Not waiting until No Way Out, I want to thank Mick Foley for the memories
February 28, 2000
By Fritz Capp
"Iíve been pulling a limp white thing out of my pants for years, I just never got cheered for it before" - Mick Foley : Monday Night Raw and "Have A Nice Day"
Every wrestling fan that has been around for a decent amount of time knew that eventually Mick Foley would hang up his tights. It was inevitable. The brutality of his matches and the severity of his injuries were bound to take its toll on the man. I mean címon... he is only human right?
While we are all witness to the end of the era that is happening right before our very eyes, instead of waiting for him to leave and write something that would surely tug at everyoneís heartstrings, I decided to write ahead of time to celebrate Mrs. Foleyís Baby Boy and what he has meant to me.
I first saw Cactus down in WCW. A brutal wrestler to be sure but for some reason I always liked Cactus Jack. There was something about him that made me like him even when he was beating the hell out of one of the good guys. Maybe it was the way he portrayed himself. Maybe it was just the fact that he could kick some opponent butt...but one thing is for sure and that is he was different than the rest of them. Sure there were the Ric Flairs and the Vaders but Cactus stood out from the rest.
The Cactus Clothesline was one of the most devastating moves I had ever seen. That is not to take away from his elbow drop off the apron. Itís funny, when I think back to Cactusís old days in WCW, it makes me remember what it was like to be a non-knowing wrestling fan. Sure I knew the stuff was "fixed" but that didnít matter. I didnít look at matches in terms of work rate, all I knew was what I liked. Yeah, I was a huge mark and I loved it. (Still am if you wanna know the truth)
I hated it when Cactus lost to Sullivan in that "loser leaves" match because I didnít think Iíd ever get to see him wrestle again. Many times before the advent of the Internet it could be years since you saw a wrestler again. I remember that I used to wonder what happened to "Dr. Death" Steve Williams and Terry Gordy. That was before I even knew that Japan was a hotbed for wrestling.
My fears were unwarranted though as Cactus went to the one place where I could see him almost every week...or at least almost every three weeks and that was ECW at the famed Bingo Hall. When I saw Cactus there I knew he had found a home. The style fit him perfectly. ECW was where I thought Cactus would call home for the rest of his wrestling days.
I got to meet him when ECW was running shows out of Damien Kaneís Bodyslam Arena in Reading PA. I was in early as usual for that time in my life and he had just brought in his t-shirts to set up on the table. Now to me there are wrestlers and then there are "WRESTLERS". Mick was always in the latter classification to me. Larger than life by every definition of the words it took me a bit to go over and just say hi. Sure, I have no problem admitting I was a little star struck and in awe of the man I had seen take more punishment in one night than I had in my whole life.... and I grew up on the streets of Philadelphia. Anyway after I finally got up the nerve to bother him and talked with him for a while I went away and finally realized why I like Mick for all those years.
He is without a doubt one of the classiest and most humble people I had ever met. Now I know all of you are going, "Well how could you tell that by watching him on television?" Very easy....who else do you now that spent his career killing himself out of love for the business and his co-workers? Whenever you saw Cactus on television or in the ring you knew there was going to be a beating but you also knew that Cactus Jack was going to take the majority of it. That may have been another endearing quality of Mickís. I could somehow always tell that he was there because he loved the sport and was willing to do what it took to make his part of the show as good as it could be.
While people will differ on their favorite memories of Mick in ECW I have to say that the most memorable for me was watching him trying his best to turn the crowd against him. Maybe it was because I was quite a bit more knowledgeable about the inner workings of the business by then or maybe it was because it was just interesting to watch, but when he ripped off his shirt and had one on underneath with a huge picture of Eric Bischoff on it, I was in amazement. The crowd was booing like crazy and I was laughing. It was during this time that I learned about psychology as it related to wrestling.
I was at the arena for his final match, and after reading his book, I was glad to see how emotional his send off made him. No matter what Mick did we all still loved and respected him and I am glad that came across to him. So many others would have kept that moment with them for a day or so then moved on. The humanity in Mick could be his greatest asset.
I hated seeing him go to the WWF and Iíll be honest when I saw him come out as Mankind I thought he was through. I figured Vince was about to ruin one of the few "greats" in the sport. I am so glad I was wrong.
It took a bit but after awhile you could sense the Cactus Jack coming out of him even though he was behind his now smelly leather mask. The "Boiler Room" brawl with the Undertaker was the defining moment for me in that respect. It was all uphill from there.
On Sunday Mick could be entering his last match. Not because itís a "retirement" match, I say this because you donít know whether this is the match that Mick decides to retire on or not. I personally would love to see him headline a WrestleMania and basically pass his torch to the Rock, but to be honest Mick is so generous when it comes to wrestling that I could see him having one heck of a good-bye match at No Way Out and leaving on that note. I would hate it but Mick is unselfish enough to let the guys that are going to be with the company have that main event.
On a not so small side note I want to congratulate Chris Benoit and Nancy on the birth of their new son Christopher Daniel. May he beam the laughter and joy that my own son has brought me.
And with that I am outta here. Remember wrestling is nothing more than it appears to be. FREE SABU!
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