to embarrass myself too bad anytime I went out there.
Where are you right now with your wrestling career? Do you still like getting out there a lot or do you just want to do it even now and then?
I definitely don't want to do it as often. I've alluded to an in-ring interview with (Ric) Flair as being one of the best moments of my career. And I'm not claiming that other people are going to watch and say that's one of the best interviews I've even seen. It's more of a sense of how I felt when I was out there. That wrestling can be fun and take on this magical quality and it's not all thought out and planned and rehearsed. At the end of the interview segment, I had this feeling that I was looking forward to the match in a way that I hadn't been for years.
Who's going to retire first -- yourself, Ric Flair or Kurt Angle?
(laughs) I don't know! I think Ric and Kurt love it more than I do. I don't want to say I don't love it because I love certain aspects of it but I could be just fine as an authority figure and not have to wrestle. I think it's really in their blood that they need to do it once in a while. I think they'll outlast me easily.
There continues to be a lot of talk about the direction of the company and possible changes. What's it like to be part of that? It's one thing for people to talk about it. It's another for people to be there and really know what is going on.
Well, I just got back about two months ago so I wasn't there for a lot of that sobering period of the Monday night wars, the 2010 edition. I'm really proud of the fact that we've shaken that off and accepted that we're there on Thursday nights and we need to put on as good of a show as we can. I like the new direction with a little less humor behind the scenes and a little more emphasis on the wrestling. I think there can be more emphasis on the wrestling but I think we're doing a pretty good job of weaving in the new stars and showcasing teams like the [Motor City Machine] Guns and Beer Money in a way that we haven't seen tag teams showcased in a long time while using the stars that fans are familiar with.
Is there too much blood on the show these days?
Sometimes. Yeah, I think sometimes there may be. I think some things are best used in moderation so possibly.
So many people talk about the veterans in TNA and their role compared to some of the younger guys. As a veteran, how do you look at it as far as how much time should you get compared to someone else that is younger and more active?
Yeah. To be honest, I think I have taken up too much of the show but that's not my call. I would like to be the guy that helps pave the way for some of the younger guys and I've tried to do that on occasion and I hope to do that in the future. I have taken up too much time on the show. I think we should be cutting back -- and we have cut back -- on some of the segments and allow the wrestlers to wrestle.
Why aren't you involved in the booking team?
Yeah. You've got a great mind for the business. You've been around, you understand people. Why have you never been involved in that aspect?
Well, my beard is already turning gray. I don't need my hair turning gray as well. Like I said, for a lot of guys TNA is a really great way of life and I just don't know if being in that atmosphere would lead to a good way of life.
It's amazing that you are actually a member of the online world now. You've got your own blog, you're writing for TNAWrestling.com, you've got a Twitter page. What's the world coming to?
Man, I'll tell you what, the world was a much simpler place when you just had to walk out on TV holding a book. I did do a lot of these things with the idea that I wanted to build a grassroots interest in the book. But as anyone who has been on Twitter knows, once you get on there it's pretty addictive. In the past, I didn't share any thoughts that were 140 characters or less. If I had something I wanted to share, I would have an avenue with a lengthier web blog or something of that nature. But it's kind of cool to give back to people and keep in touch. I even said a few days ago, to hear from Trish Stratus and Stacy Keibler in the same day makes it one of the tweetest days ever which is completely ridiculous.
Now, we're not going to find you going home late at night, grabbing a box of wine like Kevin Nash did and going on Twitter are we?
(laughs) No, no I think it's best not to drink and tweet. Remember, my typing skills are very limited. Nonetheless, there aren't too many typos in there. If you start seeing a case of really poor letter choices you'll know I'm following the Nash route. It's one of those things ... you can't take back a tweet. You have to make sure that even though it's a pretty spontaneous thing that you don't say things that you're going to regret.
How cognizant are you of that? I believe WWE has even told talent that once midnight hits, get off the Twitter.
Yeah, I think that's a pretty reasonable request. Everyone has frustrations they want to let out and occasionally I let it out in too lengthy a forum on the TNA website. I think you have to think before you tweet.
One other thing with WWE ... they recently changed their Wellness Policy and have banned somas, even if people have prescriptions. What's your thoughts about them making that change?
I think it's a good change because I thought somas, when I got into WWE in '96, were like the scourge of the business. I thought it was the most overused prescription drug imaginable. I know I've taken maybe three or four in my life. I took one for a legitimate back injury and four hours later I had to tell my son that I couldn't drive. It just made me kind of useless. I'm a 300-pound guy, maybe a couple of more pounds than 300, and I think the dose I was taking was the same prescribed to a much lighter person. I think they're dangerous. The potential for abuse is extremely high and I think with massage therapy and different options that their need is not that great. I really applaud them for banning somas and I think it's going to make not a big difference because I don't think there's been a soma problem for a while, I think it's just individuals sometimes can have a problem with it. I wouldn't say there is nearly the problem there was 14, 15 years ago. But nonetheless, I think it's a good move to take that off the list of things that are acceptable.
Would you like to see TNA follow suit?
Yeah I think they should. Again, I don't know how many problems there are. I've seen a couple of cases where guys did not appear like they should be working. And I don't know what the reason was. I think if anyone has a good idea that it should be followed by the other group.
You've been able to stay away from recreational drugs and performance-enhancing drugs. How have you not gotten caught up in that like so many other people in the business have?
Well, I do a chapter I called "A Substance Problem" where I talk about abuses. My take on some of these things might surprise people because I'm not vehemently anti-drugs and I wonder like why a shot of cortisone is acceptable which is a very dangerous anti-inflammatory injectable whereas human growth hormone probably has the potential to do a lot of good is frowned upon so much. A basketball player who won't take a shot of cortisone is almost seen as being a baby whereas any athlete who admits or is caught taking growth hormone is seen as being a cheater. So, I think there's a lot of issues at stake when it comes to substances in sports and society in general.
But in my case, I explain that I understood wrestling the style that I was choosing that there was going to be a lot of pain involved and I was not going to take anything unless I really, really needed to. And occasionally I do. I mentioned in the book that I was going down a raft ride at Dutch Wonderland with my little guys and somehow in the course of rafting I dislocated my kneecap and that's a pretty painful thing. It's one of those very uncomfortable feelings when you try to put your kneecap back in place and the swelling was immediate and substantial. The only thing that allowed me to continue in my vacation was half a pain pill. So in that case, I really thought it was necessary but I try not to take those things unless it's really necessary. And I think that guys, myself included, probably do a better job of talking to the younger guys about what they can expect and what they should stay away from when they get in the business.