26 January 2011
Book 6 of 2011
6) Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal by Mick Foley
Countdown to Lockdown is former WWE (and TNA) champion Mick Foley's fourth memoir that attempts to chronicle the six week journey to his match with Sting at the TNA pay per view, Lockdown. Attempts is the key word here because Foley takes the approach of alternating every third or so chapter as a "Countdown" to the match, while the rest of the chapters focus on various and sundry topics, from his short stint as a WWE announcer to his charity work all with lots and lots of Tori Amos. Seriously, this guy loves him some Tori.
Each of Foley's memoirs declined in quality after the inaugural entry, but I'd rank this one slightly above The Hardcore Diaries, his last wrestling-related book, because there's a lot more for him to cover this time around. In The Hardcore Diaries, Foley did a better job of chronicling the one match and how the build-up to what he wanted to do for that storyline went horribly askew of his original vision. However, in addition to the build-up to this particular match in the Six Sides of Steel (TNA's fancy name for a cage match), Foley covers his departure from WWE, his decision to sign with TNA, and shares his thoughts on the state of wrestling. While the timing of events is often confusing, his take on what happens - getting yelled at and disrespected on commentary by Vince McMahon, coming back for WWE championship matches he wasn't prepared for, and the Benoit family tragedy - makes for reading that is compelling and thoughtful.
At the same time, there are some completely throwaway and filler chapters devoted to Kurt Angle being overly sensitive about his amateur record and his kids really liking the Motor City Machine Guns. Foley's writing style almost makes up for it as it is conversational and self-deprecating, but too much space is devoted to inconsequential material that ends with a fart or fat joke at Mick's expense.
However, the highlight of the book is Foley's trip to Africa, showing the difference his charity work in Sierra Leone has done for the people there. It's easy to dismiss the pages devoted to his charitable contributions and time spent with RAINN or ChildFund International as self-congratulatory, but I didn't see it that way and found these chapters to be the most affecting and effective in the entire book. After my wife and I get a good assessment of our financial situation post-taxes, I'm really hoping to sponsor a child through Child Fund and that's all due to Mick Foley's description of his experience.
As a book, I merely "liked" it, but I think, if things work out well, I'll come to appreciate this volume of Foley's memoirs later on a lot more as an inspiration.