Behind a deranged mask, a deadly sock and miles of barbed wire is a man that believes every fan deserves to “have a nice day.”
And of the many faces of WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley, the beloved fan favorite is the one that appears Wednesday night at the RAC … right here … in Piscataway, N.J.
Foley appears at Wednesday’s Rutgers basketball game against Illinois, where fans can meet and greet an all-time legend.
“Whenever I do an event, the goal is to put smiles on faces,” Foley said. “I’ll sign autographs, pose for photos. Whatever my back allows me, I’ll take a couple of shots. I’ll do whatever I can to put a smile on everyone’s face that comes out.”
Foley’s Rutgers basketball experiences date back more than 30 years when he attended New Jersey Nets games at the RAC.
New Jersey holds many fond memories for Foley, including WrestleMania 29 when 80,676 fans celebrated his Hall of Fame induction.
“You’re talking about a state where I’ve wrestled many times, where I’ve traveled to see games many times I went to Nets games in Piscataway when they were changing arenas,” Foley said. “It’s one of the best. It’s not too far from home (Long Island). I can drive there and back in the same day. I’ve been all over the state so I have a great fondness for it. I always root for the Scarlet Knights when I hear they’re playing.”
Foley is one of the all-time fan favorites in professional wrestling and sports entertainment, but Mrs.’ Foley’s baby boy’s influence stretches far beyond the squared circle.
Foley is a multi-time New York Times bestselling author, traveling standup comic, actor, producer and professional Santa Claus
“When I left full-time wrestling in 2000, I thought I had about a two-year shelf life, so anything past 2002, I’ve been thankful for,” Foley said. “My slugging percentage when it comes to fan friendliness is way up there with the best of them I think.”
Foley, actor and producer for the 2014 documentary I Am Santa Claus, will be himself Wednesday but “Saint Mick” isn’t going anywhere.
“You’re going to see Mick Foley on Wednesday,” Foley said. “Santa has left the building in December. I’m back to the goatee and the look that most fans are familiar with. Don’t worry, I’ll be that guy again.”
Rutgers hosted fellow WWE legend Sgt. Slaughter in front of 5,805 and hopes for a similar turnout Wednesday when Foley arrives.
"It’s my first official college basketball appearance,” Foley said. “It’s about time. I’ve done Major League Baseball games, professional basketball games, minor league baseball, minor league hockey and I’ve made unofficial appearances for my local college – Stony Brook University. I’ve been a big supporter over the years of the college basketball atmosphere. I was a huge Big Ten fan, so when this opportunity came up, I kind of jumped on it.”
Following a series of February events, Foley turns his attention to the RAINN foundation – the largest anti-sexual assault group in the United States. Foley’s WrestleMania raffle to benefit Rainn begins March 1.