What makes Foley’s assent to greatness even more special is taking into account the insurmountable obstacles he had to endure. He made it past Dominic DeNucci’s wrestling school and slept in cars, driving hours to different small shows to work for next to nothing. He was breaking into a business that, at the time, was dominated by bodybuilders. He was the underdog.
Foley, 47, followed in the footsteps of the likes of his inductor Terry Funk and Kevin Sullivan. He took hardcore to another level as (aptly named) Cactus Jack Manson, which was later shortened to Cactus Jack. His wars against Sting, Vader, the Nasty Boys and even Van Hammer were easy highlights during his time in WCW.
Although Foley was known for the brutality in his matches, he presented different sides to his character in ECW. This doesn’t mean he was without his hardcore moments in the Philadelphia-based promotion. Who could ever forget Funk and Sandman taking a Singapore cane to Foley’s back 46 times?
Whether it was Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love or Foley himself, the veteran was given the platform to really cement his legacy in WWE. Through his groundbreaking interviews with Jim Ross, there was more to Mick Foley than unmitigated violence. His success in WWE really began after his confrontations with The Undertaker and Triple H.
One of the most iconic images in WWE history is Foley’s descent off the top of the Hell in a Cell through a table during his 1998 King of the Ring match with The Undertaker. Foley’s dream came true that year when he defeated The Rock to become WWE champion on Raw. That moment is seen as an important part of WWE’s “Attitude Era” permanently turning the tide in the “Monday Night War” against WCW.
If they hadn’t known before, in the documentary film “Beyond the Mat”, viewers got a peak behind that camera to learn Foley wasn’t just a hardcore wrestler. The movie showed he was a husband and father. It revealed the real physical sacrifices he was making to entertain the audience.
Ironically, the bitterest of enemies became one of the most beloved and unlikely duos in WWE history. The Rock and Foley became the Rock ‘N' Sock Connection. Their “Rock: This is Your Life” became the highest-rated segment in Raw history. Speaking of milestones, Foley is often seen as the one who paved the way for the pro wrestling autobiography.
Whether it’s doing standup, writing a children’s book or guest-starring on an NBC comedy, Foley never ceases to surprise us. Despite his success, Foley also has also “given back” to emerging WWE superstars such as Christian, Edge, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk.
Foley’s generosity and philanthropic efforts are Hall of Fame caliber. He has sponsored children for ChildFund international, been an active support of the military and has raised thousands of dollars for organizations such as the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). He held raffles, auctioned off some of his most prized wrestling memorabilia and orchestrated fundraisers for a variety of worthwhile causes. A friend in need is a friend indeed to Foley, who even organized a benefit comedy show for “The Hurricane” Shane Helms.
For all these reasons and so many more, Foley deserves to take the podium to accept his induction in the WWE Hall of Fame. Knowing Mick, fans may find his Hall of Fame ring on eBay the next day for charity. That’s Mick Foley.