Foley Isn't Good... He's Great
March 12, 2005 by Foley Isn't Good... He's Great
There is one person who is synonymous with hardcore wrestling. The great Mick Foley wasn't just a hardcore wrestler, at one point in his career he was a damn fine overall wrestler. It has been my privilege in life to watch almost all of his matches. I first saw Mick Foley when I was three years old. Living in Missouri I was privileged to be able to see the World Class Championship Wrestling product. I saw many different wrestlers, including a young Mick Foley. I remember matches he had with Eric Embry. They were highlights of my childhood. Even as young as three... I knew enough to say "He will be world champ some day". My father and brother-in-law thought I was absolutely insane. There was no way Mick Foley would be world champion. He didn't have the look. Sometimes, looks can be very deceiving. By the time I was five years old, Mick had become a member of the WCW roster and had some very memorable matches.
There are three WCW matches that stick out like a sore thumb to me. The first match that I do recall very vividly would be the match that Mick had with Van Hammer. It was a falls count anywhere match, and boy did it go anywhere. I don't remember what arena it was, but they somehow ended up going out of the arena and into a farm show. It was a brutal match and both men put their bodies on the line. I was fascinated by the match. But what sticks out most memorably is the fact that Missy Hyatt was knocked into a horse's water bin. It made me laugh as a child and I respected the fact that they had gone through hell to entertain me and the rest of the people watching. I knew at that point in my young life that wrestling was in fact real. Now I know for a fact that the outcomes are predetermined, but the things they do are very painful. The other two matches I'd like to touch on were the matches with Sting and the man known as Vader.
It is common knowledge that Mick Foley's ear was wrenched off his head during a match with the beast known as Vader. This isn't the same match I'll be talking about. I remember watching WCW Saturday Night with my mother.
Vader and Cactus Jack had been battling it out. I would say about a quarter into the match, the black boxes were put over Foley's face because he had been bleeding, badly I would believe. I was all of seven years old when I saw the match. Cactus Jack had been a favorite of mine since I was three, so obviously I was in awe of the match. When I saw Vader peel back the protective matting, I knew that something bad was about to happen. Vader power bombed Cactus Jack into the concrete. I had started crying, because as a child, you see someone you idolize getting hurt and it makes you that sad.
It's like watching the tape where Bret Hart gets kicked in the head by Goldberg, it was just sad. That match sticks out in my mind, because it made a decision for me. That was the first time that I knew for sure what I wanted to do with my life. I knew that I wanted to be a professional wrestler.
The match with Sting was one for the ages. It was a true give-and-take battle that in the end, got both men over with the crowd. At that point, Sting had been given useless match after useless match. He had dominated almost everyone that faced him. He was slowly losing a fan base because people were not interested in him anymore. The front office decided that feeding Sting a string of big time heels may help to bolster him and get him back in the swing. Enter Cactus Jack. For a long time, Foley had considered it his greatest accomplishment in the business, and its clear to see why. The back body drop over the guard railing onto the concrete was beautiful. The whole match itself shows something about wrestling. Enough about WCW though.
Being from Philadelphia and living here since I was four, I grew up with ECW. I remember the first show ECW had on television. I was in awe of it. It was in the days where ECW was a company only known to the fans of Philadelphia. This was the time when people were being hit by car bumpers, heavy iron skillets, and various weapons. It was the first time I remember seeing weapons being used on a regular basis. It was innovative and new. I was privileged to see it from beginning to end. What sticks out to me with ECW was and always will be Cactus Jack. His promos were awe-inspiring. I would literally get goose bumps from watching the promos. I remember seeing him bouncing his daughter on his knee in front of the Christmas tree. I remember him wearing the Eric Bischoff shirts. I even remember Terry Funk nearly bashing Mick's face in. It was a very happy time for me. I was actually angry when Cactus Jack left ECW to go to WWF and become Mankind.
To most people, it would have been a good thing, but not me. I didn't want Mick to leave ECW. I didn't understand the concept of more money and less pain at that point because I was still a child. All of my bad thoughts were laid to rest when Mick started feuding with the Undertaker. I thought he was going to be a low end guy in WWF, facing guys like X-Pac the whole time. I'm glad I was wrong. I watched in amazement as Mick did exactly what I said he would do when I was three years old. He became the world champion, and it was one of the happiest days of my life. I had watched him be beaten from pillar to post so many times that it felt good to see him finally get what he deserved. Throughout WWE I saw him do many things that amazed me.
Hell in a Cell is what everyone talks about. Not me. I talk about the match with Steve Austin as Dude Love. Or the Tag Team Buried Alive match that took place on SmackDown!. Seeing Big Show throw Mick from the stage and into the grave that was a legitimate ten or fifteen feet away was incredible.
In conclusion, there are many that claim "Foley is God". His second auto-biography claims that Foley is Good. But even Mick was wrong on that one. Foley isn't just good. Foley is GREAT. For what he sacrificed for the fans, he should be remembered as one of the best. No he doesn't have amazing technical ability. No he can't do double front flips, or back flips. But wrestling isn't always about that. Wrestling is about entertaining the crowd, and not many did it better than Foley.
by Hades Malakian ..
Very interesting article ya got here, H.M. You just forgot to mention the fact that Foley is the worst wrestler ever! He's just one of the best entertainers. Foley was, in a way, ahead of his time. He brought the hardcore action to the fans before Extreme Championship Wrestling was even thought of.
His actions as a wrestler pretty stunk up a lot of places, but he made up for that by, well, hiding the negatives. What Heyman mentioned, "Hide the negatives, expose the positives." If Foley's negatives were poor wrestling skills and poor looks, then he exposed his poistives which were great promos(his worst promo was in the decent level) and ability to take bumps. Along with this, he was able to see into the crowd's eyes. He was able to know what they're thinking and could find ways to get their attention.
I talk a lot about his match with Taker in the Hell in the Cell, but I talk more about the Boiler Room Brawl and the Buried Alive match. Those were strange matches and I couldn't think of anyone other than Mankind to go up against Taker in those matches.
Cactus Jack was an awesome guy to start out as. He was exciting to watch, but can guarantee you that Mick wouldn't have made it as Cactus in WCW. WCW asked way too much and never gave back other than money. I remember reading once that it got so bad that Mick wanted his career to end. To do so, he got Vader in a sleeper and Vader fell back, landing his 400+ pounds on Mick's body on a wooden ramp with no give. If WCW could just capitulize on Cactus' injuries (such as the ear) then I'm sure people would come in and buy tickets to watch a sting/cactus heavyweight title match.
Dude Love was just a pleasure to see. not because he's always wanted to be him, but he made me feel cool. I'm not exactly the "town's stud" but after watching Dude Love come out with his dorky self, I was going around with his personality. No, I didn't, but I really enjoyed the run as Dude Love. More importantly the Love vs. Owen series of matches. His later years when the Dude became a stooge for Vince, I didn't really enjoy it, but his matches with Austin were indeed hilarious.
As for Mankind, he was a great creation. Mankind seemed to be more diabolical than any other character in the Federation. Here's a guy, who'd come out and with one wrong move from the opponent, he can latch on the Mandibal Claw. He's indestructible (the match at Hell in the Cell proves that) and nearly no one can defeat him. He's the only guy to have been able to beat Undertaker in so many matches and has even been able to give HBK a run for his money at Summerslam (a real classic).
Is Mick Foely my favorite wrestler" No. Is he the reason why I'm getting ready to break into the business" No. Is he the reason why I began watching WWF(I had to buy/rent/borrow tapes and read stories/books to fin out about his runs in WCW and ECW) on that one day in September in 1997" Yes. I feel honoured to have been able to witness the one time appearance of Cactus Jack that night against Hunter Hearst Helmsley as the first match I've ever witnessed in WWF on TV. (Even though I thought the characters were all brothers lol >.<)
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