Sunday, May 11, 2008

Cactus Jack / Mick Foley - WCW

Michael Francis "Mick" Foley, Sr. was born June 7, 1965 and is an American author and pro wrestler. He is currently signed to theWWE, as a color commentator on its SmackDown! brand.

Throughout his wrestling career, Foley has wrestled for many different promotions, both under his real name and under various personas (most notably Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love). He is the first ever WWF Hardcore Champion and became a three-time WWF Champion as Mankind. He is also one of the most successful tag team wrestlers in history, being an eight-time WWF Tag Team Champion, a two-time ECW World Tag Team Champion, a one-time WCW World Tag Team Champion and a one-time WCWA Tag Team Champion. He is also a one-time WCWA Light Heavyweight Champion.

Foley is a multiple-time New York Times bestselling author. He was also a subject of the documentary Beyond the Mat, which followed him at the peak of his career.

On September 5, 1991, Cactus Jack debuted as a heel and attacked Sting. After feuds with Van Hammer and Abdullah the Butcher, Cactus Jack faced Sting, then WCW champion, in a non-title Falls Count Anywhere match at Beach Blast 1992, which Sting won. For a long time, Foley considered this the best match he ever worked.

Cactus Jack / Mick Foley - WCW

Cactus Jack first wrestled Vader on April 6, 1993. Foley and Leon White wanted an intense match, so they agreed that Vader would hit Cactus with a series of heavy blows to the face. WCW edited the match heavily because it was against their policies to show the heavy bleeding that resulted. Foley suffered a broken nose, a dislocated jaw and needed twenty-seven stitches, but won the match via countout. Because the title did not change hands on a countout, WCW booked a rematch. Foley, however, wanted some time off to be with his newborn daughter and get surgery to repair a knee injury. As a result, in the rematch with Vader on April 23, the two executed a dangerous spot to sell a storyline injury. Vader removed the protective mats at ringside and power-bombed Cactus onto the exposed concrete floor, causing a legitimate concussion and causing Foley to temporarily lose sensation in his left foot and hand. While Foley was away, WCW ran an angle where Cactus Jack's absence was explained with a farcical comedy storyline in which he went crazy, was institutionalized, escaped, and developed amnesia. Foley had wanted the injury storyline to be very serious and generate genuine sympathy for him before his return. The comedy vignettes that WCW produced instead were so bad that Foley jokes in Have a Nice Day that they were the brainchild of WCW executives who regarded a surefire moneymaking feud as a problem that needed to be solved.

Foley returned in the fall of 1993 to save the British Bulldog from an attack by Vader. He then proceeded to feud with Vader and other wrestlers managed by Harley Race, Jack's former manager. In one of WCW's most brutal matches of all time, Cactus faced Vader in a Texas Death match at Halloween Havoc. Race won the match for Vader by using a cattle prod on Cactus, knocking him out for over ten seconds. The level of violence involved in this feud caused WCW to refuse to ever again book Cactus Jack against Vader on a pay-per-view. On March 16, 1994, during a WCW European tour, Foley and Vader had one of the most infamous matches in wrestling history in Munich, Germany. Foley began a hangman, a spot where a wrestler's head is tangled between the top two ring ropes, which is usually painful but safe. Unbeknownst to Foley, however, 2 Cold Scorpio had earlier complained that the ropes were too loose, resulting in the ring staff tightening the ropes to the maximum. As Foley struggled to pull himself out, he tore off two-thirds of his ear and underwent surgery later that day to reattach the cartilage from the ear to his head, so that a total reconstruction would be possible in the future. Later that year, Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan were scheduled to win the tag team titles at Slamboree 1994. Foley had to choose between reattaching his ear or wrestling in the pay-per-view and winning the titles. Foley chose to wrestle and won his only championship in WCW. Foley has said several times that he was frustrated by WCW's reluctance to work a storyline around losing his ear.

On April 23, in a match with Vader, Foley again took a powerbomb onto the concrete. Expecting a brilliant remark from the commentators about the fact that it was the same move that disabled him exactly one year prior, Foley was left unsatisfied with Bobby Heenan's announcement of "That'll give you Excedrine Headache No. 9." Foley recounts this as the moment that set his intention to leave WCW. At Bash at the Beach, Cactus Jack and Sullivan lost the tag team titles to Pretty Wonderful (Paul Orndorff and Paul Roma), and Sullivan then blamed Cactus for the loss. Cactus Jack officially turned heel when he attacked Kevin's kayfabe brother Dave Sullivan, however, the Sullivan brothers aroused so little sympathy from viewers that the fans reacted as though Cactus were the face. Cactus and Kevin Sullivan engaged in a summer-long feud, which culminated in a Loser Leaves Town match at Fall Brawl, which Cactus lost, ending his WCW career. After losing, Cactus decided to split his wrestling between SMW, ECW, and Japan.

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