THE JOHN REPORT
More on Mick Foley's Return with Reader Comments
I didn't think about writing again this week but after what I wrote about Mick Foley a few days ago I received many emails from people with many different opinions that have solicited this response. Some people agreed with me but most people thought I was overreacting and after reading over my previous comments I think I overreacted slightly. After reading about Smackdown (it was pre-empted here so I couldn't see it) I know more about the Foley situation than I did after my earlier column this week. We learned that Mick would be coming back for "one night only" at WrestleMania 2K. We also learned that Mick would retire as world champion if he won the title and a tournament would culminate at the April 30 PPV Backlash. If you want my prediction for the 'Mania main event you will have to wait till next week's preview. (I am such a shill aren't I?)
I have thought about this issue a lot in the past couple of days and I just want to let you all know AGAIN that I do not hate Mick Foley for what he did. In fact, what I wrote on Wednesday was probably the first time I ever wrote something about Mick that was remotely negative. I respect him more than anybody in this business and I always will because of everything he has done. I don't blame him for wanting to wrestle at the biggest PPV in the world. I don't blame him for making a lot of money for one final match. I don't blame him for living out his boyhood dream because few of us get to do that. If WrestleMania really is his last match then I will be cheering for him along with the millions of people watching around the world because I respect Mick Foley and I always will. If he returns full time after WrestleMania I don't know how I will feel but that is for another time.
Here are a few emails that I felt were worth printing because they share several different views and I have a brief comment on each of them. Reader comments are in italics, my comments are in regular font.
John, don't be sour at Mick Foley because he worked you and everyone else. This is wrestling dammit; it's the name of the game. The WWF and Mick did everything to make it look like he was gone for good, so that we could have a great mark-out moment like we did on Raw. This is a one-night appearance and Mick's dream is coming true, I don't see how any true fan could have any problems with this. Not to mention the fact that the four way Main, sounds a lot better to me than the three way did. Regardless of everything though, I guarantee that Mick Foley is a lot different that the Hogans and Pipers of the world. I don't think anyone should be that surprised though, nobody expected him to retire from the business completely, just from full time competition. As far as I'm concerned, Mick can do whatever he likes, he has earned that right and will not be second guesses by me. I'm just damn happy to see him.
A lot of people had similar thoughts to this and I fully understand why. I think this reader made many valid points because everybody did know that he would still be around even though he would no longer be an active competitor. He won't be wrestling on Raw or Smackdown, he won't be wrestling on every PPV but I have a feeling that he will still be around. Now that I think about it, I wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks.
From: Brian Sears:
Dear John: I saw your commentary on the Mick Foley situation and knew that I would be responding.
First, let me address the reasons they brought him back. Two big ones leap to mind: the fact that Foley's last match would be a huge draw is one, the other is that being part of a Wrestlemania main event is Mick's boyhood dream. There are probably others, but those are the two I am going to use.
You state that you're bitter because you thought Mick would be retired for good after No Way Out. You feel he has broken his word that he would not be like all the other wrestlers who 'retire' and come back but a few weeks later.
I can't say that I agree with you on that score. You see, now that I know Mick will be at Wrestlemania 2000, I look at it from the angle of "Mick is retiring after No Way Out... and after Wrestlemania, too." I don't think of Mick's career as having ended abruptly at No Way Out, I think of it dying down briefly, then burning brighter for a moment before not burning anymore. Somewhat like a lit candle being blown out in the wind, I suppose.
Mick HAS given more to the business than so many others. He stuck to his principles in the Bret Hart situation, dedicated his first WWF title win to his children, and proved that he can deliver a strong finish to his career. It is his boyhood dream (and I can't stress that enough) to be a part of Wrestlemania, and after all Mick has been through, I feel he earned that in a big way.
If Mick fails to leave after Wrestlemania, then you will have a valid complaint on your hands and I will join you in feeling bitter. But until the PPV ends, I think you and everyone who feels the way you do should give him a chance at fulfilling something he's wanted to do his entire life... and one last match.
Have a nice day, John.
What Brian wrote in that last paragraph is similar to my feelings on this whole situation. If Mick continues wrestling after WrestleMania then maybe some people will feel bitter about this whole thing too. However, I think he is done after 'Mania and just like everybody else I will cheer for him at 'Mania. I hope he lives out his dream because few of us get to live out our dreams and he definitely deserves it. Thanks for the mail Brian.
Mick is retired. He's not coming back on a full-time permanent basis but as a one shot deal. Back a few months ago when reports were just surfacing regarding Mick's retirement, I remember reading that he planned to retire from full time wrestling and do something like become commissioner and only wrestle once every few months. Maybe this is still his plan.
The bottom line is that Mick goes out there to entertain us, the fans. 100%. If he is willing and able to continue doing so, then I will not stand up and criticize him for a minor inconsistency in his words when he is ten times more honest than 90% of the men in this business. I will applaud him.
I think he has been the most honest wrestler of all time and that is why this whole thing has bothered me a bit. It is uncharacteristic of Mick to do this sort of thing and that is what shook me up. I will still cheer for the guy because of everything he has given to us, his fans. Thanks for the mail.
I agree with you on Foley. I thought he was honest about his "retirement". But, once again, wrestling has "worked" us all. If Wrestlemania is his last match then I will retain all my respect for him. I must say I marked out big when HHH retained on RAW and I was hoping that it would simply eliminate Big Show from the main event making it a one on one with Rocky and HHH. That would have been the respectable way to go. When Foley came out on RAW, my heart sank. Part of me was happy to see him but a much bigger part of me felt ripped off and lied to.
The last sentence here: "Part of me was happy to see him but a much bigger part of me felt ripped off and lied to" were the same thoughts that I had going through my mind when I saw Mick on Raw. I am happy to see him but I believed him when he said he was going to retire and that is what I was angry about. Thanks for the mail.
From: Mike Brown
Hello John, You are easily the most entertaining wrestling writer on the net. That's what its all about now eh? Being entertaining? You share the woes of being a Canadian wrestling fan with the world (I'm a canuck too, eh)
Anyways I can't believe how amazingly similar our opinions of Mick's retirement are. I mean right down to "after reading Mick's book" .. I feel the exact same way. But I've figured out a way to truly enjoy Mick's comeback. Think of it as he's retiring for good at the end of the season. And when does the wrestling season come to end? That's right! At the grandaddy of 'em all Wrestle-mania (remember when they used to hyphenate it?) I hope this view on the whole thing can cleanse your palate and enjoy some Mick Foley Bang! Bang! Baby.
It is always nice to hear from another Canadian so thanks a lot for the mail Mike. I understand what you mean by saying WrestleMania is like the end of a season. Michael Jordan retired after winning a title, John Elway retired after winning a Super Bowl and this may be Mick Foley's chance to be the world champion at the biggest show in wrestling history. Your email did "cleanse my palate" (not an expression I am used to) so I appreciate you taking the time to write in.
In closing I guess all I can say is that I will be rooting for Mick Foley at WrestleMania even though I still have mixed feelings about this whole retirement thing. What if Mick was lying about the whole retirement issue so that he could make a run as a heel in the summer of 2000? What if Mick wrestles regularly for several months after WrestleMania? No matter what happens I will respect Mick Foley for everything he has done as a wrestler, as a person and most importantly, as a father.
I'll be back in the middle of next week with a look at the greatest WWF match ever. In a week from now DRQ and I will be here with the World's Greatest WrestleMania preview so don't miss that. Until then, have a great weekend.