It just wouldn’t be a WWE holiday special without St. Mick.
WWE legend Mick Foley donned the red and white (sWo) for the 10th “WWE Tribute To The Troops,” an annual holiday event to honor the United States Armed Forces.
Transformed into Santa mode, Foley welcomed the U.S. troops and their families at the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Va., where WWE conducted its crowd-pleasing brand of sports entertainment that featured appearances by Disney’s The Muppets, performances by musical guests Kid Rock and Flo Rida, wrestling by WWE superstars and divas and more.
“Honestly, it was a career highlight for me,” Foley said, “and has led to my new favorite hobby which is ordering and picking up food at a drive-thru as Santa Claus.”
“WWE Tribute To The Troops” has become a holiday tradition and is one of TV’s most patriotic and heartwarming shows. For this year’s event, WWE traveled to Virginia, visiting Naval Station Norfolk, the crown jewel of the United States Navy. The superstars and divas also toured Naval Station Little Creek and Naval Station Oceana as the Norfolk and Hampton Roads area is home to 125,000 active duty members, 830,000 veterans and many military families.
Foley also authored a new book released just in time for the holiday season. “A Most Mizerable Christmas,” a children’s Christmas story, is on sale now, and WWE superstar The Miz is a central character in the tale.
Isn’t The Miz’s ego big enough, and now there is a book featuring him?
“I disagree with you. Miz needs more,” Foley said. “This is perfect for him, and I’m very thankful that he’s embraced it and takes great pride in how big a jerk he is in this book.
“I have never been so happy as to see The Miz having a change of heart on our WWE show. When I saw CM Punk metamorphosing from the most beloved personality in WWE to the most hated, I saw my book’s chances sinking rapidly. Miz turned out to be the greatest proponent I could have hoped for.”
During Tribute To The Troops, St. Mick dispensed presents to all the good girls and boys at the Norfolk Scope. Did that include the book “A Most Mizerable Christmas?”
Foley answered: “No, but he was dispensing plenty of those Cactus Jack T-shirts, which apparently didn’t sell to well.”
Mick and Colette’s son, Michael Francis Jr., inspired the book.
“Eight years ago, when my son, Mickey, was three, I was trying to write a letter to Santa on his behalf, and he kept insisting he had enough, that he didn’t need anything,” recalled Foley, a multi-time New York Times best-selling author. “The more I pressed him, the more he would point out the toys in the house. ‘Look, I have toys there, there. I don’t need anything.’ He literally said, ‘Someone else could have my toys. I have enough.’
“Over the course of several months, I thought of putting that scenario into a kids’ story in a town lorded over by a mayor, McMahon, who took great offense to the fact that some kid thought he had enough.
“Then over the years, I realized it would be better set in a classroom, especially working with WWE’s Be a STAR campaign.”
The WWE Be a STAR program is an anti-bullying campaign in conjunction with the Creative Coalition where WWE superstars and divas visit schools around the country, discussing bullying with students and ways to eradicate it.
“One of my favorite days in the company, and Nattie Neidhart said it was her favorite appearance she’s ever done, is when we did our first Be a STAR talk with the [A Most Mizerable Christmas] book in Indianapolis. It all made perfect sense.”
Foley, Neidhart, The Miz and Kofi Kingston were happily booked for that Be a STAR book reading.
“We went from classroom to classroom reading,” Foley said, “and it was like doing a play. It was really a lot of fun. Next year I really want to see if Miz, Punk and I can get together and just do the whole book, almost as a performance piece, for classrooms. It would be really simple to animate this thing, and I think the story is timeless, no matter if the characters change, come, go. I believe it’s a good story kids will enjoy for years to come.
“Because it’s not in a wrestling context, it’s a story that will work every year [during the holiday season], whether someone is a wrestling fan or not. I learned from reading -- especially ‘Tales From Wrescal Lane,” and I probably read that at least a hundred times -- that teachers, who didn’t know the characters were based on WWE superstars, were surprised and fascinated by the books.”
• About the book “A Most Mizerable Christmas”
“For years The Miz has bullied his classmates — including Sheamus, Kelly Kelly, Wade Barrett, Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler and Natalya — yet managed to stay on Santa’s list of good boys. When a new kid arrives in town, he shakes the foundation of The Miz’s selfish beliefs and sets in motion a chain of events that results in The Miz trying to fool Santa Claus and his new helper, The Cenelf, on Christmas Eve. Will the new kid help everyone on Wrescal Lane enjoy the holidays while teaching The Miz a lesson, or will it be A Most MIZerable Christmas for everyone?”
Foley’s life is anything but ‘Mizerable,’ and his creative flair truly helps make ‘dad’ a one-of-a-kind renaissance man.
“I do get inspired by my kids,” Foley said. “This book is so important to me that it’s dedicated to them.”
The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.
“The Foley kids are creative,” he said. “My son, Hughie, has wrapped up eight or nine gifts made out of cardboard for me. Whether it’s what I put on my Christmas list or not, apparently dad is going to have a cardboard village on Christmas Day, and I could not be happier.”
The wheels are in motion, and Foley is already pondering his next writing effort.
“This book [A Most Mizerable Christmas] has already done well enough to merit a follow-up, which was my goal all along, and I’m really excited about it. So the next book will be inspired by Daniel Bryan who will be featured as a 7-year-old with a full beard.”
• Best Christmas gift Foley has ever received.
“Talking Football, when I was 7-years-old.”
Mattels Talking Football (with Dick Enberg): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XMzYNjcNb0
Foley continued: “I recently found all my old Christmas letters, and I didn’t ask for much, but I was pretty specific -- Talking Football, a Chicago Bears bank, an NFL bathrobe, catcher’s mitt, lineman’s facemask. It was very sports oriented.”
• Foley, 47, is as simple as he is unique.
A scruffy looking, flannel wearing combatant who treated his wrestling body like a battering ram, leaving pieces of it throughout the world including a piece of his ear in Munich, Germany, who would think he would accomplish so much outside an exploding barbed wire ring.
Foley proves if you can become a successful professional wrestler on the grandest of stages, you can do anything. Sans tooth (or two), he is an actor (commercials, movies, television shows), comedian, color commentator, TV show host, voice actor and New York Times best-selling author.
A hardcore legend and former champion, he is also a champion family man with a big heart.
Foley participated in numerous Make-a-Wish Foundation events, made surprise visits to children in hospitals, attended schools and libraries to discuss with students the value of education and the importance of reading. The Foley family sponsors several children with ChildFund International, formerly Christian Children’s Fund. He is actively involved with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), a group co-founded by singer/songwriter Tori Amos.
While Foley’s kids attended Sunday’s WWE TLC PPV at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Foley as St. Mick participated in a Twisted Sister Hurricane Sandy benefit.
“When they came home from TLC, I was still in my Santa garb,” Foley chuckled. “It reminded me of the big matches I had, and I didn’t want to get changed right away. You wanted to savor the moment as long as you could. That’s the way I feel when I do St. Mick. I don’t want to get out of the stuff.
“So they came home to dad as Santa but never on Christmas Eve. They know there is a big difference between das as Santa and the real thing.”
Foley also visits U.S. troops at various military hospitals and bases, including during WWE Tribute To The Troops.
WWE, USA Network, NBC and St. Mick will honor the United States Armed Forces with its 10th annual holiday special, “WWE Tribute To The Troops,” presented by Slim Jim.
The holiday extravaganza will air on USA Network as a two-hour television special starting at 9 p.m. EST Wednesday, Dec.19 and on NBC as a one-hour television special at 9 p.m. EST Saturday, Dec. 22.
• Foley, who is the most accomplished author of WWE superstars past and present, is one of several from his avocation to write a book. Most, if not all of the others, have penned autobiographies. Foley not only wrote autobiographies but also children’s books and fiction.
“You look in the WWE dressing room, and you have a handful of guys who have really written their own books,” Foley said, “whereas you look at the NFL, NBA, and nobody writes their own books. [Someone else writes their story for them.] I don’t want to declare that no one has in those sports, but I think it would be very rare.
“[In wrestling], JBL wrote his own book. Jericho did his own book. I wrote my own book. Edge. It’s become a pretty common thing for the wrestlers. I think they have learned that they have their own unique stories, and the only thing standing in the way of getting them out in their own words is the hard work.”
• A hard working Mick Foley blends his love for Christmas and writing into “A Most Mizerable Christmas,” a children’s Christmas story on sale now.
“Meet The Miz, the bully of Wrescal Lane. His world begins to unravel when a new kid moves to town and refuses to be intimidated. The story has a real heart to it and has important lessons to convey about selfishness and selflessness.”
“Great for kids who are wrestling fans as it has all of their favorite wrestlers. Also teaches a great lesson about giving and being grateful for what you have at Christmas time.”
“I have enjoyed Mick Foley’s work over the years. His newest children’s book is fun, looks beautiful, is written in an enjoyable rhyme and features one of my favorite WWE superstars, CM Punk. The young wrestlers in the book are cute and well designed. Foley’s well-known love of Christmas comes through in this story, and ‘A Most Mizerable Christmas’ teaches a valuable lesson as well.”
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Foley said: “I spoke to Damien Sandow [The Intellectual Savior of the Masses], and he actually believed we were doing something positive by encouraging children to read.
“He believes that the lines that read, ‘Another tear fell that day. Miz understood the irony. For though the snowman got new eyes, it is Miz who now can see’ is prose worthy.”
Foley enjoys writing various book types.
“Their all favorites in their own way,” he said. “What I love about doing the children’s books is that I can make that little world a better place in 15 minutes of rhyme, and hopefully that serves as a microcosm for the world at large. Hopefully the books encourage kids to read, encourages families to read together and make lives a little bit better along the way.”
• What would St. Mick give The Miz for Christmas?
Spoiler alert....Spoiler alert
“Those two chunks of coal came in really handy in the book. Miz learned a valuable lesson,” Foley said. “It’s the best use of coal ever in a children’s book.”
• Mick Foley’s “A Most Mizerable Christmas” (DK Publishing, Inc) is 48 pages and available at Barnes&Noble and online.