Mick Foley Moments That Went Too Far

Mick Foley, the Hardcore Legend, Mankind, Cactus Jack, Dude Love ... Mrs. Foley's baby boy is the man of many names, and nearly as many wrestling companies. Over his nearly four decades in the wrestling business, he's worked for WWE/WWF, WCW, ECW, TNA, ROH, and NWA. Throughout his time in the squared circle, there was one thing you could always count on him to do: get himself as badly injured as possible. While he may have dealt his share of pain, he always seemed to be on the receiving end of the truly horrendous stuff, and often at his own instigation. Time and time again, he staggered or was carried out of the ring in far worse shape than he'd entered it, usually down a few pints of blood, and with various broken, mangled, or even missing body parts. Wrestling is fake? Guess Foley never got that memo.

That being said, this isn't going to be just a straight-up list of each and every match where Foley got beaten up pretty bad, or even laid down an epic beating of his own. Sure, we'll be covering a lot of that stuff, but Mr. Foley is far from a one-dimensional mayhem machine. There've been times when he's gone too far, done too much, and been basically over the top outside the ring, as well.

Allowing himself to be thrown off a 16-foot steel cage

Perhaps the one stunt that cemented Foley's status as a legend (and nearly did so posthumously) happened at his 1998 Hell in a Cell match with Undertaker. Hellish though the inside of that cell may have been, the part of the match that will live in infamy is where Taker threw Mankind off the top and he fell some 16 feet to the ground below. As Terry Funk wrote of the fall in "More Than Just Hardcore," "Watching from the back, I thought he was dead."

Foley later admitted that this perilous plummet was entirely his own idea. Undertaker flat out refused to do it at first, and second, and third ... In fact, Foley begged every day for two weeks for the match to go as he'd envisioned. As he told "This Sporting Life" (via SEN), the intent was to "start the match in a way nobody has ever seen, and do something that no one has ever done." Mission accomplished, but at what cost? Not only did Foley have to shell out $15,000 or so to replace the teeth he'd lost in the match, but as he later admitted to Metro UK, "I think it may have shortened my career. It was definitely the point from which I believed in my own mortality."

Using his 3-year-old in an infamous promo

Mick Foley is a family man, no doubt about it, and the best part of his "Holy Foley" reality show was watching him interact with his kids. In his earlier days, though, he did have a few moments that might have lost him that Father of the Year nomination. 

The Foley kid who seemed to come in for some particularly questionable parenting was Dewey, Foley's son who has worked behind (and sometimes in front of) the scenes for WWE. One especially bad dad moment came when Foley took 3-year-old Dewey along to an ECW show where he had a match with Sabu. The Suicidal, Homicidal, Genocidal, Death-Defying Maniac was badly injured when he moonsaulted right onto the guardrails, Foley himself was hit over the head with a bottle, and Dewey, back in the dressing room, screamed and cried the whole way through.

The most notorious Dewey-related moment, however, was the one that resulted in the infamous Cane Dewey promo, where Cactus Jack did his big ECW heel turn. While there's nothing at all reprehensible about defending your little boy, the problem was that Foley had actually okayed the fan-held "Cane Dewey" sign ahead of time. As Foley recounted to WWE.com, it wasn't until his wife asked him "You realize somebody is making a sign advocating the physical abuse of a 3-year old-child?" that he saw the error of his ways, resulting in a rant so epic it inspired a t-shirt slogan.

Taking out Taker with aid from an unexpected quarter

When Undertaker was indicted into the Hall of Fame right before WrestleMania 38, he made a lengthy speech thanking a laundry list of opponents, but he forgot to mention Mrs. Foley's baby boy and Mr. Foley's baby girl didn't take the omission any too well. The very next day, Nicole Foley tweeted "I'm very surprised there was not one single mention of my dad and their legendary matches together." Papa Foley himself shrugged it off, though, admitting "I forgot to mention my wife during my speech." Of course, he'd already had his revenge on Undertaker a quarter century prior.

By August of 1996, Mankind, a newcomer to WWF, was proving to be a real pain in the Phenom's posterior. The mandible claw had already cost the Deadman a few victories in a most unpleasant way, but when Foley popped out of a casket in July to prevent Deadman winning the Intercontinental Championship from Goldust, Taker hit his limit. He planned to make short work of his rival during a boiler room brawl scheduled for SummerSlam, but what happened instead was something that Jim Ross later described on his podcast "Grilling JR" (via Inside the Ropes) as "a finish nobody saw coming." Mankind had somehow managed to win Paul Bearer over to his side, so instead of handing Undertaker his urn, Bearer smashed it over his protege's head and gifted the urn (and the match) to Mankind instead.

Cactus Jack's bloody Royal Rumble match with Triple H

One of Foley's most memorable feuds, involving all three of his aliases, was with another unholy trinity: Triple H. Foley took to Facebook and denied rumors that the two had heat outside the ring, adding that "memories like the ones Triple H and I created will last a lifetime." That's true, but Jim Ross has a more apt description for those memories. As he put it, "Hunter Hearst Helmsley is a blue blood, and Mankind has spilled blood all over the world."

At the 2000 Royal Rumble, plenty of blood was shed on both sides. Triple H and Cactus Jack clashed in an ugly no disqualifications street fight, and weapons were out in full force. Jack hit The Game with a steel trash can and a barbed wire-wrapped 2x4 (his beloved "Barbie"), while Triple H retaliated with a steel chair, steel steps, and even the ring bell. The match ended when Triple H pedigreed Cactus Jack twice on the thumbtacks that Jack himself had scattered all over the canvas. As the Cerebral Assassin was being carried out of the ring, Cactus Jack, the toughest, meanest SOB alive, got up on his feet, went after the stretcher, and dragged him back in the ring. Jack may have lost the match but he had the last word, smashing Triple H with Barbie one more time while Stephanie looked on in horror.

Taking nearly a dozen chair shots to the head

Mick Foley and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson once teamed up in what might have been WWE's oddest of odd couples, but before they joined forces in the Rock 'n Sock Connection, they had quite the epic feud. In fact, their in-ring enmity culminated in a match that was ugly even by Attitude Era standards, the notorious "I Quit" match — one that Foley, reminiscing about on Instagram over two decades later, admitted "got way out of hand in terms of violence."

Foley ought to know, as he was on the receiving end of the worst of it: 11 steel chair shots right to the noggin, resulting not only in blood loss but also loss of consciousness. Technically Foley never did quit that match, as he was out like a light and the "I quit!" he was heard to shout (three times) was actually recorded during an earlier promo. As the Rock later tweeted about the match, it was "Two of the nicest men in pro wrestling doing the most savage and brutal things." Foley, on the other hand, tweeted that the two "may have gone a little too far." He does, however, feel that the chair itself, still badly dented and encrusted with his blood and hair after all these years, may have earned its own spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Ripping his ear off in a match with Vader

One of Foley's most fearsome opponents in his earlier years was Big Van Vader, about whom he says in his book "Have a Nice Day" (via Pro Wrestling Stories), "His stuff looked like it hurt, and believe me, it did." The injuries he's received from the big man have included a twice-broken nose, a dislocated jaw, and an eye area needing to be stitched up –- all of these in the course of a single match! Vader, too, is also the man responsible for what may be Foley's best-known injury: his missing right ear.

The 1994 match where Foley lost the ear occurred on a night when Vader wasn't feeling in top shape. Foley told him not to worry, saying "I'll do most of the work tonight." If by "work" he meant bleeding, then truer words were never spoken. Foley planned something he called a "Hangman's move" where Vader would duck his clothesline, then Foley would "accidentally" let himself be launched into the ropes and get his head stuck. This time, the ropes were too tight thanks to an earlier match, and Foley found himself in danger of strangling for real. In desperation, he ripped his head out, nearly detaching his ear in the process. As the match continued with he and Vader trading blows, the ear came all the way off and Beverly Foley's brown-eyed boy would henceforth be missing a body part.

Beating up (Almost) all the Santas

If there's anything Mick Foley is known for, besides taking some of the most horrendous bumps known to mankind (or Cactus Jack or Dude Love), it's his Christmas fixation. He's appeared in a documentary about professional Santas called "I Am Santa Claus," promoted said documentary by wearing Christmas-themed shirts every day for a year, and followed it up with yet another volume of his never-ending memoirs called "Saint Mick: My Journey From Hardcore Legend to Santa's Jolly Elf." He's even got a whole room of his house where it's Christmas year-round! So why the ho-ho-ho would Mankind want to beat not one, but a whole pack of Santas into a bowlful of jelly in a crazy Christmastime boiler room brawl?

As it turns out, the real Grinch who was doing his damnedest to run Christmas here was The Cerebral Assassin. Triple H, it seems, had arranged the brawl as a holiday gift for Stephanie McMahon. Triple H himself appeared as the last Santa after Mankind fought his way past the red-suited New Age Outlaws and Mean Street Posse with the help of a frying pan, cookie sheet, and picture frame. The final Claus laid Foley flat with his sack, then shared a few parting words of Christmas cheer: "And I heard him exclaim, as he rose out of sight, 'I've got two words for all: Suck it!' Stupid jerk." Which is four words, but who was counting? Not Jolly Old Saint Mick.

Stealing another wrestler's Royal Rumble spot

Remember Test's 2004 Royal Rumble match win that catapulted him into main event stardom? Yeah, well, you don't have to be the smartest of marks to know that this never happened, since he never even entered the ring that night. In fact, you may even be thinking "Test who?" and Googling him in another tab. (Warning: his story doesn't end well, but for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with his missed Royal Rumble opportunity.)

So why didn't Test, a scheduled Royal Rumble competitor in the year 2004, get his shot at the crown? Because he was out cold backstage, courtesy of Mick Foley. Foley wasn't even in it to win it, all he wanted to do was eliminate Randy Orton. He managed to do so, but someone soon knocked him out. The eventual winner of the match was Chris Benoit, who, uh, yeah ... lot of unhappy endings in this particular story. Luckily, none of them belong to Foley, so let us be moving right along to happier things like his beating the living daylights out of a fellow hardcore legend.

That death match that nearly killed Terry Funk

During the early part of Foley's career, one of his inspirations-turned-in-ring partners was the already legendary Terry Funk. Foley and Funk are still good friends, with the former recently tweeting of the latter: "Still my mentor, still my idol after all these years." Good friend and sensei though he may have been, that didn't stop Foley from giving the then 50+ Funk the beatdown of his life during a 1995 match in Japan.

Foley, wrestling as Cactus Jack, was partnered with Funk in an elimination death match tournament sponsored by the International Wrestling Association of Japan (IWA). Barbed wire boards drew copious amounts of blood and C4 lit up the ring, although the time bomb that was supposed to blow up 10 minutes into the match kind of fizzled out. The match concluded when Funk knocked over the ladder Jack was climbing and dropped him onto the barbed wire that had replaced the ring ropes for that match. Despite his last-minute heroics, Funk was all done in at that point, so Jack got the cover and picked up the win before both gladiators were carted off to the hospital.

The savage Last Man Standing match with a 61-year-old Ric Flair

While Mick Foley was beloved by most of the locker room, one notable exception was Ric Flair. Sure, Foley and Naitch are cool these days, but back in the '90s and early '00s, they had heat both inside the ring and out. Flair called Foley a "glorified stuntman" in his 2004 autobiography "To Be the Man," while Foley took shots at everything from Flair's booking ability (or lack thereof) to his reputation for not helping younger wrestlers get over. Things grew so heated that Flair landed a punch on Foley in a 2004 encounter, but Foley refused to throw down with him, saying "I'm not going to fight a 55-year-old man!"

Well, Foley seems to have changed his mind after that, as the two clashed in a bloody "I Quit" match at SummerSlam two years later, and then met once more toward the end of their careers when both were wrestling for TNA. While their real-life enmity may have abated by that point, both men seemed hell-bent on destroying each other during the 2010 Last Man Standing match. Baseball bats, tables, and barbed wire all came into play and copious amounts of blood were shed. In the end, a triumphant Foley was about to force Flair to kiss his rear end, and only a last-minute stroke of good Fortune (supplied by the TNA stable of the same name) saved Nature Boy from this dire fate.

Making thumbtack matches a thing

One of the things that made Mick Foley so hardcore, particularly in his Cactus Jack persona, was his fondness for incorporating weapons into a match, even when he'd wind up on the receiving end of them. One of his signature moves, even if unintentional, involved taking a hard bump on a bed of thumbtacks, as he did in that street fight with Triple H. Other wrestlers, too, often found themselves perforated after a match with Foley –- Randy Orton revealed in a WWE interview that he's kept a few tacks as a souvenir of his 2004 Backlash battle with Foley.

Foley, of course, was a participant in what is widely seen as the first real thumbtack match, that being the IWA death match with Terry Funk. Foley himself, however, credits another superstar with introducing this unlikely implement of destruction. As Foley told Dr. Beau Hightower, YouTuber and chiropractor to the stars, ""DDP was the first man to bring thumbtacks into professional wrestling." He went on to explain, though, that "He didn't wrestle in them, he thumbtacked the blinds to the wall of our $30 motel rooms." The reason for this was, DDP liked to be naked in these rooms, despite the objections of Foley and a third roommate, the future "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. While Foley didn't connect all the dots here, we can understand why Diamond Dallas Page's use of thumbtacks in such a case might well have inspired thoughts of violence.

Introducing the infamous Mr. Socko

While Mick Foley has used a number of gruesome weapons in his matches, one of the most disgusting was a simple sweatsock. Mr. Socko, a puppet that Foley made by drawing a face on one of his socks, was something he'd pull over his hand before applying his dreaded Mandible Claw finisher. While the Mandible Claw alone is plenty agonizing, what made matters worse is that Foley would pull Socko out from the front of his sweatpants.

As to how Foley came up with such a sickening prop, he noted in "Have a Nice Day" that Mr. Socko is actually the fault of his favorite frenemy, Al Snow. During a 2005 episode of "Raw," Vince McMahon was in the hospital, and Foley was trying to cheer him up so Snow suggested an impromptu puppet show. McMahon was understandably grossed out by Foley pulling off a dirty sock, and this gave Foley the idea that his new pal had in-ring potential. While Mr. Socko did a lot of harm over his career, he finally redeemed himself in the end as Foley auctioned off his old pal in 2011 to benefit his favorite charity, RAINN.

Inspiring Al Snow's downright disturbing Head

Al Snow may have been the evil midwife who aided and abetted the birth of Mr. Socko, but Mick Foley returned the favor by inspiring the heinous Head. It seems that Snow, Foley, and a couple of other wrestlers were on a road trip and Foley was messing around with a Styrofoam head. As Snow later told Wrestling Inc., "He'd put this mask on and he was making like it was his girlfriend, making lewd comments and stuff." Well, this sparked some ideas for Snow, probably a few of which involved throwing the head (or Foley) out of the window.

What Snow actually did, however, is to incorporate a similar prop into his act. "At the time when I was there in ECW," he said, "I was reading books on psychology to try and portray that I had lost my mind." This gimmick wasn't working out too well for him at first, but once he got the idea of using Head from Foley, he said "I'm gonna talk to and treat this Head as if it's alive and it's a real person, take it to the ring with me, talk to it, interact with it. And it's gonna be crazy, not me." Crazy and disembodied as it may have been, Head proved to be quite an athlete. As Snow admitted, "I had several matches with Head, and Head was able to pull it out and beat me."