Mick Foley is an American former professional wrestler, actor, author, and comedian. Foley’s big break came in 1991, when he joined World Championship Wrestling. He performed for ECW, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and in Japan from 1994 to 1996. In 1996, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation. He was known as Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love in the WWF/WWE.
His aggressive wrestling style has earned him the name “The Hardcore Legend.” He won three WWF Championships and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship during his career. He also won 11 tag team championships.
He competed in the main event of Wrestlemania XV but was defeated in a four-way elimination match. Foley has gone on to become a renowned author, publishing memoirs, novels, and children’s fiction since retirement.
Michael Francis Foley was born on June 7, 1965, in Bloomington, Indiana. His ancestors are of Irish origin. He grew up in East Setauket, New York, with his older brother. He went to Ward Melville High School, where he wrestled and played lacrosse. He majored in communications at the State University of New York College at Cortland.
While a student there, he hitchhiked to New York City to see his favourite wrestler, Jimmy Snuka compete against Don Muraco. Snuka performed a flying body splash off the top of the steel cage during the steel cage bout. Foley revealed that seeing Snuka’s move encouraged him to seek a career as a professional wrestler.
Career as a professional wrestler
Foley began formally training at Dominic DeNucci’s wrestling facility in Freedom, Pennsylvania. He made his debut in June 1986 at Clarksburg, West Virginia, against Kurt Kaufman.
While practicing with DeNucci, he and other students worked as jobbers in a number of squash matches. Squash bouts are deliberately set up between two wrestlers of uneven talent, with jobbers frequently losing poorly.
These matches were taped for the WWF and shown on “Prime Time Wrestling” and “Superstars of Wrestling.” In one episode of the latter, he faced the Dynamite Kid and was smacked in the face so severely that he couldn’t eat solid food for weeks.
He remained on the independent circuit until the late 1980s, when he briefly joined the Memphis-based Continental Wrestling Association. He then moved to Texas and joined the World Class Championship Wrestling.
During his time there, he won multiple titles, including the company’s light heavyweight belt. He was offered a contract with World Champion Wrestling after a long period of attempting to make his wrestling career financially beneficial, but he quickly left to sign with Herb Abram’s Universal Wrestling Federation. He was still dissatisfied with UWF and left in 1991 to sign with Tri-State Wrestling.
The company was eventually renamed Extreme Championship Wrestling. Foley competed in three tough matches on one night known as the Tri-State Summer Sizzler, which drew the attention of World Championship Wrestling promoters. He eventually became a full-time employee of WCW.
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