Every great professional wrestler has to portray a character. Well, Mick Foley had to portray several, including Mankind, Dude Love, and Cactus Jack.
For Foley, some characters were more difficult than others.
“Dude Love was just me joking around. That wasn’t something I got real depth into,” the WWE Hall of Famer said on The DA Show. “Mankind was difficult because the character was very dark. I had to make it different than Cactus Jack. I didn’t realize that the entire reason for creating the Mankind character – I came up with the name and most of the nuances – but Mr. McMahon specifically wanted me in that mask. And I didn’t know until three years ago that the only reason he wanted me in that mask was the only caveat to hiring me was to cover up my face.”
“He didn’t think I looked like a star,” Foley said, chuckling. “I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time. I may not have accepted that role.”
But he did – and became one of the most recognizable professional wrestlers in the world. Mankind was likely Foley’s most enduring character. From the mask to his sock puppet, Mr. Socko, Mankind was as deranged as he was unforgettable.
“To try to take that character someplace dark, it was difficult for me,” Foley said. “I really threw myself into it and did the best I could with it. In the long run, it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.”
Over the years, though, Mankind assumed a softer personality and approach.
“By the time ’98 rolled around, the character had done about a 180-degree turn, and it was a very lighthearted character,” said Foley, whose latest book, Saint Mick: My Journey From Hardcore Legend to Santa’s Jolly Elf, is available for purchase. “So children who grew up remembering Mankind with The Rock and the sock puppet right be horrified to find out the origins of that character and to see that he actually did for a time scare women and children.”