Mankind became the WWF Champion during Halftime Heat in January 1999.
Mankind's kids are seven and five. They're big fans. "They're probably my two biggest fans."
That was just a way to cheer up Mr. McMahon in the hospital. It was never meant to be a recurring theme. The next day after the "Raw [Is War" TV show] aired there was probably about 100 Mr. Socko signs. Somebody said, 'Get Mr. Socko out. We need to see more of him.'
INTERVIEWER: When did you start your wrestling career? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Started in 1985.
INTERVIEWER: You wrestled in both the WCW and WWF. How do you compare the two circuits?
MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: The major comparison for me was there was no room for upward mobility in the WCW. The order was kind of ironclad. It was a catch 22 situation where you couldn't be a top guy unless you were making the big money and you couldn't make the money unless you were a top guy. So I didn't see any chance... I just saw myself becoming stagnant there. And I thought that if I had the powers that be have their way that I'd be completely unmarketable within a year, so I left.
INTERVIEWER: Do you feel a competition with the other wrestlers from the WCW?
MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Maybe a slight competition. They have several great wrestlers but they're not really featured in prominent roles. I don't think there's any way you can even compare their champion and our champion right now.
I just felt like it was something that I had a calling for. I felt like it would be a good way to entertain people and live out my dream at the same time.
INTERVIEWER: So it's something you've wanted to do since childhood? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Well, yeah, since my teenage years.
Did you have any wrestling heroes growing up? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Yeah, Jimmy Snuka was my top guy when I was a kid. And then later as I got into wrestling I started seeing tapes of Bruiser Brody and Terry Funk and the Dynamite Kid and they were probably my favorite three wrestlers, once I really understood wrestling.
INTERVIEWER: How often do you work out? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Actually, I haven't worked out since the Royal Rumble. I've been beaten up and I figured I deserved a little time off. Actually, my family owns a small gym in the pan handle [of Florida] and I try to get down there as much as I can and at least keep my lungs in shape.
But don't all those things hurt. Do you like the pain?
MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: No, I don't like it. You do some strange things when you have adrenalin. For example, I don't wear kneepads. Not because I don't believe in them but because I haven't gotten around to buying them in the last year. If you were to tell me right now to get down on this tile floor that I'm on and crawl across the floor on my knees, I couldn't physically do it. It would hurt too much. But, if I'm out there in front of a crowd, I can land on my knees, I can dive on my knees. I can do just about anything. The pain is not so much of a factor in the match as it is after the match. I definitely don't enjoy that.
INTERVIEWER: So you've had some sore mornings then? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Many, many sore mornings... And afternoons.
What's the worst injury? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: The most horrific one would have to be the ear just because it was so grizzly. But, probably the one that caused me the most pain for the longest amount of time was a couple of herniated discs in my lower back that caused real bad sciatic nerve pain to the point that I actually thought I was going to have to retire a couple of years ago. That was probably the worst. Anyone that's ever had that pain will know what I'm talking about. It makes life literally a living hell.
Who's the toughest competitor you've faced? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: There's been so many of them I don't want to cut anybody short so I'll just stick to my WWF years. It's been Terry Funk, The Undertaker and Steve Austin.
INTERVIEWER: Have you ever thought, 'Why don't I tone down my image to allow for a longer career?' MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: That's what Mr. Socko would do! It's a tricky situation because I feel like when you're a main event wrestler, which I've become, you have to be 100% and I've got a lot of physical shortcomings that I've got to make up for with going the extra yard. Now, if I wasn't in that position where I was at the top of the card, then yeah, I probably would tone things down quite a bit.
MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Oh, yeah lots of things. Not refused. Refused in the sense that I've thought about doing things and ended up not doing them because I didn't see how I could do it and do it without crippling myself.
Contrary to what people think, I do not consider myself reckless. Reckless would be going in without any plan or without any knowledge of the consequences. And I have knowledge of the consequences.
Congratulations on winning the WWF championship. Now that you've achieved that goal was it worth all the effort?
MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Oh, yeah definitely. I don't know that the championship was ever my goal. If I had never reached I would not have been a failure. Even without the belt I considered my career pretty successful. But, yeah. Not just the belt but everything that's happened has been worth it.
Where did the name Mankind come from?
Mankind shows off his new belt. MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Well, to tell you the truth, they had an image for me when I came to the WWF and it got shifted around a little bit to fit my personality a little bit better. The moment of truth came to find out what my name was and I was told it was going to be Mason The Mutilator. And in the same way Stone Cold Steve Austin would never have cut the mustard as Baron Von Ruthless or Ice Dagger, I saw Mason The Mutilator dying a quick death due to indifference. So, I started thinking about what name could I have that would sound good with The Mutilator. And when I suggested Mankind, they went for it and apparently liked it so much that they never added Mutilator.
Why do you wear the mask? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: That was part of the image that the WWF had for me. At first I didn't like it, but the truth is I had the chance to go maskless several months ago and be Cactus Jack full time and actually I've become kind of fond of Mankind and the mask.
Did you really lose an ear in a match MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Oh, yeah definitely. It wasn't a bizarre gardening accident. There's a videotape out there. It's very poor quality, videotape from Germany showing of the ear actually dropping off my head and being picked up by the referee.
Every night you wrestle, you show people you are giving 110% and you drive your body beyond the limits. How do you prepare for a match both physically and mentally?
MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: Well, physically it's simple. That's a matter of warming up and stretching. It's a mental thing mostly, especially for the big matches. Obviously not every match is going to have the price that Royal Rumble or Hell In The Cell did, but you never know what's going to happen once you're out there. For me, it's a matter of sitting down and thinking and becoming Mankind.
Dude I hope has drifted away. He was fired on national TV by Mr. McMahon. Hopefully we've see the last of Dude. Cactus Jack is always ready for a return somewhere in the future.
INTERVIEWER: So you think Jack will be back? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: I'd like to stick with Mankind as a full time thing. Maybe Cactus Jack as a special surprise.
Which personality do you have the most fun with?
MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: I think Mankind now. This is honestly the most fun I've ever had.
INTERVIEWER: There are a lot of wrestlers who have problems establishing one personality with the fans. Yet you've been able to establish three popular characters. Why do you think that is? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: There are three different sides of [my] personality. And honestly what I think has made Mankind more successful in the last six months is I've been able in some ways blend all three personalities into one guy.
The WWF video Three Faces Of Foley. INTERVIEWER: So Mankind is the closest to your own personality? MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: The Mankind you've seen in the last six months is probably the closest. Not the Mankind that appeared three years ago. That was a little bit of an acting stretch.
You've got a tremendous number of fans. How does it make you feel when you walk into the arena and see all the Mankind signs?
MANKIND/MICK FOLEY: You know what, I think it's a very... It's gratifying that it seems like a very real reaction. It's something that has built up over several years. I'm hoping that what I've done in the ring, especially in the last few years that there's been a lot of national attention on wrestling and it's something that people will remember a long time. I'd like to be remembered as one of the best. And I think people appreciate that if I'm not one of the best at least I'm always trying to be.