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Foley Fires Back – How I REALLY Feel About Stephanie McMahon

Foley Fires Back – How I REALLY Feel About Stephanie McMahon

The February 27th, 2016 episode of WWE Monday Night Raw included a backstage promo delivered by Stephanie McMahon that was, perhaps, the most deliberately evil dressing down I’d received in my entire career. Sure, I’d endured constant threats to my well being, my livelihood and even my life during the course of building up big matches, but this was different – it was visceral; with a closing line ‘the man who could stand up to anyone and anything, can now hardly stand…at all” that hit really close to home.

I don’t care how long you’ve been part of this business; when you hear words like that, delivered in a voice as confident and adept as Stephanie’s, it can sting a little bit. So following the segment, when I asked Stephanie if I could speak with her alone for just a moment, there was just this tiniest bit of tension in the air.

What I had on my mind wasn’t easy to say, and had been arrived at through careful thought over the course of several days. And in truth, it had nothing to do with the promo that had just taken place; a promo I had, in fact, encouraged her to deliver. With my hip replacement surgery on the books for April, I knew the clock was ticking on my gig as RAW GM, and my goal before leaving was fairly simple – to exit with the most glorious on-air firing possible, and to help out a WrestleMania storyline along the way. Stephanie’s promo was an important means to that end…but that didn’t mean it didn’t sting a little, and Stephanie later admitted she had no idea what was on my mind when I asked for a private meeting.

“Steph, I was wondering if…” My words tailed off, as I tried to gather the courage to say what was on my mind.

“Yes, what it is it, Mick?” she asked.

“I was wondering…I was wondering if you would consider writing the foreword to my book.”

The question left her momentarily speechless, and even though this may be my memory against hers, I could have sworn I saw her eyes begin to water as soon as my words hit her.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” she said. “I’d be honored.”

Writing the foreword to a book is a pretty big deal. I guess I should be honest and tell you that Stephanie McMahon was not my first choice when it came to writing the foreword for SAINT MICK. She was my only choice. While we may have bickered on the air – saying terrible things about each other in the hope of creating good TV – behind the scenes, Stephanie was my weekly sounding board for my book, and her interest and encouragement helped convince me that this very personal memoir might just deserve a wider audience than the 100 people I had planned to self-publish it for.

But following my on-air firing (which was indeed glorious) – a week after an in-ring Raw encounter with Stephanie and Triple H that will absolutely go down as one of my personal favorite segments of my career – I reached out to Stephanie in April to see when she might have the foreword ready. I was genuinely stunned by her reply. “I’m sorry it’s late, but I should have the first draft finished by the end of the week.”

Does anyone out there remember the famous Allen Iverson press conference where he addressed his coach’s concern for something that took place at practice? “PRACTICE?” Iverson asked aloud, in disbelief. “Practice? Practice? Practice?” Well, that’s kind of the tone of disbelief that I took on when I read that line about Stephanie and her first draft. “FIRST DRAFT? First Draft? First Draft?” She even mentioned something about sending it out for proofreading, and a round of edits. I certainly did not want to seem ungrateful, but felt like I had to share a hard-hitting truth with her. “Steph, I wrote DDP’s foreword last week in 90 minutes while I watched TV.”

I’m proud of the forewords I’ve written for some of the top names in our business – guys like Chris Jericho, Edge, Terry Funk and Vader. I was honored to write them, and think I did a good job on all of them. I’m fairly certain you will enjoy, and even be touched by the foreword I wrote for Diamond Dallas Page… but, nonetheless, I wrote it in 90 minutes, while I watched TV. I may like the guy, but I am absolutely positively, not going to write a FIRST DRAFT for him…or anyone!

So I waited on Stephanie and her first draft, her proof-reading, and her edits, until finally, it arrived – along with a note saying that she hoped I liked it, but that her feelings would not be hurt if I didn’t use it. I truly hoped I would enjoy it, and wondered how I could ever break the news to her should we opt not to use her foreword in the book. I really wanted to like it, as I took a deep breath and began reading.

I didn’t like Stephanie’s foreword, though. I loved it! While I have no doubt she could have produced a fine forward in 90 minutes, while watching TV, the hard work she put into creating this generous piece of writing (that’s what my publisher called it – a generous piece of writing) is so obvious, is such a great addition to my book – and so greatly appreciated. I teared up when I read it, then teared up again when I read it to my wife – who teared up as well. “Mick, that’s really beautiful”, my wife said. “And she obviously worked very hard on it.” She certainly did. First drafts. Proofreading. Edits. In the end, it was worth the wait, and I will forever be grateful to Stephanie McMahon for going so far above and beyond both the call of duty, and my expectations to produce something so eloquent and beautiful.

Sometimes, during the course of writing, some good stuff needs to be edited out for the overall good of the book. While I was writing SAINT MICK, there were times when I juxtaposed some running commentary of current events in WWE, with my experiences in the red suit. But, in the end, it wasn’t what was best for the story, so I had to lose some cool stuff – like writing at Santa’s Village the night before the historic women’s Hell in a Cell, as well as a carefully concluded assessment of Stephanie McMahon. It was an assessment I had arrived at after months of observing her and working side by side with her on Raw – where she bailed me out on many occasions when my short-term memory failed me on live TV. Every few episodes, if you watched or listened closely, you could hear or see Steph whisper to me, either to remind me of where the promo was supposed to go when my mind drew a blank (a frightening proposition on live TV) or just to offer me encouragement as I headed for the home stretch. In a business that lends itself so readily to one-upmanship, there was never a moment when Stephanie did not have my back. She played to my strengths, cleverly disguised my weaknesses, and helped make my time as Raw GM (which was hampered by a hip and knee that all but quit on me) far more rewarding and fun than it otherwise would have been. So here are some carefully constructed words I wrote about Stephanie, that, sadly, did not make the final edit, but which I will share with you here…right here in this article.

Stephanie McMahon is great. Not “great” as a synonym for “cool” or “awesome” or great with an exclamation point behind it in a text message to convey happiness in a single word. Stephanie is great in the sense that she possesses qualities of true greatness, with the potential to accomplish truly great things in her lifetime.

She certainly writes a great foreword!

“Saint Mick: My Journey From Hardcore Legend to Santa’s Jolly Elf” is available to order now on AMAZON and arrives in bookstores everywhere on Tuesday, October 17th.

For 2017 book tour information and more, please check out our SAINT MICK FAQs!

Mick Foley

October 5th, 2017

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