Mick Foley brings wrestling stories, laughs to Pittsburgh Improv
When Mick Foley is on WWE television, he feels like a dinner guest. He plays a part, but it’s not his menu.
When the WWE Hall of Famer is putting on a show, he feels like the cook, being tasked with making the meal and feeding guests.
That’s to say, when he puts on a one-man show — something he’s been doing for years — it’s on him to put the show together and make it a great one.
“I like that kind of pressure. I like when people leave with a smile on their face and feel like the money they paid was worth it,” Foley says.
The hardcore legend will be cooking up laughs and telling tales from his early years as his “Nice Day Tour” comes to the Pittsburgh Improv on Nov. 25.
The tour, named after Foley’s first autobiography “Have a Nice Day!: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks,” celebrates the 20th anniversary of the New York Times best-seller and has the pro wrestler/author/father of four reliving stories with the audience.
The book documents Foley’s life from growing up in Long Island, N.Y., to beating Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for the WWF Championship in December 1998.
The man that was Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love rolls into a handful of Ohio cities before hitting the Steel City. Foley self-booked the tour that will take him to the United Kingdom later this month into early December.
“If I have someplace I want to go, I book around it,” Foley says.
Foley admits there have been times when he panders, saying it’s great to be in a certain city when it’s not so great. But that doesn’t seem to be the case in the town where his iconic “Hell in a Cell” match with the Undertaker took place.
“Pittsburgh has a special place in my heart. It’s been my best city,” Foley says.
The history Foley has with the city and the area surrounding it spans decades. In the ’80s, Foley was trained by former wrestler Dominic DeNucci in Freedom, Beaver County, at DeNucci’s now defunct wrestling school.
In June 1998 as Mankind, Foley wrestled the Undertaker at the Civic Arena in a match that is still talked about decades later, as Foley was thrown off the top of a cell structure onto a table, and was later slammed through the top of the cell. The match is seen as one of wrestling’s most memorable and holds a special place for fans, especially those from Western Pennsylvania.
“I have met more people over the years than could have physically fit into the Civic Arena (that night),” Foley says of his iconic match.
Nowadays, his relationship with WWE is “fairly relaxed,” with the company reaching out to Foley when they need him. He’s been on “WWE Backstage,” a new WWE-centric talk show on FS1.
“If they wanted me to be a more regular guest on their Backstage show, I’d be open to that,” Foley says.
For the man who has wrestled thousands of matches, written 11 books and appeared in movies, he has quite a legacy, but what does he want to be remembered for?
If it were up to him, his gravestone would read something like this:
“Here lies Mick Foley, he treated people the way they wanted to be treated … and made the world a slightly better place for Mankind.”
Zach Brendza is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Zach at 724-850-1288, [email protected] or via Twitter .