In the mid-90s and before he joined WWE, Mick Foley went to Japan where he competed in the legendary death match tournament, The Kawasaki Dream. That experience would then become a part of his live shows and Foley discussed that when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily.
"The shows really take off when you can string stories together in a way that has a theme to it. Terry Funk has had a difficult year and he lost his wife, so I've gravitated towards telling these three stories that take me from one era to the next," said Foley. "I will start talking about Kawasaki Dream as that may be the focus of a show, but one of my favorite things to talk about is a match with Terry Funk in 1995."
Foley then praised how much he and Funk were willing to do in front of 150 people to put the promotion they were working for on the map.
"When I heard Terry signed with IWA Japan, I believed I would be given the chance to do the one thing that eluded me and that's to prove that I could draw money in this business. I look back on those days with great fondness because I was supporting my family, the Japanese audiences were very appreciative and I wanted to prove that I could draw money in the wrestling business," stated Foley.
Foley is an idol to many younger wrestlers and they grew up watching his hardcore and death matches. He was asked about what advice he would give to younger talent who want to go the death match route.
"[Laughs] I can't advocate that to anybody," admitted Foley. "I can advocate to working as hard as you can to defy the odds. It's a tough situation to be in when you're one of the founding fathers of that style. It's really rough on the body but I will say that I was healthier during the 18 months doing Japan and ECW than I had been prior and post-death match wrestling because so much of it is stitches and burns. I look at some of the moves being done and the margin of error is so small when it comes to landings high on the shoulder blades and on the neck."
He then noted that trust is more apparent in today's wrestling than during his time. He mentioned that some of his death match stuff was done with a stranger who didn't speak the language but they were able to piece stuff together through hard work and sacrifice.
Death matches haven't really hit the mainstream yet but many promotions still take part in those types of matches. Foley was asked if he keeps up with the death match stuff today such as what GCW often presents.
"I don't because I don't want to see what I fathered or grandfathered," said Foley. "I don't wanna be responsible. I wanna see the stories of people who believed in themselves and overcame struggles. But I understand there's some crazy stuff going on out there."
Another one of the founding fathers of death matches is Necro Butcher who isn't holding up too well physically. Foley discussed what he and others are doing to try to help out Butcher.
"Necro Butcher has been struggling physically and I don't know if people know the extent of his illness. He could really use a helping hand and there's a benefit show for him and his family on March 21 in Nitro, West Virginia. I posted about it maybe a month ago and I'll post about it again after we talk," said Foley.
"A lot of these guys who do the deathmatch stuff – and in general in wrestling – they give a lot more to the business than they get back. So, I hope people in that part of the country can make a 1 or 2 or 3-hour journey and support a good cause."
Foley also said when he hears about wrestlers who get hurt, he does what he can to help them. Along those lines, he has an upcoming raffle that he is doing with Kulture City, which is an Autism Acceptance Organization, and fans can win a trip to WrestleMania by supporting.
Mick Foley has hit the road with his "The Nice Day Tour," celebrating the 20th anniversary of his inaugural autobiography Have A Nice Day. For information and tickets about upcoming shows please visit RealMickFoley.com. Mick's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon: by clicking here.