We’re continuing SummerSlam week on Fight Game Blog. Check out our SummerSlam 1996 throwback review. Continue reading
The fifth episode of the Monday Night War is all about one man; Mick Foley. Continue reading
The best big man to ever step foot in the business and arguably WWE’s greatest ever creation.
You watch The Undertaker wrestle and you think “what a performer”. Then you remember he’s a 6’10 Super Heavyweight. Then you remember he’s now 47 years old. And then you remember that he’s been working WWE rings for more than two decades. When you really breakdown this guy’s career, it’s absolutely staggering. Anyone who has meant anything to that promotion over the last 20 years, at one time or another, headlined shows with The Phenom – Hogan, Hart, Michaels, Foley, Austin, Rock, Brock and Cena – to name just a few.
What’s most remarkable though about Taker’s longevity is the era in which it has taken place. He’s been a major player in WWE since the launch of Monday Night Raw and with it big weekly TV main events. Never at any time previous was the wrestling business so over exposed. Think of how tired most WWE top tier talent have become already and then compare their TV time with that of The Undertaker. He worked that draconian WWE live schedule from when it began right up to a couple of years ago, when he trimmed his work load back to…erm…one day a year. Throughout that time, he was able to adjust his wrestling style and character to remain not just relevant, but a vital part of the WWE brand.
His WrestleMania streak is one of the few things which still actually matter in an otherwise jaded WWE product. Now in the twilight of his career, you can still always count on The Dead Man to deliver on the big stage. He’s currently five for five in match of the year candidates at the last five Manias – continuing to produce some of the best work of his Hall Of Fame worthy career.
Watching this match some 13 years later is a bit disturbing. Well, it was disturbing in 1998 watching Mick Foley take two sickening bumps. It was disturbing watching him smile a bloody smile with his tooth in his nose. But it’s even more disturbing today because there’s no blood in WWE anymore. There’s no real crazy violence like there was in 1998. And not like that’s necessarily a bad thing.
Foley was terribly beat up after this match and it probably took a few years off his actual wrestling career. But it’s also his most memorable one. With concussion studies and the wellness program, I don’t think you’ll ever see a match like this ever again. All you need to do is look at the real concern that Terry Funk had for Foley to know that what happened wasn’t supposed to happen.
I forgot that WWE cameras missed the huge bump live. It looks like WWE has allowed the first part of the video to stay up, but they’ve taken down the second half of the match. I imagine this will suffice. When you watch Hell In A Cell this weekend, you won’t see anything like this.
It was a good time for WWE. They were winning the Monday Night Wars. The product was in the midst of its largest pop culture influence since the mid 80s. Wrestlemania 2000 was supposed to be huge. It was going to be an event of epic propotions. They scheduled “Wrestlemania All Day Long” on PPV which was a look back at the first 15 Wrestlemanias. And then someone made a left turn at Albuquerque.
Stone Cold Steve Austin was out with a neck injury. It was only a year before when Austin and the Rock looked like the future of the company. It was only two years before when Austin took the torch from Shawn Michaels and looked destined to become the biggest star of all time. And now, he was hurt, missing the biggest show of the year.
Early in 2000, Mankind and Triple H were tearing up arenas and making for some intriguing TV. Late in 1999, Triple H beat the Big Show for the championship and was without a contender. Mick Foley, fresh off his success of putting out the most successful wrestling autobiography in history, decided that he had one last run in him. Triple H started making fun of Foley’s success as an author, and played your basic a-hole heel perfectly. When Foley, as Mankind, decided that he’d had enough, he simply changed t-shirts and transformed into Cactus Jack. Triple H sold it as if he’d seen a ghost. Cactus Jack was back. He had two great matches with Triple H and at No Way Out, retired after losing a Hell In A Cell match.