The Hardcore Diaries
Author: Mick Foley
Synopsis: A journal of Mick Foley's life from April 24 to June 15, 2006 (plus assorted non-wrestling stories).
Ed hemmed and hawed a little bit, before finally getting to the root of the problem.
"Vince is a little concerned about giving Terry a live mike."
"Why?" I asked, "because he thinks Terry's out of his mind?"
"Well, kind of."
"Well, of course he is, Ed," I said. "That's what's going to make this whole thing work. But the idea of bringing in one of the greatest promo guys in history and not letting him talk is ridiculous."
It was then that the conspiracy theorist inside me surfaced, causing me to ask a blunt question before I had given my mind a chance to decipher the wisdom of such a choice.
"We do want this show to succeed, don't we?"
When I first read The Hardcore Diaries several years ago, I took it as a light read and another brief window into the always-interesting life of Mick Foley. But reading it again now takes on a whole new meaning.
Let's examine the book's concept first: Why would the world need anyone think it a good idea to publish memoirs that span only a couple of months? The period it covers -- Mick's brief heel turn following WrestleMania XXIII that culminated in a tag team match with Edge at ECW One Night Stand -- isn't all that important in the wrestling history scheme of things.
It turns out that Foley put a lot of thought into what, for viewers, ended up being maybe 90 minutes worth of programming in total. Yet from the minute he walked into Vince McMahon's office with his concept, he had planned out everything right down until his departure from the company a few months later. It's safe to say, most of WWE's creative team doesn't usually do this much long-term planning for anyone.
And make no mistake - the one particular storyline Foley pitches ends up being arguably one of the best-told and most unique WWE has done in years. I'm watching the match at ECW One Night Stand right now, and would encourage you to check it out.
What's more interesting in retrospect, however, is Foley's admission that WWE is no longer the center of his universe. He openly criticizes McMahon and the writing crew for its handling of the ECW angle (in which he, Edge and Lita battled Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer and Beulah). He mentions Ring of Honor, Samoa Joe, and his (scrapped) plans to join TNA. And he mocks D-Generation X. All within a WWE book!
Looking back now, his jump to TNA in 2008 makes a lot of sense. Between accomplishing all that he had set out to do, becoming frustrated with the company's creative direction, and getting to a point in his career where his in-ring performance was sporadic - it was time for a change of pace. And that's what Foley seems to hint at here, even if he didn't realize that at the time.
Of course, writing about the near-end of his WWE career is only one small part of this book's charm. There are journal entries on his 2004 program with Randy Orton, thoughts on WWE Divas and porn stars (though not really in the same context), thoughts on resolving his issues with Ric Flair, politics, porn star Christy Canyon, and the extensive charitable work he does outside of the ring.
The Hardcore Diaries is organized in a "journal" format, allowing the reader to absorb various mini-stories and tales within the bigger picture story, which would prove to be his final major WWE angle until returning many years later.
Rating: Oh Hell Yeah! It's not my favorite of Foley's four autobiographies, but it's lots of fun, very readable, and gives fans a generous look at what goes on behind the curtain in modern-day WWE.