When I read the syllabus for this class all those many weeks ago, I squealed with delight at the prospect of reading Foley is Good. Finally! I had been meaning to curl up with that book for ages, but never got around to it. So when I got my books on Reg Day, I dove right in, and finished it within a week or so. But, ah, that was weeks ago. So, I'm trying to pick at my memory for some particulars about what made it such an enjoyable read, and what about Mick Foley makes him so lovable while he recalls the tooth sticking out of his nostril and the thumbtack holes dotting his arm.
One thing about Mick's writing style is how conversational it is. He has a general train of thought, from his overall height in WWE to his in-ring retirement and all those circumstances, but he goes off on all other sorts of trains on the way there, just as one might do when sitting around with friends telling a long story. His sidetracks stretch back to important history like his tenure in ECW where he made a name for himself as Cactus Jack, as well as shedding light on inside jokes from the locker room, traditions and possibly most importantly, the dynamics of building and promoting a good storyline. I learned more from this book about the 'right way' to build a storyline in wrestling than anywhere else, as no one else was ever very clear about what that meant. For example, when Steve Austin bailed in WWE after Wrestlemania one year, he later wrote that he was unhappy with the creative decisions and writing direction of the product, such as when they decided to book him vs. Brock Lesnar as the main event on Raw, out of the blue. He said that was a bad decision and such a match would be PPV caliber and should be promoted correctly, but not exactly _how_. Mick had detailed plans of how several of his devised storylines would go, and when they followed those paths and were promoted accordingly, they were smashes, earning money and publicity for the company while boosting Mick/Mankind and whoever he was working with at the time. Mick's writing style was also very conductive to this type of informational exposition, as the conversational tone allowed him to educate his reader about the in's and out's of the business, without sounding like an old school wrestling elitist who was revealing secret information and that we should be grateful for it, instead of lecturing (like he pretty much did in the epilogue at the end, which was more of a research paper) he told a great story. Which is pretty much the point of wrestling in the end.
The blood guts and toil of all those hardcore matches was not so detailed here, as those explicit descriptions were pretty much covered in 'Blood and Sweatsocks'. But here, Mick reveals the internal toils all those years have punishment have dealt, with destroyed knees, poor health and not one too many severe concussions affecting his brain. He also reveals the toll his career has taken on his family, mainly his kids, such as when that trip to Disney is delayed yet again. Also, it's wonderfully refreshing to see young kids who (amazing!) understand that wrestling is not real, that people (Daddy mainly) get hurt, but still enjoy it, they still enjoy the show. Kids are far smarter than we often give them credit for, and seeing that with respect to wrestling gives a nice contrast to, say, all those pre-teen kids jumping through tables in their back yards, or the stories of brothers accidentally killing their siblings when pulling wrestling moves on them. The love that Mick has for his wife and kids is an amazing counter to the pain and punishment we see in his matches, and we get to see a bit of that tenderness shine through later on during the
'kind and cuddly Mankind' years.
But above all, Foley is Good provided us fans with a guided backstage tour of the WWE while Mick was still wrestling, like being brought into the Cool Kids' Club by the ultimate cool kid. The stories are wonderful, and the revelations about how the business works are even more valuable. now I have to read the rest of his books. Because indeed, Foley is good.