A&E Biography – Mick Foley: What We Learned

Mick Foley

The A&E Network series Biography is featuring a number of professional wrestlers on its show. This week, the featured wrestler was the “Hardcore Legend”, Mick Foley. Foley went from filming matches in his backyard to becoming the WWF (WWE) World Champion. However, there is much that is not known about Mick. This week, viewers learned a lot more about “Mrs Foley’s Baby Boy.” Let’s go through some!

The “most un-athletic wrestler ever” was a very athletic young man

Mick Foley was a three-sport athlete in high school. As a young man, Mick competed in football, basketball and lacrosse.

Mick Foley had a famous childhood friend

Few knew that Mick Foley was a longtime friend of Brian Hildebrand, who would become referee Mark Curtis. However, King of Queens star Kevin James was a high school wrestling teammate and childhood friend of Mick Foley.

Foley just wanted to have fun

After discovering professional wrestling, Mick and his friends filmed matches in Mick’s backyard just for fun. In addition, Mick made jokes about himself to people in school. This was so that the kids in school would not make fun of him. One night, after walking a girl home from a date, the girl mistakenly called him “Frank”. Mick went home and wrote the script to The Legend of Frank Foley. Foley created the Dude Love character for the film, and Mick’s legendary roof dive was the finale scene of the movie.

The Madison Square Garden story is true

The story of Mick Foley attending the MSG show where Jimmy Snuka dived off of a cage onto Don Muraco is true. Foley made the decision to become a wrestler after seeing that match. Mick’s friends thought that he was crazy, but his parents supported his decision. However, Mick had to agree to complete college. Mick worked independent shows on weekends while finishing college.

Blame Dude Love for Cactus Jack

When Mick started his wrestling career, he did not believe that he was talented enough to perform as Dude Love. Therefore, he created Cactus Jack, a character with a “vanilla” name.

Mick Foley can thank Dave Meltzer for his big break

Following a match on an independent show, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter characterized Mick Foley as “as good as any indy wrestler in the country”. Mick received offers from three different larger promotions due to this write-up. Initially, Mick signed with CWA in Memphis before making his way to World Class Championship Wrestling.

Remember this: High Pain Threshold, Not a Masochist

During the airing of Biography, Mick stated that he does not necessarily enjoy pain. He feels that he has a better hold over it than most others. On the other hand, if he liked how a move looked in the ring, Mick often wondered how it would look on the floor.

Thank Robert Fuller for Cactus’ name change

Initially, Mick wrestled as Cactus Jack Foley, but Robert Fuller told Mick that he looked a bit like Charles Manson. When Mick entered WCCW, he changed his ring name to Cactus Jack Manson. Mick presented the character in a slightly more deranged way, and he became a top heel in World Class. World Championship Wrestling (WCW) took an interest in Foley because of his work as Manson.

An accident made Mick Foley famous

Prior to starting in WCW, an automobile accident cost Mick his two front teeth. When he arrived in WCW, Jim Ross liked Mick’s look with the missing teeth, and this became another gimmick layer for Cactus Jack.

WCW liked him, then they didn’t, then they did

WCW liked Mick Foley because he always had ideas for his character. The company felt that other wrestlers stood around waiting to be told what to do. However, WCW brass weren’t really fans of his style. Mick went back to the indies, with a mind on stealing the show every night. As he started creating more buzz, WCW offered Foley another chance to work in the promotion.

Mick Foley saw the ear match as a money maker

Following the match in Germany against Vader where Mick lost a piece of his ear, Mick had big ideas for the follow-up. On the way to the hospital, instead of thinking about the pain, Mick was thinking of promos that he could cut the next time that he was on television. Foley felt that the ear loss could lead to a year-long program with Vader. Eric Bischoff, however, was not interested in this angle. Bischoff felt that Mick’s style was a liability to the company.

Appreciation is worth more than money

Mick Foley left WCW because he didn’t feel appreciated. Though he had a 6-figure income, Foley went to IWA in Japan, feeling that he would be respected. Mick claimed that he performed in death matches because he was good at them.

Visions of Dewey being caned made Mick Foley a bigger star

At an Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) show, a “Cane Dewey” sign upset Mick’s wife Collette. The sign was made with Mick’s permission. Mick was able to channel Collette’s feelings into a new character. Mick turned heel in ECW by creating an anti-hardcore gimmick. The anti-hardcore promos were some of Mick’s very best work, and some in WWE became interested in Foley.

Vince was initially not a believer

Jim Ross and Bruce Prichard wanted to sign Mick but not Vince. Vince signed Foley so that Ross could be proved wrong.

HBK and Bruce Prichard  brought Dude Love to WWE

Following a PPV main event match against Shawn Michaels, HBK asked Mick if Mick was content with his career. Bruce Prichard heard Mick mentioning initially wanting to work as Dude Love in order to get reactions like Shawn’s. Prichard asked to see some of Dude Love’s work, and Bruce convinced Vince to give the character a try.

The more Mick Foley, the better

Vince did not think that Mick Foley would ever be a top talent. However, the fan reaction to the “Three Faces of Foley” showed Vince that Mick could get over.

Undertaker feared for Foley’s life

The Undertaker did not want to throw Mick off of the cage in their legendary Hell in the Cell match. Mick wanted to outdo Taker’s cell match against Shawn Michaels. After Mick fell off of – and then through – the cell, Taker tried to talk Foley out of using the tacks, feeling that Mick had given enough. After the match, Mick Foley asked if Taker was hurting.

Mr. Socko was the final missing piece

Feeling that the Mankind character was missing something, Mick introduced Mr Socko. Socko helped push Mick to another level, and the bestselling book took his career even higher.

The period after retirement was the hardest

After retiring from professional wrestling, Mick was not sure what to do next. Foley worked as a crisis counselor, but after a while, he returned to wrestling. Mick did not enjoy this phase of his career, but he did it for the money. Once he retired again, Mick turned to stand-up comedy so that he could interact with live crowds.

Mick Foley lived his dream

Foley stated that though he lives in pain, the injuries were a small price to pay. The true prize, according to Mick, was in being able to live out his dreams.

The next episode of A&E’s Biography will chronicle the life and career of Bret “Hitman” Hart.

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