… Then today is shaping up as a really excellent day for you. But while the (high) literary quality of Foley’s paean to d. original Joanna Newsom won’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with Foley’s super-readable memoirs, it’s still somewhat surprising to see the artist formerly known as Mankind opening up about his deep and abiding affection for Amos’s work in Slate. The essay, which was adapted from Foley’s (fourth!) upcoming memoir, is longer than the average pro wrestler’s tribute to weird chanteuses, but I can vouch for its worth as someone who doesn’t really care much about either wrestling or Ms. Amos. On sheer improbability alone, Foley’s piece is a winner.

It wasn’t until a year and a half later, on a tour of Japan, that Tori Amos and “Winter” started playing a role in my wrestling career. I had just left Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling, a bold move that had not been particularly popular with my wife. We’d just had our second child, and leaving a job with a guaranteed six-figure income (low six, but still six) might not have been the greatest example of responsible parenthood. This seemed especially true during my first tour for IWA Japan, a small promotion with a heavy emphasis on wild matches: barbed wire, fire, thumbtacks, and blood”lots of blood.

…I was terrified. This is a normal human response to the very abnormal prospect of being dropped head first, neck first, and, yes, even balls first on jagged metal barbs. How exactly does a gentle, caring man (me) transform himself into a willing participant in such a barbaric spectacle? I needed to find some kind of inspiration in a hurry.

I looked out the dressing room door and saw the Japanese preliminary wrestlers taking down the ropes, beginning the process of putting the barbed wire around the ring. The wire they used was the real stuff: cold and uncaring, capable of tearing flesh in a hurry. I knew I had about 30 minutes before the wiring process was completed”a half-hour to undergo a drastic mental transformation. I took out my battered Sony Walkman and, after great deliberation, bypassed the obvious hard-rock selections. Finding solitude in a far corner of the frigid backstage area, I saw a cloud of my own breath as I pressed the play button. “Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens/ Wipe my nose, get my new boots on.”

…And then I realize I’m going to be all right. Head first, neck first, balls first”it really doesn’t matter. By the fourth listen, I know I’m going to tear that place apart.

I imagine that I speak for most of CSTB’s readership when I say that I am greatly looking forward to The Iron Sheik’s take on Ani DiFranco.