Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal
"As one of the most bizarre and fearless stars of wrestling in recent times, Mick is known for taking extraordinary risks to remain at the peak of his game. COUNTDOWN TO LOCKDOWN is a no-holds-barred, behind the scenes account of his mental and physical preparation for the TNA Lockdown - in many ways, the most important wrestling match of his career."
Countdown to Lockdown is professional wrestler, Mick Foley’s, fourth (and so far, final) autobiography. It deals with his departure from the WWE and his initial run with rival company TNA. The book is a collection of Foley’s diary entries leading up to his steel cage match against Sting at the Lockdown pay-per-view.
I’ve reviewed one of Foley’s books before, his first novel Tietam Brown, but this book is a completely different animal. The writing is nowhere near as tight as it was in his novel, Foley often jumps without warning from past to present tense and abandons stories halfway through, segueing into something completely different before returning later on, if at all. This lack of formality works perfectly though as, despite how it sounds, it flows incredibly naturally. Reading this book feels like you’re sitting next to Foley on the couch as he happily regales you with stories about his days in the ring. His jumps in subject matter mimic how conversation naturally flows, he is reminded of something and excitedly leaps into the next story following his train of thought.
Outside of the journal entries the book is also peppered with more formal article-like chapters. These deal with a range of subjects, from the actual conversation between Foley and WWE chairman Vince McMahon that took place when Foley left the WWE, to the meeting between Foley and his idol, the singer Tori Amos and a incredibly well reasoned article about the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, inspired by the tragic and sinister fate of fellow wrestler Chris Benoit. The steroid article in particular is a brilliant piece of writing, Foley himself is anti-steroid but his article brilliantly and concisely brings up a number of valid points from both sides of the debate and actually changed my mind about a lot of things.
But of course, it’s the wrestling that will really draw the majority of people to this book and it delivers. From brilliant memoirs of matches to Foley’s critique of the rivalry with Sting leading into Lockdown and a generous helping of revealing info into the inner workings of the wrestling business.
Obviously this is a book targeted at Wrestling fans, Foley doesn’t go out of his way to make the book accessible to those with no knowledge of the industry, but nor should he. He writes passionately and insightfully about the thing that he loves, I see no reason he should change that. If you’re not a Wrestling fan, you may find this one very alienating, but I’d still recommend you give it a try, like I said, Foley’s passion shines through and I’ve always felt that you can listen to someone talk about anything, even something you hate, as long as they talk about it with love.
Wrestling fan or not, the stories in this book are definitely told with love and Foley’s damn good at telling them.