20 years ago, Mick Foley and Triple H had a street fight in Madison Square Garden at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Foley was asked about the match and his experience working with Triple H on Inside the Ropes.
“I loved working with Triple H, not just because he’s in charge, and I might want to work there again. He’s my son’s boss too, but that’s not why am saying it. I loved working with Triple H,” Foley said. “He had a way of bringing out the best in people, and that’s an underrated quality that you can’t actually see. You have to feel.
“I was really hurting. My knees hurt really bad so he was working around me weaknesses, and we came up with a match that worked to my strengths, with a guy that could work up to my strengths better than anybody.”
Foley also talked about what Triple H had to go through during the match.
“One of the indelible moments was when I was suplexing Triple H on a pallet and a shard of wood when into Hunter’s calf. He had blood streaming down his leg during the entirety of the match, but he kept going,” Foley said. “It was great showing by him he brought the best out of me. No question is one of the best matches I’ve ever been in.”
The venue of Madison Square Garden holds a special feeling for Foley as he grew up going there to watch one of his favorite wrestlers, Jimmy Snuka. He was asked about how special the venue was.
“It does feel different. I remember it felt like a subdued reaction. Even last night, I was free to admit that Tazz had a bigger reaction than I did for [my match],” Foley said. “But the reaction during the course of the match was phenomenal, and there’s something special about not only Madison Square Garden, as the Mecca of wrestling in the United States, but the fact it was the building that I grew up going to and taking trains to and hitchhiking to where I saw Snuka come off the top of the cell so it really was a big deal for me.”
Foley was also asked about All Elite Wrestling and his thoughts on the promotion so far.
“They’ve got an amazing talent roster, but I think, with the exception of 8-10 guys, you have a lot of guys that haven’t worked full time for a promotion, and they haven’t had the chance to make mistakes in a smaller venue,” Foley said. “One of ten things I like about the For All Mankind DVD was that you literally got to see me growing. They’d show a promo from 1989, and it clearly wasn’t quite there, and you could see the growth [over time]. I’m sure you could see the growth of the AEW characters as they go but in the meantime you get to see some mistakes being seen on live television.
“Some of the guys have grown up yearning after the This is Awesome chant but having had the experience in angles that need to draw money I think guys from my era there was definitely a real sense that if the angle wasn’t successful you didn’t try the houses. There was no ancillary means of income, and I’m not down on the guys but you see the inexperience when it comes to shooting angles and performing for the camera.”
He went on to talk about how he was purposefully held back from his hardcore style to save his style for the right moment.
“It’s an admirable trait that they want to have the best match that they can, but every guy wanting to have the best match at every venue doesn’t necessarily lead to the best promotion, that’s just my opinion. So I think someone needs to reign some of these guys in like Gerald Brisco told me when I got to WWE, ‘we know you liked to do a lot of these things. There may come a time when we ask you to do that, but until then, we’re going to ask you not to,’ and that really improved my longevity,” Foley said.
Foley notes that NXT’s roster has a slight advantage over AEW because they are trained to work full time for a promotion.
“NXT’s advantage is that their guys have been trained to work for the camera, and I think they have an advantage of having more seasoned stars and now a dedicated team writing for them,” Foley said. “But in the end it comes to down to who has the ability to tell better long-term stories and get the audience engaged.”
Some of the wrestlers that have been trained to work in front of a camera are Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho, and Foley was asked whether or not he’s surprised they were in the forefront of AEW to start.
“I always thought they’d be among the vocal points. I mean Cody just knocked that one promo out of the park. I thought they rushed the match. I think they’re not showing the patience they need to,” Foley said. “I would say that Moxley and Kenny Omega shouldn’t have had their first match in a while, in an everything goes environment, but I think these are mistakes made trying to give people the absolute best product that they can but there should be someone reigning in some of that enthusiasm.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Inside the Ropes with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.