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Mick Foley Discusses Backstage Experience with Kevin Owens and Cesaro

Posted By James Walsh on 10/12/17

Mick Foley reflected back on his most recent run as Raw General Manager, discussed the Mae Young Classic and more in a new interview with Ring Rust Radio. The highlights are below:

On if thinks that he was slighted or overlooked during his time in WWE: “No, I do not think I was slighted or overlooked. There’s a really great quote from JR’s book Slobber Knocker and I read an excerpt from it today where he talked about how little faith Mr. McMahon had in me when I arrived. He was basically agreeing to the hire just so JR could find out what it’s like to have his heart broken by a character you believed in that won’t turn out to be anything. For a guy who wasn’t as it turned out to be, brought in to be a big deal and who was in sense brought in to fail, I not only thought I exceeded everyone’s expectations, but I thought I got plenty of credit, I really do. When I see a segment like that one in 2000 and I remember just watching it for the first time in 10 years several months ago, I watched it when a guy a by the name Matt Ricardo, an illusionist from the UK had me on his podcast and he played that as his favorite all-time career memory. It’s hard not to get goosebumps and just look at the expressions on Triple H and Stephanie’s face and it just helped make that character work. If we of just shrugged his shoulders and said it’s the same guy with a different shirt it would have been dead. He sold it and she sold it like their seeing a ghost from the past. That to me is when the business is at its best when everybody is helping out each other and everyone comes out better in the end.”

On the Mae Young Classic and who can make it on the main roster: “Oh man, you are going to put me on the spot here and think I can memorize names. I’m just going to have to point out characters. Like you know that the young lady from Scotland, I thought she did a very good job, but she lost in her first match I think. She did a lot of things and everything she did was with a purpose. I’ve been a big fan of Mia Yim going back to when she was Jade. She had a great match with the young lady in NXT that doesn’t do the Kentucky gimmick, but she’s from Kentucky and I thought they had a heck of a match. Shayna Baszler showed a lot of potential and the young lady who won it she has a special it factor. I’ll be honest I didn’t see every matchup, I’m trying to catch up on 205 Live as well. That’s one of the benefits of having a complete knee replacement, you have plenty of downtime.”

On how he felt about his run as Raw general manager: “It’s easy to look back and think I could of, would of, should of. I wish it would’ve lasted longer, but it just got to the point where traveling was just agonizing. Going in, the goal is to really help create interest in some of the characters and to be fired in spectacular fashion. I look back and there was a pre-tape written for me where Cesaro and Sheamus would come into the office and I was going to kind of dismiss them like they were garbage. I said, ‘I really want to approach this differently’. I had come up to Cesaro and Kevin Owens and told them, “Look, I have to have a reason why you guys were taken so deep in the draft. Even if it never comes up, if I don’t have a reason to my mind, it’s mind-boggling why the draft would’ve worked out the way it did.’ For Kevin Owens, he was the biggest jerk in the locker room and Shane had told me in conversations that he wouldn’t draft him if he was the last person on the roster. Which isn’t true but in my mind, it was. For Cesaro, his shoulder made him a question mark. So, instead of dismissing those guys like they were garbage, I kind of challenge both of them to be as good as I knew they could be. When it was done, I remember Scott Armstrong asked if I wrote that. I said I didn’t write it, but I did it from the heart and he said it was really good. Both of those guys got a sense that they had somebody there who cared about their characters. One of my finest moments as GM was when I was with my son who is on the creative team, and I was with Michael Hayes and Arn Anderson and we were watching that seventh match, the finale of the best-of-seven. People didn’t want any part of that when we announced it. We were in Indianapolis for the Clash of Champions and they went to a time limit draw which normally would disgust everybody, but the place was chanting for more time, they tore down the house, and I had this brand-new sports coat because I finally realized people caught on that I only owned one sports coat and I was just accessorizing with a different shirt every week. I see Sheamus coming, and he’s just pouring sweat and I am thinking to myself, ‘Oh no, he’s going to hug me, he’s going to hug me, he is going to hug me,’ and I took one for the team and he wrapped his arms around me and embraced me. He and Cesaro both felt like the faith I showed in them meant a lot to them. They never let me forget it. They’re always very quick to point that out that even though that GM position is largely an on-air authority figure, you do get to go to bat for people and you get to pick your fights when you believe in them enough. Those were two of the guys that I really fought for and two of the fights that I picked. I am probably proudest of the stuff I did with them. As well as the episode where I got to put the sock on Triple H, that was a great Raw for me.”

On whether there was any competition during his time in the company over who could deliver the best comedic lines: “You know speaking of the GM roles, when I was Commissioner in 2000, it was like my own candy store and I could do whatever I wanted with it. When the role in 2016 came, it came with a lot more restrictions. I also felt like the role in 2016 wasn’t the time for lighthearted comedy. It bothered me when people would get themselves over at the expense of wrestlers, not naming names, but it always bothered me and I didn’t want to be one of those guys. While the timing was right for it 2000 and for the character in 1999 with the Rock and Sock Connection, it wasn’t time for it in 2016. There was a friendly competition between me and Al Snow. Fortunately for me, I had a lot more time on-air than Al did. The one time he tried to get his digs on me, Mr. McMahon told him to stop. Vince said, ‘I don’t mind when you do it Mick because it’s funny, but Al just completely destroyed that segment.’ So, I kind of had carte blanch to do whatever I wanted. There was no competition, it was just a way of lightning up a show which had been in a dark period and those shows kind of come in waves and when I came in it was coming off of a period that was pretty heel heavy and being dark. I felt like it was my job to lighten it up a little bit and I look back fondly at guys like Edge and Christian being like my protégés when it came to some of the sillier stuff. Even Kurt Angle was a great comedic foil. Briscoe and Patterson as well. I had no shortage of great people to work with and that role just lent itself to that comedic touch.”