By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – Cactus Jack. Dude Love. Mankind. Mick Foley. Whatever you call him, this wrestling icon and best-selling author is on a national tour headed to Cornwall.
The three-time World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion will be at the Ramada Inn to perform his one-man stage show Hardcore Legend: An Evening with Mick Foley on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 9:30 p.m.
“I don’t want people to think it’s a comedy,” said Foley in a telephone interview with Seaway News. “It’s not joke-telling. It’s a wrestling-centered storytelling show that is based primarily in humour, but doesn’t have to be funny. It’s like taking fans on the same kind of emotional journey that a wrestling match would.”
Anyone who knows about Foley, can attest that his threshold for pain is nowhere near normal human levels. Like when The Undertaker threw him off the top of a 16-foot cage through a table or the time he lost his right ear in a match against Big Van Vader. Yet the wrestler known for his many faces fears the boo over the boom.
“As far as pain – you’ve clearly not been up on stage and bombed,” he said. “I think anyone who’s gone up there on their own with just a microphone and had a really bad night would rather be thrown off the cell than live with the hurt that just permeates throughout your body after a really bad show.”
The wrestling veteran’s one-man act made its headlining debut in 2009, before a sold-out crowd at the world-famous Hollywood Improv. Foley has since performed at both the Montreal “Just For Laughs” Festival and the Edinburgh “Fringe Fest” – the two largest comedy festivals in the world.
He guarantees this is a much different experience than the last tour, too.
Foley’s first of ten books Have a Nice Day hit number one on the New York Times best-seller list in October 1999.
“It comes down to the first day that I began writing, I read some of it aloud to my WWE colleagues. Seeing them gathering around and laughing it made me realize that there might be life after wrestling,” he said.
Foley described the leap from the ring to the stage as a little side step. From stories in the ring, to the page, and on the stage, the end goal is always the same.
“The key to me is everyone leaves with a big smile on their face,” he said.
Foley’s newfound literary fame once again led him to performing.
“It wasn’t just the writing, it was the reactions to the writing,” he said. “I get a lot of the same thrills. The thrill of creating, seeing reactions, the instantaneous feedback that I got from being inside the ring. I was far more a performer than I was a competitor – that’s something I touch on in this show.”
But every once in a while performers, even as tough as Foley, must face the critic in the room. Fortunately for them, he handles it with the wild and warm-hearted nature he’s revered all over the world for.
“I don’t really get hecklers,” he said. “I get the random fan who yells out either names of wrestlers or endings to stories and then I deal politely but firmly. The key is also not to make them feel like they’re part of the show.”
It’s no coincidence Foley is performing in Cornwall either. The Seaway City holds a significant place in his multi-faceted career.
“This will be my first return to Cornwall since ’97 when I quit WWE over the Montreal Screwjob with Bret Hart,” he said in an interview with chinlock.com. “There was a Monday Night Raw that I missed following that pay-per-view out of protest. Then when my wife read my contract to me over the phone and I realized I’d just breached my contract and couldn’t work anywhere in the world for five years, I did return in Cornwall. I try to take every city where I’ve had history and incorporate it into the show.”
Compared to playing in sold-out arenas, Ramada’s ballroom offers a much more intimate setting to see Foley in action. But the chance to rub elbows with a WWE legend will have wrestling diehards foaming at the mouth. In addition to the show, there’s a Q&A session followed by a meet-and-greet. Take advantage of free photo-ops, and bring your own item to be signed at no cost.
The show is presented by Yuk Yuk’s and Off Your Rocker. Tickets are $30. They’re available at Floral Expressions and ticketscene.ca or at the event.
Cornwall comic Mark Vincent will open the show and newly crowned Big Time Pro Wrestling (BTPW) champion Randy ‘The Rage’ Berry will host as the guest emcee.
“Foley’s story is nothing short of inspirational,” said Berry. “His love for the wrestling business is more hardcore than his matches. Something I can relate to growing up as a fan and wanting to be a pro wrestler myself.“
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.