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Foley is Great: The Definitive Guide to
Mick Foley on Home Video 

September 30, 2005

by the Canadian Bulldog    
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Though it's hard for me to peg one wrestler as my favorite "of all time" (I've been watching wrestling 20 years this summer), Mick Foley is my current fave and will probably always be near the top of that list.
Why? In a business that's filled with phonies (and increasingly those who shoot on the phoniness of the business), Mick Foley has consistently been as real as they come. His success story has been nothing short of remarkable, going from longtime fan to main-event talent, and in some ways, back to fan again. In the ring, he's always known his limitations and played to his 

strengths. And I can't think of too many others who have gone out of their way to build new stars, not for the sake of making himself look good, but simply because the business needed them.

Then there are his books -- it is hard to come across a more honest, sympathetic figure than Foley (at least in the world of wrestling biographies). I have yet to come across a wrestling fan (and I've converted at least one non-wrestling fan) who has read both "Have A Nice Day" and "Foley Is Good" and NOT come away with a higher opinion of Foley because of it.

Plus the way the man shills his books - it's something I have come to appreciate in recent months, let me tell you.

Enough with the butt-kissing, though. As a big fan of the Hardcore Legend, I've collected pretty much everything of his that has come out on DVD in recent years. And there may be more material out there than you think.


Cactus Jack: No Holds Barred

Although it may be sold individually, I bought this DVD as part of a three-pack involving the early Texas careers of Steve Austin ("Master of Mayhem") and Jeff Jarrett ("In Your Face"). I'm not a tremendous fan of USWA-era wrestling, but this is still a great use of their library, one of the only major American promotions that WWE doesn't own the rights too.

In short, this is from some of Foley's earliest wrestling in Texas. If you've read "Have A Nice Day", you'll recall that he wasn't quite a hardcore legend at this point; more a nutty goof than anything else. So buyer beware: the "No holds barred" title is kind of misleading. Oh, and his ring name at this point is still Cactus Jack Manson. Bizarre.

I also understand this DVD has been repackaged as "Cactus Jack: The Early Years". I may be mistaken on that, but the lineups sound similar.

Production Values: The video quality isn't tremendous, as was the case with many of the late-80's, early-90's USWA action. That's not to say you can't watch it or anything, it's just a far, far cry from the productions WWE has been treating us to for most of the past 20 years.

Commentary: I'm not sure who is on the mic here, but it's definitely passable commentary. Nothing outstanding in a historical context or anything, but considering this was all taken from weekly television shows, it's hard to fault anyone for that.

The Action: We start off with Cactus against former Freebird Terry "Bamm Bamm" Gordy in a bit of a plodding brawl. Next is a pair of unremarkable interviews; first we see Cactus with the future Raven (then just Scotty The Body) and then with manager General Skandor Akbar… Cactus next loses the World Class Light Heavyweight Title (and lord knows how he qualified to win THAT in the first place) against Texas mainstay Eric Embry… Next is a squash match against Mike Hernandez, the only match of this DVD where Cactus actually wins… Then we have a tag match in which Cactus and Gary Young lose by DQ to babyfaces Jeff Jarrett and Chris Adams… Finally, we wrap things up with a DQ loss to Jimmy Jack Funk, of all people. When you're doing the J.O.B. to Jimmy Jack freaking Funk, Cactus, perhaps it's time to move out of the USWA territory! Which to his credit, is exactly what he did.

Extras: A "slideshow" of stills from some of the matches you've just seen, and a lame trivia quiz about Cactus. Honestly, I'm not sure why they even bothered. It's not like the extras here are decision-makers on whether one would buy this.

Overall: I'd only recommend this DVD to Foley completists. It's certainly not the most flattering era of his career, and the production isn't exactly top notch. There are much better collections out there, as you'll soon see. Overall rating: 1/5.


The Best Of Cactus Jack - The ECW Years

In the dying days of ECW, someone at Pioneer Entertainment must have read "Have A Nice Day" and realized they could capitalize on the book's success by providing a companion piece to his chapters on ECW. That's exactly what this DVD is - a look at some of the biggest matches he had during his time in the renegade Philadelphia promotion.

Production Values: The DVD is narrated by Joey Styles, who introduces each match and describes its significance. A music video with Cactus Jack highlights opens the DVD, another nice touch. While Pioneer never had the best material to work with, I found they made the most of what they had in all their DVD releases. It's unfortunate they only put out a handful of these (a Best of The Dudley Boys and a few compilation tapes) before ECW went belly-up.

BIG bonus points to ECW for setting up each match with past clips and necessary backstory. Not everyone knows what happened between, say, Foley and Mikey Whipwreck, so the setup goes a long way.

The video quality isn't tremendous, but if you were able to sit through the ECW DVD (or One Night Stand, for that matter), you should be fine.

Commentary: Personally, I've never cared much for Joey Styles on the mic, though I know a lot of people feel he's the be all and end all of wrestling announcers. Part of it is because I've been trained to hear two or more people call the action, and just about ANYONE in Joey's position would have a hard time handling both play-by-play and color commentary. Still, his screeching voice and constant knocks at the competition gets old really fast, which really offsets any superior wrestling knowledge he may have to other announcers.

The Action: We start off with a decent match featuring Cactus and Sabu from June 1994, marred only by numerous run-ins… Afterwards, we have the infamous "Cactus Jack spits on WCW tag belt" interview, followed by a promo by Sabu's then-manager Paul Heyman… Then we're off to Cactus and Mikey Whipwreck against The Public Enemy in a wild brawl… Cactus then recruits Kevin Sullivan to replace an injured Mikey in a rematch against Public Enemy, and Sullivan SHOCKINGLY turns on his former WCW friend… Sullivan's ex-wife Woman launched a feud between Cactus and her protégé, The Sandman. This leads to two (clipped) matches, a promo and outside interference by Terry Funk himself… This then segues into a match with Cactus and Shane Douglas against Funk and Sandman, and a one-on-one match against The Funker (this MAY be the "flaming branding iron" incident Foley covers in "Have A Nice Day")… Then we see a brutal barbed wire match against Sandman, which is actually hard to watch at times… Cactus then turns on Tommy Dreamer and begins his anti-hardcore character. This leads to a generous helping of the anti-hardcore promos that are covered in later WWE DVD's, but not in as great detail as shown here… Several clips of the Cactus and Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer feud are shown here, and again, this is where reading "Have a nice day" helps to explain the context of this unique feud… Next is a Cactus vs. Shane Douglas match, unique in that Douglas was returning from a short-lived WWF stint as "Dean Douglas" and Cactus was on his way there as "Mankind"… Then we have Cactus' final ECW match against Mikey Whipwreck, and the now-legendary exit promo (although I believe they clipped the best part, which involved Stevie Richards and Blue Meanie).

Extras: None, but keep in mind this is a pretty complete collection of his ECW body of work.

Overall: Easily the best storyline chronology of any of the Foley DVD's out there (and really, I can't come up with ANY wrestling DVD that ties in major events so tightly). At more than three hours, it's a generous collection of memorable matches in an easy-to-follow format that I'd highly recommend to both Foley and ECW fans. Overall rating: 4/5.


Three Faces of Foley

Okay, I'm kind of cheating here: I don't own this DVD. I did, however, own the VHS version, which as I understand it, is identical to its DVD counterpart. However, now that I'm looking for it, I can't find the VHS copy either, so I'm going to kind of half-ass it instead. Bear with me…

This isn't a collection of matches like the other DVD's; it's an hour-long documentary produced in the late-90's when Mick Foley was successfully juggling his Mankind, Dude Love and Cactus Jack personas; thus the video's title. There are highlights of some of his most famous WWF matches at the time, but I don't believe there was a single complete match.

Production Values: Foley is hosting this himself (as we would see for his other WWF/WWE videos as well, and his sense of humor and honesty go over well. Otherwise, this is a typical WWF home video release at the time; brief but flawless.

Commentary: Your standard JR and The King fare here. At one point, Foley does sit down with a young Matt and Jeff Hardy to talk to them about his career (they were still very much jobbers at the time), but that's about as elaborate as it gets.

The Action: Here's where I'm really going to half-ass things, because I'm relying on amazon.com reviews to fill in the blanks for me. Among the highlights are his famous sit-down interview with Jim Ross (a must-see if you've never come across it before), his feud with a pre-Triple H Hunter Hearst Helmsley; his friendship with Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) which led to a feud with the New Age Outlaws; and of course, the legendary Hell In A Cell match with The Undertaker. I'm sure there's more, too, but damned if I remember what.

Extras: Amazon.com says nothing extra, so that's what I'm going with.

Overall: Well, I'll give the DVD some leeway, given that I haven't even seen its content in a couple of years. But honestly, while there's nothing wrong with this, the next two releases blow this one out of the water. Overall rating: 2.5/5.


While I'm being truthful and everything, I might as well add that there's an outside chance that Mick Foley: Madman Unmasked, exists somewhere on DVD (though I can't confirm this). It definitely exists of VHS (I have a copy of that, er, somewhere), and is at least worth mentioning.

This is the A & E Biography that aired in late-1999/early 2000, and is quite well done. While there are no matches per se, you've got comments from some of Foley's peers, family and foes on his career.

Personally, I prefer Foley's books, where you can learn the same information in a much more entertaining way, but this is definitely a good Cliff's Notes version. Let me put it this way: if you see it in a bargain bin for $4.99 (as I did a couple of years back), don't hesitate to pick it up. Or just wait until it airs on A&E again.


Mick Foley: Hard Knocks and Cheap Pops

Whereas the ECW DVD is a great companion piece to the corresponding chapters in "Have A Nice Day", this is a great companion piece to "Foley Is Good" (minus, of course, his 200-page attack on the Parents Television Council and related groups).

In other words, don't expect an introduction to the world of Mick Foley here on this video. By this point, he is WWF Commissioner and is looking back on the final couple of years of his active wrestling career.

This is also notable in that Foley is clearly having fun with this DVD release, making fun of his employers, opponents and, of course, Al Snow (more on that in a bit).

Production Values: Again, typical WWF home video fare in terms of both video quality and content organization; nothing to complain about in the slightest.

Commentary: Again, JR and The King are handling the bulk of commentary duties here. Oh, and then there's… nah, I'll cover that part in the Extras section.

The Action: We begin, strangely enough, with the history of his ribbing with Al Snow. There's even some home videos Al and Mick took in Las Vegas for a UPN special, which are pretty funny… Mick is candid here, as he explains he was ready to retire in 1999 before he began tagging with The Rock as the world-famous Rock and Sock Connection… Of course, Al Snow's jealousy was responsible for breaking up Rock and Sock, a rare case of a real-life story becoming a wrestling angle (okay, maybe not that rare these days)… This segues into an OVERLY-LONG dissection of his feud with Triple H (which includes tons of "shoot" comments from The Game himself). Don't get me wrong; it was a memorable feud, I just didn't need to see 20 minutes of the DVD dedicated to it… Foley then "retires" after his HIAC match with HHH at No Way Out before reappearing weeks later for the main event of WrestleMania 2000… About six months later, Foley returned as WWF Commissioner, and there are segments dedicated to his chemistry with Edge and Christian (including a sit-down interview with the three of them recalling their favorite segments), Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, Triple H, The Stooges, Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. The video ends with Foley being "fired" by Vince in December 2000, and it's actually amazing at how well-written his firing was in retrospect (one by one, all of his enemies came back to destroy him in one segment). Finally, we have Foley commenting on his legacy, and his comments may surprise you. One final prank against Al Snow, and we're out.

Extras: In addition to entrance videos for Mankind, Cactus Jack, Dude Love and Commissioner Foley, there are actually five full-length matches: A title match against Shawn Michaels which Foley lists as one of his best ever; a match on Raw against Steve Austin - when both guys were heels; the "Halftime Heat" match against The Rock (the less said about that one, the better); a classic Austin-Dude Love match from In Your House; and best of all, the infamous "Kennel In The Cell" match featuring Al Snow and Big Bossman. Why is the last one there? Because Foley and Kevin Kelly are doing guest commentary, and are HILARIOUS at making this fiasco sound like Flair-Steamboat. Best. Extra. Ever.


Overall: This certainly isn't the most complete look at Mick Foley, but it's a good one. There are a few rarities here, and if nothing else, it makes for a good commentary of the last "great" era of the World Wrestling Federation. Still, you can pick up a lot of this footage in the next DVD I'm about to review, so keep that in mind. Overall rating: 3.5/5.


Mick Foley: Greatest Hits & Misses

This is Foley's version of the "Ultimate Ric Flair Collection" (and why they made this 2 discs instead of 3, I'll never know), and it's quite a compilation. WWE was able to dig into its vast video library and come up with not only WWE and WCW footage, but ECW and Smoky Mountain Wrestling bouts as well. Honestly, the only thing missing if one was to truly make a "Best Of" for Foley would be some of his death match work in Japan.

The only complaint, really, is that there's not a "biography" per se of Foley's career, but with over 6 and half hours of footage, you kind of get the picture anyways.

Production Values: Even the SMW footage is relatively clean, and of course the WWE and WCW stuff is flawless. Like the previous two videos, Foley is the host and pulls no punches when "shooting" with his audience, even making fun of them at the outset for not having girlfriends.

Commentary: A wide range of voices for the story of Mick Foley's career. In addition to JR and The King, there's Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Joey Styles, Steve Austin, Bruno Sammartino and even Vince McMahon. Plus, Foley and Jonathan Coachman team up for a pair of guest commentaries, adding something to the collection. The only minus is that Jesse Ventura's voice is absent from a couple of WWF and WCW matches, which can be REALLY frustrating to hear announcers having conversations with themselves.

The Action: Where to start? Foley talks about his brutal match with Big Van Vader from WCW Saturday Night. Mick even sneaks footage from his own video collection into the match, as WCW had originally deemed part of the bout too violent for television… Next is a wild, stiff tag team match featuring Foley and Maxx Payne against The Nasty Boys… Then we have the aforementioned Sabu match in ECW and the promo where he spits on the WCW tag belt… SMW action is next, with Foley taking on the late Chris Candido… Back to ECW, where Foley sheepishly admits that the next match was not his choice to show, and is in fact a "trainwreck". It's a Texas Death Match with The Sandman, where Sandman gets knocked silly and legitimately refuses to lose for some time (I guess this one would fit under the "greatest misses" category)… Then we have Cactus and Raven against Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer during Cactus' anti-hardcore stage and the last ECW match with Mikey Whipwreck, which he surprisingly calls his favorite (because of the unexpected reaction he got from the crowd).

Disc Two is the start of his WWF/E era, beginning with the Shawn Michaels match from Mind Games… Then we go to his 1997 "return" to Cactus Jack in MSG against Hunter Hearst Helmsley… Next is a rare match where Mick Foley wrestles AS Mick Foley against Terry Funk on Raw… The Dude Love "Over The Edge" match against Steve Austin was next, but not before Mick takes a potshot at Vince McMahon's referee outfit… Then we have Hell In A Cell against Undertaker from 1998, in its entirety. Nothing I say about this match could possibly do it justice. If you've never seen it before, you absolutely need to… This segues into the January 1999 match on Raw where Mankind defeats The Rock for his first of three WWF World Titles. Interesting not only because of how the result of this match ended up helping Raw win the nightly ratings battle against Nitro, but also because of the number of big names at ringside… Finally, we have the street fight at Royal Rumble 2000 against Triple H, which is arguably one of the best matches ever for either guy. And I say "finally", but we're not done by a longshot.

Extras: Lots of good stuff here. A promo cut against Vader the week after his Saturday Night match. Foley and Coach commentate on a Falls Count Anywhere match against Sting, one of my personal favorites, and the commentary only enhances it… The entire "Cactus spits on WCW belt" promo is next, which marks the third time in one sitting I've now seen it (and I didn't think it was that hot to begin with)… The promo that follows, something known as the "Cane Dewey" interview, is what Foley calls his greatest interview… This is followed by another "anti-hardcore" promo… Then there's another match with Sabu in ECW with a couple of INSANE spots thrown in for good measure… The ECW farewell speech is next… Then, there's a real rarity: Foley's second wrestling match, a match from WWF television where he (as Jack Foley) and veteran Les Thornton against The British Bulldogs (no relation). The Bulldogs, and Dynamite Kid in particular, were overly rough on the rookie. Foley on WWE Confidential is the final extra for the first disc.

Disc two kicks off with five of Mankind's introductory vignettes to the WWF (where they hadn't completed his mask yet, so his face is simply hidden)… Then JR interviews Mankind and Paul Bearer prior to his In Your House match with Shawn Michaels… The conclusion to Mankind's sit-down interview with JR follows, and its definitely the start of something special in Foley's career, even if the ending looks kind of hokey… Speaking of which, you have the HILARIOUS hospital sketch where Foley, Mr. Socko, Yurple The Clown (and Dr. Austin) visit a grouchy Vince McMahon… Then there are the Las Vegas promotional spots with Al Snow which were also on "Cheap Pops" DVD. Finally, you have a Commissioner Foley-Kurt Angle vignette, funny only because of how Foley sneaks in a "jerk" comment at the end.

Overall: Phew. This is by FAR the most complete Mick Foley collection you'll find out there (and probably the only one still available in mainstream stores). Well worth the money and then some. Overall rating: 5/5.


So there you have it. While I'm also throwing out recommendations, it's worth noting three other DVD's that feature (but aren't solely focused on) the Hardcore Legend: WWF Hardcore, FMW Yokohama Deathmatch and, of course, the documentary film Beyond The Mat.

If you have any further suggestions (or maybe if you've found my copy of "Three Faces of Foley"), drop me a line at bulldog@onlineonslaught.com.  Thanks for reading!


CANADIAN BULLDOG  is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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