‘It’s just me and a rental car’

‘I'll do my very best in Sudbury,’ wrestling legend Mick Foley says as he brings his one-man show to the Trevi

Wrestling legend Mick Foley (shown with another legend, the Rock) is bringing his one-man show to Sudbury on Tuesday. Supplied photo jpg, SU

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Wrestling legend Mick Foley will bring his memoir, Have a Nice Day, to a Sudbury stage on Tuesday.

Foley, a legendary professional wrestler, turned multi-bestselling author, turned stand-up comic/spoken word performer, will perform at Trevi Bar & Grill. Doors open at 6 p.m. for VIP ticket holders, and at for regular ticket holders. The show begins at 8 p.m.

“When I wrote Have a Nice Day, 20 years ago, it really resonated with people, and it’s a book that people have chosen to keep on their shelves, reminding them of the good time they had reading it, and I just thought, ‘I literally have millions of hours of storytelling experience, and it’s (like) a storyteller’s version of a rock and roll band coming back,” Foley said, when speaking to The Star.

“Telling stories on the stage is different than telling stories on a page, but I think that’s where all those years of experience helps me out. The difference is, you write them on the page and, granted, you have the help of an editor, but you never see the reaction to it. It’s in print and it can’t be changed.

“With the stories on the stage, I see what works, what’s not working, take the ways to make stories better, shuffle things in and out,  perfect the stories you’re telling and, at the same time improvising, playing off the crowd, making sure that every person leaves with a smile on their face.”

Foley said he enjoys the creative process of putting together these one-man shows.

“I’ve said in writing, and sometimes on the stage, I tell people that one of the challenges every wrestler faces is trying to find something that makes them feel like they did when they were in the ring,” Foley said. “By working on these stories and trying to get the best reactions, on certain nights it feels very much like being in the ring, without getting banged up. No emergency room visits. Even on the worst of nights, it’s still a pretty good show, and on the best of nights, it’s really close to being in the ring.”

Mick Foley Submitted Photo

Every show is different, Foley added.

“It’s impossible to tell 20 years of stories in a span of one evening, but I’m really enjoying it,” Foley said. “And if they’ve enjoyed my outlook, my observations, humour within the wrestling world over the years, then they’ll have a great time at the show and even if they’re not a wrestling fan, they’ll have a good time.”

One of the cornerstones of WWE’s meteoric rise in the late 1990s, Foley earned the nickname ‘The Hardcore Legend’ for his ability to absorb seemingly inhuman punishment in some of the most dramatic matches in sports-entertainment history. Already a respected veteran for his 11 physically punishing years wrestling under the name Cactus Jack, Foley’s career soared to new heights in WWE as ‘Mankind’, a character Foley claimed was inspired by a combination of reading ‘Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein’ and listening to the music of Tori Amos.

As Cactus Jack, Foley won the 1995 ‘King of the Deathmatch’ tournament in Yokohama, Japan, and continued wrestling, despite the amputation of his right ear, in a match against Vader in Munich, Germany in 1994. As Mankind, Foley was a three-time WWE Champion, but is best known for his epic and brutal battle with The Undertaker in 1998’s ‘Hell in a Cell’ match, during which he was knocked unconscious after falls both off of, and through, the 16-foot cell structure. Despite the injury, Foley finished the match—with one of his front teeth lodged in his nose.

With retirement looming as a result of that physically demanding style, Foley penned his memoir, Have a Nice Day, without the aid of a ghostwriter — writing 200,000 words in longhand in 50 days. The book showcased Foley’s paradoxical blend of wit and wisdom, wildness and warmth, and shocked the literary world by hitting number one on the New York Times bestseller list in October 1999. The book remained on the Times list for 26 weeks.

A follow-up, 2001’s Foley is Good, hit number one on the New York Times list, as well. Foley has published 10 books: four memoirs, four children’s books, and two novels.

“It never ceases to amaze me,” Foley said of the support he still receives from fans. “When I thought I had retired for good in 2000, I thought I had about an 18-month shelf life. And so, it’s always rewarding, especially to see the reactions from people who are in the smaller towns. There’s nothing like grassroots support.”

Foley said he’s enjoying taking his show on the road and will continue to do so, “as long as I can see faces and they’re smiling, I’m having a good time.”

“It’s so much fun. It’s just me and a rental car,” Foley said. “It’s really low overhead.”

And Foley is taking his show on the road as the popularity of wrestling begins to grow, albeit, cautiously, thanks to the impact the internet has had on the independent scenes, helping wrestlers reach bigger audiences, the rise of promotions like All Elite Wrestling, which has a television broadcast deal on TNT in the United States and TSN in Canada, the rebranding and new-look of National Wrestling Alliance, and a recent FOX deal with the WWE.

“I saw an interesting observation from a Toronto wrestler, RJ City, who said, ‘it’s a great time to be a wrestling fan. It’s not a great time to be the romantic partner of a wrestling fan’,” Foley laughed. “It really is. It reminds me of when I was a big fan, in the mid-80s, and there was a wrestling boom going on. You had all kinds of choices, and that brings out the best in all the companies. Anytime the wrestling fan wins, the wrestling business wins.

“If people are on the fence, take a chance,” Foley said of his upcoming show. “I take a lot of pride in putting on the best show that I can. And I’ll do that Tuesday, I’ll do my very best in Sudbury.”

Twitter: @keith_dempsey

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If you go

VIP tickets are $75 each and include early access to the event, priority seating, a meet-and-greet with Foley that includes a photo, a personalized, autographed 8×10, and the option for the ticket holder to bring a second item to autograph.

The VIP tickets are only available for purchase online at sudburyperformance.ca, or by phone, at 705-662-8518.

Regular, show-only tickets, are $30 each.

For more information on The Sudbury Performance Group, or on any of their upcoming events, visit the Sudbury Performance Group’s official website at www.sudburyperformance.ca.

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