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Foley is Pod


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I am into the second episode now. I don’t hate it. Over the years, Foley has gotten on my nerves at times, but the man is a natural storyteller and the last few years of doing his one-man show have definitely helped him hone the ability to recount different tales from his career. Both of these first two episodes are pretty much rehashing stuff that Foley covered in his books, but they are still pretty enjoyable. If you have not read his books, I would highly recommend this podcast. If you have, you are not going to hear anything new here but that doesn’t mean it is not worth listening to.

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Just caught up on the opening couple of episodes and one thing that I enjoyed is Foley's take on Pro Wrestling. They're long episodes but every now and then Foley will drop a nugget about what makes a successful wrestler and it's really good stuff. For instance, his take that it's important for a heel to draw the interest rather than the heat I thought was an interesting take and nothing I've heard articulated on a podcast before.

Hopefully he can keep the steam up. A lot of these Conrad podcasts fall in the trap where they start strong early only to lose steam.

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Got through first episode yesterday. The name dropping is more than a bit obnoxious, but he sounds sincere and keen to put effort in. To be fair to him, I remember his 2004 rf shoot felt similar - anyone else would take the money and throw answers off the top of their head, whereas he prepared and knew exactly what he wanted to say. 
 

one very interesting thing was comparing wrestlings refusal to acknowledge its past in 2000 to today. In some ways I’d say the pendulum’s swung too far the other way.

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Full disclosure - I've never heard Foley's speaking gigs or stand up routines. I've also only read his first book (along with Jericho's first two and JR'S latest), so I haven't heard a lot of these stories before. I've seen elsewhere that Mick is retreading some territory (which is to be expected, come on) but I'm thoroughly enjoying this podcast so far.

I love the little side bars. I could do without the silly Cameo stuff that's tacked onto the end, but it plays into the kind of human being Foley is at the end of the day. It doesn't take away from the actual wrestling discussion at all.

I love little tidbits like Mick recalling how he would pause the VHS tape and watch frame by frame to fully study the Hangman spot from Muraco. Also cool to hear him gush over the Adonis spot & how none of the boys could crack the code on exactly how he pulled it off. Tiny detail, but very cool to hear about. I love stuff like that.

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Foley really does have a tendency to go over stories that not only has he already covered in his books, but even on the first few episodes of this podcast…so that’s a bit irritating. But the show is still a winner for me, and after a few episodes it has definitely become my favourite current podcast already.

The newest episode covers Wrestlemania 13 and has a couple of real gems…

- Mick talks about the first Buried Alive match with himself and The Undertaker. He talks about how long it actually takes to bury somebody with dirt, and that the process was taking so long that they sent out extra heels to help him cover Taker up. He talks about how one of the heels that comes out to help is none other than Triple H, and he jokes that it is the first documented case of Triple H burying another talent.

- He tells a story about Kevin Sullivan getting an interview with the WWF during the height of the Attitude Era/Monday Night Wars. He says that Vince knew who Sullivan was and had Stephanie interview Sullivan for a position on the creative team. The only problem was that Stephanie had no idea who Kevin Sullivan was and actually asked him for a résumé.

That reminded me of a story I heard about Stephanie talking to Jeff Jarrett one time, and not only being unaware that he was a third generation talent in the professional wrestling business, but that his grandmother was one of the most successful promoters of the territory era.

Great stuff.

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I especially enjoyed the little story of Kevin Sullivan using a painting as a weapon so the red paint would give the same visual as blood, during a time when blood and blading were banned from the television shows. That is such a clever, creative workaround that not just anyone would conjure up.

And I don't know, but the whole Owen rib on Vader at the Slammy Awards just bummed me out. It made me a real sad panda. Whether or not the joke was purely in jest is irrelevant. Something about Vader then directly losing out on those paydays and looking like a big goof just completely deflated me there. The disparity between things like the sweet tea slip and fall against his spotlight performance at Final Four pretty much illustrates his WWF run in a nutshell.

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12 minutes ago, SomethingSavage said:

And I don't know, but the whole Owen rib on Vader at the Slammy Awards just bummed me out. It made me a real sad panda. Whether or not the joke was purely in jest is irrelevant. Something about Vader then directly losing out on those paydays and looking like a big goof just completely deflated me there. The disparity between things like the sweet tea slip and fall against his spotlight performance at Final Four pretty much illustrates his WWF run in a nutshell.

Yeah, Vader really is an interesting case isn’t it isn’t he? Some stories you hear about the guy, like him basically bullying, beating up, and intimidating enhancement talent, or stories I have heard about him treating the production staff backstage like shit, bullying them and yelling at them, makes him sound like a terrible person. A few people have told stories that make him sound like a total jerk. Eric Bischoff basically had no time for the guy because he was so rude to everybody that worked backstage behind the scenes. Arn told a similar story as well.

But it also sounds like he was very sensitive and almost insecure in a way. Some of Foley’s stories make it sound like between Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon, people really got into his head and made him doubt his own abilities. The story Mick told last week about Vader obsessing over at the fight with Paul Orndorff years later, was really kind of sad as well. Mick Foley seemed to have an insight into Vader a lot of his peers didn’t have. 

 

 

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This week’s episode on WM20 and Backlash 04 is really good, probably the best one so far. Credit where it’s due, Conrad is settling in and developing a nice rapport with Foley and most importantly, learning to reel him back in when he wanders off topic. I am glad it is Conrad cohosting this particular podcast, if it was one of his other employees I don’t think it would be going as well as it is.

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The way the first episode took a little while to get going, I was worried all the side stories and name dropping would annoy me. I've actually come to really enjoy those though. Foley still delivers the wrestling talk and insight along with all those side bars, so I don't mind it.

Thus far, this project feels like an authentic representation of Mick as a person. The Cameo stuff still feels tacked on and the least appealing, but again - it's very Mick. Greatly enjoying every episode so far.

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The most recent episode is tremendous and by far my favorite of the bunch, for sure.

The name-dropping can be egregious, of course. But some of those stories are truly heartwarming and endearing. I'd much rather have them there than not.

The buildup to Orton versus Foley felt special in its own time as it was happening, but man. The strength of it really shines through on rewatch just as well. I loved hearing alot of the details that went into crafting it.

The references to Shane, Rocky 2, and The Longest Yard weren't something that immediately struck me before, but I absolutely see all the ingredients as they were laid out. Pro wrestling almost always functions best when it is aware of its own pop culture influences and trappings.

I couldn't help but crack up when Mick pitched the unification Mania match, and imagining Vince's instant reaction is gold.

Also glad they didn't skip right past the Shawn triple threat talk. It's ironic, and the coincidence is at least worth discussing. So that was appreciated.

I do think tradition and sacred cows in wrestling should still be a thing, as conservative and antiquated as some of those things may be. I sort of wish Mania main events were still strictly one on one, and I don't buy the idea that multi man matches were bound to headline Mania once they were successfully introduced and embraced.

It's not a hill I'm going to die on or anything, because that ship has long since sailed. But it's like saying it's only a matter of time before they let greyhounds run in the Triple Crown.

No, ya dummies. This is a controlled environment. People arrange this stuff. It was only inevitable once they made it so. It could've just as easily been a traditional staple that was never broken and always adhered to, but moving on...

I think there's a much larger conversation to be had about Vince being tone deaf when it comes to babyfaces and the inherent value of consequences in storytelling. The idea that Vince didn't think fans would stay with the story after Mick suffered a setback is very telling. To this day, I still think Vince chases after Bruno and Hulk in every top tier babyface without realizing these guys are anomalies. You can't just cast anyone as Superman.

It's the exception. When you try to make it the rule, you do a damaging disservice to guys like Daniel Bryan and Foley. Stories need stakes and tangible consequences. Heroes need to fall to rise again. Fans WILL get engaged. When everything is brushed off, you're educating people that it's all irrelevant and welcome to modern wrestling, everybody.

What's perhaps most fascinating is how troubling it is that they don't seem to recognize or distinguish the difference in how to book top babyfaces versus top heels. They still realize that top guys need to win. Unfortunately, it's almost exclusively top heels who win, which makes them babyfaces in short order.

Take Roman for example. He's a dominant heel and the biggest babyface they have as a result. When he was groomed as the top babyface, the guy literally lost three or four consecutive title shots against Brock, who was also their top heel at the time and thud actually their top face in reality.

Roman also lost a title match to Kevin Owens, came out later the same exact night as a final entrant in the Rumble, and got tossed out. It's wild and a total failure to comprehend when wins and losses should matter. How they apply the most basic storytelling devices are baffling. Very human, instinctive elements and arcs are so foreign in the way they book these guys.

Their booking actually just feels more like a long line of mistakes, followed by a series of overcompensating for said mistakes by swinging the pendulum too far in the opposite direction.

But yeah. The crisis of confidence was such a crucial element, so it was neat hearing how Foley fought for it.

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I like how adamant Mick is about sticking to his guns on being dissatisfied and disappointed in the Mania handicap tag. They never fully crack that nut, but I do believe they were on the right path when the subject of the action not matching the story and the build came up. Mick is big on storytelling, so it's only fitting that it doesn't sit right with him when you build toward this blood feud and then blow it off with a feel-good celebration of character moments and comedy spots.

This is perhaps a broader talking point, but is there a greater kingmaker in all of pro wrestling than Mick Foley? Historically, is he the most efficient? The dude went above and beyond to legitimize Hunter (at least twice), Rock as a top heel, and Orton as a rising star. Edge could fall into that category, although to a slightly lesser extent.

He showed the capability as far back as the program with Sting, but that honor actually tips more in Vader's favor. He did wonders for Taker's perception. The Mind Games match gets lots of love for being awesome, but it's also the style of match that could've greatly benefited Shawn as champion. There's a reason people point to the Diesel match and the Mankind match, and that's because they painted Shawn in a light that looked less like "Brutus Beefcake escort cosplaying as main eventer" and looked more like a defending champion being pushed to his absolute limits, beyond his comfort zones.

But I digress. The thought just occurred to me when listening to Mick talk about the match with Orton and its aftermath. I realize the topic has been talked about before, but hey. It's been awhile. And I think it's still worth mentioning.

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I listened to the Mankind and Ear episodes this weekend and was very impressed with Mick as a storyteller/interviewee. He's a very easy and likable presence and his career is so varied that I'm looking forward to seeing what types of stuff they'll cover. Even if they stay in the Attitude Era or ECW for awhile, Mick's experiences with so many wrestlers should make for interesting episodes.

Although it's weird that his Vince impression sounds much more like HHH.

First Conrad show to be in my weekly listens for at least a couple years. 

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I thought the Eddie Gilbert episode was great. Even though it was yet another Attitude Era rehash, I actually didn’t mind the episode on Foley’s legendary sit down interview with JR as Mankind, and the subsequent face turn, transformation into Dude Love and KOTR 97.

Tomorrow is Beach Blast 92, which is a match I’ve always loved. It’s like a one match compilation of all Foley’s early career sickest bumps and craziest spots.

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On 7/22/2022 at 10:06 AM, Gertner said:

I didn't realize how far in advance they taped this show until I heard them referencing Veer still not debuting on last week's show.

Yeah, the episode that just got released today was recorded on April 5. They really do record the show far in advance. Great episode though.

Sad story from today’s podcast…when Vader died, the only two people from the entire Pro Wrestling industry who bothered to make the trip to Colorado for his memorial service were Mick Foley and Sting. I’m not sure if that is a sad statement about what kind of business it is, that nobody cares about you after you retire or if it is a sad statement about how Leon White’s peers viewed him due to his reputation as a bully. 

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4 hours ago, The Thread Killer said:

Sad story from today’s podcast…when Vader died, the only two people from the entire Pro Wrestling industry who bothered to make the trip to Colorado for his memorial service were Mick Foley and Sting. I’m not sure if that is a sad statement about what kind of business it is, that nobody cares about you after you retire or if it is a sad statement about how Leon White’s peers viewed him due to his reputation as a bully. 

My guess is it's more a reflection of the industry. A few months ago, DDP talked about how hardly anybody in the business went to Gene Okerlund's funeral. And it was in Florida, where like 99% of all wrestlers past or present live.

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