By Dan Totten
Every wrestling fan knows the Three Faces of Mick Foley; Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love. Each character brings a unique personality and style to the ring. Like Foley himself, each has made its mark in singles competition, but also in the tag team ranks. Foley’s tag team legacy is often overlooked, but each character had success with many different partners. The top combos for each character:
- Cactus Jack and Mikey Whipwreck (Extreme Championship Wrestling) – By the time Foley debuted in ECW in 1994, he was a 10 year veteran well-known for his hardcore, risk-taking, style. Mikey Whipwreck was a 21 year old rookie who had been trained by Foley. The team came together when Whipwreck substituted for Foley’s regular partner, Terry Funk. From there, the duo won the ECW Tag Team Championship. At this point the team became a reluctant partnership, predicated on Foley taking Whipwreck under his wing and teaching him, and toughening him up to, the hardcore style of wrestling ECW was known for. Foley as the slightly unhinged, but knowledgable, veteran and Whipwreck as the scared rookie really clicked and they would go on the have two reigns as ECW Tag Champs.
- Mankind & The Rock (Rock n’ Sock Connection) (World Wrestling Federation) – While this team had great success in winning WWF Tag Team Championship 3 times, their biggest success was the chemistry between two of the greatest wrestlers of all time. The two wrestlers could not be more different, and leading up to their partnership the two had battled in one on one contests which were some of the most intense and brutal in WWF history. When the team came together, with Mankind helping The Rock take on The Undertaker and Big Show, all that changed. Mankind could drive The Rock nuts, but the mutual respect was apparent. In addition to their championship wins, the two provided some of the warmest, and best, comedic moments in wrestling history.
- Dude Love and Steve Austin (World Wrestling Federation) – Dude Love was the shortest lived of Foley’s three faces. It was a character he came up with when he was a kid, dreaming of becoming a professional wrestler. The dude was a young Foley’s idea of a “hip, ladies man”. In practice, he was anything but. The character was revealed in a documentary on Foley’s career, and later was brought into the WWF as a surprise partner for Stone Cold Steve Austin when Austin was facing a 2 on 1 match against Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith. The two won the Tag Team Title in their first match, proving that The Dude could cut it as a tag wrestler.
Interested in learning what Mick is up to now?
After a lifetime of putting his body on the line to entertain his dozens (and dozens!) of fans, the Hardcore Legend is paying the price—physically and emotionally. When the final bell on Mick’s career tolls, not in the ring, but in a neurologist’s office, his future seems far from merry and bright. Until Mick is given the chance to become Santa Claus—not dress up, not pretend, but become Santa—allowing him to rediscover the joy of performing.
Check out his new memoir Saint Mick read by Mick himself.