When Mick Foley is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this April, you can rest assured he'll deliver a powerful speech. As any one of his various personalities, Foley has given WWE fans some of the best performances on a microphone ever.
There were interviews and promos during his career that felt like theater.
They ranged from playfully demented to heartfelt and realistic. Foley's willingness to risk injury and to endure pain in order to entertain has certainly helped make him the beloved figure he is today. His hypnotizing orations, though, put him in an exclusive class of mic masters.
With rankings based on their emotive power, originality and entertainment value, here are Foley's greatest hits.
Injured after an attack by the New Age Outlaws, Mick Foley sat in the center of the ring on a 1998 episode of Raw.
He talked about Terry Funk's gutsiness, about how Funk and Foley both gave fans everything they had, only to go unappreciated. It’s delivered so well that it’s hard to tell how much of this is scripted and how much comes from Foley's true feelings.
This power of this performance built slowly, gathering fire as it went along. Foley's volume rose, as did his emotion.
The anger and bitterness that then erupts from him felt incredibly real.
On an episode of Raw in 2012, Mick Foley did his best to motivate CM Punk in what turned out to be a brilliant performance by both men.
Punk had been avoiding a showdown with John Cena at Hell in a Cell. He was well into his lengthy WWE title reign and began to count along for the audience's sake how many days he'd held the championship.
Channeling his inner motivational speaker, Foley elevated the Punk and Cena feud with an impassioned speech.
He screamed, "Do you want to be a statistic or do you want to be a legend?"
When Foley then talked about the constructing the moments that define us, about how one leaves a legacy behind, it was simply captivating.
Jim Ross wrote on his blog about the performance, "Mick's presentation Monday night was one of the year's best in-ring, verbal performances and was one of the highlights of the three-hour program from where I was sitting."
Mick Foley entranced the crowd from his opening line.
Blood above his eye, slumped in a chair in the center of the ring, Foley talked about how he didn't sell out by leaving ECW.
In this 2006 promo, he turned the act of going from ECW to WWE into an opportunity for poetic ramblings, for a demonstration in the disturbing. Foley spoke about how lovesick he was for ECW and how that company didn't love him back.
There was an element of truth powering this.
When Foley talked about the absurdity of Mr. Socko making him so much more popular, it felt like it came from a real place.
The buildup to Edge and Mick Foley's brutal WrestleMania match was almost as good as the match itself.
Foley, once known for his sadistic ring style, for his hardcore wars, had softened with age. In search of his WrestleMania moment, Edge sought to bring that side of Foley back. He could then prove himself by beating Foley in a hardcore match.
Once awoken, Foley's hibernating dark side helped him give an intense performance.
Foley said to Edge, "Do you know what you've done? You've created a monster. You've brought back to life the Hardcore Legend."
The script for both men was fabulous, and the deliveries were even better.
Mick Foley's funnier side helped created one of the most memorable segments in Raw history.
He dragged out The Rock's fake past life into the open under a shower of balloons and confetti.
Mankind and the Rock's strange and wonderful chemistry in and out of the ring was always a treat to watch. This was the pinnacle of their mic work together.
This segment doesn't have the emotional power of his darker performances, but was his most entertaining. It was an original concept that has since been repeated to lesser effect.
Kneeling in the ring, Mick Foley told women and children not to watch his upcoming match with Undertaker. He talked about its violence and disturbing nature.
So much of Foley's greatest promo work came when he was Mankind.
This demented poet once again delivered an original and captivating performance. The crowd is too hypnotized to chant or interject themselves into the show.
Foley asked them, "Do you know what it feels like to sit on an airplane with the stench of your own charred flesh in your nostrils for 14 hours?"
It's performances like these that make Foley so respected. Few men have been able to chill us the way Foley did here.
Jim Ross' long-form interview with Mick Foley (as Mankind) is a journey into darkness.
There may be no better acting performance than Foley sinking into the depths of his character, spilling out his innards to Ross.
Foley tells stories of his childhood, of learning to love to bleed. He denies having mental issues.
He told Ross, "If there is something wrong with my mind, I think I'd be the first one to know."
Ross' presence and the format of this give it a realistic feel, as if WWE fans are seeing a genuine bit of journalism.
In the process of being verbally prodded by Ross, Foley punched himself and talked about putting a needle into his spine so he could work the next match.
Eventually his emotions bubbled over and eventually Foley attacked Ross, capping an unforgettable segment with violence, as the audience's jaws slid wide open.