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Mick Foley Recalls Mike Tyson’s Importance To WrestleMania 14, Tyson Being a Wrestling Fan

January 21, 2023 | Posted by Jonathan Hunter
Steve Austin WrestleMania 14 MIke Tyson Image Credit: WWE

On a recent edition of FOLEY IS POD, the Dude of Love discussed the Royal Rumble 1998. One point of discussion was Mike Tyson’s appearance in the audience at the Rumble, which would lead to Tyson’s explosive involvement with Steve Austin and WrestleMania 14. Scroll and read for the highlights!

On Tyson appearing feeling bigger than a regular celebrity: “It does feel big. Big to the point where I remember being on one of those Legends roundtables, right before Mania? You may have seen it because I left there feeling kind of disrespected. I was stomped on by the panel when I said that Tyson was the most important celebrity we’d ever had, I got jumped on for that! ‘What are you trying to say, [WrestleMania] wasn’t big without it [Tyson’s involvement]?’ Yeah, it was big… but it was big within wrestling.”

On the mainstream coverage thanks to Tyson: “Tyson made it big in the mainstream. That was really important, it was really difficult to get mainstream coverage. [Tuesday morning] it was everywhere. It was one of the best things WWE had ever done. I think it was the biggest celebrity appearance that we’ve ever had. Mike and [Steve] Austin, hitting the news around the world, that was really important.”

On how much bigger 1998’s WrestleMania was then the 1997 edition: “You look at the 97 Mania versus 98. 97 was epic with Bret [Hart] and Steve [Austin] , but as far as a buyrate, it was very much in line with what other PPVs were doing.”

On Mania 14 being a transition show: “I think 98 became the moment when it stopped being an ‘event’ and became more than a weekend. Now it’s WrestleMania, week right? People come from around the globe because they know it’s not just one event, it’s a series of events and attractions and matches. Different promotions from around the world, all setting up camp in whatever city we choose. I think Tyson’s appearance had a lot to do with ushering in that new era where WrestleMania re-establishes itself as the big kid on the block.”

On Tyson’s conviction and jail time for rape: “Look, Mike went to jail for [rape] for a few years. [Lost] tens of millions of dollars. Debt to society. For me, you pay your debt to society, you come out. There were people who said, hey wait, you volunteer for RAINN, yet you pose with a guy who’s been convicted. All I’m gonna say is he paid a steep price.”

On the first time he met Mike Tyson: “When Mike met me, he was talking about ‘Mankind hanging out with rats.’ He was talking about the original vignettes, which I had forgotten I’d even did.”

Mick on an encounter with Tyson at a convention in that era: “There was another period where I did a convention — became wrestling conventions a thing — doing one in California. And a guy named Sal Corrente comes up to me and goes: ‘We got a Mike Tyson problem.’ What is it? ‘Mike says he won’t go to the ring without you.’ I’ve only met Mike once! So I meet up with Mike, and okay, I’m there for you. It was funny because once he got in the ring, he was all his. It was just that trepidation of going down and being outside your comfort zone.”

On Tyson legitimately being a wrestling fan: “He was such a big fan and that becomes infectious. Because we know who’s there… people who clearly don’t want to be there [at wrestling], and there are people who just love [wrestling]. Mike was one of those guys who loved it.”

If you use any of the above quotations, please credit Foley is Pod h/t 411mania for the transcription.