Ward Melville High School alum and three-time WWE champion Mick Foley has some harsh words these days for the company, and it’s not a part of the show.
Foley, who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame last year during a ceremony at Madison Square Garden the night before WrestleMania 29, took to social media Sunday night to rip the company over its misuse of WWE superstar Daniel Bryan.
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After a Royal Rumble pay-per-view in which Bryan was beaten by Bray Wyatt, Bryan was omitted from the 30-man Royal Rumble match.
“Does @WWE actually hate their own audience? I've never been so disgusted with a PPV,” Foley said on his verified Twitter account.
Foley followed that tweet with a Facebook post in which he dropped a curseword while defending Bryan.
“Like many of you out there, I just don't get it,” Foley said as part of the post. “This Daniel Bryan thing is a phenomenon. You get it. I get it. The fans in Pittsburgh . . . got it. But tonight, for the first time, I had to admit to myself that the powers that be are just not going to get it. And that makes me sad.”
Foley’s feeling about Bryan being slighted mirrored the crowd at Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center. Before the Royal Rumble match, the crowd chanted Bryan’s name and offered a “boring” chant during the John Cena-Randy Orton WWE World Heavyweight Title match in protest. WWE fans have regularly chanted Bryan’s name at events -- often during matches and interview segments featuring other wrestlers -- to express their displeasure over Bryan being underused.
Real-life drama over creative direction has been turned into story lines in the past, most notably in 2011 when CM Punk “left” the company with the WWE title after his contract supposedly expired. (Although there had been real long-term discord between Punk and WWE, Punk actually signed a new contract just before a brief story line departure.)
When reached by Newsday Monday evening via text message, Foley made it clear that his reactions were all too real.
“Not a work at all on my part,” Foley said. “I was just calling it like I saw it.” He declined to comment further.
On Facebook Sunday Foley went on to lament wrestlers like Punk, Bryan and Dolph Ziggler who, despite their hard work, won’t get a chance to headline WrestleMania 30, which takes place on April 6 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Foley added that he’ll have no contract ties to WWE in a month, and while he says he will probably still attend WrestleMania, “I'm about 1/6th as excited about it as I was.”
He posted a Facebook message Monday evening in which he said he hoped the response he received from sharing his opinions will be a sign to WWE that “a little tweaking might be needed in order to save this WrestleMania from the prospect of 75,000 people booing, turning their backs, or walking out of its main event.”