Mick Foley first appeared in the WWF as Mankind the night after Wrestlemania XII, appearing in a series of vignettes in which he talked to a rat, played the piano, physically abused himself and called for his “Mommy!” He quickly moved into a feud with The Undertaker, setting up a Boiler Room Brawl match, a location chosen because it was where Mankind lived. Paul Bearer turned on The Undertaker at the end of the match, severing their long time relationship and handing the win to Mankind. He instead became Mankind’s “Uncle Paul.” Mankind beat The Undertaker again in a Buried Alive match before The Undertaker got revenge in a world title match. The two would later meet in a Hell in the Cell match, in which The Undertaker famously threw Mankind off of the top of the cage onto the announcer’s table sixteen feet below. Later in the match Mankind would plummet far more accidentally when the roof of the cage collapsed, dropping Foley downward onto a bed of thumbtacks.
The character of Mankind self-consciously repacked himself to assume the identity of Dude Love, a tie-die wearing hipster who Foley himself had dreamed up as a teenager. But a third personality just as quickly developed when Mankind and Dude Love had a conversation and decided Foley’s old WCW persona Cactus Jack should be the one to fight Hunter Hurst Helmsley in a Falls Count Anywhere match. When Foley still failed to earn the fan reaction of other top contenders Vince McMahon decided what would help was if he became more of a comedic character. So Foley began pulling a sock puppet from his pants and shoving it down opponent’s throats. Mankind fought his way through a world championship tournament only to have Mr. McMahon turn on him at the last minute, awarding the title to the new Corporate Champion, The Rock. Mankind got his revenge, beating The Rock in an upset on Monday Night RAW. WCW announcer Tony Schiavoni attempted to keep viewers from switching channels from Monday Nitro to RAW by spoiling Mankind’s title win in his commentary and mocking Foley on the air. But the move backfired when fans switched channels in great numbers to see the title change.
Foley lost the WWF Title back to The Rock in an I Quit match at the Royal Rumble, which became the basis for a memorable scene in the documentary Beyond the Mat. The two had a return engagement during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXIII. Foley and The Rock patched up their differences soon thereafter, forming the rabidly famous tag team The Rock and Sock Connection and filming This Is Your Life, a lengthy comedy segment in which Foley brought out people from The Rock’s past to celebrate his life. This Is Your Life remains the highest rated segment in the history of Monday Night RAW. Foley wound down his career by losing two matches against Triple H, the first a street fight for the championship at the 2000 Royal Rumble and the second a Hell in the Cell match at No Way Out. Foley spoiled his emotional farewell by returning the very next month for one final match in the main event of Wrestlemania, and has wrestled on several occasions since then, most notably against Randy Orton during Orton’s Legend Killer period. He’s served as the WWE Commissioner or RAW General Manager several times and as a color commentator with Jim Ross on Smackdown.
Michael Francis Foley Sr. was born in Bloomington, Indiana, on June 7, 1965. His family soon moved to Setauket, New York, a small town on the North Shore of Long Island, where he attended Ward Melville High School, played lacrosse and competed on the wrestling team. He attended State University of New York at Cortland. After hitchhiking to Madison Square Garden to see a cage match between “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco Foley was inspired to sign up for Dominic DeNucci’s pro wrestling academy. He wrestled in several talent enhancement matches for the WWF, serving as a punching bag for established names like The British Bulldogs. While wrestling for several years in the independent wrestling circuits Foley was in a car accident that knocked out two of his front teeth, giving him the distinctive look he has today. In 1991 he reached the big time in Ted Turner’s WCW. Foley briefly feuded with Van Hammer and Abdullah The Butcher before losing to WCW Champion Sting in a non-title Falls Count Anywhere match at Beach Blast 1992. Foley, wrestling as Cactus Jack, got power bombed onto the concrete floor, causing him to temporarily lose feeling in his right foot and hand. After several years as a top contender Foley was privately fired for going too far in an on air segment where he spit on the tag team belts in order to generate excitement. WCW president Eric Bischoff saw him as having disrespected the promotion. He moved to ECW where he developed his reputation as the King of Hardcore, wrestling with Singapore canes, barbed-wire baseball bats, barbed wire boards, thumbtacks, beds of nails, fire and C4 explosives. In his final match with the company the fans an enduring standing ovation, chanting “Please don’t go!” Foley spoke intimately and honestly in a powerful moment Foley said was the best of his career. He currently works for TNA! an on air personality and occasional wrestler.