Review: Big hearted Mick Foley, the wrestling raconteur

Unique: Mick Foley
2 May 2013 @ 4.59 pm
| Entertainment
Unique: Mick Foley
Unique: Mick Foley

Review: Mick Foley: Tales from Wrestling Past
Venue: York Barbican, May 1

Mick Foley, hardcore legend, three-time WWE Champion, Hall Of Fame member, two-time New York Times bestselling author and now comedian?

Well not quite. While Foley is well known as one of the best talkers in the wrestling business, what he does is tell stories. On this Tales From Wrestling Past tour, they are almost exclusively wrestling stories, which works for me.

I should point out, I’m a wrestling fan. It is not something I am ashamed of, but something I don’t necessarily tell people, and as our compere for the evening Chris Brooker pointed out, sometimes it is just nice to be in a big room full of like-minded people.

Wrestling is our dirty little secret, and in a room full of large, hairy men, Mick Foley is our king. He doesn’t fit the stereotype, doesn’t look like movie star The Rock (about who we heard a very funny and dirty story), but became a big star by having the most personality and heart. He made the most of his skills as a talker, and it is here that we find ourselves eagerly awaiting entertaining.

Compere Brooker did a great job of setting the tone for the evening, warming up the crowd with some excellent banter, while support act Carl Hutchinson “fandangoed” onto the stage with great energy and some good, but clearly new, wrestling-based material.

Then the man himself entered the room to a standing ovation, shambling onto the stage, knees ruined by years of leaping onto concrete floors, wearing not one but two Santa shirts (Foley loves Christmas). He introduced his act with some nicely self deprecating jokes, finding the level of wrestling geekery in the room and some nice local based lines.

Being on tour for the last few weeks has clearly helped Foley refine his local referencing, a strong Wayne Rooney joke and some colloquialisms often missed by Americans left us feeling like this was a unique show, not the same hour trotted out repeatedly.

A very enjoyable couple of hours indeed. If you know who Al Snow and Diamond Dallas Page are, don’t mind a dirty story or two, then this is the show for you. And to this crowd, on this night, Foley is indeed god.