Over the history of professional wrestling, there may not be a more beloved superstar than the hardcore legend, Mick Foley. Really, how can you hate a guy like him? During his time overseas, in WCW, TNA, ECW and, most importantly, WWE, Foley transitioned from an odd looking, awkward wrestler to a 2013 Hall of Famer.
His accomplishments and accolades speak for themselves. Not only was Foley atop the food chain in almost every single company he wrestled for, but he also won the audience over by being such a relatable human being.
On top of his championships and famous matches, Foley did something that not one other professional wrestler has been able to do to date: while many struggle to get one character over with the crowd, Foley took three separate characters with three different looks, actions and feels to them – Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love – and individually made them popular.
While “Foley is God” chants were one of the most popular during the end of his WWE tenure, what many people do not know is the important and impactful things he has done since finishing up his in-ring career. Whether it was donating money to charity or being respectful to everyone he comes across, Foley is the definition of a good person.
Yes, if you are a wrestling fan, you have seen him hoisting the WWE championship on top of D-Generation X’s shoulders, thrown off of the top of the Hell in a Cell by The Undertaker or heard of him losing his ear in a match with Vader; however, here are fifteen things you probably didn’t know about the man, the myth and the legend, Mick Foley.
15 He Has Been on a Variety of Television Shows
Yes, Mick Foley was on cable television from the mid 1990s until the end of the 2000s. However, what some may not know is that Foley made appearances on a multitude of television shows throughout his wrestling career. Over the years, Foley has had one-offs on episodes for Boy Meets World, 30 Rock, The Daily Show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Saturday Night Live and Wife Swap, among various other low-level and less popular programs, movies and documentaries. It’s clear that Foley isn’t only vastly talented inside of the squared circle, he also has the knack for having his popularity translate to the tube as well.
14 He is on the National Leadership Council for RAINN
It’s clear that Mick Foley cares deeply about many charities and foundations; so much so, that he himself is a part of the National Leadership Council for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. To help the organization, Foley typically uses his wrestling fame to earn money – whether it is selling his personal memorabilia from his in-ring days or having fellow wrestlers join his movement, he has done a tremendous job; not only for RAINN, but for countless others who are in need of help, including the military and underprivileged children.
13 He Mows Lawns as a Reward For Donations to Charity
In a way to get even more people to help out his cause to donating to different charities, Mick Foley made a unique – yet effective – promise to anyone who donated $5,000 to RAINN back in 2011: he would go to your residence and mow your lawn! Yes, the wrestling icon would cut your grass if you helped the cause of the organization. Not only that, but Foley also vowed to match anyone’s donations up to $10,000. It is unknown if Foley continues to do this today, but either way, it showed how deeply he cares about those in need.
12 He is a Die Hard Tori Amos Fan
When you look at Mick Foley’s body of work as a wrestler, one would believe he listens to music like hardcore heavy metal to get himself mentally prepared to put his body on the line. However, Foley – the unique soul that he is – listens to something just a bit tamer than metal: Tori Amos. Yes, the multiple-time Grammy nominated opinionated signer became the source of Foley’s motivation to fight in Hardcore matches, among others. In an interview with the Casino Rama Grill Room, Foley stated, “the secret to doing these intense matches? Three words: Tori Amos songs.” Not only has she impacted him as a wrestler, but also as a person. After they met in 2008, Amos introduced Foley to the RAINN organization.
11 He is a Three-Time New York Times Best Selling Author
When Mick Foley decided to come out with a memoir titled “Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks,” many wrestling fans didn’t know what to think of the book. Could a man who has taken countless chairshots to the head compile 800 pages of sensible work? Well, not only did the fans perceive the book well, but so did the general public, as his first autobiography became a New York Times Best Seller.
While many know that his first book was a Best Seller, Foley made it on the list several more times. Foley’s follow-up autobiographies “Foley Is Good: And the Real World Is Faker than Wrestling” and “The Hardcore Diares” also spent time on the esteemed list.
10 He is a Christmas Fanatic
If you have seen pictures of Mick Foley in recent years, there is one thing very noticeable about him: he is always donning some sort of Christmas-themed attire. Foley is all-in on Christmas; not only was he named an Ambassador for Santa, but he also has an entire room in his house dedicated to all things that are related to Christmas. To add, not only did he star as himself in the film “I Am Santa,” but Foley has also put together a kickstarter campaign that would help fund a movie about mall-Santa Clauses throughout the country.
9 He Went to High School with Actor Kevin James
Rarely do you see two very famous celebrities attend the same high school, let alone at the same time; however, for Ward Melville High School on Long Island, New York, they have the distinction to say that Mick Foley and actor Kevin James were a part of their school. Not only were they good friends during their time at Ward Melville, but they were also teammates on the school’s wrestling team. What’s even funnier is that James, from the King of Queens show, was a superior wrestler to Foley; that is, until James went down with an injury, which then led to Foley taking his place as the number one heavyweight wrestler in the area.
8 He is a Former TNA World Heavyweight Champion
While Mick Foley is certainly known for his wrestling days with the WWE, ECW, WCW and Japan, he also took part in Total Nonstop Action as well. While at first he was only in position to be an on-air authority figure, Foley eventually found his way back into the wrestling ring. At the 2009 Lockdown event, Foley defeated Sting for the company’s heavyweight championship, while also feuding with Kurt Angle over the title. After uninspired angles with Abyss, ECW Originals, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, Foley – who has admitted on Twitter that he was never fully invested in TNA – left during the summer of 2011.
7 He Created the Dude Love Persona as a Teenager
Although Mick Foley is renowned for his work as both the Mankind and Cactus Jack character, he has also garnered a cult-like following for his Dude Love persona. While it didn’t last long, Foley had a short-lived run as Dude Love in 1997 and 1998, which included two WWE Championship matches. While fans were happy to see another character under the Foley umbrella, little did they know that Dude Love was created long before many believed. After a woman forgot Foley’s name during a date, he made a home video in college that displayed what a cool, hip and manly man should be. That man's name? Dude Love.
6 His First WWE Match Took Place in 1986
When Mick Foley made his debut as Mankind in the WWE in 1996, many fans were happy that such a known, talented wrestler had finally made it to the big stage. However, 1996 wasn’t the first time Foley stepped foot in a WWE ring; it actually came 10 years prior. While training under Dominic DeNucci, Foley was chosen as an enhancement talent, usually known as either Jack or Nick Foley. In one match against the British Bulldogs, the Dynamite Kid clotheslined Foley so hard that he ended up breaking his jaw.
5 He Entered the 1998 Royal Rumble Three Times
One of the coolest parts about the Royal Rumble event every year is the variety of surprise entrants that enter. Some years it is returning talents while other years it is legends, but in 1998, there was something that happened that has yet to be duplicated. With all three faces of Mick Foley known to the WWE audience at the time, the creative team decided to capitalize on his popularity. The first entrant of the match was Cactus Jack, who lasted around 10 minutes before being eliminated. At number 16 came Mankind, who was in the match for all of three minutes before being tossed over the top rope. Finally, at number 28, came Dude Love. Just like his other two characters, Dude Love lost in the match as well.
4 He was Anti-Hardcore in ECW
There aren’t many things that fit as perfectly as Mick Foley, being a part of the original incarnation of Extreme Championship Wrestling. After completing the dream match with Sabu, Foley feuded with the Sandman, while also competing for Smoky Mountain Wrestling and in Japan. However, when he returned to the promotion in 1996, he decided to go against the grain and adopt an anti-hardcore gimmick, which saw him work a more traditional, slower paced match, all the while praising both WWE and WCW, to the chagrin of the ECW faithful. After months of being a top heel, during his last match for ECW, he was cheered throughout the contest.
3 He Wasn’t Supposed to be Fall Through The Cell
There is arguably no more iconic match in WWE history than Mick Foley facing off against The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at 1998 King of the Ring. Although the original spot of The Undertaker tossing Foley off of the top of the cage onto the ringside announcers table was planned, when Foley was chokeslammed through the top of the cage, it wasn’t supposed to happen. While the chokeslam was scheduled, the cage giving way was by accident, and that fall actually caused Foley more harm than the first fall. After landing in the ring, a chair landed on Foley’s face, which resulted in a severe concussion, broken jaw, broken teeth and much more.
2 He Wanted to Quit WWE After the Montreal Screwjob
When the infamous Montreal Screwjob occurred in November of 1997, much of the Hart Foundation wanted to follow Bret real to WCW. However, it wasn’t only his family members who wanted to follow Hart; Mick Foley, too, disapproved of the decision and wanted out of the WWE as well. On multiple occasions, Foley has stated that not only was it a bad decision for the WWE product, but it was also showing that McMahon didn’t have an allegiance to anyone. After cooler heads prevailed, Foley obviously stuck it out with the company – and that was definitely the best thing for him.
1 He Wasn’t Originally in the WrestleMania 2000 Main Event
Just weeks after Mick Foley retired in 2000, he was brought back to WWE television to be a part of the Fatal-Four-Way main event for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 2000. While the decision seemed odd at first, it’s for good reason – Foley was never supposed to be a part of the match. If you look back on original event posters and even for the picture that represents the event on the WWE Network, it is Chris Jericho who was featured with Triple H, The Rock and The Big Show, not Foley.
Although there are different rumors as to why this happened, it appears to be a combination of both Jericho not impressing the WWE brass, while owner Vince McMahon felt bad that Foley never had the chance to main event a WrestleMania. Although he lost, Foley was able to say that he was a part of the last match of the Super Bowl of wrestling.