Mick Foley has discussed the video that changed the course of his career, opening his eyes on how to throw a punch in professional wrestling.
Hardcore Legend and WWE Hall of Famer Foley recently appeared as the latest guest on Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions. During the course of the conversation, former rivals turned Tag Team Champions Austin and Foley discussed the long and illustrious career of ‘Mrs Foley’s Baby Boy’.
During the interview, Mick Foley mentioned former referee Brian Hildebrand, a close personal friend to Mick. Recalling a conversation from years gone by, Foley revealed that it was Hildebrand who first introduced him to videos that shaped his legendary career, and open his eyes to the working style of professional wrestling:
“Brian Hildebrand, he worked as referee Mark Curtis, one of my dearest friends – we lost him to stomach cancer about 15 years ago – and he shows me a tape that’s going to change my life. He tells me ‘watch these punches’, I couldn’t throw a punch – I’m a brawler with very limited athletic skill, but I can’t throw a punch, ‘watch these punches, Brody and Funk, they’re some of the best punches you’ll ever see in your life’.
And on that same tape we’ve got Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask and that’s where I started going ‘I can’t be as wild and as imposing as Brody, but I can take elements of what he did. And I certainly can’t wrestle like Tommy Billington [Dynamite Kid], but I can launch my own body like a weapon like he did, and what if I could add those elements and create my own kind of hybrid style?’, so then I borrowed from Brody and started really borrowing from Terry Funk – who to me is still THE pinnacle of hardcore wrestling and just started putting my own twists on it. I tell people ‘bring in everything and then filter out what works for you’.”
Foley mentioned Dynamite Kid in the above excerpt when recalling his early career. Notably, Mick Foley also appeared in the recent ‘Dark Side of the Ring’ episode covering the controversial life and career of Dynamite Kid. Remembering his second match ever, in which he faced The British Bulldogs in a tag team match, Foley recalls almost losing his career before it could even begin at the hands of Tom Billington:
“I showed up in Providence, Rhode Island with all of one match to my credit. It’s me and Les Thornton against the British Bulldogs. I was excited, I’m in the ring with one of my heroes, Tommy [Billington].I came in and I got a very, very quick education.
Dynamite starts shaking the ropes like he couldn’t wait to get in, and when he was tagged in, he sent me into the ropes and he didn’t so much clothesline as club me with his bicep in the jaw. And that was the last time I ate solid food for three weeks.
I didn’t know at the time, but he had dislocated my jaw. I almost lost my career because of that. There were no hard feelings. I said, “It was such an honour being in there with you guys”, shook their hands, went back to my hotel room and threw up in the toilet.”
Despite this bumpy start, and following the advice given by late friend Brian Hildebrand, Mick Foley would go on to become one of WWE’s most beloved characters of all time. Infamous for his death-defying matches, and legendary for his larger-than-life personas.