WWE Hall Of Famer Mick Foley is beloved by wrestling fans the world over but now he reveals why he hated one of his most beloved characters, Mankind.
Foley had built up a reputation as a fearless daredevil during his time in WCW and competing in Japan as Cactus Jack. His Death Match exploits with Terry Funk have become the stuff of legend and Foley even managed to leave an ear in Germany after a brutal bout with Vader.
When Mick Foley came to the World Wrestling Federation in the spring of 1996, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon had something entirely different in mind for Foley – the deranged Mankind.
Speaking on Talking Tough the Hardcore Legend revealed why he hated the Mankind character and what led to McMahon changing his mind about Foley and welcoming him into the WWF:
“I hated that character because the mask was so… It really constricted my breathing, you know? With the leather underneath the nose. I needed as much oxygen as I could suck in anyway. But it came about because Jim Ross was a big advocate of mine, and Mr. McMahon was never interested in me.”
“He thought I didn’t look like a star. And finally, my name came up in 1995, in the fall, he slammed it on the table, and he said, ‘Alright, I’ll bring him in, but I’m covering up his face.’ And that’s how I got my foot in the door, and luckily, as time went by, he kind of found out I had an interesting real-life story to tell.”
“So, I was able to inject a lot more realism into that character and it really was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”
Mick Foley then discussed playing the Mankind character as well as his work with The Rock that is still replayed over two decades since it happened:
“The stuff that Mankind did with Dwayne Johnson, when he was my opponent and when he was my partner, was really fun and memorable stuff. Luckily, we were taking peoples’ minds off their problems and they still remember some of the stuff 22 years after the fact.”
“Most of the time, you’re doing your best at portraying a character and you’re waiting for those few golden moments where you are that character. So, you’re not even thinking about what you’re going to do. I didn’t know, for example, that I was very verbal in the ring, I would know by watching it. Verbal as in, I made a lot of noise and I had no game plan to do that, I didn’t realize I was doing it while I was in there.”
“Especially with Mankind, I made a lot of noise. Especially female tennis players, you know, they can be kind of verbal when they’re playing and they don’t necessarily realize it, it’s just what they do. So yeah, I did do my best trying to give an authentic performance, and there were times where I felt like I was that guy.”