Counterfeit Pennies 01.27.04: How Mick Foley Made Me Care

On December 15, 2003, Mick Foley got Punk’d by Randy Orton. Not only did Foley back out on a match for the Intercontinental Championship and pass on a return to active duty in front of the dozens (and dozens!) of Foley fans, he even allowed Orton to call him a coward and spit on his face.

My initial reaction to this storyline was one of shock and then skepticism. At first, I was surprised that Mick approved and even choreographed this twist, and then I was afraid that the eventual “payoff” Mick had in mind would either be forgotten by the more-often-than-not hapless WWE writers, or changed to a point of worthlessness.

Leave it to Mick Foley to prove me wrong.

When my best friend the E-Train and I watch wrestling, we tend to get to a point – usually during a Bubba Ray Dudley singles match – where we turn down the volume and ask each other simple but debatable questions. By this point, we must have surveyed each other and argued thousands of times about best technical wrestlers, favorite managers, best gimmick wrestlers, favorite tag teams, etc.

Of course, our most heated debate usually occurs when we get to the question: Who are the best promo guys of all-time?

While the E-Train throws out names like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, The Rock and D-Generation X, there’s only one name that ever seems to cross my mind. From cracked boiler room vignettes with Paul Bearer to strip clubs with Al Snow to “This Is Your Life”/Rock N’ Sock segments, Mick Foley has shown the versatility, the chutzpah, the humor and the heart to provide his fans with an assorted mix of microphone-worthy memories.

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if Mick Foley had it in him to show up in game shape – both mentally and physically – in order to match wits, blows, and chair shots to the head against a healthier, perhaps more enthusiastic Randy Orton. After all, Randy hasn’t yet proven himself, he hasn’t yet been in Foley-esque wars, and he hasn’t yet earned his stripes to the point where he is no longer a hungry wrestler looking to climb to the top of the industry at any cost.

Once again, leave it to Mick Foley to prove me wrong.

If you happened to miss Raw this week – and I can’t believe I am saying this – you have to try to get a hold of a copy from a friend or whoever.

I urge you to do this not because Mick Foley flew off a Hell In A Cell cage into an announcer’s table, not because he had a steel cage door slammed on his head, and not because he fell 20 feet onto a pile of thumbtacks. Mick Foley did not act like a hardcore legend last night, though shades of his deep dark past did rush to the forefront of his psyche at one point or another.

On the contrary, Mick Foley showed that he was a wrestler who unconditionally loves this industry, a father who unconditionally loves his family, and a man who can still connect with his fans using metaphors, pop culture references, emotion, humor, and humility.

Mick Foley did not demonstrate any of this with barbed wire or enflamed 2 x 4s. Instead, he used carefully chosen words as his weapon, and a powerful, poignant promo as his foreign object.

Leave it to Mick Foley.

That’s all for now Peace.

Chris Biscuiti

Chris Biscuiti also writes The Weekly Media Monitor – a timely, all-inclusive look at sports, entertainment, pop culture and general news coverage and media trends – for 411 Black.