From the Bowery: For All Mankind: The Life and Career of Mick Foley (Blu-Ray Disc 1)
Posted by Robert Leighty Jr. on 09.17.2013
I wish I was half as respected by my peers as this man!
From the Bowery: For All Mankind: The Life and Career of Mick Foley (Blu-Ray Disc 1)
-Foley has had quite a few DVD releases over the years, but all have been mostly in regards to his matches. This came out just in time for his Hall of Fame induction and gives him the proper multi disc set with a documentary.
-Opening title sequence has Foley flipping through a photo album and letting us know that his story is a happy story.
-First up we start with the baby years and Foley tells us he was born in Bloomington, Indiana which makes him a Hoosier. Some of his childhood friends show up to tell stories about those years.
-Foleyís dad was the athletic director at the local High School, and thus sports were a big part of Mickís life. He played 3 sports in school and amateur wrestling was the one he enjoyed the most. He took it up to stay in shape during the winter for track. The team already had a heavyweight and it just so happened to be future TV and comedy star, Kevin James. Thatís pretty sweet and they have remained friends to this day.
-All during school years the one thing Mick loved on the academic side was writing. A female friend notes that he was very shy and to make up for that he did crazy stunts. That sounds about right.
-Talk shifts to being pro-wrestling fans and Foley puts over how big of a fan he was for Jimmy Snuka. That leads to the now famous story of Foley being there at MSG for Snuka/Muraco in the cage and that is the moment that changed his life forever. Seeing Snuka fly off the cage made Foley realize he wanted to be on that stage and that started his quest to make people feel the way Snuka made him feel that night in MSG.
-He became a student of the game and taped matches to study what they were doing to create great matches. He wanted to create a style without loopholes so that fans would wonder how he was able to do things without getting hurt. The secret was that he did things that did hurt and thus got pigeonholed as the guy who took abuse.
-Foley and his friends shoot home videos and Dude Love is born as an alter ego. He was everything that Mick wasnít and I chuckle seeing pieces of these videos (ďDude is a man that can bench press over 150 lbsĒ). A promoter at the high school saw the video that Foley and his friends shot and he put Mick on the ring crew. It sucked tearing the ring down and taking it 200 miles to an apartment and taking it piece by piece up an elevator.
-He gets to train with Dominic Denucci and he made sure that Foley was tested to prove that he really wanted to be a wrestler. He asked Mick to join his school in Pittsburgh (woo!) and Foley didnít realize how long of a drive it would be from New York to Pittsburgh and that cost him a lot of his college life.
-We get some great footage of Denucci and his students at the school. Included is a young Shane Douglas working out with Mick. Just some cool stuff here to see future champions in their early days learning the ropes. In a mind blowing moment Shane Douglas pops up on this set to give his thoughts about those early days. Never thought I would see Shane on one of these, but nice to see he didnít completely blow up any bridges.
-Mick has one match in his career and then Denucci gets him booked as a job guy for a WWF Superstars taping. Keeping in mind that Foley has only had one professional match he gets booked in a tag match against the Bulldogs. Damn, with a friend like Denucci who needs an enemy? The Bulldogs teach Mick a lesson and beat the piss out of him including a vicious clothesline that dislocates his jaw. Shane mentions that even with the rough lesson, Mick never complained and because of that the WWF kept using him as a jobber.
-The experience being a job guy there leads to him being used in the AWA and in Dallas as Cactus Jack. Foley made sure to come off crazy because he knew he wasnít the biggest and strongest so he needed something to connect with the fans.
-Foley drives to Atlanta to meet up with Shane who was in WCW (Dynamic Dudes!) and they book Mick two weeks later in a match against the Steiners. So first the Bulldogs in WWF and now he gets the Steiners as his first match in WCW? Damn! Sullivan asks him what his finish is, and Mick is caught off guard as he knows he isnít getting any offense in against Rick and Scott. He tells Sullivan he drops an elbow and Cornette lets Sullivan know he does it off the apron on the floor. Sullivan tells him to do the elbow on his partner after the match no matter how much he gets his ass kicked by the Steiners. He drops the elbow after the match and Arn asks him if he has any sense, and Mick tells him no, I have no dollars. Arn respected that and it cleared things up. Hayes now pops up and says he was worried Foley would be crippled by the time he was 30, and Mike Rotunda pretty much says the same thing. With all these people popping up and the people Mick has meet throughout his life I kind of get the feeling he is like wrestlingís Forrest Gump. Just in this one sequence we have heard from Sullivan, Douglas, JR, Regal, Rotunda, and Arn.
-Mick was a solid undercard face and when Ole took over the booking it was known he wasnít a fan of Mickís style so he made the decision to leave WCW even though he was making $1500 a week. He went back to the Independents and now he was determined to make Cactus Jack more serious and steal the show. He worked for All Japan for the first time and he just kept building the name he was making for himself.
-He comes back to WCW 15 months later and his confidence in his skills and in the character were sky high. He expected to be taking seriously and was told that he could be their #2 behind Sting. The two were paired in a feud and it was pretty fucking awesome as Mick comes out of a gift box and beats the hell out of Sting. He delivers the elbow off the second rope to the floor and that is the move that made Mick in his words. JR puts over how much Sting benefited from the feud and Mick says it was the feud that made his career. He also puts over how JR always made him on commentary even if he was losing a lot of matches.
-The fans begin to cheer Cactus Jack because of the crazy shit he does every night and that point is reinforced by Heyman and Vader. Mick makes sure to note that while they would say every week he loved pain that certainly wasnít the case. No shit! Speaking of pain and Vader, this leads to their tremendous feud. The two just beat the hell out of each other for months on end. Foley tells some tremendous stories about the feud that have been mentioned in his books. Just for fun I will touch on a great one he shares here as he is going to use a metal scoop shovel on Vader and before it happens Harley Race tells him to make sure it looks great or he will hit Foley with the shovel later. That puts the fear of God in Mick and he makes sure to wallop Vader with it. Awesome! Vader tells us that he has never been hit so hard in his life and guys in the back refused to come out to separate things as they were afraid of being drilled with the shovel.
-The rivalry became the greatest of Mickís career and I am still waiting for their Halloween Havoc match to be released on DVD. They had several brutal matches on Saturday Night that included Vader hitting a sick power bomb on the floor. The finish for their Havoc match sees Vader dropping straight back on the ramp with Mick on his back and the significance is that Foley had an insurance policy and he was hoping to cash in as he expected Vader to cripple him. Vader mentions that it wasnít the first time someone tried use a match with him as a way to collect on an insurance policy. Nice! Sadly for Foley he wasnít injured enough to cash in on the policy.
-We get hand held camera footage of Vader and Jack in Germany and yes, this is the famous match where Mick loses his ear. The footage is grainy and poor quality, but you can still see Mickís ear being ripped off by Vader after being torn by the ring ropes. He had four hours of plastic surgery and they actually did a decent job of making it look like an ear, albeit a small one. Mick was upset that WCW couldnít capitalize on a made story of one guy ripping off another guyís ear, so that leads to him deciding to leave WCW.
-At the time Mick had 2 children and made the decision, without telling his wife, to leave a guaranteed contract. That had to be pretty tough! A job is waiting for him in ECW and we should get a lot of Heyman during this segment. It also brings out Joey Styles as I am losing count of all the guys appearing on this thing. That says a lot to how many people like Mick! Much like Austin around the same time period, Mick used ECW to get out his frustration and it showed in his promo work. It always amazed me that those two took a similar path to get to the WWF by using ECW to work on things that we didnít get to see in WCW. The promos by Jack in ECW are mind blowing and just so raw and emotional that you canít help but believe every word he says. Heyman knew he struck gold 5 seconds into the first promo and knew the anti-hardcore Cactus Jack was going to be great in ECW. No kidding!
-Terry Funk had jumped to IWA Japan which featured Death Matches and Mick decided to go with him. Seemed smart at the time I guess. They did things to each other that should be illegal including Mick doing the move that ripped off his ear, but with barbed wire ropes this time. That is just insane and I know the price of fame is high, but fuck that. Their final match features barbed wire and C4 explosives and thatís the match that made Mick King of the Death Matches. Terry says it was his honor to pass that title onto Mick and there wasnít anyone else he would have passed it to.
-JR pushes for Mick in the WWF and he finally gets the call to come in as Mankind. We get some early sketches of the original design for the character and stuff like this has always been cool to me. Mick wasnít sold on the idea and it took a long phone call with JR to get him on board with the character. He agreed to the mask, but it did change in design. Shawn pops up and thought that Mankind was just going to be a different name for the Cactus Jack character, and credits Mick with making them totally different. I will admit that the early Mankind is my favorite of all the Foley characters as I just thought the idea and execution were genius.
-The night after WrestleMania 12, Mankind attacks the Undertaker and drops the elbow on the floor. Foley makes sure to put over Taker in making the Mankind character. Their first match was at King of the Ring in 96 and Foley was blown away with the fact that he was going over Taker. They proceeded to have wars with each other and they were just made for one another. Hayes actually mentions that he was there when they ďrecordedĒ the Boiler Room Brawl which confirms a not so well kept secret about that match.
-Foley mentions that some people still wanted Cactus Jack and that died down after Mind Games. Yes! The match with Shawn at Mind Games has been on countless DVD releases, but doesnít matter because it is one of the greatest matches you will ever see. Shawn, Mick, and CM Punk put over the awesomeness of the match and how it helped give the face Shawn character an edge. For years Mick has called this the greatest match of his career and I would still call it the greatest, but he would know better than me.
-The back story of Foley intrigued Vince so they did the famous sit down interview with JR. Foley didnít want to kill the Mankind character so he made sure to give true answers, but did so in character as Mankind. This stuff was fantastic and WWE would be smart to do things like this today. After the first video aired, Austin asked Mick if they were turning him face, and he didnít think so. He told Mick he would be a face in 2 weeks. Smart man! Foley mentions there wasnít a true turn, but he was just getting cheered more each week. He felt the fans were feeling sympathy for the character and I would tend to agree. The interview also introduced Dude Love to the WWF audience and more importantly to Vince McMahon.
-Mick gets a phone call from Vince early one morning and he asked if Foley would like to be Dude Love. The story is that Mankind wanted to be Austinís partner and kept getting stunned for his trouble. Eventually Dude Love makes his debut on RAW as Austinís partner and the look on Austinís face is priceless.
-Now we move to the HHH feud and their cage match at SummerSlam that opened the show. This was a point where Foley was playing both Mankind and Dude, so Vince decided to add a third character, or I guess really bring back the original character. On RAW from MSG, Dude and HHH were to have a Street Fight, but in a great moment Dude and Mankind have an interview together and they bring out Cactus Jack. Whatís amazing is that they nearly copied this setup for their 2nd feud in late 99 early 2000 in bringing Cactus back once again. The initial pop for the debut of Cactus Jack is pretty insane considering itís the same guy just playing a different character, but it shows how different Foley made each character. They proceed to have a kick ass Street Fight that tore the house down.
-We move ahead to the day after WrestleMania 14 as the Austin Era and Attitude Era had really begun. The new DX beat the hell out of Jack and Funk in a steel cage and Foley mentions he was pissed that Waltman (who is a friend) gave him the bronco buster and then got more pissed with the fans chanting for Austin. Mick knew he wanted to hold onto that bitterness and use it down the line when needed. That of course leads to the Austin/Dude Love feud in the spring of 98. Their Over the Edge match is the stuff of legends and the best match featuring Dude Love.
-By the summer, Mick felt he was being forgotten a bit by the fans because of the constant changes from one character to the next. As we roll to King of the Ring and Hell in a Cell he didnít feel like he could do anything memorable, and boy was he fucking wrong. The Miz pops up to talk about the match and tells that he will never forget where he was. Sheamus mentions he saw the match live at 2 AM and thought Mick was done. Mick survives the first fall somehow and then heads back up the cell in what wasnít probably the smartest move as the 2nd fall is the one where everyone thought he was dead. They slow down the fall and it is amazing he didnít break his neck. Funk was scared to death and is still amazed he survived. Foley knew the match should have been over after the second fall, but they continued. After the match, Vince came up to Mick and thanked him for everything he had done for the company but never wanted to see him do anything like that ever again. He put a governor on Mick and since then Mick is happy that the WWE has become a safer place where something like that match will never happen again. HHH puts over how awesome Mick is for getting through that match and somehow showing up the next day. He may not be God as the signs claim, but he appears to be pretty darn close.
-After the match Mick and his family decided they needed to change their lifestyle as they knew retirement was coming and Mick also knew he needed to change the Mankind character. So he decided to play more of a comedy character and shit was awesome! ďSugar coated testes, is that a breakfast cereal?Ē Others keep showing up to put over the comedy, but I canít stop laughing from the sugar coated testes line. Let me get myself together here!
-Ok, so Vince and Mankind get paired together and anytime you are paired with the Boss itís always a good thing (Daniel Bryan). Mr. McMahon suffers a life threatening bruised ankle so he gets visited in the hospital by Mankind. That leads to the birth of Mr. Socko and Mick gives credit to Al Snow for coming up with the idea. Mick feels that the sock would have been forgotten had they not ended the segment with a close up of Vince and him saying in a disgusted voice, ďMr. Socko.Ē
-The next week they are in Detroit and Russo asks Foley if he has the sock with him. Mick is shocked by the reaction to the sock, and becomes the man who pulls a sock puppet out of his pants every week. Mankind had a lot of sympathy, but was still a heel as they headed to the WWF Title Tournament at the Survivor Series. That all changed with the double turn with the Rock and Mankind is back in the WWF Title picture. It was clear the Rock was destined for greatness and that they were building towards Austin/Rock at Mania. They needed someone to get Rock to Mania and Foley was honored that he was given the spot. He took it as a challenge to prepare the Rock and make him heading into his match with Austin. They had good chemistry that got better with each match they had, and Rock puts over how much Mick put his body through.
-Jan 4, 1999: The Rock defends the title against Mankind at the height of the Monday Night Wars and in one of the greatest moments in the history of RAW, Mankind wins the WWF Title. HHH mentions that he was so happy for Mick and he was proud to be there holding Mankind on his shoulders with the rest of DX. Mick mentions he never realized how big of a deal it was until he actually had the title in his hands. They actually donít bring up Schiavone and his comment on Nitro.
-The ďI QuitĒ match at the Rumble is next and the goal Foley set was to make the Rock look vicious. The Rock is still amazed at the things Mick allowed him to do. They raised the bar a little too high with that match and again something we will never see in the WWE again. Mick felt they got carried away and the match stopped being entertaining with all the unprotected head shots. I tend to agree with that, but at same time I grew up with this crazy shit and kind of miss these days even if I know itís better for all involved to be protected from themselves now.
-The Rock N Sock Connection is touched on next and the chemistry between the two gets even better as they are 100% perfect for each other as a team. The set a RAW ratings record with ďThis is Your LifeĒ and Rock calls it one of the best moments of his career. Mick mentions that nobody remembers any great matches they had as a team, but people wonít forget them because of all the other stuff they did to entertain. Case can be made that their last match as a team at Mania XX is their best match as a team.
-The WWF signed a deal with a book company to do 3 stories and Foley was the first. He knew immediately he was the guinea pig as The Rock and Austin were to be the next two. Mick had problems with his ghostwriter and let Judith Regan (publisher) know and told her he would like to write the book himself. They actually get Judith to talk about the book and they had reservations about letting Mick do it himself so they let him write a few pages to see if he could do it. They were happy with what he wrote and they gave him the green light to do it on his own. He sat with pen in hand and wrote over 700 pages. He worked on the book everywhere he went and loved having non-stop flights across country as it gave him 6 hours to write. HHH was on those flights and loved being able to read what Mick was writing to give feedback. Foley mentions he had knee surgery and made sure he wasnít given pain meds as he didnít want it messing with his mind and memory. Damn! The book company was shocked by it being over 700 pages and they agreed to go with everything he wrote and they were shocked that it became a bestseller so quickly. As one would expect, I do have a copy of the book and itís actually autographed by Mick as he came to speak at my college. I actually have it signed, the second book signed, and his novel Tietam Brown signed. The book sold millions of copies and that has put Mick in an elite group of bestselling authors. Mick is proud that other guys in wrestling since then have written their own books without a ghostwriter.
-Mickís career was starting to wind down and when he mentioned to Vince he was having memory issues, Vince told him he was going to have his last match at Survivor Series. That was the plan, but Austinís injury left a huge void and Mick told Vince he would help out for a few months. HHH mentions that Austin was the top guy and he and Mick were given the ball to run in the winter right after Austin was put on the shelf. That leads to Rumble 2000 and their classic brawl at MSG that made HHHís career. Foley calls it one of the Top 5 Matches in his career and HHH calls it one of the best in his career as well. They follow that up with Hell in a Cell and people were concerned what Foley was going to do, but thankfully they prepped the ring. Foley calls it the perfect way to end his career and then he went and ruined it a few weeks later. He mentions that it bothered Vince that Foley never got a chance to Main Event a Mania. JR called him and let him know that they wanted him in the Main Event at Mania, and Foley was in a weird position where he was asking them to take him out of the match. He fought hard against it and he knew his heart wasnít in it, and he still wishes to this day he didnít come back. Damn! There is a great story about this match on Disc 2 that we will discuss later.
-Foley shaved his head and beard in summer of 2000 as a way to signify that he was done as a wrestler. People still recognized him though because of the deformed ear. Two weeks later, Vince calls and asks him if he wants to be the Commissioner, and he of course says yes. Foley mentions that he had so much fun in the role and the tone was set with his first backstage segment with Edge and Christian. The stuff with those 3 and Angle were so hilarious that I would buy a DVD with nothing but their backstage stuff. Mick made the decision to shed the hardcore legend persona and take things in a light direction. He loved that the production crew was searching for weird places to build his office and them decided to make a mobile office. The make sure to point out that a Make-A-Wish girl gave Mick a orange, plush dog named Sarge and they made sure to have the dog in every office scene. His favorite moment was with Kurt and he puts over Angle as a comedic figure. He was only commissioner for 6 months and regrets that he didnít hold the position for as long as possible. He feels he is the best there is, best there was, and best there every will be in regards to his role as the commissioner.
-Mick wanted to write a novel, and he did it without the backing of the WWE and that caused a lot of friction. Mick asked to get out of his contract and they let him go, knowing they would be able to do business again down the line. That time is 18 months later and Mick comes back to the be the ref for HHH/Nashís Hell in a Cell Match. Mick gets a special ceremony on RAW at MSG after the show, and he heads off again for a bit.
-He comes back for Mania XX to do his first match in 4 years with The Rock against Evolution. The match was a shit load of fun, but Foley felt he didnít deliver in the match. He may feel like that, but everyone else in that match was great including Rock and Flair stealing the show against each other. Mick wanted another shot at it, and that leads to the Backlash match with Randy Orton. Mick mentions we will never see a match that violent ever again in the WWE. This was the match that made Randy Orton and Mick calls it the match that topped what he did with Shawn at Mind Games. Mick wishes that he would have stopped there as it was another perfect ending.
-Mick goes off from there and does a lot of charity work. He took trips to the Philippines and we find out that Mick has done a lot. I didnít know this, but it seems there is a middle school named for him and his wife. Now Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister shows up to let us know that seeing Mick do all his charity work, led him to do more charity work and he still canít touch what Mick has done. He is embarrassed that he hasnít been able to do as much.
-Mick also had a chance to take a look at wrestlers on the Independent scene and he would call Vince to let him know about certain guys. Two of the guys that he pushed for Vince to take a look at: CM Punk and Samoa Joe. With this and Punkís DVD, I get feeling that Joe can come to the WWE anytime he wants, and I hope he really does end up there one day. They seriously could have just mentioned that Punk was who Foley had seen, but they make sure to mention Samoa Joe. That has to count for something, right?
-WrestleMania 22 is next and Foley finally gets his WrestleMania moment with Edge and their epic brawl complete with the flaming table. That was my match of the year for 2006, and I will still stand by that call. Regal and Miz were blown away by the match and Miz is still stunned they finished a match with a flaming table. Mick was thrilled with the match and was another case where he should have ended his career.
-He admits that every match after Backlash with Orton has been partially about the money. Various guys talk about how hard it is to walk away, and either way you are damned if you do or damned if you donít. Eventually he was told by a doctor that he should never be in a match again. He is happy the WWE wonít every ask him to do a full match again. There are still a lot of ways he can be with the company, but the door is finally closed on his in ring career. I wonder if he felt that way before his run with TNA and how he feels about that time since.
-The talk shifts to his college speaking gigs, and again, I am proud to say he came to California University of Pennsylvania when I was a student and got to meet the man. He stopped speaking in 2006 and became a standup comedian. His friends rag on him a bit and mention that he is getting better at it. His daughter actually appears on camera and boy has she grown up. She is a rather attractive young lady and obviously all of that is coming from her mom.
-Everyone starts wrapping things up with their thoughts on Mick and his career. Again, this documentary easily features the most talking heads and that is a testament to how many people are fans or friends of Mick. Just in the wrap up we get: HHH, Joey Styles, Miz, Punk, Douglas, Michaels, Michael Cole, Arn, Vader, Regal, Kofi, Show, Cena, Heyman, Road Dogg, his daughter, JR, Funk, and Hayes. On the day I am no longer here, it would be an honor to have a tenth of the respect from my fellow man that Foley has from the people on this set. He wraps up by simply stating that he is doing pretty, pretty good!
The British Bulldogs (w/ Capt Lou Albano) vs. Jack Foley and Les Thorton WWF Superstars: Sept 1986
-This would be Foleyís 2nd professional match and his WWF debut as enhancement talent. This match is also the first to include audio commentary from Mick and Joey Styles. I will be using their commentary for each additional match they appear as well. The Bulldogs were the Tag Champs at this point and Mick notes that he knew he was in trouble when he realizes Thorton is from England, is a veteran, and sees Les doing a nice chain sequence with Davey Boy. It was then that Mick knew he was going to get destroyed. The tag is made to Jack and Davey hits a nice snap suplex as Mick mentions he was honored to take the bumps. A tag is made to Dynamite and he fucks up Jackís world with a head butt and Mick mentions thatís when shit got real as it knocked him for a loop. Davey gets the tag again and Jack tries to throw some weak offense and Mick mentions that in the ring at the same time he could see Dynamite shaking on the apron at the idea that Mick was trying to do some offense. Dynamite gets the tag and he dislocates Mickís jaw with a clothesline and the Bulldogs finish with a top rope belly to back suplex (where Mick mentions he forgot to tuck his chin) at 3:41. That was the last match where Mickís mom watched one of his matches live. Mick tells Joey he did wrestle the next night against the Killer Bees in a terrible match, but he was gaining a little respect in the back.
Winners: The British Bulldogs via Dynamite pin on Jack Foley at 3:41
-Just your normal 80s WWF Superstars Squash that is more a historic curiosity than anything. The added commentary was a nice touch though. SQUASH
Cactus Jack and Gary Young vs. Scott Steiner and Billy Travis AWA All-Star Wrestling: Oct 1988
-Obviously the draw here is seeing a young Cactus and a young Scott Steiner. They start the match and Scott looks ripped here in a much healthier way than later in his career. Harvey Wippleman (known as Downtown Bruno) is the manager of Jack and Young in this match. Steiner and Travis hit a double elbow and get a two count off that. The tag is made to Young and they trade heavy blows in the corner. Travis hits a few armdrags and backs Young into the corner. A splash in the corner misses, and the tag is made to Jack. Ever the good heel, Jack goes to the eyes to stop a comeback and locks in a headlock to keep Travis in their corner. Back in comes Young and he just launches Travis in the air as for some reason the commentary goes silent (Lee Marshall and Verne Gagne). Perhaps they went to commercial. Steiner gets the tag and gets a roll-up on Cactus, but Young blasts Steiner with a boot while the ref is dealing with Travis. Thatís enough for Jack to get the pin on Steiner even with Travis trying to pull Jack off by the hair at 4:05.
Winners: Cactus Jack and Gary Young via Jack pin on Scott Steiner at 4:05
-Not really much to this at all, but again something rare and kind of cool to see (or hear) people that would go on to some level of fame in the WWE or WCW. *
Cactus Jack Manson vs. Brickhouse Brown Wild West Wrestling: April 1989
-This match takes place in the famous Sportatorium in Dallas, Texas and has better production values then the previous match from the AWA. Wild West Wrestling started in 1987 and was absorbed into World Class Championship Wrestling. Brown is a journeyman who enjoyed some success in the USWA in feuds against Lawler and company before a run with WCCW, the AWA, and Continental. Not often you get the full ďCactus Jack MansonĒ name and you can see he was still flushing out the character. The crowd is firmly behind Brown which always makes for a fun match when you at least have a hot crowd. They tie up in a test of strength and judging by physique alone that may not be the smartest decision by Jack. Sure enough he loses the battle and Brown dances after a few armdrags. The announcers have yet to talk about this match as they are concentrating on a Texas Street Fight and another brawl that occurred on the previous card. They fight on the floor for a few moments as Brown hits a double axe off the apron and then head back into the ring. Brown goes after an arm and works a hammerlock, but Jack is out easily. The announcers hype a title match with Lawler defending against Kerry Von Erich and all the politics between the USWA and WCCW. Brown gets a two count off a roll-up and blocks a suplex to deliver one of his own. An elbow misses and Jack goes for a cover, but it only gets two. Jack goes to a headlock as the announcers continue to ignore the match and focus on the upcoming show in Dallas on Friday. It seems this match will also take place on that card as well, so probably why they could give a ratís ass about this one. They arenít really missing much though as Jack continues to work the headlock. He lets Brown get to his feet and hits a clothesline to get a near fall. Back we go to the headlock, and finally after 8 minutes the announcers start focusing on the match though they only bring up the fact that there is only a minute left in the match. It seems they are just as bored by this match as I am. Brown hits a swinging neckbreaker and hits a flying forearm, but the time limit expires at 9:39 before he can cover.
Winner: Time Limit Draw at 9:39
-Just a weird match, but I canít fault the announcers as they were doing a major hard sell for their card on Friday in Dallas. My guess is this was just a match thrown on TV to give these two a chance to work on things for Friday in Dallas. Perhaps one day we will get the rematch on another Foley set down the line to see who won the match on Friday in Dallas. Friday in Dallas! *1/2
Cactus Jack vs. Keith Hart WCW Power Hour: March 1990
-Mick actually pops up to introduce this match and explain why it is included on the set: namely he wanted to show a match from the early days where he got to squash someone and not take a beating. This would not be a Hart from Calgary, but instead Keith Hart from Tennessee. Jack is being managed by Kevin Sullivan at this time and was also when WCW was whoring itself out by having advertisements mounted around the ring posts like boxing. In this case the sponsor is Roos. This show is coming off WrestleWar 90 for those interested. Jack dominates as you would expect as Sullivan looks on with a smile on his face. The great commentary team of Sole and Ross do the honors and so refreshing to be able to hear Gordon again. Jack slaps the poor kid in the face repeatedly and then stomps away on the mat. He puts Keith on the top rope and then just pulls him off on the back of his head. Cactus rubs Hartís face in the mat and then drags him to the middle ropes to let Sullivan get in a cheap shot. A belly to back suplex follows and then Jack connects with a sweet clothesline that Hart sells with a flip. Nice! Now thatís enhancement talent! They brawl on the floor and that wonít be good for Keith and sure enough he gets clotheslined over the security railing. In a great spot that is totally unnecessary for a job match Cactus hits the elbow off the apron to the concrete and makes sure to do so by sailing over the security railing. Sick! Again not the smartest thing for a job match, but if you are going to go balls out might as well do it on TV in your first real chance to show you can kick some ass. The pin is academic in the ring and Jack makes sure to hook the leg at 5:37.
Winner: Cactus Jack via pin at 5:37
-A total squash, but an entertaining one and easily the most enjoyable match of the set so far. The crowd was getting into Jack because of his crazy shit even if he was a heel and paired with Sullivan. SQUASH
Submit or Surrender: Sting vs. Cactus Jack WCW Power Hour: Nov 1991
-Foley is back again to introduce this match and puts Sting over as his first Main Event program. He calls this possibly the best match of his series with Sting because they had wrestled so much that it was a challenge to come up with something the fans hadnít seen yet. The bell rings and the brawl is on as this is no DQ thanks to the submission or surrender stipulation. Cactus misses a clothesline and falls to the floor. A Rubbermaid garbage can gets introduced and Sting gets blasted with it across the back. He fights back though and hits Cactus with a belly to back suplex onto the can. They head back in the ring and Sting abuses Jack win the can and put it over his head. He drops a leg on Jack who is still trapped in the can and comes off the top with a splash. Jack finally frees himself of the can, but eats a clothesline for his troubles. Sting tries a leapfrog, but Jack cuts that off with a head butt to the balls. Effective! He abuses Stingís little Stingers a little more and takes Sting down with a face plant. He drops a knee as JR effectively runs down the gift box angle with Jack and Abdullah and that Luger was behind the whole thing. Sting gets tossed to the floor and Jack grabs a chair from the front row (though the fan fought hard to keep hold of it) to blast Sting across the back. Sting is doing all he can to create space, but Jack is relentless as they head back into the ring. Things finally slow a bit as Cactus goes to the chinlock and that gives the kids a chance to rally behind their hero. Sure enough he fights back to his feet, but a head butt cuts off this comeback attempt. Again we go back to the chinlock as in this case it is a smart move as you need to try to end this with a submission. Another Sting comeback attempt is thwarted and Jack hits his signature double arm DDT. I always loved that move, but then again I am a sucker for all things DDT. Sting finally gets back on track with a slingshot plancha to the floor and he hits a suplex on the floor as well. They head back into the ring and the Stinger Splash misses, but Sting saves himself and heads to the top. He gets caught coming off though and gets dropped with a Stun Gun. Nice! Back to the floor we go and Jack hits a backbreaker in the aisle. That sets up the diving elbow off the apron and we get a classic ďBang-Bang.Ē Jack grabs the mic and asks Sting to quit, but no dice on this occasion as Sting is defiant. Another chair gets introduced, but Sting moves out of the way and the chair bounces back to hit Cactus in the face. A dropkick sends Jack off the apron and his head bounces off the concrete in a sick spot. Sting locks in the Scorpion on the floor and it seems the ref just stops the match at 12:57 because Cactus is out cold.
Winner: Sting via the Scorpion Deathlock at 12:57
-I donít think this was as nearly as good as their classic Beach Blast brawl, but this was still a damn fine match with some crazy stuff for the time. ***1/4
Falls Count Anywhere: Cactus Jack vs. Van Hammer WCW Clash of the Champions XVIII: Jan 21, 1992
-Hammer charges and dives over the top from the ramp and gets a crossbody for two. A legdrop to the back of the head gets another two count as Hammer appears to be trying to end this one early. The Cactus clothesline sends both men to the floor and Hammer gets sent flying into the security railing. Jack pulls back the mats to expose some concrete and he sends Hammer face first into it. Cactus heads up top and comes off with a sunset flip that does more damage to his own body as he hit with a sick splat. Damn! That was just all kinds of wrong. They brawl on the ramp and Hammer hits a nice power slam for two. They head up the ramp and Jack tries a suplex, but Hammer counters to a small package for two. Jack threatens to hiptoss Hammer off the ramp, but it gets blocked and Cactus is the one who ends up taking the plunge. Naturally! Hammer does show some balls by diving off the ramp with a clothesline to the floor. They disappear behind the stage as we head towards a break. We come back with them fighting outside the ring in the parking lot. Missy Hyatte is backstage to provide commentary for some reason as you could probably make a lot of jokes about her being out back in the parking lot. The fight heads into a nearby rodeo arena and Abdullah the Butcher shows up and he accidentally nails Hammer with a shovel. That lets Cactus get the pin at 6:26. The Butcher and Cactus brawl after the match and Cactus nearly gets drowned in watering trough. Abdullah tosses Missy into the water as well and then goes back to brawling with Cactus as we fade away. Crazy!
Winner: Cactus Jack via pin at 6:26
-Fun stuff that was beaten to death years later by the WWF with their hardcore division, but this took place 6 years earlier, so kudos for bringing something different to the table. **1/4
Barbed Wire Match: Cactus Jack vs. The Sandman (w/ Woman) ECW: May 1995
- This in non-title as Sandman is the current ECW Champion, but really who would defend the title in a match like this. The Sandman is rather reluctant as he hadnít embraced his crazy hardcore side yet. They tease a few early spots into the wire, but Sandman is able to put on the breaks each time. He tries to whip Jack into the wire, but he slides and buts his boot up to block. Joey mentions that Jack has a lot more experience in this kind of match and that comes into play as the Sandman is the first to get sent into the wire. Unfortunatelty for him, his balls get sent into the wire in a painful looking spot. They fight on the floor and Jack makes use of a nearby garbage can and a plastic chair. He tosses Sandman back into the ring and Jack gets his hair caught in the barbed wire. The Sandman gets tossed into the wire again and Jack tries to split his head, but Woman saves with a Singapore cane shot. Cactus ends up taking a sick bump on the wire and falls to the floor. Sandman misses a cane shot, but Jack doesnít as he unloads with several shots. A cactus clothesline sends both men over the guard rail into the front row. The Sandman fights back and sends Jack into the guard rail as they continue to ignore the wire in the ring and brawl on the floor. The fans start handing out some weapons, and kind of sad Sandman doesnít grab the toilet seat being offered to him. Cactus gets ties in the wire and gets caught with a legdrop. In a rather athletic spot from the Sandman he clears the barbed wire and hits a cane shot on the floor. That was pretty sweet! Jack is bleeding buckets as his face gets the barbed wire treatment and then he gets destroyed with another cane shot. He fights back and sends Sandman into the wire and rakes his head across it as well. Jack tries it again, but Sandman counters by dropping Jack balls first on the wire. Ouch! For some reason the Sandman wraps himself in the strand of wire and it acts as kind of a protect I guess. Jack warms my heart by grabbing the previously mentioned toilet seat and chokes away with it. We head back in the ring and a fan tosses the garbage can to Cactus and he drops a leg on it while it rests on the Sandmanís face. The Sandman counters with a suplex and pulls a cigarette out of his pocket for a mid match smoke. Ok then! That smoke break proves to be his downfall as Jack catches him with a DDT to end this mess at 10:31.
Winner: Cactus Jack via pin at 10:31
-I appreciate the work by the two men involved and I commend them for going above and beyond to put on a good show. As a match this was nothing really and just served as a gore fest for this into this sort of thing. I donít hate matches like this, and donít mind seeing a bloodletting, but to me they just donít make for good matches. They promised barbed wire and they at least delivered what they advertised to the fans. *1/2
Cactus Jack vs. Shane Douglas ECW CyberSlam: Feb 1996
-This would be the second match to feature bonus commentary from Joey and Mick. The commentary is fantastic as Mick mentions he was coming from a wedding for this show and he is wearing a rather pimp/ugly (depending on your style) suit with some boots. He cuts a promo before the match letting everyone know he had a little too much to drink and canít wrestle tonight due to his drunken state and concern for the safety of the fans. Awesome! Foley makes sure to point out on commentary that he clearly would never drink and drive. He finishes by making a public service announcement about the evils of drinking and driving and he gets booed for it. He wants the crowd to start a Mankind chant as Mick tells us that he believes he just debuted on WWF TV. Joey and Mick are laughing their ass off over this promo and I canít blame them as it is hilarious. He also works in a worked shoot (possible shoot) comment about Sandman not caring if he stumbles through a piss poor drunken performance. Just so awesome! Shane hits the ring and the brawl is on as Mick tells us that for the longest time Shane was his best friend in the business and got him through a lot in the early days. Around the time of this match they started having differing ideas of wrestling philosophy and politics. The suit gets ripped off and Cactus is rocking the famous ďforgive me EricĒ t-shirt. Mick wishes he still had the shirt as he feels he could sell it for a good bit on EBay. Shane comes off the top with an axe handle to the floor in a spot you rarely ever see from him. I should also mention that the ref for this one is Brian Hildebrand which makes all 3 men in the ring students from the same class at Denucciís school. The guy with the ďcane DeweyĒ sign gets named by Joey in what must be a cool moment for him if he watches this thing. Cactus takes a suplex on the guardrail as they bust on the idea that Shane would take a suplex on the floor. The discuss the bitterness of Shane at this time and Mick brings up how going to WWE is roll of the dice and mentions the Terry Taylor story of him either getting the Rooster or Perfect gimmick. Mick mentions that he does think that Shane would have been fine in the Attitude Era of WWF. Joey is happy that Shane got a chance to show the Franchise gimmick on WCW even if it wasnít in a main spot. Cactus gets back on track with some nasty looking elbows to the face. He hits a sick boot to the head as this is getting pretty damn physical. The ďforgive me, Uncle EricĒ shirt just keeps cracking me up every time I see it. The brawl continues on the floor as they discuss the psychology of throwing punches vs. elbows. Douglas gets put through a table and spits in the air and catches it as it comes back down. Nasty! Cactus hits a chair assisted legdrop on Shaneís face for two. Things get hilarious again as Joey and Mick just lose it when Cactus hits a piledriver that reveals a little too much of Shaneís ass. The crazy thing is that this is just a sick brawl and I canít stop laughing from the commentary. Cactus gets laid out and Shane pulls out a set of handcuffs and locks Jackís arms behind his back. Yes, this was stolen (though can you still your own spots?) years before the 99 Rumble I Quit Match as Cactus gets murdered with unprotected head shots. Even Mick questions what he was thinking considering he was under contract to the WWF at this time. The ref asks Mick if he quits, but instead he just keeps asking for Mikey Whipwreck to come out to save him. The chair shot count climbs to seven, and things continue to get nasty. Shane locks in the figure four and Mikey finally heads down and just unloads with a sick chair shot to the face of Cactus. That is clearly more than enough to get the pin at 15:31.
Winner: Shane Douglas via pin at 15:31
-Just a sick brawl with an ending that was made more famous (and somehow more dangerous) a few years later. I know the commentary probably takes away the heaviness of the match, so may be a good idea to see it without the commentary first if you have never seen it. Even Mick mentions that the things that happened in this match rightfully should and will never be done again (at least in the WWE, though I worry about what happens in the Independent promotions). ****
Mankind vs. Rocky Maivia WWF In Your House: Cold Day in Hell: May 11, 1997
-With the arena size, and set-up you can tell the WWF wasnít in a great place financially considering this is a PPV. Also showing how sterile the WWF ring set-up has become it is jarring to me to see the ramp and stage being off centered from the ring. The Rock looks a little pudgy here compared to the way him slimmed down later and then hulked up later than that. Mankind rocks in the corner as the Rock looks on confused. He eventually charges the Rock, but a dropkick and a clothesline sends Mankind to the floor. He pulls the Rock out under the bottom rope and they brawl near the announce tables. Back inside the ring, the Rock hits a power slam for two and hooks a hammerlock. The Rock smartly works the arm instead of just resting with the hold. Mankind fights back to his feet and sends the Rock into the corner, but we get Lucha Rock as he springs to the top rope and comes off with a chop to the head. The crowd couldnít care less about this match as JR starts talking about Rockís college football days. Mankind starts to gain momentum and hits the running knee in the corner. Lawler questions all those people who think that the Rock is the second coming. Give him time! They head back to the floor and up the ramp where the Rock delivers a sick Rock Bottom on the ramp. You can see the Rock is a little more aggressive compared to his debut in late 96, and thatís a good thing as it was foreshadowing the heel turn that turned him into a star. A belly to belly suplex back in the ring gets a two count, but Mankind takes the Rock back down with a clothesline. A cradle gets a two count for Rocky and then he hits a nasty clothesline to the back of Mankindís head. That looked rather stiff! The Rock hits a shoulder breaker and talks a little trash as the crowd boos. Ha! The Rock hits the crossbody off the top, but Mankind rolls through and gets the Mandible Claw to a decent pop from the crowd. That gets the win for Mankind at 8:47.
Winner: Mankind via submission at 8:47
-Just a fascinating match to look back on if only to see two guys that would define the Attitude Era face off in a match where the crowd could give 2 shits about either of them. The match was perfectly acceptable, but rather bland which fits well with Rocky Maivia. Thankfully, the heel turn was coming for The Rock while Mankind was nearing a face turn and feud with HHH. **
Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst-Helmsley (w/ Chyna) WWF In Your House: Canadian Stampede: July 6, 1997
-These two met the previous month in the finals of the King of the Ring Tournament which was won by Helmsley. They start trading blows before the bell as the war is on between these two. The crowd is firmly behind Mankind and this is the opening match to what is one of the hottest crowds in WWF PPV history. Mankind hits a double arm DDT and sends Helmsley to the floor with a backdrop. He drops the Cactus elbow on the floor and gets a two count back inside the ring. Hunter gets whipped into the corner and takes a sick fall to the floor in front of the Hart family. Helmsley tries to bail, but Mankind catches him on the ramp and hits a suplex. He heads back into the ring to break the refís count and rocks away to the roar of the crowd. Hunter crawls back to the apron, but gets caught with a knee to send him back to the floor. Hunter tries a sunset flip, but Mankind counters with the Mandible Claw and that gets broken up by a cheap shot from Chyna. Mankind gives chase and Hunter canít even use that to his advantage as Mankind catches him trying to come from behind. Chyna proves to be the difference as she sends Mankind into the stairs with a hiptoss in a brutal spot. Now Hunter can gain traction as he hits a chair shot before sending Mankind back inside the ring. Smartly, Hunter goes to work on the damaged wheel of Mankind. He pounds away in the corner with some great aggression. Its funny how Foley (no matter if Mankind or Jack) can get his opponents to show more of their aggressive side. The figure four gets locked in and like any good heel, Hunter makes sure to use the ropes for added pressure. Every heel for the rest of time needs to use those tactics as it is so simple and yet clearly defines you are an evil person in the eyes of the fans. The ref forces the break as he catches Hunter cheating, and Mankind makes sure to get in some right hands. Hunter tries for the Pedigree, but Mankind counters, but Hunter counters that by kicking Mankind into the corner. All that does is cause Mankind to fall head first into Hunterís balls in a spot that Sting used a lot in his later WCW years. Hunter gets caught upside down in the corner and that gives Mankind the chance to hit his double axe handle and follows that up with a piledriver. I really miss seeing that hold! The Cactus clothesline sends both men to the floor and Mankind tries to use a chair but Chyna stops that noise. While the ref deals with her, Hunter blasts Mankind with the chair and then Chyna delivers a stiff clothesline. Back inside the ring Hunter gets crotched on the top rope and eats the Mandible Claw, but again Chyna makes the save as the ref apparently doesnít mind. We head back to the floor and Mankind gets his skill bounced off the security railing. They brawl through the crowd as the ref reaches his 10 count to end the official match at 13:14. The bell doesnít mean anything however as they brawl in the penalty box which the Canucks love (though this is Calgary and they may hate being called Canucks). The brawl continues to rampage through the crowd as officials do all they can to separate them. Thankfully this set includes the rest of the brawl that occurred throughout the night. We cut to them brawling in the parking lot and Hunter is busted open. Hunter tries a Pedigree on a stack of wooden pallets, but Mankind backdrops out to escapes. He fires Hunter into the side of a trailer and finally the refs break up the kick ass brawl.
Winner: Double Count-Out at 13:14
-Hell of a brawl here in front of a raucous crowd. This showed that these two have some solid chemistry and it would only get better when they made it to the Main Event two and half years later. Again, it is worth noting that Foley always did a great job is getting those not seen as bad asses to show some aggression almost out of necessity or risk getting embarrassed out there. ***1/2
The 411: A lot of the documentary stuff has been covered in his various books, but it's nice that he finally got the documentary treatment. The matches are either rare or solid brawls, but the bonus commentary on the two matches is absolute gold. One disc to go with more matches, and some bonus material.