On October 17, 1983, Jimmy Snuka authored one of the most iconic moments in professional wrestling history, flying off a steel cage at Madison Square Garden and landing on Don Muraco.
Mick Foley, then 18, was in attendance.
“That was the night I became a believer in magical moments,” the 51-year-old WWE legend and Hall of Famer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “These are just moments that people carry with them for decades or for the rest of their life. You can’t force a magic moment, but there has to be certain element in the atmosphere. The one thing we can agree on is there’s something special in the air about this Survivor Series. Given that atmosphere, a few of these superstars have a chance to create one of those moments that people will hold on to for a lifetime.”
That includes, most notably, Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar, who will square off at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto in one of the most highly anticipated main events in recent memory. Lesnar, one of the most recognizable stars in the sport, will face Goldberg, who rose to fame in the late-90s and early 2000s but who hasn’t wrestled for the WWE in 12 years.
The two squared off at WrestleMania XX at MSG in March 2004, with Goldberg winning on a jackhammer.
“When they wrestled in 2004, I think they were glad to be leaving,” Foley said. “I think Bill’s contract was up and Brock was going to try his hand at being a Minnesota Viking. I don’t think either of their hearts were in it, and it showed. It looks like they were main-eventing a high school gym on a Friday afternoon. I don’t like to say that, but it showed. I think for the last 12 years, it’s bothered both of them. You sit there on the couch and go, ‘What if?’ Now these guys have a chance. I believe it’s bothered Bill for 12 years. I believe it’s bothered Brock as well. I think they will more than make up for it when they tie up on Sunday. I think it’s going to get really physical in a hurry. We’re a PG show, but the pay-per-views are a different animal, and that one could get ugly in a hurry.”
Lesnar, 39, is a decade younger than Goldberg, who turns 50 in December. Still, these two will put it all on the line this Sunday.
“Brock has this ability – we call it suspending disbelief, so that when people are there it does become legitimate,” Foley said. “I believe Brock Lesnar makes the suspending disbelief easier than anyone since Terry Funk in his prime. Just to give you an example, Tiki and has been around me and my kids and I’m a pretty lax parent. I’m a pretty good parent but pretty lax. I have one rule: You can’t drop F-bombs in the Foley house. But the night that Brock Lesnar was wrestling John Cena, it got so real in a hurry that my son, Dewey, was jumping up on the couch and he keeps dropping those F-bombs and I couldn’t even be mad at him because he was doing it out of genuine concern for John Cena’s life. That’s how physical Brock can be. Brock makes it really, really easy. Bill’s a fighter. It’s like the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. It’s going to be ugly in a good way.”
Foley, 51, also weighed in on a topic of utmost importance for many current and former professional wrestlers: brain trauma.
Indeed, that problem is not limited to the NFL.
“Yeah, we definitely worry about it, and I think WWE has done a really good job of being at the forefront and changing things around,” Foley said. “I think the biggest difference – and this probably goes for football, too – it’s no longer considered a sign of strength to pretend you’re not hurt. It takes a braver man to admit they’re hurt. I’m writing this phantom memoir at this very time, and I’m talking about how as I got older, it was really hard to accept that it was taking less and less to hurt me worse and worse for longer and longer periods of time. I wish that the science had been in then. I wish I could have seen that the writing was on the wall. WWE, thankfully, their impact test saved me. I had two neurologists tell me I should never wrestle again, and I really believe that they saved me from doing further harm. With that being said, Bill and Brock on this one-time basis, there’s going to be a lot of impact in that match. I feel okay about it because Bill hasn’t been in there for 12 years and probably won’t be there for a long time afterward. But this is one of those cases where there’s going to be some serious physicality.”