Mick Foley used to let his performance in the ring do his talking. Now retired from the battles that saw the former star battered, beaten and abuse, he is letting his thoughts on the current state of WWE be known to the wrestling community.
Foley had an epic rant, airing his frustrations with the company that made him a superstar online, which got a huge reaction from the Internet fan base and from other wrestling insiders.
As a fan of the business, it was long overdue. Foley was not one of my favorite wrestlers in his heyday, but the work he has done in the business, post retirement – especially in being able to voice his opinion about how the state of wrestling has become boring and uneventful – has been refreshing.
WWE is at a real crossroads. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, who said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results”. Wrestling historians can argue about when the #AttitudeEra in wrestling officially began. But for me, it will always be at a meeting called by Mr McMahon in the Spring of 1997, where he admitted that had worked for them for so long in the past (I interpreted that to mean one-dimensional characters that tended to be job-related) was no longer working, and that if they were going to survive, the wrestlers themselves were going to have to step up, and help create those dimensions that would establish the emotional bond between the wrestlers and the fans – part of the lifeblood of professional wrestling.
If Foley is this adamant about change in the company and the business, then why isn’t WWE asking him and others to come onboard and help become the solution to the problem instead of voice their opinion about the problem? In years past, back when wrestling was still a tight-lipped fraternity, wrestler worked behind the scenes to create storylines, act as bookers and had a firm grip on the day-to-day operation of territories. I know that is a thing of the past, but going back to the roots of professional wrestling would do more good than harm right now. Vince McMahon and his staff really has nothing to lose.
The WWE has already hired Foley’s son Dewey as an assistant to work with the creative team. Adding his father might prove to be the best move WWE has made in some time.
If WWE is really trying to get back to its roots and produce better scripts, storylines and more drama that reaches more than the less than 3 million viewers Monday Night Raw is carrying right now, then it makes sense to bring people in who are familiar with the business. This is not a situation where it can draw from the mind of Dusty Rhodes or beg Jim Cornette to come in and wave a magic tennis racket. But people in the know offer something to this situation.
Mick Foley is actually perfect for this period in WWE history. First and foremost, the company needs stability in its lead show Raw, but needs solid numbers for Smackdown as well and with pay-per-view events. Can it achieve all of this in the final three weeks of 2015? Not hardly.
The first quarter of 2016 will be a real test as to whether the product gets better with a champion in Sheamus no one wants to see carrying the title, and a challenger in Roman Reigns who fans like but may not like enough to see him carry the strap for any length of time.
Reigns holding the title right now is akin to Ron Garvin beating Ric Flair for the NWA World Title. Many a wrestling fans liked Garvin and his pursuit of Flair and the title, but once the belt was around his waist, he wasn’t the mega star who could keep the fans’ attention. Also, the NWA at the time was trying to sell its brand in regions that were predominantly WWF and AWA centric. The ratings were bad and the storylines were awful – much like WWE today.
Maybe the guy who brought us Mankind and Dude Love with inject new life into the programs we all see in 2016 and may help get Vince McMahon and Triple H out of this depression the company is suffering. Wrestling needs new life and some epinephrine in a hurry. The numbers show things are bad and could get worse. Foley isn’t the solution to the problem, but he is an antibiotic of sorts.
We can only hope this is good for what ails WWE and gets momentum back toward what the company used to be.