WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley admits – ‘Monday Night Raw changed my life’

You cannot tell the story of Monday Night Raw without focusing upon the impact made by WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley.

WWE is preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ‘longest running weekly episodic series’ on US television on January 22.

It is hosting an extravaganza from two locations – the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Manhattan Center – to mark the occasion.

‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin , The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Ric Flair, John Cena and Brock Lesnar will all be at the event.

But the attendance of three-time WWE Champion Foley – aka Mankind, aka Cactus Jack, aka Dude Love – is yet to be confirmed.

Mankind capturing the title from The Rock in a wild main event on January 4, 1999 has been voted the greatest moment in Raw history.

The emotional storyline saw the lovable underdog defy the odds and Vince McMahon’s wishes to reach the mountaintop of wrestling.

The Mirror spoke to Foley, 52, about whether he will be at Raw 25, his favourite Raw memories and Royal Rumble predictions.

Stephanie McMahon firing Raw general manager Mick Foley
(Image: © WWE)

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Can you give us an update on whether you will be part of the Raw 25th anniversary celebrations?

I’ve been invited, I’m trying to clear out time from something I had already committed too. Whether I’m there in person or not, I believe I will be there in spirit. This show literally changed my life. It was such a big part of my life. Not just from the time I was on it. I’m almost always watching on Monday night with my children, so it has been a big part of my life, whether I’m on the show or not.

What would be your top three Raw moments of the last 25 years?

Wow, that’s a tough one. There have been so many great ones. I’d say winning the WWE title for the first time against a gentleman known as The Rock. That was definitely number one. Number two was a really great, wild match I had with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin in 1996. So good that we kept being urged to wrestle longer and longer. And the third one, I really enjoyed being fired by Stephanie McMahon when I was the general manager of Raw. I know that sounds like a strange third one, but it was a great creative rush to be fired by Stephanie.

It’s really tough to go wrong with that first WWE title win over the Rock. Not just because I won the title but because it meant so much to Raw. I think that’s been voted the top moment on Raw a few times. It was a big moment for me and the company.

What about your greatest moments as a fan?

Oh man, let me see. It’s hard to weed them down to just a couple. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of a night that John Cena and CM Punk really brought down the house [in February 2013]. A few weeks before WrestleMania, I think Punk was on a mission to show the world he belonged in that main event and that night I think they came through with something extraordinary. It’s got to the point where there are so many great matches so often, I’ve been privileged to see so many great things. That’s one that springs to mind.

You know, one of the highlights for me was putting The Bar together when I was general manager of Raw. Sometimes you do things and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. That’s one that exceeded everyone’s expectations, even mine, and my expectations were really high for those guys.

WWE Superstars Cesaro and Sheamus aka The Bar
(Image: © WWE)

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That was a move where a lot of fans questioned ‘do we want to see seven matches between Cesaro and Sheamus? Do we want to see them as a team?’ Then arguably – perhaps with the exception of The Usos – they were the top tag team of 2017. You did something right there.

I appreciate that, thank you.

Who do you think are underappreciated stars of Raw, who contributed a lot to the success of the show?

I think X-Pac is one of them. His win over Razor Ramon early on Monday Night Raw when he was the 1-2-3 Kid was a great moment in Raw history. I do think Al Snow’s contributions have gone overlooked. He did so many different things over the years and was entertaining on so many different levels.

Recently, I think one of my favourite Raw superstars is Drew Gulak. He has been very entertaining lately and I don’t think people appreciate the depths of his skills.

You comment quite a lot on WWE shows, giving praise online to the likes of The Usos and AJ Styles. Who do you particularly enjoy watching on Raw?

Yeah, I’m not as vocal as I was, largely because my son [Dewey Foley] works in creative and as a dad I should leave him alone to do his thing! It’s funny, there are different people who strike me for different reasons. I really get a kick out of Gulak these days. I wanted to do a whole New Year’s article about different people who strike me in different ways. I really like The Bar and what they bring to the show every week.

A guy came up to me in an airport, I thought he wanted to start a row, he said ‘I’ll tell you what’s wrong with Raw…’ I said ‘what’s that?’ and he goes ‘you can’t have a three-hour show without The Miz’. Ha ha. The Miz has been away for a little bit and sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. He is like the glue that helps keeps the entire thing going because he is so entertaining. But in the meantime, guys like Elias have stepped up, the Miztourage are hugely entertaining and there is great wrestling every week on Raw.

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What do you think has been the secret to Raw’s longevity?

I would say you see more great matches on a more frequent basis now than you used to at the beginning of Raw or even in the Attitude Era. We had great matches, but I think the guys today do it more consistently. I think WWE does a great job of constantly changing things up, of having a nice mixture of new superstars while paying tribute to the superstars of the past.

I just think there’s something really special about having a show that is on every week with no off-season. It’s just nice to know there is something out there that no matter where somebody’s life is headed, Monday Night Raw is one sense of normalcy, something they can always count on.


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There was talk of you facing Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam in 2012, but you were not medically cleared. Since then you have lost a lot of weight, undergone a rehabilitation process with Diamond Dallas Page and look in the best shape you have been in for years. Do you still have a desire to wrestle again and is that a possibility?

Ha ha. No, no, WWE has this great programme, the impact testing programme, to measure whether or not somebody is healthy enough to be out there. I wrestled a really physical style and it took its toll. It’s better off for everybody if I don’t participate again. That doesn’t mean I might not show up like I did a couple of years ago at WrestleMania 32 for an unofficial match, but no, I don’t believe I will ever be in a WWE match again.

Who are your picks to win the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches on January 28?

This is a historic rumble, right? The first women’s Royal Rumble, that’s an amazing announcement. I’m picking Becky Lynch to win the women’s Royal Rumble. She is just riding a real wave of momentum. The men’s rumble, you don’t know if it’s going to be one of the really big guys, or one of those guys who has been around for a long time. I’m going with Sheamus. I’m a big fan of The Bar. They’re a team, they are going to help each other and one of them will sacrifice themselves for the other. I’ll say Sheamus.

Raw 25 will take place at the Barclays Center and Manhattan Center in New York City on Monday, January 22.

You can watch the event live on Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Arena at 1am (on Tuesday, January 23).

Mirror Sport will also be covering the event live with updates, analysis and reaction throughout the night.

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