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411’s Broken Skull Sessions Report: Mick Foley on Mind Games ’96, Hell in a Cell ’98, More

June 21, 2021 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Broken Skull Sessions Mick Foley

411’s Broken Skull Sessions Report: Mick Foley

-Welcome to another edition of The Broken Skull Sessions. This should be fun even if we know nearly everything we can about Mick Foley thanks to his books, DVD releases and the recent A&E Bio. Speaking of A&E, go find their hidden treasures show about Andre The Giant that just aired. It’s fantastic and brings all the feels. Now, let’s get to it!

-Original Air Date: 06.21.21
-Run Time: 1:55:13

-”Stone Cold” Steve Austin welcomes us to the show and his guest today is his longtime friend, Hardcore Legend, and WWE Hall of Famer, Mick Foley.

-Austin mentions they have known each other for a long time and tells Mick he was blown away by his A&E Documentary. Foley says that he and Steve both have a hard time looking back on things they have done. The director had an idea as Mick was worried because his story had been told and WWE did a 2.5 hour DVD special already. He was also honored that he was one of the 8 picked. He mentions Taker had his Last Ride special, Flair and Andre had documentaries through 30 for 30 or HBO. He loved what the director was able to do.

-Austin pulls out the commemorative Mick Foley WWE Title and Mick loves the belt. He takes a small dig at the current titles though he understands the logo being so big looks good in Super Bowl parades. He tells us he doesn’t have his Title as he gave it to a charity event. Austin tells him to keep it and asks if he wants him to sign it for him. Foley laughs!

-Austin wants to talk about Mick’s formative years as enhancement talent, Jack Foley. Mick had 15 months training with Denucci and was an extra talent. He puts over you had to be pretty good just to be WWE enhancement talent as you couldn’t screw up what the big stars were trying to accomplish.

-Mick says that once people recognized him as an extra he knew it was time to move on as he didn’t want to stay on that level. He talks about Mark Curtis and mentions we lost him to stomach cancer 15 years ago. He told Mark he couldn’t throw a punch and Mark played him a tape of Funk vs. Brody and on the same tape was Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid. He decided to borrow from Brody and Funk while taking Dynamite’s ability to throw his body at people. He also would take from Curt Hennig as he mentions the way he would take a different kind of crazy bump with the flips off the buckles. He kept that in the back of his mind and found a way to use it when he would face Kane.

-Mick was feeling his way out on the Independent scene. At that point you could get booked on word of mouth and a good 8×10 photo. They show his 8X10 photo he would send out trying to show off guns that he didn’t have. He showed up in Memphis and he didn’t know how to get heat to make it mean something as all he knew how to do was make the other guy. In Memphis, Robert was the only one that believed in him and brought up a Charles Manson character during a road trip. Mick didn’t want to do it because Manson was such a small guy. Robert told Foley he had limited athletic ability, but a good character could carry you a long way. That is what made Mick sink his teeth into that character.

-Talk goes to CWA as Austin asks Mick what his routine was in the territory. Mick rented a room with an elderly lady in her house. The lady would tell her granddaughter that Mick would use his whip if she wasn’t good. Next Mick stayed with a friend in a one bedroom place and he wasn’t as progressive back then as he is now, so he had to get out of there. He then busts Austin’s balls for the time he and Regal left him at a gay beach. Austin tells it different as Mick was floating down the ocean and as they followed down on the sand they realized they were on a gay beach. Regal and Austin bailed to the Econo Lodge pool and Foley didn’t know what was happening until he also saw they were on a gay beach. He says today it wouldn’t be a big deal obviously but Regal was a good looking guy and Austin had blonde hair and bright orange shorts on and when caveman Mick left to swim, it looked like Austin and Regal were a couple. They felt people were checking them out and that’s when they bailed on Mick as he continued to disappear down the Atlantic.

-Jump to WCW and Austin can’t remember the first time they met. Foley says they hit it off right away when he debuted in 1991. They would triple up and be with Regal or other times Diamond Dallas Page. They would often give Page the roll away bed since he was the younger one as far as being in the business even though he was older. They always had a game between the two to see who could crack Dallas fastest. Foley likened it to a prize fight as they would set him up all day with small jokes to get him wound up. Foley goes into a story where Page was so heated he was going to throw Foley off the balcony of the hotel. Foley says he knows he really wouldn’t because Page is a great guy who saves lives. Its seems DDP liked to be butt naked except for saran wrap he put on his knees as it apparently helped with lubrication. He also liked to thumbtack the blinds so no light got into the room. So it was pitch dark and Foley and Austin hid cookies in Page’s bed as he went to sleep. Foley and Austin break laughing and Page starts cussing them out and dives on Foley with the cookies. Foley tells him he doesn’t mind the cookies, but he isn’t thrilled with his naked ass laying on him. Page told them he was getting his own room. Fantastic!

-They have video from Super Brawl where Foley took his incredible bump off 2 guard rails in a match with Mr. Wonderful. You know the bump! Just crazy stuff and Foley says you will never see a bump like that again. He says he is blessed because athletic guys like they have today would make that bump look like a routine.

-Back to the A&E documentary as Austin brings up there was a point where Mick felt he was hitting a glass ceiling. His wife told him he felt he could do better and Mick says without that he may have stayed where he was. Eddie Gilbert entered his life and taught him how to work as a face and Terry Funk taught him how to wear his emotions on his sleeves. Austin says both of them had limited move sets and that is fine as moves don’t get you over. You have to have some offense and what you do has to have meaning.

-Austin brings up Germany and working with Vader. Foley says Leon is one of the glaring admissions from The Hall of Fame (no kidding) and Austin seconds that. Foley puts over how big of a draw Vader was worldwide and that if you didn’t fight back he would eat you up. He mentions when Vader worked with Shawn it was said his style was great but he needed to lose 200 lbs because he was bumping around too much. Foley says he geared up for matches with Vader like it was Ali vs Frazier.

-Austin gets to the infamous ear ripping spot and mentions the ropes in WCW were steel cables. Foley says he injured himself doing that spot quite a few times and he probably should have stopped doing it. They show the grainy footage and Austin mentions he was watching from the curtain. To him it felt like forever and he thought Foley was going to die. Foley laughs about it and says he could see blood pitter pattering on the floor. Vader could see Foley was screwed and called for a comeback to get the match finished. The ear ends up in a bag of ice and as Foley comes to the back he yells “I think I lost my fucking ear…bang, bang.” He wanted the boys to know that even though he lost his ear he could still get his catchphrase in. Booker T was sitting by on his first tour and said he wasn’t sure if he was ready for this. Foley was disappointed WCW didn’t capitalize on it and why he gave notice.

-On to ECW and Foley talks about his barbed wire match with Terry Funk and while only 150 people were in the building, they knew Japanese photographers were there and that would make them famous. Their goal was to build the promotion and it helped make the Death Match Tournament mean something in front of 30,000 people.

-Austin jumps on Death Matches and mentions they are still going on today. He then asks Mick what worked so well with his relationship with ECW fans and especially when he turned heel. Foley calls it a love/hate relationship and he got annoyed when they would chant “you fucked up,” or “you sold out.” We see a piece of his infamous “cane Dewey” promo and it’s still breathtaking. Foley tells us everything he said in ECW was in character, but the emotions that fueled the promo were 100% real.

-Up next WWE and Foley says his in was Jim Ross who beat the drum for him for years to Vince McMahon. He heard from Prichard that Vince finally authorized it but said he was going to cover Foley’s face. He mentions he read JR’s first book at 3 AM got the part where Vince told JR he would bring Foley in so he could know what it feels like to have his heart broken by someone he thought was good, but was shit. Foley says all he could think reading it was “I’m a human being.” He has never had it confirmed, but he believes Taker had a role because he was the first feud he had. He hated the mask at first, but learned to love it after a few months. He was stunned when he had the first match with Taker at King of Ring and was told he was winning. He felt it was Taker wanting to do business and he felt Taker was tired of working with guys taller and bigger than him. He talks about the awe you feel when Taker makes his entrance and yet you have to fire yourself up to show you are believable in a match against him.

-Paul Bearer talk next as they both knew him from Dallas days as Percy. Mick used to watch his kids. Foley says he won the first two matches against Taker and never won again, but it didn’t matter. He had a great run with Paul Bearer.

-Mind Games 1996: They show footage from the match while Foley and Austin talk about it. Always great when Austin does this. He covers what seemed like the botched spot in the corner where Foley was in the wrong place and Shawn seemingly threw a hissy fit and slapped him. Tommy Dreamer asked Foley how he stayed calm after Shawn slapped him and Foley told him the spot went the way it was supposed to as it as an intentional botched spot. I had heard that story as well as it was a play off Shawn’s actual botched spot with Vader at SummerSlam. Austin asks him the deal with wanting to get suplexed on steps and before getting an answer they move on to more stuff from the match. Foley wonders if a young Pete Dunne was watching Shawn dissect his finger to counter the mandible claw. Nice! The ending suplex off the top through the table is the only move Foley ever practiced in his WWE career as he didn’t want to kill the Champion. Foley says one of his big regrets is never having a Mania match with Shawn or Taker. He remembers everything about that match with Shawn and he is honored Shawn has even called that match one of his Top 10. He mentions they had to do house shows and each had a bad back so they were able to have good matches without having to take bumps so they could heal.

-Austin wants to talk Dude Love next. While doing the series with Shawn, he asked Mick if he always pictured himself this way. Mick told Shawn he always wanted to be like Shawn and get all the girls and he had a character he created before he got into wrestling. Prichard overheard and mentioned it to Vince and they decided there was more to Mankind and wanted to do shoot interview with JR like they had just done with Goldust. Foley was hesitant as he liked Mankind now and people were afraid of the character. Mick had the idea of doing the interview 100% honest but while in character. Vince was there, which Foley didn’t know, and when they stopped filming he could hear Vince off in the dark say, “this is outstanding.” I vividly remember those segments and they are still just awesome. I still crack every time he says, “I’m a good kisser.” Austin saw him at TV after the first one aired and told him he would be a babyface in 3 weeks.

-We jump ahead to July 7, 1997 (1 year anniversary of nWo) with Austin facing Bulldog and Owen alone defending his Tag Titles. In the middle of the match, Dude Love pops up on screen and makes his debut to a dumbfounded look from Austin. It was Vince’s idea to bring Dude Love to life and Mick mentions he is wearing a pair of Bob Holly’s white boots. Austin and Foley are just dying laughing watching the video from the match. Austin hits the stunner and Dude gets the pin. Austin gives in and hands Dude his half of the tag titles while women grind and hug on Dude. They show a photo from a shoot with them as the tag champs and it’s Austin holding one title staring at Dude while his real wife is hugging him. Great stuff there! She got to be one of the Dudettes on a couple of occasions.

-Foley says he had more fun when they turned the character heel and he got to work 2 PPVs with Austin after he won the WWF Title. They show parts of the Over The Edge match and Mick points out Vince’s shirt was a boys medium. They do cut away from the footage every time there is a head shot with a chair which is kind of jarring. This match is just crazy with the crowd heat and they lose it when Taker gets involved and puts The Stooges through the announce tables. They die laughing at the fact that Pat went up so easy and Gerald sandbagged Taker on the chokeslam. Oh man, I want running commentary from these two for the entire match. They go back to show doing a sunset flip off a car and then a backslide which was great from someone who is supposed to be a hardcore legend. Foley admits they have done a lot of stuff from that match in later matches and probably beat in into the ground. No kidding as it became a crutch for Russo and a lot of people following.

-You knew it was coming and even Austin admits Mick knows what match they have to talk about. Yep, Hell in a Cell 1998 in Pittsburgh, and it is still a regret that I didn’t get to go to that show. Mick says that Kane thanks him to this day for having that match on the same night he wins the WWF Title. Mick feels Taker/Shawn is still the best Cell match ever and I tend to agree with that as well. His goal was to not embarrass himself after seeing what Taker and Shawn were able to do. He watched the original with Terry Funk and asked him what he was supposed to do. Funk told him he had no idea and then laughs and says it would be funny if he started on the cell and was thrown off. He had to sell Taker on the idea because if he had just gone up there and Taker decided to stay in the ring, it would have been embarrassing to climb back down. Taker asked Mick why he was so intent on killing himself and he tells him he can’t match up to what he and Shawn did. He also felt Taker/Mankind had a legacy and he wanted to live up to it.

-They show footage and we see Mick struggling to get up the cage. He lied to Vince and Taker when he told them he was comfortable and had been up on the cage. I lose it as Foley, who rarely ever curses, says when he got up there all he could think was “there’s no f’ing way, this is f’ing ridiculous.” He obviously doesn’t use the f word when telling the story here. He mentions Jericho said in his book that the fans looked like ants when he was on top of The Cell. He then points out they almost went through the top of the cell as it was held together with twist ties. Then we get the famous bump and they lay out so we can hear JR’s famous call. Foley calls it symbolic when they took his mask off that he was now a real guy. He told Vince and Taker if he can get back up the cage he will try. He regrets he never had the energy to exchange with Taker, but it was a blessing because he couldn’t take a normal chokeslam. Had he taken a normal one he would have rotated and landed on his head. The cage wasn’t supposed to break and it was supposed to be a small hole that Taker would shove him through causing him to hang upside down. Foley is no longer with us mentally and Funk takes a chokeslam to buy Mick time to rejoin the living. Now to the thumbtacks and Foley thinks this was the first time they were used in North America. I am sure someone out there knows the answer to that. He tells us the chokeslam was called on the fly because he didn’t think they gave the fans enough with the tacks. Yeah, Mick we were all disappointed! Austin always loved that Mick tried to kick out even thought it was just a weak kick. They both point out the fans had no idea how to respond as they weren’t sure what they had just seen. For the longest time Foley was resentful this was the only thing he was really known for and he sat down years later to let his boys watch when they got older. He got over it when Taker told him at a show that they will be remembered for that match longer than either will be alive. It made him realize he made people feel what he felt when Snuka came off the cage. It not longer bothers him that people ask him about the match on nearly a daily basis. His older brother told his mom she wasn’t watching the match.

-Austin brings up he had a staph infection as they show a photo of Mick talking to Austin before Austin/Kane where Mick had to do a run in. Mick also remembers that he consoled Pat that night as his partner, Louie, had passed and he also met Linda who had a young lady with her and that was the first time he ever met Stephanie McMahon. Cool story! He does the run in and he calls it the saddest run in of all time, but he had the timing right.

-Mick is thankful the match happened before the internet craze of today as it likely would have trended for two days and been forgotten. It helped him build momentum and it let him play a softer Mankind and Vince has taken to the character. It led to Mankind looking at Vince as a father figure as Vince was having on screen issues with Shane. He had a chance to play off Slaughter and The Stooges. Nobody sees the double turn coming at Survivor Series.

-Before we get there, Austin wants to go to the debut of Mr. Socko. YES! We get the greatness of Vince in the hospital room with Foley showing up with gifts. Again, these two need to have an entire series of them just talking about classic matches and segments. I don’t even care if it’s their own stuff! “She does a trick with a dog you won’t believe.” They are just cracking up watching this and I am loving every minute. It just makes me so happy! Then we get Mr. Socko! Apparently Austin was in a bathroom and Foley showed him Socko before it happened and they were laughing so hard they had to tell them to shut-up so they could film Vince. Austin knew Socko was going to be money.

-They discuss the feud with The Rock. Foley mentions he worked with him first when he was a heel and Rock was trying so hard to be a white meat babyface. The Rock got over and found himself with The Nation. He knew the goal was Rock/Austin at Mania and it was his job to get him ready. He talks about The I Quit Match at Rumble and he knows they went too far and it stopped being sports entertainment. Austin learned Foley was doing all this to make Rock tougher and meaner to get him ready for Austin. Foley knew he was the pulling guard and knew he would get over but also had to open a hole for The Rock. He didn’t care how great the match was as the point was to make someone ready and that was his job. He tells us he was against winning the title as he thought it was bad business with Rock needing to get ready for Austin, but Vince had to talk him into it.

-The match with Rock was taped a few days before Christmas but wouldn’t air until the following week. He talks about WCW giving away the results and says it wasn’t Schiavone’s fault or Bischoff’s fault as they everyone was in a war at that time. He says he good with both guys, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt like hell at the time. He mentions what they didn’t anticipate was 500,000 homes immediately flipped over and their taped show beat a Live Nitro with 40,000 people in The Georgia Dome.

-To the match and Austin critiques Rock for keeping his eyes open to look at the ref’s count before kicking out. Good call! Austin’s entrance is still one of the greatest pops you will ever hear. Austin hopes the guys and girls today can get back in front of crowds like this. Mick says he wanted to call Tony until the ratings came in and left him a message. Tony called back and told him he respected him and was just doing what he was asked.

-Austin brings up teaming with The Rock and how that made Mankind even more endearing. Foley says their rivalry planted the seeds for their run together. He calls it a great odd couple for the ages and the original plan was for Mankind to turn on him to run the feud back with the roles reversed, but that didn’t happen. One of the key moments was on SmackDown where Rock’s glasses fell off and Foley picks them up and puts them back on him. “The Rock thanks you for that.” For whatever reason they cut Rock’s response out of the show and Mick felt it was needed. He went to Vince and told him he didn’t want to do the turn. It allowed them to have their run and when fans tell him they were one of the greatest tag teams ever, he asks them to name one match they were involved in. That is pretty much what I said in the Greatest 50 Tag Teams Countdown. That team was great for their chemistry outside the ring and providing so many entertaining moments. Kind of shocked they didn’t touch on This is Your Life, or if they did it was left on the cutting room floor.

-Speaking of which they show Mankind talking to Rock in the back while Rock is on the phone with someone else. Mick is just talking to him and has no clue Rock isn’t paying attention to him. “You’re going to be alright kid.”

-Austin puts over the way Mick was able to get over with The Mankind character. Mick says he is often told by fans that he was the guy that made them realize it’s okay to be different.

-Austin jumps to No Way Out 2000 and The Hell in a Cell Match with HHH to end his career…the first time. Mick says it wasn’t a contract thing, but he started looking bad in matches. He had a bad match on SmackDown and Vince told him he had his last match. He was set to retire, but Austin has his neck surgery and is out for a year. That was an opening to give Mick one last run and he and HHH knew they could deliver. He asked Vince to take him off the road for 6 weeks so he can get in shape and he dropped 30 lbs. He puts over the match at Rumble in The Garden as one of the best ever and The Cell match was the perfect way to end his career. Foley asks Austin if he cried after his last match against Rock when it finished. He answers no and he just felt relieved though he didn’t know what was coming next. Mick says his father and brother came to the show and he went out the way he wanted to with HHH. He treated himself to a much nicer room than he normally would, had room service and cried as he felt alone.

-We jump to the IC Title Match with Randy Orton and Austin feels that match brought out a toughness in Orton. Foley says it was a great match and they both came out better for it. Foley says he can’t watch the Mania XX match with Evolution as he was disappointed with his performance. Personally I thought the match was great, but perhaps Mick was disappointed with what he did compared to what everyone else in the match did.

-A few years later, Foley gets the WrestleMania moment he always wanted with Edge. Austin and Foley put over Lita. Foley mentions she was magic that night. It took a stiff shit from a cookie sheet to get Mick into the match. Foley mentions he borrowed the spear spot from Bret Hart when he did it with Goldberg. Foley says he wasn’t in the shape he was with Orton two years earlier and should have been in better shape, but Edge was able to work around his weaknesses. Foley calls Edge the best all around performer in the business at the time. He puts Lita over again for the bump she took to the floor off the Cactus Clothesline. Foley laughs because his underwear are showing, but he doesn’t care. Edge mans up and takes the bump into the thumbtacks. Apparently he tried to do it with Austin and Austin told him it wasn’t needed. Foley mentions 150 tacks doesn’t hurt anymore than 1 tack in your palm. Mick wishes he wouldn’t have looked back at the flaming table and points out his boots were decorated by his kids. He points out Edge dove face first without any protection which is often forgotten. Edge told him he loved him after the fall was counted much like Rock and Austin did at Mania XIX. After the match he borrowed Ric Flair’s shampoo and watched the rest of the show with Verne Gagne. Only in wrestling!

-Foley talks about Mania moments and places the blame on Shawn Michaels for people wanting to create them. Foley mentions he didn’t have a cell phone yet, and Austin shoots back, “you’re killing me.” He found a payphone and the first thing his wife asked was “Is Edge okay?” Foley stayed an extra day in Chicago to sleep in and yet Edge had to go out on RAW and have another match. Foley mentions he got to team up with Edge at One Night Stand (great match) and then had a semi heel turn to work with Ric Flair. He loved the idea of a quick heel turn like Michaels did with Hogan and then all is forgiven after the match. He wishes he would have called it quits after the SummerSlam match with Flair. He credits Austin for not staying past his welcome.

-Austin wants to talk TNA, which I appreciate. We get some photos courtesy of George Tahinos. Foley considers Dixie Carter a good friend even to this day. TNA gave guys like him another chance to make a good living in a bad economic time and gave breaks to guys like Samoa Joe and AJ Styles. He mentions he told Vince they had more talent in TNA outside of the top stars, but WWE is like Jell-O brand as to everyone else there is no other kind of Jell-O.

-Hall of Fame 2013: Mick says he was given no guidelines and decided to have Terry Funk induct him. He didn’t think he would ever get to address a crowd like that again and it was a fantastic time. He still feels they had the best class with Bruno, Backlund, Booker, and Trish.

-Austin wants to talk about Foley’s one man shows and they show a photo from one he did in Pittsburgh. He says some nights they are hard work as he is a storyteller and not a joke teller. He had talks with Chris Nowinski who told him doing the shows were mental gymnastics and he was working his brain which is a muscle. He also does the Cameo videos as a way to continue to cut promos and keep his mind strong.

-Austin wraps things up, but first Mick gives him a container of his own line of beard oil. Austin asks Mick if all the travel and bumps were worth it. Mick says some moments hit too close to home like Mongo battling ALS. Mick is doing whatever he can to stay vital and hopes nobody is making his mistakes and are telling people when they are injured and hurt instead of fighting through. Right now he says it is all worth it, but in 20 years his answer could be different. Austin puts Foley over one final time before closing this one.

-I mean, it’s Austin and Foley talking wresting for 2 hours, what’s not to love? Honestly we have read or heard all these stories, but Mick tells them in such an entertaining way that they are hilarious to hear again. There were a few things thrown in that were new and the real joy was listening to them talk about the various matches and promos that were played. An easy and entertaining watch for all. Thanks for reading!