I wrote about The Undertaker just over a week ago, and I would say he’s still my all-time favourite wrestler. But Mick Foley comes a very close second.
Best known for his stints as Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love with the WWF/WWE, Mick Foley was a hardcore wrestler for years before he ever entered the public eye. Yeah, wrestling’s not “real”. Vince McMahon admitted it way back in 1989, we all know that. Give yourself a pat on the back for being so edgy as to say it out loud. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t hurt yourself doing it – just take a look at this video of Undertaker and Mankind if you doubt that’s the case.
And boy oh boy, has he destroyed his body in service the industry over the years. A missing ear, missing teeth, a ton of concussions, busted ribs, burns…this doesn’t even begin to cover the workaday injuries he accrued from doing things like thumbtack matches, barbed wire, beatings with steel chairs and just generally being thrown around the rings. In terms of how all this impacts on a person day-to-day, you should check out this episode of Celebrity Wife Swap from a few years ago.
Yet Foley has emerged from all of this punishment with an impressive lack of guile and cynicism about the industry. Whereas other legends like Rick Flair and Hardcore Holly are seemingly keen to slam everyone they’ve ever worked with, Foley seems to be a genuinely pleasant and likeable character both onstage and behind the scenes. So let’s take a look at the POP!
It seems like a slightly odd choice to go with a generic Mick Foley as the first release of the character, but maybe he’s just more identifiable in this persona to modern viewers. Either way, this POP is instantly recognisable as Mick. He’s in fairly casual mode here, presumably styled on his post-wrestling days. His shirt has a smiley face, which is a nice reference to Mankind’s “Have a Nice Day” slogan, and he’s wearing a flannelette cut-off over the top, along with some white sneakers. Most people's wives wouldn't let them out of the house dressed like this, but for Mick Foley it's apparently the ideal thing to wear when appearing before millions of people on TV. Indeed, it's probably not unfair to say that Mick Foley looks an awful lot like plenty of the dads who watch WWE, which may explain a few things about his enduring appeal.
Longtime fans will also recognise that casual Mick here looks pretty close to Cactus Jack, and it wouldn’t be too hard to repaint him accordingly. Or just not…and call him Cactus Jack anyway.
All pretty good so far, but there is one major flaw – he’s got both his ears! Granted, in real life Mick Foley has part of his right ear, but it’s definitely not complete. Given the unlikelihood of their reusing the mold for other characters – except perhaps Cactus Jack or Dude Love – it seems like a fairly big oversight.
This issue aside, it’s good to see Mick Foley get POP representation. He’s a key figure in WWE’s history, both past and present. Hopefully we see a Mankind figure in the near future too -- maybe in a 2-pack with another iteration of the Undertaker, given their longstanding rivalry.