This'll probably be the first of several posts on Foley is Good, so I'll start with the inevitable: I'm having a blast with this book, and after all the time we've spent with the character/performer binary, it's refreshing to read a performer who treats it as, well, a performance.
Granted, he's still a wrestler, and there's certainly some hyperbole at work. I suspect that Foley's suggestion for a rematch in which Foley breaks into a house full of mentally ill people and uses them to force The Rock off a cliff was probably a joke. But overall, he's pretty down-to-earth, someone who works in an unusual business but is apparently not insane.
Foley's description of "I Quit" match against The Rock, detailed in chapter 3, gives a perspective I haven't seen before in this class, one that deals explicitly with the tension between wrestling and the "real" world. It's important to Foley that his kids understand that The Rock is a friend of his, and he's not really getting hurt--although he is, but only enough to make it look real. As the details of the match are worked out, it's hard not to admire the craftsmanship involved (managing the delays between chair shots, etc.)
But then, as so often happens with live performance, things go awry. The chair shots come faster than they'd planned, and more frequently. Foley is understandably in pain, but mostly writes about his wife and kids in the audience, and being worried about their reactions. And when it's all over, and Foley's recuperating in the dressing room, he doesn't seem to be joking when he writes about being offended that The Rock doesn't show up.
I read this and I think, with all the PR problems the WWE is constantly having--PR problems that essentially function as advertising for the product, of course, but problems nonetheless--I can't help but wonder why the WWE doesn't try to produce more stuff like this. More openness, more common sense, more concern for the safety of the fans. Hell, can't Vince break character just once in a while and be, well, nice?
And if he's not in character, if Mr. McMahon really is the real Vince, couldn't he just take Foley's advice for most problems and just fake it?