WWE Hall Of Famer Mick Foley recently spoke with the Sports Illustrated’s “Extra Mustard” blog for an interview. Below are some of the highlights.
On how his push may have helped pave the way for future stars such as Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Kevin Owens: “Mr. McMahon, you see, was not a Cactus Jack fan. But, following a notable first year in a leather mask as Mankind, Mr. McMahon had a change of heart, and not only gave Cactus Jack the occasional opportunity in WWE, but built up the Cactus character to be my toughest and wildest incarnation of all. It was if he was admitting to me, and whoever out there was watching, that he just might have missed the boat on that Cactus Jack guy after all!
“In so doing–in allowing a guy who (in his opinion) didn’t look like a star, Mr. McMahon just may have opened up the possibility that other unlikely prospects might find a home, and stardom inside the WWE. Maybe, just maybe, the lesson learned from the Cactus Jack experiment helped open the door for future WWE Superstars such as Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and Kevin Owens–all of whom flourished in what would have been seen as a very unlikely environment a generation earlier.”
On the way WWE portrayed his gimmick in connection with the fans: “So, yes, WWE deserves much of the credit for how they chose to portray a colorful journeyman like Cactus Jack. But there was something real there too–something fans could truly believe in.
“Even as the world learned new truths about me–I was from New York not New Mexico, the only thing truly deranged about me was my fashion sense–the legitimacy of Cactus Jack was only heightened, never questioned. I think it’s because there was an understanding that even given the entertainment aspect of pro wrestling, the struggle to the top had been hard-earned and well deserved, and that the legendary tales of suffering had all turned out to be very true.”
Check out the complete Mick Foley interview at SI.com.