Mick Foley has revealed that Vince McMahon “hated” Beyond the Mat, explaining that he was uncomfortable with the events the movie documented.
Beyond the Mat was released in 1999 and documented the lives and struggles of Terry Funk, Mick Foley and Jake Roberts.
The documentary gained notoriety for shining a light on some of the darker aspects of the wrestling industry, as it’s three main subjects faced a series of difficulties. One of the more famous sections of the movie, shows the reaction of Mick Foley’s family and young children as he is brutally hit over the head with a steel chair by The Rock in their “I Quit” Match at the 1999 Royal Rumble.
While the footage of Jake Roberts was equally as harrowing albeit in a different way, with the star in the midst of a serious drug addiction which nearly claimed his life.
The film is also notable for the amount of access that it’s creators were granted by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. No documentary, not filmed by WWE has enjoyed such access since.
Speaking on his new podcast, Foley is Pod, available via AdFreeShows, Mick Foley spoke at length about the documentary and Vince McMahon’s reaction to the sometimes unflattering footage. Foley confirmed that McMahon hated the movie because it lifted the curtain on an industry built on smoke and mirrors.
Despite this, Foley suggests that WWE’s own documentary, taking a deep dive behind the scenes of WrestleMania XIX did more to ruin professional wrestling’s magic.
“Vince hated the movie. Vince is a real believer in the magic. I’ll argue that the video that WWE put out, I think was 2004 when Brock and Kurt had their match in Seattle when Brock landed on his head of the shooting star press. So yeah, it was just four years after Beyond The Mat. The dual storylines were Brock and Kurt Rock and Steve. And I thought that was that was unveiling the magic and I thought that was in its own way darker than Beyond The Mat.”
The night before his WrestleMania XIX showdown with The Rock, Steve Austin was in hospital as his body continued to fail him ahead of what was at the time, his final match.
“So it’s his prerogative, this is his company, if and especially if that’s the way the story goes. It becomes a you can’t, you could I guess conceivably through editing, make a dark story happy. But that was a sad story. Steve almost, I don’t want to say he almost died. But he was in the emergency room the night before, because he felt so much pressure.
And at that time, I can’t remember the substance that was in the energy drinks, which you get GNC wasn’t like anything illegal. But like a lot of us in wrestling, you know, we don’t draw people who do moderation well, because I joke around about the instantaneous Foley risk reward ratio analysis.
But if any of us actually had a risk reward ratio analysis, about the wisdom of getting in a business, that’s almost guaranteed to break you physically, and is 100% guaranteed to break you down emotionally. And knowing that the chances of making it big are ultra slim, and even after you make it big who would sign up right?
But we’re all chasing this dream after dream. So instead of Steve had been one energy drink, he may have overdone it. And he was an all day coffee guy anyway, like a lot of people in WWE are. And man is his heart didn’t react well to it. He didn’t know what the heck was going on. He thought he’d have a heart attack. And to me, that’s a heavy storyline.”
The WWE Hall of Famer added that in it’s own way, Austin’s story was as heavy as anything depicted in Beyond the Mat.
“I thought and is it as heavy as what Jake went through and Beyond The Mat? No, maybe not. But I thought it was heavy in its own way. But Vince thought it was taking the magic away. He thought it was a good movie. He told Barry Boston, it’s a good movie. It’s not the movie that I would have made. He was uncomfortable with a lot of the stuff.”
During the same podcast episode, Foley recalled Vince McMahon insisting that he retire after he admitted he was having issues with his memory.
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