Mrs. Foley would sure be proud of her “little boy”.
We here at SLAM! Wrestling sure as hell are.
Many years ago, a young wrestling fan watched in amazement as Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka leapt off a steel cage onto then Intercontinental champion Don Muraco at a WWF house show in Madison Square Garden.
Today, that wild-eyed fan who imitated his idol by jumping off the roof of his house and video-taped it for posterity, is the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Champion.
Mick Foley (Alias: Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love) defeated the “corporate champion” – Rocky “The Rock” Maivia – on last night’s Monday Night Raw broadcast winning his first ever World Heavyweight title. Foley didn’t exactly get his opportunity through the proper channels. Like everything else in Foley’s career, it came the hard way. He forced WWF President Vince McMahon to grant him the title shot.
A desperate Foley took McMahon’s son Shane hostage earlier in the evening after losing a King Of The Ring qualifying match to Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. Shane had slapped a quick count. Helmsley gave Shane The Pedigree leaving him to face Foley’s wrath.
Foley, a victim of a McMahon screw-job at Survivor Series, applied a full-nelson to Shane in the middle of the ring threatening to snap his shoulder if McMahon didn’t promise him a No DQ title match against Rocky. Rather than see his son hurt, McMahon gave into Foley’s demand.
The Rock protested the decision. Wrestling in street clothes, the WWF champ didn’t appear ready for the title defence.
The Corporate Elbow dropped like a sledgehammer on his chest. A Rock Bottom sending him through the announcer’s table. The world title belt smashed against his head. Nothing could keep Foley down for the count.
It was WWF outlaw “Stone Cold” Steve Austin making the difference assisting his former tag team partner. Austin smacked The Rock with a steel chair during a run-in. Foley covered a dead-to-the-world Rock for the three count.
As the Corporate Team slunk away in defeat, an anguished Vince McMahon promised Rock a return bout.
“Hey, Vince. I gotta tell yah, this feels pretty damn good,” said Foley surrounded by members of D-Generation X who had fended off The Corporate Team all through the match. “At the risk of sounding uncool, I’d like to dedicate this match to my two little people at home and say…Big Daddy-o did it!”.
Born in Bloomington, Indiana in 1965 but raised in Long Island, New York, Foley learned his craft in a make-shift backyard ring adopting the Dude Love persona as a creative outlet. Reviewing Foley’s homemade tapes, wrestler Dominic Denucci started the daredevil rookie on the road to stardom taking him under his wing and teaching him valuable skills.
Debuting as Cactus Jack Manson, Foley dropped the “Manson” bit joining the Stud Stable in the CWA. Cactus Jack and stablemate Gary Young won the tag titles. Foley soon left for World Class Wrestling. Under the tutelage of General Skandor Akbar Cactus and teamed with Zodiac 2, Foley flourished again in the tag team ranks defeating reigning champions Kerry Von Erich and Jeff Jarrett.
Foley moved on up to the NWA joining forces with his demonic soulmate Kevin Sullivan but it was his bloodstained feud with “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gillbert that advanced his “hardcore” reputation. Foley toured Global Wrestling Federation briefly landing back in the NWA, now known as World Championship Wrestling. As Cactus Jack, Foley put the hit on the popular superstar Sting.
Foley’s falling-out with Big Van Vader (AKA: Vader) ended tragically in Germany on March 16th, 1994. While wrestling Vader, Foley was hurled into the ropes. Foley’s head got lodged between the top and second ropes. The tension of the combined cables snapped his right ear completely off and ripped the left one in half.
Astonishing the fans in attendance, Foley continued wrestling the rest of the match. As he admitted to SLAM! Wrestling in an interview, he carries no grudge against Vader over the crippling incident.
“He felt bad about it. He may have bragged a little bit on television but in his heart he felt pretty bad,” he said.
Cactus returned to the WCW tag team scene dropping a “loser-leaves-town” match to his ex-partner Kevin Sullivan. Foley split for ECW. It is there that the “hardcore legend” was born in blood-soaked action not for the faint of heart.
His gory battles with The Sandman. Sabu, Kevin Sullivan, Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer forged him into an “extreme” icon and earned him the esteem of wrestling fans as a high-impact worker, a fun-filled entertainer and one of the best promo cutters in the biz.
Highlights of Foley’s ECW stint included capturing the ECW World Tag Team belts twice with Mikey Whipwreck, snapping 911’s unbeaten streak and almost winning the ECW World Heavyweight Title from the Sandman in a barbed wire match. Heel referee Bill Alfonso reversed the official’s decision denying Foley the title reign.
Packing his bags for the World Wrestling Federation, Foley collaborated with Vince McMahon’s on the Hannibal Lector-like Mankind and Dude Love gimmicks. Last year’s Hell In A Cell match-up with The Undertaker many say was the pinnacle of his career. Foley performed a unbelievable dive off the steel cage roof to the area floor below that fans will be talking about till they are old and grey.
A four-time World Wrestling Federation tag team champion and the WWF’s first Hardcore champion (a belt Vince McMahon honored him with), Foley is expected to defend the WWF World Title in a re-match against The Rock at this month’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Foley Title History
- CWA Tag Team Titles (Cactus Jack and Gary Young)
- WCWA Tag Team Titles (Cactus Jack and Zodiac 2)
- WCWA Tag Team Titles (Cactus Jack and Corporal Braddock)
- Ozark Mountain Heavyweight Title
- Steel City Heavyweight Title
- Steel City Tag Team Titles (Cactus Jack and The Blue Meanie)
- IWA World Tag Team Titles (Cactus Jack and Tracy Smothers)
- ECW World Tag Team Titles (Cactus Jack & Mikey Whipwreck – twice)
- WCW World Tag Team Titles (Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan)
- WWF World Tag Team Titles (Steve Austin and Dude Love)
- WWF World Tag Team Titles (Terry Funk and Cactus Jack)
- WWF World Tag Team Titles (Kane and Mankind – twice)
- WWF Hardcore Champion (awarded by Vince McMahon)
- WWF World Heavyweight Title (defeated Rocky Miavia)