Michael Francis "Mick" Foley, Sr. is a retired American professional wrestler, author, comedian, color commentator, actor, and voice actor. He has worked for many wrestling promotions, including World Wrestling Entertainment, World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, National Wrestling Alliance as well as numerous promotions in Japan. He is often referred to as "The Hardcore Legend", a nickname he shares with Terry Funk. Foley has wrestled both under his real name and various personas, including Dude Love, Cactus Jack, and Mankind, also known as the Three Faces of Foley. Foley is a four-time world champion, an 11-time tag team champion, a one-time TNA Legends Champion and the inaugural WWF Hardcore Champion.
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My latest project, I Am Santa Claus, is a film in which I follow five professional Santa impersonators for a year to see what they’re all about during the holiday season and beyond, and it's available today on Blu-ray and various digital platforms (you can check it out here: http://www.iamsantaclausmovie.com).
Victoria's helping me get started today. AMA!
EDIT: well, before i go - THANK YOU everyone for your questions. I especially want to thank anyone who's followed me on any of my non-wrestling journeys, whether it be this documentary, or my live shows throughout the country and the world. And you can check up whatever i'm doing on my website, http://www.realmickfoley.com.
What did you think of Aronofsky's film "The Wrestler"? Have you known people who went down similar roads?
Yeah, I loved The Wrestler, and i felt very fortunate to have been the first member of the wrestling community NOT associated with the film to view it. I did a review for Slate.com, and I walked into the screening as a skeptic, and walked away as a believer. I thought he did a tremendous job of telling that particular wrestler's story. I felt like I absolutely knew that person. It wasn't as if he was copying any one person, but there were shades of so many wrestlers I had known. My wife and i actually had an argument on our way home from viewing it. We went back to a second viewing, and I said Randy "the Ram" Robinson could have very easily been me, and my wife argued that i wouldn't have made those mistakes, and I said "Everyone's just 1 or 2 big mistakes from messing up their lives." So to me, The Wrestler could have been called The Dancer or The Singer or The Artist - it was a story about a great man with great flaws.
Are you in contact with the Undertaker? What is your opinion on his streak being "conquered" by Brock Lesnar?
Heheh. I feel very fortunate that so many wrestlers have come to check out my live shows on the road? But I never imagined The Undertaker would be one of them, because he's such a private guy. Until I saw his massive frame filling the doorway in Austin, Texas, I really didn't think the Undertaker would make it to a show. And we talked about that match, our Hell in a Cell, and how it bonded us for life. So I may not text him, I may not send him Christmas cards, and I've gone on the record to say that I don't want to live in a world with the Undertaker tweeting - I don't want to see "LOL, The Dead Man" on my screen - but we have a bond that will last a lifetime.
Hey Mick, did you ever replace the TV you broke after Bryan didn't win? Thanks!
My daughter is now hitting me up for a new TV! I could've sworn she said it was broken before I smashed it with a bat. To this day, I... I'm only sorry that i scared my children when I walked into the living room with a brick. My wife forbid me to actually smash our tv, she thought it was going to explode into millions of fragments of glass and vapor, but the truth is, with these new TVs, it would've probably just cracked. Very anticlimactic.
I actually broke a TV that was already broken, and now my daughter insists that I replace it. Which I might. As a Christmas gift.
Who was your favorite person to wrestle against?
Oh! It's really difficult to pick one. Because I was really lucky to be a part of that huge wave of amazing wrestlers in the "Attitude" Era.
But if I had to pick one i would say... Terry Funk. Because of our willingness to do such horrible things to each other! In the name of friendship and business.
Do you have any cool stories from your appearance on Boy Meets World? Would love to see you show up somewhere down the line on Girl Meets World.
I think the coolest story stemming from my appearance on BOY MEETS WORLD is I'm still in touch with Danielle, who was (as most people know) Topanga, aka Every Teenage Boy's First Crush in the 1990's. A few years ago, somebody sent me a tweet where she mentioned that I was one of the most enjoyable guest stars to work with.
So I thanked her, and thus began a rekindled friendship, and I even caught up with her a rehearsal for GIRL MEETS WORLD. So one of my hopes is after the Santa movie is seen, that people in Hollywood will think of me for roles as the man in red, especially one as natural as playing that role on GIRL MEETS WORLD.
I've heard a couple interviews where you say that you consider yourself a feminist. What made you open your eyes to the way the world treats women? If you could give one message to the world, what would it be?
(Big fan, by the way. Stay real, Santa-Man.)
Heheheh! Well, I'm really proud of the fact that I can be googled using the phrases "Hardcore Legend, Hell in a Cell, and Feminist."
And I'm known as a feminist largely because of the volunteer work I've done with RAINN. Which is a very pleasant sounding acronym for a very difficult problem. It's the Rape Abuse Incest National Network. And they work with survivors, and I was an active online volunteer for 2 years under a different name, and I'm as proud of the 700 hours I put in as a volunteer - I'm as proud of that work as I am of anything I've done in or out of the ring.
Just, it goes back to the golden rule, you know? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And Rabbi Hillel phrased it slightly differently - he said "That which is objectionable to you don't do to anybody else." So let's all respect each other out there. All genders, all religions, all sexual orientations.
Do you use any sort of conditioner for your beard?
Yes, I do.
Following the bleaching process, I probably should have just shaved the entire thing and started anew? But I decided to keep it and recolor it, which meant I'd done an enormous amount of damage to my facial hair.
So I found Honest Amish Beard Balm. Which was very effective and I have since moved on to "Sleighmaster's Beard Balm" which was made by Santas, for Santas. And has a very refreshing, natural peppermint scent.
Are rumors true about your daughter training to wrestle?
Hehehehe. My daughter - she would LIKE to wrestle. I would love to see her in the wrestling business as a personality and not a wrestler. She is hosting Ringside Collectible's weekly show, Ringside or Riot, and she is a very effervescent personality, and a beautiful young lady who has definitely unlocked her inner nerd.
I'm very proud of her.
And I have a photo in my Christmas room of my daughter sitting next to me on my first day AS Santa, in Santa's Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire. And I put it in a place in the room where I can always see it, because her face displays nothing but pride. There's not even the slightest hint of embarrassment. Just pride that her dad is doing something he really loves.
Who are your closest friends in the wrestling world currently?
Oh man! I've made so many great friends over the years, it's tough to pick just a few. But I'm really flattered when the guys or the women make it to my shows. You know, whether it's Natalia in Calgary, along with Brett Hart and 19 other Harts, or the Undertaker in Austin, Texas. CM Punk even swung by my show in Chicago! Believe it or not, I am very friendly with many of the WWE Divas, and as fellow WWE hall of famed Trish Stratus explained to me, "It's because the ladies see me as a safety valve, as a guy who will never say anything inappropriate or hit on them."
In truth, I've been hitting on them for many years. Just not very effectively.
Hey Mick! Big fan. Ive always had one question though. As Mankind, how did you come up with Mr. Socko?
You know, when you work at a frantic pace like WWE does, so much of what you see on TV is figuratively throwing stuff at TV and seeing what sticks.
And in NO way did I think Mr. Socko was going to stick. I thought it was a "one and done." My way of cheering up Mr. McMahon in the hospital where he was hooked up to a heart monitor and respirator for a bruised ankle, because that's how we roll in WWE.
It wasn't until the next day, when Stone Cold Steve Austin was telling me it was some of the funniest stuff he'd ever seen, that i even thought twice about it. And later that night, Vince Russo came running up to me saying "Do you have the sock?!?!" And I thought "Yeah... it's just a dirty sock that i drew on." And he said "Oh, they've got signs out there, they are chanting his name" and for some reason, this battered, beaten wrestler would-be sock puppet was endearing.
What inspired you to become a wrestler?
Well, I was one of those fans who just loved it. I loved the blend of athletics and theatrics. And I was deeply moved by an experience I had at Madison Square Garden in 1983, when I saw Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka jump off the top of the steel cage. Even though I had hitchhiked there and was on my own, I felt like I was part of a bigger community. And I distinctly remember thinking that I wanted to one day make people feel the same way I felt at that moment.
Dear Mick, I was always a huge fan growing up. All of your personas gained a place in my heart after I read both of your outstanding and hilarious autobiographies. Are you writing anything now? And can you tell us about it?
Um... I actually have just started taking notes, just yesterday, and I'm thinking about writing a memoir of my experiences in the Red Suit. I know going into this project that it's not likely to sell well. I will probably try to create some awareness for a charitable organization. I could write it and bring it to a publisher, and especially if they know that i am not looking for an advance, and they know that I will go out on the road to support it, I'm pretty sure I can get this published. Either that or I'll self-publish like I did with my son's Christmas books, which one of my favorite musicians Shooter Jennings turned into a cool 7 inch record - http://www.shooterjennings.com - it's going to be out November 25th. And I will do one signing on Long Island on December 13 at Looney Tunes in West Babylon - a reading and signing as Santa - with my son, and I am looking forward to it like it's a main event at Wrestlemania.
What's your current favorite Christmas song?
Oh ! My current favorite Christmas Song is "Old Toy Trains" by Roger Miller. And I am attempting to get my friends in Puss in Boots, Norah Jones, Catherine Popper, and Sasha Dobson, to learn it for their Christmas show in Brooklyn on December 11, where I will be their Santa. And if the ladies learn the song, you will see a grown man cry.
I just wanted to say thank you for all of the amazing memories. You're an amazing guy.
Also as a Cincinnati native, what are you doing for lunch today? Are you open to suggestions? If so, and you like BBQ, I highly recommend Eli's. http://elisbarbeque.com/
Well, thank you for the suggestion.
I'll be honest: I started today at 8 AM YESTERDAY. So I haven't really stopped. I flew into Cincinnati, drove the four hours to West Virginia to do radio for my show in Ohio, I've basically been on the go since 8 AM yesterday. I finish doing my media at 2 PM Today, and at that point, I've told the people at the Funnybone where I'll be performing to call my room at 7 PM today so I wake up.
I've told my publicist that i need to sleep every 3 days. Every 3 days, I need to sleep.
What's your favourite videogame?
Oh man, I am not a gamer? But I have started to play... one of the WWE 2008 games with my 11 year old? So I guess I'll go with that. The politically correct answer would be WWE 2K15. But I have not yet played that one. And I enjoy the Kinect games with my kid. That and DDP Yoga are my only forms of yoga.
From reading your books as well as from this new project, it's easy to see you are a man that loves Christmas.
My question would be how do you keep from "burning out" on it as it seems the "Christmas Season" grows a bit longer every few years?
Yeah, um... I just try to keep a little piece of that Christmas spirit with me each day of the year. I understand that Christmas Day itself may not live up to expectations -- kind of treasuring the warmth of Christmas all year 'round helps me spread happiness.
Part of - the idea behind the memoir - is how I found such comfort in being Santa following my diagnoses from a top neurologist of having suffered too many head injuries. So knowing I could never wrestle again, knowing that my aversion to bright lights was putting an end to my RAINN volunteer work, meant that i had to find some other thing to love.
And I found that in being Santa.
One of your most famous moments (and one of THE most famous moments in WWF history) was your match with the Undertaker in HIAC. Now that the WWE has basically banned blood, is there any reason for a HIAC, Elimination Chamber, Steel Cage, or even weapons matches to even exist? Wasn't the big draw of those matches that blood would have to be drawn?
Oof. That's a tough question. You know, it really puts pressure on the guys in those matches to deliver with other forms of physicality? And I think they have done that. I know there were some people who were disappointed with the inconclusive outcome last month, HIAC, but I thought both John Cena and Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had tremendous cell matches. I do miss the blood, but it's a different era. And blood is no longer part of it.
I read that after the premiere of the film the Santa community had some issues with the final film, could you expand a little on the issues they had and what your response was?
Also, if I can ask a wrestling related question, what is your favourite hell in a cell match that you weren't involved in?
Sure. I think the Santa community had the issues with the trailer. There were about 12 Santa Ambassadors at the premiere in Hollywood, and i'm almost sure at least 10 of them enjoyed it. One of the guys who was a new Santa thought it was "Exposing the magic" and he asked me how i felt about pulling back the curtain, and my sincere answer was "of all the ways that kids today can come to a realization about Santa, that watching a 90 minute R-rated documentary was not going to be high on that list."
And i really feel about the movie like I did about the wrestling documentary "Beyond the Mat" - that people will be able to BETTER appreciate the dedication and passion that goes into being Santa.
That was one question I had at the NY premiere, from a couple who had no idea who I was, they just saw i was dressed in a beautiful Santa vest, and I told them I was in a documentary that was premiering that night. So I didn't want to put them on the spot, but I asked them if they had any impressions the movie made- and the man just said "I had no idea people LOVED the role so much."
And I think that's what people take from it. I think concern among members of the Santa community is that it shows Santa in a negative light. I disagree strongly. I think we can much better appreciate the joy Santas feel when we experience some of their struggles throughout the year.
Hahahah! Those are 2 very different questions!
I think the best Cell match ever was the first one, between Sean Michaels and The Undertaker. To this day, i think that was the best Cell match EVER. And the only reason mine was so memorable was because I was trying to live up to that huge legacy that match had left.
Thank you for the AMA Mick!
Just two questions. Where do you see WWE versus TNA going? And do you work in any capacity behind the scenes with the business today?
Well, I don't think WWE and TNA are rivals, at all.
For a short while, TNA tried to oppose WWE on Monday nights, which they quickly realized was a mistake. I wish nothing but the best for TNA and Dixie Carter and all the people who work for her, but WWE is, you know, they are the Jell-O brand of flavored gelatin. They are so big and prominent that most people are not aware that there is another brand of flavored gelatin.
And as far as an official role, I do not have an official role with WWE, but as we saw a few weeks ago when I appeared on RAW, i'm only a phone call away from a good role on the show or an important charitable function if they need me.
Dear Mr Foley,
It's great to have you here! I really appreciate you taking some time out of your day to answer our questions.
I know you sometimes don't agree with the current product, so seeing as he's bound to lose it sometime next year - who do you feel should take the title from Brock?
Also, being in a country that has little or no wrestling culture (Netherlands), how should one(and by one I mean me, a 20yo female) pursue a wrestling career? Even if it is just for the fun of it, I'd love to strive towards being a part of the business we all know and love ;)
Thank you. I wish you and your movie the best of luck and I hope to see you in the WWE again some time soon!
Well, tell her I have NO idea! I don't even know if there's a wrestling school in the Netherlands! I don't know what the wrestling scene is like. I would give you the same advice as anyone else: be safe, be realistic, and don't forget to have fun.
I don't know. This is where i like to be a fan. But I do believe that whoever Brock loses the title to will be a pillar of WWE for many years to come. I believe that once that story comes full circle, the new champion will be somebody WWE can build their company around for the foreseeable future.
Good Morning Mr. Foley and Thanks for doing this AMA.
Tommy Avallone (Director of I Am Santa Claus) and I grew up in the same small town here in NJ and I have known him since we were teenagers. Everyone is VERY, VERY proud of him here.
My questions would be, How did you end up getting hooked up with Tommy for the Santa Claus project and what was it like working with him? Also, can you come to Haddon Heights and take place in our little Christmas Parade on November 28th??? No Pressure!!!
Hahahahahaha! They have their Christmas Parade on Nov 28? I believe I will be out of town...
Tommy had always wanted to include a wrestler in every project that he did, so when he began this monumental undertaking - I Am Santa Claus - he had no idea how a wrestler would fit in, until he was told that i was a huge Christmas fan, that i had a year-round Christmas room, and that i enjoyed, like, being Santa Mick, which is just me, dressed in Santa clothes at different functions. So he approached me with the question of whether or not i would be willing to really give it a try. To really, you know, have a chance to be THE guy. The head honcho! As Ralphie from Christmas Story would say.
And man, I loved it! Anybody who's been involved with documentary films know that they are a labor of love. I think the one thing I resent is the idea some of the people in the Santa community have that i am doing this for the money. So my response is: I have 200 hours invested in the movie, and several thousand dollars of my own - you don't enter a documentary project with the idea of making money. At least we didn't enter this one. But we loved it and I'm so proud of it, I love seeing the reaction from the audiences, because it touches them on levels they weren't aware they would be touched.
Hey Mick! Huge fan! I just have one question for you. What on earth was going through your mind when The Undertaker threw you off the top of the cage?
I was - I was thinking that i had made the worst choice of my career, and that the people looked like ants down below me.
I was so glad that Christ Jericho wrote about that same observance in his book. He mentioned that he was thinking of doing something from the top of the cell, but when he got up there, he said "The people looked like ants, I'm not exaggerating." So I'm glad that someone could verify for me - it was only 16 feet, but it may as well have been 100. It was ridiculously scary, the worst decision I ever made, and I'm... fortunate that I can, you know, laugh about it all these years later.
Is it true that your film is available for download on iTunes here? https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/i-am-santa-claus/id919357228.
Yes, that is correct!
In today's digital age, it seemed like a great option for people.
And it is available TODAY on iTunes, DVD and blu-ray, and probably the best way is to go to the website - http://www.iamsantaclausmovie.com.
What did your friends and family say to you when you told them you wanted to be a wrestler?
I didn't tell anybody! I didn't any of my friends until after I'd had my first match. I was SO worried that criticism would sway me from my path, that I never said anything to a single friend until I'd had my first match. My parents knew, and they just insisted that i stay in school, and my brother told me years later that they were pretty sure I would quit as soon as I got hurt.
And as most of us reading this know, that's not the way it worked out.
Who www you're favorite character to play throughout your career. Dude Love, Cactus Jack, Mankind, Mick Foley, or Santa Claus?
Oh man! I know that I LOVED being The Commissioner back in 2000? That was probably my favorite persona because I didn't have to pay a physical price to be that guy. But honestly, I will look forward to being Santa every December for the foreseeable future. I just LOVE that - seeing the magic of Christmas reflected in the eyes of a child.
The movie surprises a lot of people, because of the depth to it. It's not all jolly. But I think viewers are better able to appreciate the jolliness near the end of the movie, because they suffer with the characters as they go through their trials & tribulations of trying to adapt to everyday life after portraying a beloved, iconic character.
Hey Mr. Foley, I'm too star-struck to think of a good question, so I'll just ask, what does Santa (impersonator) eat for breakfast before a long day of making kids happy for the year?
Mostly I want to say, thanks for being such an incredible performer in so many fields, and then being such a stand-up guy for charity. You give more of yourself in one appearance than most people do in a lifetime.
As Hunter Thompson would say, you're one of Gods Own Prototypes, never intended for mass production. Thanks Mick.
Well, thank you so much.
I'll just correct you and say Santa Ambassador instead of impersonator.
Santas are very particular. About 6 week before the season, most of the Ambassadors give up food with spices or odors. There's absolutely no garlic, no smoking, no alcohol, because all of these things will come through your pores. I think our movie shows how seriously Santas take each encounter with a child, and they understand (especially as Santa Jim puts it so poignantly) that we become part of people's lives, and in his touching words - "when he's long gone and out of the picture, people will be looking at photos of their mother in his arms."
So you want to make every experience as pleasant as it can be, and that means avoiding a lot of the culinary things in life that we enjoy the rest of the year.
So you'd probably go with oatmeal for breakfast. Nothing with spices.
Mick, watching you in the ring was a big part of my childhood, thank you for always pushing the limits (and for this AMA as well).
After 30+ years in the industry, being an author/actor/gold-hearted madman, would you have changed a thing?
OH yeah. I mean, knowing what we know now about head injuries, I certainly, at the very least, would've brought my hand up when I saw those metal objects traveling at high speeds towards my head... I may have done quite a few things differently, if I'd know the structural damage that dropping elbows on concrete would create long-term, I may have taken that item off the Foley menu a long time ago.
Hi mick , if you never wrestled, what job or career do you think you would have had?
Oh! I... I would have, I think, if I had not been a wrestler, I would have been on the other side of the camera, as a producer, cameraman, or even a writer for one of the magazines.
When I was in World Class Championship Wrestling, in 1988, and '89, I would actually go down to the TV studio and both observe and help put the World Class show together. I was almost like an intern? I knew the chances of really making it in wrestling were slim, and I wanted to be part of it in some capacity.
So if there's a lesson there it's: follow your dreams, but have a plan B.
Hey Micker! I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the premiere of I Am Santa Claus. My favorite part of the film was when you met Santa in Chicago and told him what made you decide that you wanted to be santa. During the Q&A, I asked a question to the Santas in attendance about what made them decide that they wanted to be Santa Claus. Are there any juicy origin stories from the Santas that didn't make the cut?
P.S. Thank you for sharing my reddit post about the premiere. Tommy hooked me up with a DVD and I've been telling everyone and their uncle to go see this film.
No...I think everyone realized along the way that they get more out of giving than the recipient. That it feels GOOD to give. And I think all of our guys in the movie, and in general, love to give because it brings them such joy.
That's my reason, you know? i love the way that being Santa makes me feel. I imagine there are some people out there who approach it as a business. But not the guys in our film. They love it. And I'd say the vast majority of people who put on that red suit understand and respect the power, and honor, that comes along with it.
What's your favorite thing that you did this year?
You know, in Dec 2013, the Santa Claus Drive-thru, where after my appearances as Santa Claus, I go through drive-thrus randomly and distribute cash. I think there's a reality show waiting to happen. So we actually put the link to that on YouTube, and it hasn't gone viral yet.
Please include it!
It's far from going viral, but the people who HAVE seen it have really enjoyed it. It will put a smile on your face. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWhKwEHoS2Q
Of all the things that you could possibly write about, as you are a hardcore legend and pro wrestling God, why write about Santa and Christmas?
Heheheh. Well, I've written four memoirs about my life in wrestling! And the fact that most people say "I've ready your two books" is pretty telling as to how well those other 2 did. Actually the 3rd one did quite well, but it was clear with the fourth memoir that 3 was, you know, probably just fine with almost everyone. I think there's a reason why Winston Churchill stopped at 3 volumes of memoirs.
And the truth is, you write what you know and what interests you. And I believe I have a valuable story to share that will touch hearts and put smiles on faces, and help ME rediscover my love of writing, which I lost a few years ago.
What's your favorite part about Christmas?
I think the anticipation?
I LOVE the anticipation of Christmas Eve, and I love how people just seem to be a little nicer, you know? That phrase, "the Christmas Spirit" - and again, I know I've mentioned this before, but part of my goal as a year round Christmas enthusiast is to keep a little bit of it with me all year round.
What's your favorite ride in Disney?
Oh man, that's a tough one. Because... we have to factor in the memories these rides create! And so for me, I'm going to go with the Peter Pan ride. Because Peter Pan was such a big part of my son Mickey's life.
I actually came back from Japan in 2004 to find that my son Mickey had broken his wrist when he took the lyrics to the song "You can Fly" too literally. He attempted to take flight from the couch, and it didn't work out so well.
Is I Am Santa Clause available in the UK?
I do not know. I would just suggest that friends in the UK check out the website - IamSantaClausmovie.com - and see!