Mick Foley is mad, mad at Dave Meltzer, so mad that he wrote a 4,442 word rambling rant designed to bury Meltzer for the TNA website, while also teasing his latest book Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal. That Foley would be so mad at Meltzer is astonishing given that Foley is one of the Observer's sacred cows who is handled with kid gloves. Indeed, Meltzer has been largely positive of Foley's TNA work in angles, skits and interviews even going so far as to call him still "one of the two or three best promo guys in the business" in the April 1st 2009 Wrestling Observer Newsletter. So what on earth could have caused Foley to turn on Meltzer?
I think I've found the offending quotes. It all started badly when Meltzer didn't gush over his majesty's TNA debut in the October 13th 2008 Observer, instead criticising the booking and scripting of the show for making the company look minor league:
I wouldn't call it a bad show, but it was missing what the previous shows had and there was a huge problem in that when it was over, TNA made itself feel minor league on its own show.... But there is a context issue that TNA faces in that withthe current product and the setting, it feels like a stage play and you don't get that intensity needed. I saw the same thing in the Foley debut. The crowd went nuts for him, as expected since it happens with every big star having a debut. He delivered a good promo with some funny lines, but something was definitely missing and it was the setting. The other problem with the show, and this also hurt both promos, is when both were over, and the single lasting message when you watched this week's show, was that Vince McMahon was the king of wrestling and all these stars are in TNA more because they couldn't get along with Vince than because TNA is the best place to be.
This theme reoccurred in the November 5th 2008 Observer when Meltzer reviewed the over-hyped one off live Impact taping from the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas where Foley had a major announcement that would change the face of wrestling forever:
And they were back to making the entire business feel like a nostalgia act that is ten years past its peak when Foley talked about how it felt when he and Angle were at the cusp of something exploding when WWE got really popular, basically saying wrestling no longer is popular. Granted, it no longer is anywhere near that level, but I don't think you go on television and tell people that this was a business that peaked ten years ago.
And reared its ugly head most recently when Meltzer reviewed Tommy Dreamer's TNA debut crying promo in the August 2nd 2010 Observer:
Having said all that, there were aspects of the segment that really bothered me. There is nothing worse that TNA does than make themselves out to be the minor leagues on their own show. Dreamer being out there talking about how people had talked with him for years about coming to TNA but he had a family to think of right there says two things, 1) Either Dreamer isn't much of a star if he had to worry about supporting his family going to TNA; or 2) TNA doesn't pay anywhere close to as well as WWE in that a guy spent years being miserable, so he says, even though on their TV that entire time on ECW he never acted like he was complaining, because the difference in pay is that big. The worst thing you can do is tell people on your own show that you are the minor league. When Crockett was fighting tooth-and-nail with Vince in the late 80s on a town-by-town basis, and losing most places outside the core territory, when somebody quit Vince for whatever reason and came back, they didn't go and say how they were making more money but were unhappy. You didn't see Flair going on TV in 1987 or 1989 and talking about his glory days being 12 years earlier, even though to some older fans in some of the cities, they would have thought that way since that was their wrestling and their childhood, let alone have some old guy like Ivan Koloff cut promos about his feud with Bruno. They were attempting to create the illusion they were No. 1, even if they weren't, so at least their fans could argue the point. TNA doesn't even allow its fans to argue the point that their more athletic wrestlers are better because they are constantly stuck in 1997, right down to Earl Hebner on the house shows acting like his main claim to fame was screwing Bret when he's been a TNA ref for seven years, or Team 3-D, Raven or Rhino who all spent far more years in TNA than they ever spent in ECW, being categorized as primarily ECW guys.
More after the jump.
You can read Foley's bloated, melodramatic response to these comments yourself. Here are a few of the low points that sum up his argument:
But gradually, it seemed to me, that The Observer started developing a distinct feel of nitpicking, that "oh, yeah, you expect me to believe that" cynicism of someone who no longer enjoys pro-wrestling - and my desire to learn about the inner workings of my own business were replaced with the desire to not feel like a piece of garbage every time I took a look.
Whereas I saw it as being honest and emotional, Meltzer saw it as Dreamer doing "the Dreamer crying thing", which I guess means that he's cried before. The same way that Meryl Streep is just doing "the Streep crying thing" in Sophie's Choice".
Specifically mentioning the number one brand is a smart move, not a sign of desperation or inferiority.
I know that Tommy Dreamer gave a hell of a promo in the ring, and I know that guys who gave their blood, sweat and tears to help build a company like World Wrestling Entertainment have earned the right to talk about their past employer without making their current one look minor league.
I hope Foley didn't expect the wrestling media to bow down, kiss his feet and praise his wisdom for enlightening them to the error of their ways, because that wasn't the reaction his column received from his critics. Hopefully Foley doesn't listen to Meltzer's rebuttal on EdinSanAntonio's Over The Top Radio episode 110 at the 32:57 mark, where Meltzer blames Foley's rant on frustration that his TNA World title run last spring failed to turn the company around and any criticism of him gets under his skin. Wade Keller on his VIP blog went so far as to cite the brain damage Foley suffered during his wrestling career as a possible cause of Foley's recent strange bout of madness:
All of those chairshots may have changed Foley's brain where he doesn't even know how he comes off anymore. Reading that entire 4,400 words was really astoundingly narcissistic and un-self-aware of how self-absorbed he is. The amount of time he spends thinking about himself in those ways, breaking down where he finished in poll results to that much detail, was just weird and not healthy and a waste of human resources. His ego seems to have overtaken his soul.