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One of the most iconic and memorable aspects of Mick Foley’s legendary wrestling career was his ability to play three equally compelling, but extremely different characters in Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love. One of those, Mankind, was a crazed and psychotic masochist, but these days, he plays the quite opposite, but equally important, role of Santa Claus every Christmas season and has been doing it for years now!
The WWE Hall of Famer joined the “2 Lies and 1 Truth Podcast” hosted by Brandi Rhodes where he talked about why volunteering as Santa Claus is so important and fulfilling to him, as well as why he still does it. Foley has been outspoken about how he is now paying for his hardcore style of wrestling and is in constant pain. That pain took away Foley’s ability to participate in many activities that he previously enjoyed, such as going to amusement parks and riding roller coasters with his kids, and volunteering for the anti-sexual assault organization RAINN – something that he had to stop doing because his prior concussions made it difficult to endure bright lights.
Foley revealed, however, that the opportunity to dress as Santa Claus gave him an activity to look forward to, and making people happy fulfills him as a person.
“This was 2013, and part of the reason the Santa volunteering was so valuable to me is, I was really having fallout from head injuries,” Foley explained.
“And it was like, in rapid fashion, a lot of things I enjoyed doing, felt like they had been taken away from me. So, there was wrestling. I retired in a neurologist’s office where he said, ‘I’m telling you, you should never wrestle.’ Roller coasters, couldn’t do those anymore. At the time I was a weekly volunteer for a group called RAINN, which is the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the United States, and I was on at least twice a week assisting people in need and all of a sudden I can’t do that because I’m getting such bad headaches anytime I’m exposed to bright lights.”
Foley fell into a slump, but says finding volunteering opportunities as Santa Claus among other creative projects, such as stand up comedy and making Cameo videos, has helped keep him fulfilled. In addition, the Hardcore Legend and Attitude Era mainstay published two children’s Christmas books entitled, “Mick Foley’s Christmas Chaos” and “A Most Mizerable Christmas.”
“So this Santa thing comes around, and it really helps me. It gives me something now. And even sending out Cameo videos, it kind of touches on that creative aspect that a lot of us like in wrestling. And it’s one of those things, it’s hard. I tell my son Mickey, who’s a heck of a guitar player, I said, ‘You can play guitar for the rest of your life. I can’t show up at a party and start wrestling, you know? Like, those days are over.’ So you have to find something that makes you feel the way you felt in the ring. So now, doing the shows where I tell my stories on stage. The Cameo, the podcast, that all really helps,” Foley says.
“I send videos on Christmas Eve and, starting in 2017 when I really worked on my handwriting, I have about 40 to 50 people that I do handwritten Santa letters for and it is an honor to me to feel like I am part of somebody’s Christmas tradition.”
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