When it comes to pro wrestling, everyone has a favorite. Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Randy Savage, CM Punk, John Cena, and Shawn Michaels just to name a few. People always seem to remember the guys who drew the biggest crowds, had the coolest t-shirts or the best catch phrases. So I started to wonder, who really was my favorite wrestler? I thought of all these names and realized one thing very quickly. I can’t remember most of their matches! Most of these guys I can only remember two, maybe 3 matches that were really something to see. But there was one guy sadly doesn’t always seem to get his just dues when it comes to greatness and that man is without a doubt Mick Foley.
I grew up on early 90’s wrestling and tapes from the late 80’s. WWF Superstars and WCW Saturday Night were the shows I loved to watch and the colorful personalities, outfits and characters that filled that TV screen captivated my imagination. When you’re a wrestling fan under the age of 10, you tend to remember three types of wrestlers: The HUGE Babyfaces (ie: Hogan, Rock and Cena), The ridiculously over the top personalities (ie: Max Moon, Mantaur, and Maniac Mike), and the guys who scared the pants off you. For me, only three guys really scared me as a kid; The Undertaker, Psycho Sid and the man from Truth of Consequences, New Mexico Cactus Jack.
I can vividly remember Taker and Sid burying (sometime literally) their opponents in the ring, but I honestly don’t remember much about Cactus Jack other than what my brother told me about him. When you’re a young wrestling fan you believe everything they say on TV, and according to my brother Cactus Jack was a guy who didn’t care about the pain he felt, only the pain he inflicted on others. Then to top it all off the man escaped from a mental institution! CACTUS JACK ESCAPED FROM A MENTAL INSTITUTION. To a kid my age, that’s like saying Freddy Krueger just escaped the dream world…I’M NEXT. I remember really fearing that Cactus Jack was going to break into my room one night and try to pin me. Why Cactus would be concerned with pinning a 6 year old wasn’t in my mind at that age either.
I missed the ECW years of Cactus as a kid. It was too violent to be watchable at my age so a few years later when the WWF showed a vignette of a destroyed ear with an unmistakable voice my brother proclaimed “IT’S CACTUS JACK.” When he appeared on TV behind that leather mask and with the knowledge that Cactus Jack was Mankind, I knew that this was the guy who felt no pain, who escaped mental institutions and was now in the big time to take on the Undertaker! From then on I would be taken on a roller coaster of emotions by the man I would later learn was actually named Mick Foley. I feared him, I laughed with and at him, I saw him take risks in and out of the ring that should have killed him, I saw him kiss Vince McMahon’s “boo boo” with a sock puppet named Mr. Socko. All of this flooded my mind as I thought of why he should be my favorite wrestler. Then I also realized that almost every name I first thought of were also involved in some of Mick’s greatest matches.
It takes two great wrestlers to make a great match and Mick had some great matches with names like Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, the Rock and others. Later in his career Mick went from being Mankind, Cactus Jack or Dude Love to being just Mick, no matter who he was dressed as. Mick was the every man of pro wrestling at the time. Mick looked like people I knew and had a family. He didn’t leap over the top rope to the outside or have the flashiest finisher. Mick was us and he stood toe to toe with the other great names of his era. I could sit here and think of several great matches he’s had and replay them in my head. Hogan? Other than Andre and Rock, I have a hard time remembering most of his matches. As big of a fan of Steve Austin as I am, I can remember maybe a few matches against Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and (surprise!) Dude Love. The Rock? Hell, most of his best matches of his entire career were against Steve Austin AND Mankind.
Mick is a tremendous writer, comedian, color commentator, commissioner, Santa, Dad, Husband, Son, Brother, (i’m assuming those last few from books and interviews, also the fact he’s still married and his kids seem to love him) and by god, he’s one of the toughest SOBs on the face of the planet. Foley is GOOD as he’d say, and in my book Mick Foley stands atop the list as my favorite wrestler of all time. As a guy with a geeky blog who occasionally does interviews, podcasts and videos a dream of mine is to one be able to have a one on one with Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy and maybe, just maybe get a cheap pop out of him…RIGHT HERE…ON BIG DAMN GEEKS.COM! BANG, BANG!