HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) -- Call him what you want – Mick Foley, Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love or The Commissioner.
The Hall of Fame professional wrestler is on a 15-day tour and he visited the Perry County library, where hundreds – if not a thousand -- of fans had the opportunity to meet a legend.
“It’s a once in a lifetime chance to see him here in Hazard,” Perry County native Robert Campbell said.
Foley had several talks with the crowd and signed autographs Sunday afternoon.
“Although this will be a fun, light-hearted talk, I take the business of making sure everybody leaves with a smile,” Foley said.
With more than 30 years of experience in the ring, there’s one thing that seems to always come up: Socko – the smelly sock puppet he crammed in opponents’ mouths.
“You don't want to sit around your couch being that guy saying, "What if?" and you never know unless you try so I showed up in 1999 to cheer up Mr. (Kennedy "Vince") McMahon in the hospital, where he was hooked up with a heart monitor and a respirator for a bruised ankle bone because that's how we roll in WWE and I had a sock puppet to cheer him up,” Foley said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think people will still be talking about this15 years later, but it worked.”
Initially, he rarely bought a new sock to use.
“It was the same one for about two weeks and then I realized I was becoming the least popular guy in the WWE dressing room, and in respect to my opponents, I began using a different sock every night and then had to explain to my accountant why I was writing off two thousand dollars in socks every year.”
There’s a lot more to Mankind, who wrestled for more than 30 years, than just “Socko.”
“My favorite moment was the Hell in the Cell match: the Undertaker versus Mankind -- that moment I will never forget,” Austin Campbell, who has been a big fan of the pro wrestler for a long time, said. “That's the scariest moments I have ever seen. I was terrified from that one. I was thinking he had died right there, but he got back up for a moment and he fell off the roof of the cell right and collapsed into the ring and I was scared even more because I thought he was dead that time and he got back up. I was scared. He's not invisible but he is hard to break I tell yia.”
Lee County native Cody Johnson stood in line for hours to see Foley.
“He'll do anything,” Johnson said. “You ask him to do anything, and he'll do it in the ring. He's been thrown off the cell and thrown on tacks and he's just entertaining.”
His last match was in January 2012 at Royal Rumble. But Mick Foley is proud of the other success he has had.
“It felt pretty good to see my name on the top of the best seller list on a time when all of the presidential candidates had their books out in late 1999 and to see my name on top of all of those people was a pretty fulfilling feeling, and that's another case where you just don't know unless you try,” he said. “I wasn't a computer literate so I just sat down with notebook paper and churned out a New York Times number one best seller called Have A Nice Day.”
On a day he rocked a Santa Clause shirt for the 212th consecutive time, the 49-year-old Cactus Jack still finds a way to entertain his fans outside the ring.