Mick Foley has been in the news a lot the past week for comments he's made.
First, he got a lot of attention for his announcement that he was not signing a WWE Legends' contract because he felt he did not get a good explanation for why his video game royalties were down, as reported by Marc Middleton on WrestlingInc.com. Now, it appears that his comments after the Royal Rumble a few months ago caused a bit of unrest in WWE.
According to Dave Meltzer in the new Wrestling Observer Newsletter (behind F4WOnline.com paywall), Foley's comments about how Daniel Bryan was being used right after the Royal Rumble were a much bigger issue than they appeared to be at the time, since he was used on TV afterward.
According to "someone close to people at the top," Meltzer was told that "some of the top people in the company were very upset at Foley" over what he said, presumably because he was a company ambassador at the time.
I get that mindset to a point, but it doesn't really make a ton of sense to me. Yes, he was very over the top, threatening to smash his TV (and eventually smashing a TV) and asking if WWE hates their audience. Still, it played into the eventual storyline of Bryan overcoming The Authority perfectly.
If I had to guess, a lot of fans probably got a lot more engaged in the storyline because of just how worked-up he was, and his tweets could easily be interpreted as being within the confines of the storyline.
If you read the tweets closely, he refers to "WWE" and not "the creative team" or specific people or anything like that. At the time, I was pretty skeptical of whether or not they were part of the storyline, and I know I wasn't the only one. It came off too perfect not to be. If he hadn't gone on to tell stories about his text messages to Vince McMahon and Bryan in unscripted environments like one of Jim Ross' speaking gigs I went to, I would have leaned toward it all being a work. Even more so since he did appear on WWE shows afterward.
Regardless, I think that those in WWE who were upset would be best off letting it rest.
On the heels of that came his post about refusing to sign a WWE Legends' contract, which Sean Rueter at CagesideSeats.com noted was later edited to remove all of the more specific details about the contract and his royalty payments.
Well, I can see why WWE would be upset about that post.
Specifically, Foley said that his royalty payments for WWE's last two video games were about 25 percent of what they had been in the past, and while he was aware that WWE '13 was plagued by issues with then-publisher THQ filing for bankruptcy. He added that he hadn't heard an explanation yet for the lower royalties for WWE 2K14...which implies he hasn't asked.
According to the data on VGChartz.com, sales for WWE 2K14 (1.59 million) are down significantly from WWE '13 (2.48 million)—this is the title affected by THQ's bankruptcy—and WWE '12 (2.65 million). That's a significant drop.
WWE also had to waive its claim against THQ in bankruptcy court to facilitate the deal that allowed Take-Two to be able to swoop in, take over the license, and publish WWE 2K14 in time for the 2013 shopping season. It's to be expected that everyone in the last three games would have seen their payments drop significantly the past two years.
I hope that both parties can make up, but Foley needs to refrain from posting such things, as he clearly regretted doing so shortly thereafter.