Randy Orton has paid tribute to Mick Foley, revealing the grizzly items he kept from when the two faced off and credits Foley for making him a man.
Randy Orton has been celebrating his 20th anniversary as a WWE Superstar, reflecting on a career like no other in the company. Speaking in a video to mark the milestone on WWE’s YouTube channel, Orton recalled his first experience at WrestleMania in 2004.
Orton teamed with his Evolution partners Batista and Ric Flair to defeat the iconic team of Mick Foley and The Rock inside Madison Square Garden at WrestleMania 20. However, far from ending hostilities between Orton and Foley, the match only caused them to grow leading to an all-time great Hardcore Match the next month at Backlash.
For a young Randy Orton, the match changed his future quite considerably:
“I’ve got this future Hall of Famer, this all-time great Mick Foley. He’s gotta prove that he’s still got it. Comes out with all the injuries he’s sustained throughout his career and he put it all on the line to show the world that he could still go and to pass that torch to a young Randy Orton. And that’s what he did.”
“And we were in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and it was one of the loudest crowds I’d ever performed in front of. There were so many violent little obstacles in our way. I landed in the thumbtacks in that match. I actually have the thumbtacks that were in my boots after this match. I kept them. There were a few in my back that Ric Flair helped pull out of my back. I kept those too.”
Orton added that he puts Mick Foley in the same bracket as Triple H and Ric Flair in terms of wrestling greats that helped get him where he is today:
“That match helped show the fans that, OK. He’s a contender. This kid is willing to go out there and put his body through that to entertain us. I had them in the palm of my hand. Mick had them in the palm of their hand. And they were eating it up and enjoying every minute of it.
“And they got to witness me go out there and bleed for them. And everything changed after that. I was taken a little more seriously. I became a man that night thanks to Mick Foley.”
“I thought it was really special for Mick Foley to come out of retirement just to work with me. I’m so grateful for so many superstars that took the time to help mold me into who I eventually became in this business. And Mick Foley is at the top of that list along with Triple H and Ric Flair for helping me get here. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”