World Wrestling Federation – Three Faces of Foley (1998)
(WWF Home Video)

I'm comforted that some of the other Loud Bassoon staffers are as infatuated and in awe of Mick Foley as I am. Hm, I guess that statement is really be no different than a drunk saying he's glad his barfly buddies "appreciate" Wild Turkey as much as he does.

Now, at this stage, I'm obliged to compare Mick Foley and Wild Turkey, right? Something about how both get the job done while not getting getting the respect that Jagermeister does … hmm, that analogy promptly fell on its ass like a WIld Turkey-fueled Mick Foley fan … maybe if there was a rassler called "The Jagermeister" it would've helped. *shrug* Fooling myself once again, eh?

For once I should actually give some background for those uneducated about Mr. Foley, instead of my typical headfirst dive into the subject without taking off my 3-piece first. (?) Mick has been a professional rassler since the late 80s, working mostly in smaller independent federations as a tougher-than-leather brawler named Cactus Jack.

Cactus had already built quite a reputation in wrestling circles before he had signed in the early 90s with one of the 'big 2', this being the Atlanta-based, Ted Turner-owned federation World Championship Wrestling.

However, besides attaining wider audience recognition, and a few "classic" matches (a falls-count-anywhere match with Vader stands out; Vader of "Boy Meets World" fame, incidentally; and a memorable feud against the Nasty Boys), Mick's years in WCW would still rank low on his notoriety totem pole.

The Foley mythos is largely built upon his interim between WCW & WWF (though he did compete in other federations, mostly overseas, while in WCW … not an uncommon occurence for rasslers, amazingly enough) – brutal, often-blood soaked matches complete with assorted items wrapped in barbed-wire, taking place during tours of Japan, and Mick's stint in ECW, a large independent organization based in Philly.

I mention all of this because, since Mick's rassled in more wrestling federations than Nina Simone's recorded for different record labels, it appears it's unfortunately going to take retirement or *shudder* early death for the world to ever see a full-on, complete story of Foley's amazing life.

Legal entanglements aside, Mick Foley's time in the WWF, while it's only been 2½ years or so, has been prime Foley, and while the casual fan misses out on important background here, a fairly vivid portrait of the maestro is still conveyed, multiple chair shots to the head and all.

The hour-long Three Faces of Foley focuses on two parts of Mick's life: his childhood through collegiate years, and the current WWF term with his three different personas, "Mankind," "Dude Love," and the aforementioned "Cactus Jack."

When Mick first joined the WWF, the stories go (though it's not fully explained here) that he didn't want to tarnish the Cactus Jack "legend," so he created a new character, Mankind – a Hannibal Lecter-mask wearing fellow … to be honest, not too fundamentally different than Cactus Jack, who is described as "deranged" as often as Jerry Orbach is described as "world-weary."

Included on this video is part of the now-famous (well, "world of wrestling" famous at least) Mankind multi-part interview, conducted by WWF commentator (and man partly responsible for bringing Mick to both WWF & WCW) Jim Ross. The main thrust of this interview, originally broadcast over four episodes of WWF's "RAW is War" television show back in 1996, seems, strangely enough, an attempt to endear the viewers to Mankind, which is a bit odd, as he was introduced originally as a heel (that's "bad guy" in rasslin' speak.

However, it's Foley's mixture of sincerity, subtle wit, charisma, and manic exaggeration that help pull the scenario off; it's a combination he continues to skillfully use that has placed him in the upper echelon (if not the top) of wrestlers with excellent mic skills – a skill that is just as important as actual technical competance, if not moreso, in getting a rassler "over" with the crowd … just ask marketing wizard Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea.

Dude Love was the next character Mick brought to the WWF – a persona he had originally dreamt up back in high school, best described as a parody of a hippie parody. Quite possibly the most fascinating parts of this video, besides the refreshingly candid, out of character, interspliced, informal interview shots with Mick, are the ones showing footage of the legendary home movie made as a teenage of Mick as Dude Love – classic backyard rasslin' featuring his brother and friends jumping off a roof onto a mattress (!).

The Dude character today is an awkward one – Foley himself admits he wants to avoid bringing him back – but it's still enjoyable for Mick fans, in a sort of "Uncle Bob's drunk off his gourd and standing on the patio table singing "Mmm-Bop" again" sort of way.

Other parts of this video are spent talking about his third persona (Cactus Jack, who has seen the least amount of time in the WWF), Mick's relationship with hardcore wrestling legend Terry Funk, and quite possibly Foley's most famous match ever, the Hell in a Cell match with Undertaker – in which Mick was thrown off a 20-foot cage onto a table, took a dive through the cage onto the WWF mat (quite possibly a worse fall than the former), then slammed onto thumbtacks, yet still walking out of the arena on his own two feet.

Easily the most eye-popping TV broadcast in 1998, except naturally for that scene on that Guinness Records show on FOX that showed the three people simulatenously popping their eyeballs out the furthest.

Admittedly, explaining Mick Foley's intelligence, fortitude, and pure love for the sport in either this video or this review is not an easy accomplishment, but for those either already into pro-rasslin' and/or the Mick mythology, or those cynical about yet still intrigued by what people see in professional wrestling, give this a shot. Then rip the VCR out of the wall and pretend to repeatedly hit your little brother over the head with it. Mom'll love it.

Review by Quinzio