"I was always trying to get reactions," said Foley, who grew up on
Foley will sprinkle those kinds of humorous observations into his stories about his time as a
The one-time wrestling villain absorbed punishing blows in the name of sports entertainment from losing part of his ear in a match in
It was all part of the story line for Mankind or Cactus Jack or Dude Love, but Foley has found another way to communicate.
"I tell stories; connect with people on a different level," Foley said. "Maybe I accidently touch some sensitive emotions. I do what I used to do in the ring. I take them on an emotional roller coaster."
Sans the body blows and trunks.
The warrior in the ring known for pushing his body to extremes is quite the humanitarian and soft touch out of it.
He's devoted to causes that help children, victims of rape and violence, veterans and others.
He's making a documentary about Santa Claus, following several mall Santas during the course of a year.
That other side of Foley was always there, during his 17 years as a wrestler, beginning in 1983 on cards arranged by his teacher,
Married to his wife, Collette, since 1992, and the father of four, the 49-year-old Foley never lost sight of who he really was.
"I came home after being honored at
"I said, 'You know, two hours ago 20,000 people were chanting my name.' That's life outside the bubble. It was brought to reality every time I came home."
Making the transition wasn't tough, because the characters in the ring were just characters. Most fans understood that.
"I'm lucky I came in the era when guys did not have to fight their way out of buildings after shows," Foley said. "Guys were fighting for their lives to get out to the car. There were casualties before the era of the lawsuit. How you got to your car was up to you. There were hostilities involved. I'm glad I wasn't involved in that."
American fans understood the show by the time he came along.
"In other countries, that wasn't the case. You could not hit the Nigerian champion with a foreign object in
That Foley would actually go to
He wrestled for World Class Wrestling and joined the WWE in 1996, enjoying the phenomenal success the sport enjoyed.
"I don't want to give too much credit to Mr. (
Instead, the wrestlers were happy to perform. It was an act that took Foley to 37 countries and 49 states. It also left him with plenty of stories to share.
"I get so much of what I loved about being in wrestling doing my shows," Foley said. "It's a very friendly, warm atmosphere, and I'm still getting reaction."
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