Mick Foley is a best selling author and retired professional wrestler who competed using his real name as well as the names Jack Manson, ‘Cactus’ Jack Manson, Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love. He is a 4 Times World Heavyweight Champion and an inductee of the WWE Hall of Fame.
Trained by Dominic DeNucci, Mick Foley debuted in 1983, wrestling in independent promotions and making occasional appearances for the WWF as a jobber in squash matches where he’d be beaten in a few minutes. After finding some fame in World Class Championship Wrestling as Cactus Jack Manson, he had a brief run with World Championship Wrestling before heading back to the independents and most notably Tri-State Wrestling where he developed his violent hardcore style. The ultra violence in Tri-State combined with his unorthodox appearance (made even more unorthodox thanks to losing his two top front teeth in a car crash prior to joining the company) led to WCW rehiring him.
Debuting in 1991 by attacking Sting, the two would have a blistering match at Bash at the Beach 1992 cementing Cactus Jack as a star. Mick Foley continued to develop his unorthodox wrestling style and maniacal character making him stand out from WCW’s often goofy characters like lumberjack Big Josh, firefighter Firebreaker Chip and Little Richard impersonator Johnny B. Badd amongst others,
In 1993 Mick Foley was legitimately injured in a match with Big Van Vader in which he suffered a concussion. The injury was then to be used as a way to turn Cactus Jack face but WCW turned it into a silly angle where Jack had amnesia.
Once he had recovered the feud with Vader resumed resulting in an ultra violent match at Halloween Havoc. The next year, the two clashed on house shows resulting in Mick Foley losing an ear during a match in Munich.
Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan won the WCW tag team titles and were sent to Extreme Championship Wrestling as a cross promotion. During one appearance, to try and indicate his loyalty to ECW fans, Foley spat on his championship belt which angered WCW bosses and led to him being fired.
Joining ECW, Mick Foley adopted a new gimmick where he abandoned his hardcore style and tried to convince ECW star Tommy Dreamer to abandon the hardcore promotion in favour of selling out to WCW, urging Dreamer not to make the same mistake as him in pandering to the ECW fans.
On August 20th 1995 Mick Foley would become notorious in professional wrestling after appearing in Japanese promotion IWA’s King of the Death Matches tournament. Cactus Jack emerged victorious and the images of him carrying a barbed wire life sized crucifixion style cross to the ring, his face covered in thick blood and the aftermath where he and Terry Funk were placed into an ambulance after suffering burns made wrestling magazines globally.
Unsurprisingly, the WWF came calling and Foley debuted the night after Wrestlemania XII as Mankind and soon afterwards started a feud with The Undertaker before challenging Shawn Michaels in a classic match at Mind Games.
The Undertaker feud would carry on for over a year until Mankind turned face and introduced his other ‘personality’, Dude Love. After unsuccessfully feuding without Hunter Hearst Helmsley Mankind and Dude Love decides to hand over control to a third personality – Cactus Jack. After a feud with The New Age Outlaws, Jack turned heel again but as a corporate Dude Love in a feud with Steve Austin.
Reverting to Mankind, Mick Foley resumed his feud with The Undertaker in what is possibly wrestling’s most famous match – the 1998 Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring. A few invites into the match, The Undertaker threw Mankind from the top of the cage through the announcers desk below resulting in Jim Ross (who was unaware that they would perform this move) exclaiming “Good God almighty! Good God almighty that killed him. With God as my witness he is broken in half”. WWF owner Vince McMahon came to ringside with paramedics to attend to Foley who had suffered a dislocated shoulder. While being stretchered out, he informed the EMTs to put his shoulder back in the socket so he could carry on the match. Returning to the roof of the cage, Mankind and The Undertaker brawled until a chokeslam sent Foley through the cage and plummeting into the ring. While this spot was planned the cage was supposed to slowly unravel but instead broke and did nothing to break the fall. Despite being knocked unconscious, dislocating his jaw, having a hole under his lip he could put his tongue through and having two teeth knocked out, one of which lodged itself in his nostril, Mick Foley somehow finished the match.
Later that year Mankind would become a goofy comedy character more in line with Mick Foley’s own personality and this change rocketed his popularity, eventually resulting in a face turn and winning the WWF World Heavyweight Championship in a white hot feud with The Rock. This led to an incredibly violent match at The Royal Rumble which saw Foley take 11 unprotected chairshots to the head.
The two would form a tag team, The Rock and Sock Connection, generating Raw’s highest rating of all time for the This Is Your Life segment. Mankind would then go on to win the championship again and engage in a feud with Triple H where he lost a match stipulating that he’d have to retire. Despite that he returned a few weeks later to wrestle in the main event of Wrestlemania 2000.
Mick Foley would return as ‘the commissioner’ of the WWF for a while before leaving the company and making appearances on indies and for Ring of Honor.
In 2003 he returned to WWE and wrestled sporadic matches before becoming a commentator. In 2008 Foley joined TNA and wrestled full time for them until 2011 when he requested his release from the company to rejoin WWE. Foley would make a number of appearances and wrestled what would be his final match at the 2012 Royal Rumble after he was medically failed to compete in August, later that year.
Mick Foley was inducted into the WWE Hall can Fame in 2013 and has made sporadic on air appearances including as Raw general manager.