Midway through Countdown to Lockdown, wrestler Mick Foley’s fourth memoir and ninth published work, the author says that “June 24, 2007, had been a disaster, probably one of the worst days of my year, possibly even my life” (p. 215). And that was before he’d heard the news that colleague Chris Benoit and his family had been murdered.
Of course, it was later revealed that Benoit had committed a double murder-suicide, murdering his wife and son in their home. Foley uses the tragedy as a cautionary tale to others in the business, warning of the affects of not only drugs, but the lonely business professional wrestling can be if you aren’t one of the lucky few to be on top of it.
Aside from the small portion of the book that deals with Benoit, death, drugs and Foley’s unhappiness with his final stint as an announcer in World Wrestling Entertainment in 2008 (which you can find some funny anecdotes about on pages 143–144), the rest is a riot.
Countdown to Lockdown is very much all about family, as are all of Foley’s books in some way or another. Another strong emblem of the memoir is Tori Amos. Odd, I know, but hear him out.
Foley was touched by “Winter” by Tori Amos, and it helped him get through one of his most brutal matches in Japan, in which he lost an ear via barbed wire hanging:
“And then there’s Mick Foley, who took the most beautiful song ever written and turned it into his own twisted ode to suffering and woe…” (p. 72).
Readers of Slate, Jezebel or this here blog from time to time will know that Mick Foley has been named man of the year by the Good Men Project, is a volunteer for Amos’ charity, RAINN and labels himself a feminist, amongst many other good deeds he’s used his wrestling career for.
I can’t recommend this—nor any of Foley’s books—enough. It’s got the perfect combination of violence and morbidity, family and fun, humour and intelligence, and empathy and charity.
Elsewhere: [Slate] The Wrestler & the Cornflake Girl.