Wrestler of the Day – January 4: Mick Foley

This is a harder one than usual (and by usual I mean of the three I’ve done) to do because of the huge body of work. Again the selection is due to what happened on this date to him (January 4, 1999) as the man is Mick Foley. For the sake of clarity, this certainly isn’t meant as a definitive list nor his best matches. It’s more a timeline of his career with a match from each section of his career.

Since there’s a lot to cover here, we’ll skip the squash and go to Foley’s first major(ish) show: AWA SuperClash III.

Chavo Guerrero/Mando Guerrero/Hector Guerrero vs. Rock N Roll RPMs/Cactus Jack

 

Chavo is of course the senior version and Mando is the least known Guerrero. Hector is a dead ringer for Eddie and arguably better. The RPMs are the southern tag champions and are named Tommy Lane and Mike Davis. That Jack guy won’t ever amount to anything. He was a total rookie at this point and almost the Abyss of his day: the guy that would take any bump asked of him so here he is as a result.

 

The Guerreros all have big sombreros and are about as stereotypical as you can get. Capetta (announcer) says this is AWA vs. CWA and that’s just incorrect. Actually the Guerreros were in the AWA also so I guess it’s correct. Granted both companies would be dead in a year so does it really matter? Hector starts and makes the RPMs look like idiots. Off to Jack and Mando (barely taller than the top rope) with the Guerreros being so much faster it’s unreal.

 

They hit the floor and Jack actually gets beaten up even worse out there. Back to Hector and they work on the knee before Chavo, the oldest, comes in. Wait make that Mando. Oh and it’s Cactus Jack Foley at this point. The Guerreros tag in and out about every 8 seconds. Jack wants out of there badly and brings in one of the RPMs who I don’t think the announcers know the difference between.

 

The RPMs finally double team Chavo and that goes even worse for them and it’s off to Hector. The Guerreros get in a big pile on and clear the ring. Jack vs. Chavo now and Jack finally gets something together. Off to Davis as it’s pretty clear the announcers don’t know the RPMs’ names. Off to Davis again and never mind as it’s Jack now. Hot tag to Hector and everything breaks down again. There’s some heel miscommunication and the camera misses the big dives but you can hear the crowd gasping. A moonsault press from Chavo ends Lane.

 

Rating: C+. Total squash here and a way to get the crowd fired up with the Guerreros doing stuff no one had ever seen before. The speed stuff was good as they looked like an awesome team out there. The dives were good and they made the fans get into the show, which is exactly the point of an opener.

On to WCW. I’ll skip the Sting feud because it’s been done to death, even though the falls count anywhere match is great. Instead we’ll jump to the end of 1993 at Halloween Havoc with Cactus Jack’s showdown against Vader in a Texas Death Match.

Vader vs. Cactus Jack

I’m not going through the whole angle again but in short they started fighting in April, Vader injured Jack, Jack is here for revenge. Vader is world champion but this is about revenge and not the title. Jack is just mad over here. He was second to probably only Flair and Sting (arguably only Sting) in popularity at this point.

They go straight to the floor and the fight is on. I remember last year in the WZ Tournament IC said that there was one person that could take Vader in a hardcore match and that was Cactus Jack. This is the proof. Vader misses a punch and hits the post so Jack goes right after it. Chair is brought in but Vader just punches Jack in the head. Cactus is like BRING IT ON and bites Vader.

HARD chair shot to the head of Vader and the champion is in trouble. They actually go into the ring but Vader gets a boot up and drills Cactus with a clothesline. Vader just mauls him in the corner and Cactus is reeling. Out to the ramp goes Jack but he avoids a suplex back into the ring. Somehow he manages to suplex Vader in a rather rare display of strength. Jack is busted open but hits another suplex on the ramp, this time a belly to back variety.

No attempts at covers yet as this has been a major brawl. Race tries to interfere with a chair and gets dropped with ease. Another chair shot to Vader and they go into the graveyard set. They go into a grave with a headstone marked RIP Vader. For some reason there are steps into it which Cactus comes out of. His eye looks AWFUL. Vader comes out of his own grave and is busted open too. There’s a Thriller joke in there somewhere.

A shot with something gets a pin on Vader. Now Vader has 30 seconds to rest and THEN he has to get up. That’s just stupid. Only WCW could take a brutal war and make it this idiotic. Cactus grabs a cactus and drills Vader with it as Vader was up at two. Why is there a cactus in a graveyard in Louisiana? Cactus drops the elbow off the ramp and gets a fall with that. After the resting (some DEATHmatch) Vader is up before two.

Vader wakes up and drills Cactus who fights right back. A table (an actual one and not the WWE style) is set up in the corner. Vader is thrown into it and bounces off which just gets two. Cactus drills him with the table (again doesn’t break. See what I mean?) to knock him to the floor. Cactus tries a sunset flip to the floor which misses so Vader tries to sit on him which fails.

Jack drapes him over the railing and just beats on him. Total war the entire time so far. Into the crowd now and Vader more or less backdrops Cactus into the ringside area again. Chair to the back of Cactus as Harley has a freaking tazer. Vader slams Jack down and hits a pretty decent Vadersault for the pin and a count of like 3. This is why the rest period is stupid: the guy is up to a knee when the count starts.

They go to the ramp again and in perhaps the sickest bump I have ever seen, Cactus tries a sleeper out there but Vader drops backwards onto him. The THUD is absolutely sick and Cactus just stops dead. He ruptured his kidney on that and more or less couldn’t move but he kept going because it would have made him look weak. My jaw actually dropped on that shot.

Vader, nice guy that he is, drills him with a chair as Race wants a DDT on the chair. There it is and Cactus is more or less deceased. No cover as Patrick brings over the trainer for Jack. Wait was there a pin in there that I missed? Vader beats up the medics and there’s the pin. Ok I’m not crazy. During the rest period Cactus DDTs Vader on the chair but as he’s trying to get up Race uses the tazer on the leg (might be nice to turn it on to play it up) of Foley and it’s over.

Rating: A. The ending is the only thing keeping this from an A+. This is an absolute WAR. Other than the rest periods (stupid WCW) there isn’t a single break of action in the whole sixteen minutes of this. Great match and of course since Cactus was over with the fans and having better and better matches, he was thrown into a tag team and more or less forgotten about until he was fired when Hogan arrived next year. Typical WCW.

As much as I’d love to, I can’t skip ECW. We’ll take a look at November to Remember 1995 with Cactus Jack teaming up with Raven to face Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer.

Terry Funk/Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven/Cactus Jack

 

Main event time. Funk is “planning on retiring”. That’s just amusing. Funk says he’ll remember what happened with Cactus last night forever. Apparently it was a big attack on Terry but Dreamer made the save. This is a revenge match for Funk and Dreamer always hates Raven Cactus is in a WCW Dungeon of Doom t-shirt. He was in a WEIRD (yet awesome) heel push where he longed to be back in WCW with “Uncle Eric”.

 

The pairings pair off and Raven and Jack rule the ring for the moment. Now we get to the brawl and Funk fights Raven. Stevie Richards brings in some weapons and gets put in a shopping cart for his troubles. Dreamer BLASTS Raven in the head with a freaking VCR. WHY WOULD YOU BRING ONE OF THOSE TO A WRESTLING SHOW??? In a funny bit, Dreamer hits him with the remote also.

 

Funk beats up the referee because he’s Terry Funk. Dreamer DDTs the referee for good measure. Funk hits Raven with a golf club in the putter. Cheese grater is broken up and Cactus drills Dreamer with a chair. Dreamer gets taken down by a double chain shot to the throat. Raven is busted open and poses anyway. Cactus channels his inner Abdullah as he jabs at Funk with a fork.

 

DDT to Dreamer as Raven and Cactus are dominating. They try the chain again but Dreamer does something smart and dives on it, bringing them together. Not that it matters as Cactus takes him down with ease. Cactus takes the Dungeon of Doom shirt to reveal another one with a huge picture of Eric Bischoff and the words “Forgive Me Uncle Eric” (coining that nickname) on the back. Only Mick Foley could make that work, period.

 

It’s more or less a big mess but were you really expecting something else here? Jack hits a double arm DDT on Funk onto the chair but there’s no referee. Raven dives over the top to take out Dreamer and Jack looks for more weapons. Here are Fonzie and Taz to be referees but Funk kicks out at two. Taz beats up Funk so Dreamer takes Taz out. Jumping DDT takes Raven down and for some reason a regular one does more damage. The referee is back up and Dreamer piledrives Raven onto a chair, letting Funk steal the pin.

 

Rating: B-. Pretty fun match overall as they kept things just weapons based instead of going everywhere. Also Jack having the continuing mental breakdowns in the middle of the match (the Uncle Eric thing) is great. Dreamer not beating Funk is one of those little things that makes a match better. Fun stuff here and one of the better brawls ECW did.

Next up was the WWF and Foley’s most famous feud of all time: the Undertaker. Since everyone has seen the Boiler Room Brawl and Cell matches over and over, here’s a lesser known one. For Undertaker’s WWF Title at In Your House 14: Revenge of the Taker.

WWF World Title: Mankind vs. Undertaker

 

I think we’ve covered the backstory for this one enough already. For perhaps the only time in his career, Undertaker charges from the floor into the ring and the fight is on. Undertaker has a bandage on his head from where Mankind burned him recently. They slug it out to start and a running right hand to the head puts Undertaker down. The Cactus Clothesline puts both guys on the floor but Undertaker of course lands on his feet. A HARD whip sends Mankind into the barricade and a standing chokeslam does it again.

 

The third whip sends Mankind into the crowd and the Undertaker is in full control. Mankind is whipped into the barricade yet again as we head back to ringside. Back into the ring with Undertaker still pounding away and driving him down with shoulder blocks. Undertaker lets go of the hand on Old School so it’s a diving clothesline instead of a forearm to the back. Paul Bearer gets on the apron to prevent the tombstone and a quick shot with the urn gets two for Mankind.

 

The champion gets pounded down in the corner and a running knee to the head puts him down again. We hit the nerve hold on Undertaker before Mankind turns it into a reverse chinlock. The much stronger Undertaker is able to turn around though and fire off right hands to the ribs to escape. A very hard shot sends Mankind out to the floor and Undertaker sends him face first into the steps. Mankind comes back with a pitcher of water and shatters it over the champion’s face to put him back down. A chair to Undertaker’s head still doesn’t draw a DQ and JR demands to know why. Good question actually.

 

Mankind drops an elbow from the middle rope to the floor in one of his signature spots. The bandage is ripped off of Undertaker’s head and the injury is just ugly looking. Undertaker finally gets back inside where a pulling piledriver gets two for the challenger. The same move gets no cover but Mankind does screech a lot. Undertaker staggers around for a bit before hitting a jumping clothesline out of nowhere. The referee is knocked down and Mankind gets the Mandible Claw to knock Undertaker out cold.

 

Another referee comes in and gets the Claw as well for reasons of Mankind is insane. Bearer throws in a chair but Mankind wants the steps. In perhaps the only time in his career, Undertaker dropkicks the steps into Mankind’s face, and now it’s time to fight. A BIG chair shot to the head knocks Mankind silly and Undertaker throws him into the ropes to tie Mankind up by the neck.

 

The champion rips Mankind’s mask off and smashes the steps into Mankind, knocking him off the apron and head first through the table in a scary looking crash. Back inside and a chokeslam only gets two, shocking the crowd. Taker isn’t playing anymore though and it’s a tombstone to retain the title.

 

Rating: B-. This got really good once they stopped the pretense of a wrestling match and started fighting. A ticked off Undertaker is just fun to watch and this was no exception, especially when you had a human pinball like Mankind to bounce all over the place like he did. The match wasn’t particularly good, but it was fun which is what this show desperately needed.

 

Post match Undertaker goes after Bearer but has to fight off Mankind. Undertaker kicks something out of Mankind’s hands and kicks Mankind to the floor. Mankind dropped a lighter and flash paper, so Undertaker lights it up in Bearer’s face to burn him like Mankind burned Undertaker.

Since it’s January 4, I have to include this.

WWF Title: Mankind vs. The Rock

 

This is No DQ remember. This is the match that Tony Schiavone gave the ending away to on their show, shifting the ratings for the night because of it. DX comes out to back up Foley, because they couldn’t go to the hospital with Shawn or help defend him right? Rock of course has the Corporation with him.

 

Rock jumps him immediately and knocks him to the floor. He won’t let the Corporation beat them up because he wants to do it himself. How noble of our heel champion. Foley does his first sick bump of the match as he goes knee first into the steps and flies over them in a painful looking shot. These two always had mad chemistry together, which is something that could be said about most guys with Rock actually.

 

Rock does commentary during the match, which always cracked me up. He talks a bit too much though so Foley takes over. Foley does a promo of his own and we cut to a shot of Vince and Shane, but we hear a bell ring. Foley is down and Rock has the bell. Subtle. Rock Bottom through a table and Foley is in trouble. This has all taken less than three minutes so I’m not leaving much out at all.

 

To play up the spontaneous nature here Rock is in street clothes, as in the kind you would work out in. Corporate Elbow (debuted 5 minutes from my house) hits for two as this is ALL Rock. Foley with a spinning neckbreaker out of nowhere to get both guys down. Bossman throws the belt in and a shot to the head (sounded SICK) gets two as well. Double arm DDT onto the belt and Rock is in big trouble.

 

There’s Mr. Socko as the crowd has lost it. Mandible Claw goes on but Shamrock pops Foley with a chair. Billy Gunn takes him down and the brawl begins. Everything goes crazy and CUE GLASS SHATTER! Austin comes out and everyone loses it. He caves Rock’s head in with a chair and pulls Mick on top for the pin and the world title as the roof is blown off the arena.

 

Rating: A+. This was about a shocking moment and excitement and a feel good story and they NAILED it. This is very personal bias heavy, but they’re my reviews so who cares?

 

DX puts Foley on their shoulders as the Corporation carries Rock out. Cole gets in the famous line of “Mick Foley has achieved his dream and the dream of everyone else who has been told you can’t do it!” This is one of the best feel good moment in WWF history as Foley was considered one of the best to never be world champion as he worked as hard as anyone else but was never given a serious shot at it.

 

He got the shot tonight and he won the title. Road Dogg does the big announcement of Mankind being the new champion to a HUGE ovation. Foley dedicates the win to his kids and takes a lap around the ring with the belt to end the show. This is my favorite moment in wrestling history, bar none.

Foley would lose the title pretty quickly but his body was breaking down. He would be retired in February of 2000 inside the Cell but would make a few comebacks, such as this one from Backlash 2004 against Randy Orton.

Intercontinental Title: Cactus Jack vs. Randy Orton

Hardcore of course. Foley comes out as Mick Foley and has the Mankind music, but screw that. He’s in Cactus Jack attire and this is a hardcore match. He has the barbed wire ball bat called Barbie with him. Orton holds up a trashcan to defend himself but Foley knocks it out of his hands with the bat. They go to the floor and there goes a cameraman. Orton drop toeholds him into the steps and gets the bat but they fight over it.

Orton gets kicked away but he finds a trashcan from somewhere and cleans Mick’s clock with it. Mick shrugs that off and BLASTS Orton with it. Back in the ring and Foley hits the running knee lift followed by a legdrop for two. Back to the floor again and Jack hits a swinging neckbreaker but Orton moves before the middle rope elbow can be used. Randy, who is still in his t-shirt, tries to walk away but Foley chases after him. A belly to back suplex by the champion gets two on the ramp, as does a backslide.

Randy slams Jack’s head into the ramp with a THUD for two. Back in the ring (I’ve been saying variations of that a lot tonight) and Orton tries to drive Barbie into Jack’s face, but Cactus counters with a low blow. Here’s Socko but Foley isn’t sure whether to use that or Barbie. He takes the sock off and Barbie connects with Orton’s head. Blood is literally flowing down Orton’s face. Another shot hits Orton’s head and Foley is in complete control.

Mick pounds Orton down in the corner and hits the running knee to the face. Back to Barbie as Mick has that look in his eyes. Now he just drives the bat into Orton’s face and there goes the t-shirt. Foley puts the bat between Orton’s legs and drops a leg on it which is just painful in a lot of ways. Mick goes to the floor and pulls out…..oh geez he pulls out a gas can and a lighter.

He covers Barbie in gas but here’s Bischoff to say do that and the show ends here. Foley throws it down and for the life of me I have never gotten what the point of that sequence was unless it was somehow legit. Either way, Foley throws it down and finds a whole board covered in barbed wire. He knocks Orton near it but Orton comes back with a slam onto the board, drawing a LOUD holy chant from the fans.

The board gets placed in the corner and after some nice reversals on the Irish whip, Foley goes into it face first. With Jack down in the ropes, Orton shoves the board down onto him in a simple but good move. Orton finds a bag full of thumbtacks. The RKO onto them is countered and the look on Orton’s face when his back hits the tacks is PERFECT. A rollup gets two for Foley as Orton goes to look for medical attention. Jack will have none of that and they go up the ramp.

They head backstage but come back before we can get a camera back there. Foley throws him off the stage and through a bunch of tables. Since it’s Cactus Jack, you know he’s gonna drop the elbow onto Orton on top of that. After the referees seem ready to stop it, Foley drills them both and there’s the elbow. Mick is a bit too dead to cover though so after the delay, Orton SOMEHOW kicks out.

Back to the ring and Orton looks completely out of it. Double Arm DDT gets two and Foley isn’t sure what else he can do to pull this off. Orton goes to the floor while Foley puts the barbed wire board up in the corner. While he’s doing that though Orton gets Barbie from somewhere and lays in a few shots on Cactus. Foley finds Socko and grabs the Claw to stop a big shot to the head with Barbie. A low blow gets Orton out of the hold and the RKO puts Foley down but it only gets two. Another RKO onto Barbie FINALLY gets the pin.

Rating: A. It’s not quite as good as the match with Edge but DANG this was great. Orton is now a made man as he somehow not only survived this but he won it. Up to this point he was a pretty boy, much like HHH vs. Jack in 2000 at the Rumble. That seems to be what they were going for here and for the most part I’d certainly say it worked. Foley would go away for awhile while Orton feuded with Edge and then won the title in the fall. Great match here and Orton looked great during the whole thing.

With nothing left to do in WWE, Foley tried his hand in TNA and met up with Sting of all people at Lockdown 2009.

TNA World Title: Sting vs. Mick Foley

This is just a standard match for the first time all night I believe. These are my two favorite wrestlers ever so this is an awesome sight to see. Also their 92 feud was awesome so I’m really looking forward to this. Foley being introduced with the bat is awesome for some reason. They stand off to start which makes sense as Foley had been talking about how this was his greatest rival. Granted they hadn’t associated with each other in seventeen years but whatever.

Foley punches himself in the head and cuts himself open, which he claimed was a new wound rather than the one he had done on Impact. Foley takes over to start and goes to leave almost immediately but the fight begins on top of the ropes. Basically Foley dominates to start as West actually analyzes things a bit here. They fight on the ropes again with Sting hitting a belly to back off the top for two.

Foley gets stuck in a Tree of Woe and Sting pounds away. Sting goes for the leg which is apparently hurt now due to the Tree of Woe. That’s a new one I think. Spinning neckbreaker by Foley gets two. He goes for the cage but just kind of stops because of the leg. The door is off limits again I think which might be a rule all night.

Mick gets the Scorpion of all things on Sting which lasts about as long as Foley’s third title reign by comparison. Foley calls for the door to be open and shoves Hebner out of the way. Since he can’t climb he has no issue with going through the door apparently. For no apparent reason he hits a baseball slide to the cameraman in the hole he uses.

Foley tries to climb through said hole but gets caught by Sting and locked in the Deathlock. He crawls to the hole in the cage and has the cameraman slip him the bat. This is getting better. Sting tries to go up but gets caught by a shot to the leg with the bat and another one to send him to the mat. And then he’s fine seconds later, beating up Foley with the bat instead.

The barbed wire on the bat breaks up and goes into Sting’s eyes. He wraps Socko in it and gives Sting a running knee in the corner. What was funny/bad here was that he also slammed his head into the cage and busted his head open legitimately. Both guys are busted now and the fans are way behind Foley which is weird to see for a Sting opponent.

Both go up the cage but on different sides. Foley DIVES to the floor and amazingly enough wins the title totally clean. He said in the book that there were like 4 seconds left in the show here which never made sense based on what I remembered and I was right as there was like forty seconds left.

Rating: B-. I’m probably being very biased here but I liked this. They had a slow build here and the ending, while surprising, makes sense. Foley is a hardcore wrestler and he beat Sting in a hardcore match. Also the idea was for Foley to come out and prove to Sting that he still had it so what better way than to take his title? This was good although it was slow at times which hurts it.

Obvious I had to skip a bunch of stuff for the sake of space but you could list probably 50 very good Foley matches. The guy just knew how to entertain an audience and could make anyone look good. The best accolade I can think of for Foley is this: he was the first real title feuds for Austin, HHH and The Rock. He was the guy put with them to ensure their reigns got off to a good start. That’s an awful lot of faith to put in someone and the company put it in Mick Foley.

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