The Man Who Brought True Hardcore Wrestling to the WWF
In the early 90's bought the WWF and WCW were borrowing ideas, characters, matches, talent and entire angles from a small independent organization based in Philladelphia called ECW. WCW realized early on how much of an impact the lightheavyweight talent was having on one of the toughest-to-please wrestling crowds in the country and quickly instituted its "Cruiserweight" division, hiring away several of ECW's most talented performers in the process to carry it. The WWF saw that ECW had been having wild success with more adult oriented storylines and decided to scrap its own more candy coated image to usher in the new era of "Attitude".
Both feds also implemented "Hardcore" divisions, in which the "rules" are tossed out and a stiffer, more violent match style is used. The problem was that most of the guys both of the "Big Two" feds had on the payroll were not willing to put their bodies on the line the way the ECW talent, who had nowhere to go but up, were willing to do.
Although neither fed's "Hardcore" division ever did more than flirt with the greatness that regularly happened in the ECW rings, the WWF did realize that they dad one Ace up their sleeve: a guy by the name of Mick Foley. He was wrestling as Mankind for the WWF at the time, and had been for the past couple years. But prior to that he had been known all over the world as the crazy, maniacal, show stealing Cactus Jack. Foley was a bit too oddly shaped to ever be a muscle bound type, and a bit too clumsy to be a technical master, but he understood better than most what it takes to make a really GOOD match, and he was willing to do anything, including putting his career on the line with insane spots every night, to make his matches the best on the card. In Japan he regularly competed in the "Barbed Wire Death Matches" and all their variations including exploding rings, thumb tacks, broken glass, and even fire. He was thought so hightly of in the Land of the Rising Sun that he was put into the "King of the Death Matches" tournament for the IWA promotion and, in a violent finale, won the tourney by defeating his idol Terry Funk in "No Rope Barbed Wire Exploding Ring Timebomb" match.
Needless to say, the man loved wrestling. And nowhere else did that fact shine thru so much as in ECW. He acheived a rare combination of being able to put on the best match of the night no matter who else was on the card, and the ability to get on the mic and cut a promo that would literally send chills down your spine.
All of the great matches are here: Cactus vs Sabu in a battle of two insane characters who both define "hardcore" in their own way.
All of the stuff Cactus did to get Mikey Whipwreck over is on here: the tag team championship, the feud with Public Enemy, the eventual breakup, and Cactus' last ECW match, a classic AGAINST Mikey.
All of the promos for every angle are here, including the classid and trend setting "Anti-Hardcore" series, which were perhaps his best ever, and almost definitely the best the sport of wrestling has ever seen (eat your heart out Rock, you've never been this good on the mic and you never will).
If you came into the sport after 1995, or have only seen Foley in his WWF career, you owe it to yourself to check this out. It will truly blow your mind.
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