Pro wrestlers and fans alike are no doubt a passionate bunch. And in the past this unique community has channeled the same dedication to helping those within it.
The latest effort is helping ODB, real name Jessica Kresa get cooking again. The popular female performer saw her Meat & Greet food truck go up in flames in September, putting entrepreneurial dreams in jeopardy. Hearing ODB's story struck a chord with Mick Foley, who wanted to step in to lend a hand.
"I really believe one of the challenges we face in our business is finding something that makes us feel like we did when we were in the ring," he said. "For me, I've worked hard and found that when I'm on stage telling my stories. I think for ODB she found that in her food truck. ODB is a one-man show.
"She prepares it, serves the food, does meet-and-greets all day long. She found her calling, so when I heard the truck had burned down, I initially made a donation. But I thought there would be far more that I could do in terms of creating awareness, getting the word out, and trying to make our wrestling community feel something they can be a part of."
An Indiegogo for ODB has already garnered more than $15,000. Foley has spearheaded efforts to see the financial goal is reached. He is donating a hundred percent of merchandise sales from his live shows in November to the cause. In addition, a hundred percent of ticket sales from the San Jose "The Nice Day Tour" stop on November 10 will go to the ODB, who is also providing rewards for donors on Indiegogo including ring-worn gear. Foley declares the date ODB Appreciation Day where the WWE Hall of Famer is encouraging everyone to spread awareness on social media as she will be his special guest.
"When I got involved for the fundraiser for Ashley Massaro's daughter, both Alexa and Barbara, her mom, were so flattered by the sheer number that got involved," he said, referencing the more than $100,000 generated to assist the family of the WWE diva alum. "They didn't say, 'Wow, look at all the money that came in.' They thought, 'Wow, look at how many people cared enough to make a difference.' I think in the end it was something like 2,300 people either donated or bought a shirt or helped on top of tens of thousands who got the word out."
Foley feels ODB's mark on the business can't be denied. Someone he believes that she was ahead of her time.
"She is a great character and great worker," Foley added. "Al Snow told me when he was in charge of OVW, WWE would ask which women were ready. He would always say ODB. And that wasn't something, unfortunately, WWE thought the audience wanted to see back then. I'll go on record and say they were wrong. She would have gotten over and been huge. She has this second chance to do something she loves, and I hope people will get behind it."
Foley is currently enjoying taking the stage for hs latest stage show. A new offering from the Hardcore legend now more than 20 years after the release of the revolutionary memoir "Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks."
"I'm talking about subjects I've never dealt with on stage. A lot of the formative years and crazy stuff that happened along the way," Foley said. "I didn't have a single note and never got out with a plan. I just see what unfolds. It's a lot of fun. For example, at the Wichita Falls at the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, I just decided to make it a tribute to Terry Funk. So, there were stories about his influence in my career.
"Other nights it might be the WCW/WWE years. We always open it up to a Q&A, so if I don't hit on subjects fans wanted to hear, they can ask me questions. I love the fans that I draw are really respectful and knowledgeable. My mind is constantly turning on to how to turn one of their questions or stories into that tone F-bomb I drop at the end of each show."
Despite not being a regular fixture on "Raw" or SmackDown" each week, Foley remains an avid fan himself. His enthusiasm for the business rubbed off daughter Noelle and Dewey, who remains active on the WWE creative team.
"I think to quote RJ City who said, 'It's a great time to be a fan. It's not a great time to be the romantic partner of a wrestling fan because quite a bit of time is taken up,'" Foley added. "In 1983 to 1986, I watched anything that was on there. Some of it wasn't all that good. I would be forcing myself to watch,and I don't want to say which promotion. There were some promotions that were tough to watch, and I felt I had to watch it because I was a wrestling fan.
"All these products are really good. I want to see the studio wrestling NWA is doing. It just sounds exciting. I loved wrestling in studios. It has a feel that you can't mimic in the bigger arenas. It's something I hope works for everyone. I heard Impact had a great event. I still need to check them out. Of course, I need to continue watching WWE on USA and Fox. My son is working for the NXT show, which is really exciting. AEW has their own thing going, and I hope it's a big success for everyone involved...I completely forgot ROH and the independents, who also rarely put on a bad show."
When asked about some of his favorites of the new faces to check out, Foley names Matt Riddle. The UFC fighter turned NXT standout has caught his eye.
"I hadn't seen the 'Original Bro.' I take some time off where I didn't watch a lot of wrestling until the Wednesday night wars started," Foley said. "I've been really impressed with him. And it kills me to say this, but Rhea Ripley has a huge future. I'd be hard pressed to find someone who has not impressed me. There has never been a deeper roster in general."
On Dewey following in the family business, Foley couldn't be more proud. Only this second generationer works behind the scenes and is free from taking any bumps.
"All this time I think Watts' son did it, so there is a precedent for second generation of a wrestling family being in creative, but that was always Dewey's goal and dream," Foley said. "He didn't want to be a wrestler. He loved questioning me about the creative process. He was always fascinated by storylines and interviews. Always full of questions, and hopefully, all that stuff has paid off for him."
For more information on Mick Foley's string of shows and his fundraising efforts for ODB, visit realmickfoley.com. Impact Wrestling is also hosting "ODB Appreciation Nights" with ticket sales from November 7 and 8 going toward helping the alum get back on the road serving up some meat to patrons again.
Mick's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a Tuesday's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. You can check out past episodes of the WINCLY here. Subscribe to Wrestling Inc. Audio on iTunes or Google Play. Listen to the show via Spotify here or through TuneIn here.