In his career with World Wrestling Entertainment, Mick Foley has been thrown from the roof of a 16-foot-high cage, where he crashed through a broadcasting booth; hit by a steel chair, which dislocated his jaw and dislodged a tooth; nailed with a removable stairwell wielded as a weapon by his opponent; and body-slammed on a bed of thumbtacks.
These made up just another day at the office for the professional wrestler known as Mankind -- one specific day at the office, in fact. All of these potentially fatal injuries befell Foley in the span of just 30 minutes, in 1998's notorious "Hell in a Cell" brawl with the Undertaker. The match's signature camera angle caught Foley's demented character smiling through bloody lips, the broken tooth dangling beneath his nose.
"One of the teeth I had knocked in half in 'Hell in a Cell' is still in half," Foley recalls. "It's taken on a bluish tint because of the damage to the roots. So while some people may claim to use a Bluetooth, I've actually got one."
These days, Foley is a more lovable, domesticated version of his in-ring persona, a masked marauder who enjoyed pain and spoke through a sock puppet. Since the mid-'00s, he's been retired from the business. "There's only so much punishment a human body can take," he says. "It's funny -- In my shows, I talk about the fact that I never felt like anything I was doing was particularly crazy."
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Foley's "shows" are a reference to his latest career turn: stand-up comedian/spoken-word artist. His one-man show, Tales From Wrestling Past, which he'll perform at the Miami Improv August 1, is the culmination of a storied post-WWE renaissance that has included four memoirs, a couple of coming-of-age novels, a surreal appearance on ABC's trashy-therapeutic Celebrity Wife Swap, the occasional acting gig, and now the comedy-club circuit.
"I never expected to have such a long shelf life in my postwrestling years," he says.