Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Canon Book Review: The Hardcore Diaries

Before I begin, I would like to mention that my new side project, The Western Movie Project, is up and running. We've already had one review on our first movie, Raging Bull, and more are to come in the very near future. So, if you want, check it out and tell us what you think. Now on to today's review, which is Mick Foley's third autobiography, The Hardcore Diaries. In case you are unfamilar with Mr. Foley, he is, or was, a professional wrestler who wrestled under the names Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love. Foley is a three-time WWE World Champion, and wrote two previous autobiographies, Have a Nice Day and Foley is Good. Both of his previous autobiographies spent a week as the number one bestseller on the New York Times Bestseller List. I have read both of Foley's previous autobiographies, and they are great reads, probably two of the top five books about wrestling that I've ever read. The Hardcore Diaries was released in 2007, and for whatever reason, I just wasn't terribly interested in picking up the third book when it first came out. But eventually I got it real cheap off of and, after only four months, I finally cracked it open and finished reading The Hardcore Diaries in about three days. A few thoughts about the book:

- The Hardcore Diaries is based primarily around the buildup and the match that Foley had at One Night Stand, 2006, where he teamed up with Edge and Lita against Tommy Dreamer, Terry Funk, and Beulah McGillicutty. The book is written in diary form and details each step in the storyline, from Mick's pitch to the WWE creative team to the various interviews and promos building up the match to all of the problems Mick had with the creative team constantly changing his ideas and finally concluding with the match itself. When the book begins, Foley is full of hope and vigor, and his writing shows it, as he is very positive and upbeat. As the events progress, doubts begins to creep in and Foley starts to lose hope, and his writing reflects that very much, so the last half of the book is basically Foley wallowing and pity and wondering just where everything went all wrong.

- The main storyline of the book, while interesting on it's own, really is not enough to justify 375 pages worth of material. So in between entries in his diary, Foley sprinkles in tidbits on what he had been up to in the five years since his last book came out, which, apparently, is really not a whole lot. Sure, Foley's been traveling around the world and doing charity work, and that's all well and good, but it's seems as if 1/4 of the book is dedicated to Mick Foley meeting famous people like Reggie Jackson and George Steinbrenner. That's all well and good, but after the 15th or so celebrity encounter it gets kind of tiresome.

- On one hand, Foley is quite willing to criticize the WWE when he disagrees with something they're doing, even the big names like Triple-H and Vince McMahon, which is quite unlike most WWE published biographies (Ric Flair's book might as well have been a 500-page love letter to Vince McMahon, for example. On the other hand, it seemed as if he was only critical of the WWE whenever they disagreed with one of his ideas. If the WWE let Foley do what he wanted, than he was quite complimentary of Vince and company. Maybe that's just human nature. Anyway, I am glad that the WWE did not edit out the most scathing parts of Foley's criticism.

- I must say, Mick Foley is a man that really likes his pornography. Heck, he spends a lot of the book talking about appearing on a radio show hosted by a famous female pornstar and about his relationship with said pornstar. He also devotes a lot of time and energy to detailing his relationship with various 'divas' such as Melina, Candice Michelle, and Trish Stratus. That probably did not go over too well at the Foley household, I'm guessing.

Overall, I would say that a lot of parts about this book, such as Mick detailing the events leading up to One Night Stand, and his description of his 2004 feud with Randy Orton, is entertaining for wrestling fans. Although some readers did not like Foley's constant talk of his charitable contributions or his family, I found those sections to be interesting myself. There is a lot of good stuff to be found in The Hardcore Diaries, to be sure, but I have two main issues with the book. One, the book, being in diary form, is not in any sort of chronological order, so it's hard to follow what exactly Foley is talking about from chapter to chapter since he skips around so much. The other issue is, well, the book's material itself is not particularly memorable. The buildup to Foley's match at One Night Stand was full of rather unremarkable moments (mainly due to the fact that the WWE seemed to have little faith in Funk or Dreamer, but still) and so, what you end up with is a story about an angle which very few people would find remarkable in any way. The match at One Night Stand was rather memorable, and Foley's promo on the show before One Night Stand would rank amongst one of the best of the decade, easily. Other than that, this is a book about a wrestling storyline that isn't exactly Foley's best work, which isn't necessarily his fault. It's a daring idea, but perhaps it would have been better for Foley to just write a third autobiography in chronological order instead of what is basically a 370 page blog.

Perhaps I am being a bit too harsh. After all, this is not exactly a bad book, and a lot of it was quite enjoyable. But overall it seemed to be missing a certain spark, if you will. I'll give The Hardcore Diaries a 6.45 out of 10. Thanks for reading, and if you have any comments about this post or ideas for future posts, than send them this way either by commenting or by e-mail at

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