Mick Foley, the somewhat Muppet-esque face behind iconic characters such as Mankind, Cactus Jack, and Dude Love, officially broke the half-century mark this week.
It’s appropriate that the man has so many successful characters to his name, because Mick Foley is not a guy you can confine to any one box. He’s about as far from your prototypical sports entertainer than you can get, and yet he’s achieved everything a person can in this business. He’s participated in some of the most violent, unconventional matches in wrestling history, and yet he’s done more than almost anybody to bring respectability to our often sketchy form of entertainment. He’s a guy who spent a career intentionally leaning into skull-cracking chair shots, before becoming an eloquent advocate and best-selling author. Mick Foley is a funny little plaid-coated muddle, and we all love him for it.
Here’s a few things you may not know about one of pro wrestling’s true originals, Mick Foley…
1. Kevin James and Mick Foley were on the same high school wrestling team. Michael “Mick” Foley was born in 1965 in Bloomington, Ind. He was a weird kid, and not terribly athletic, but Mick’s dad Jack was the athletic director at his high school, so Mick ended up involved in a wide variety of sports, whether he was particularly adept at them or not. This, of course, included the high school wrestling team.
Mr. Bang Bang at least briefly knew directions to the gun show.
It was on the wrestling team that Foley formed his first big time tag team, becoming workout partners with none other than Paul Blart himself, Kevin James. Surprisingly, the guy who now makes a living laughing at Adam Sandler’s jokes was a better wrestler than the guy who would one day become the WWF Champion. Kevin had a secure hold on the team’s top heavyweight spot, with Foley being a rather distant second. Foley was only able to take over as No. 1 when Kevin went down with an injury. Foley and James have remained close ever since high school, and yet we’ve never been blessed with Paul Blart Arena Security Guy. Missed opportunity.
The King of Queens and The King of the friggin’ Deathmatch.
2. Foley’s first wrestling character was created as a response to a bad date. Mick Foley wasn’t a bad looking dude in his salad days, but the ladies weren’t exactly being driven into an erotic frenzy by this guy who spent his free time hitting Superfly Splashes off his bed onto his friends. He didn’t have much luck at all with the ladies until his first year at college, when he met a girl named Cathy in a bar. Mick escorted her home, got a kiss and everything seemed to be going swimmingly until a single word changed Foley’s life forever. After the kiss, Cathy would bid Foley adieu with a “Goodnight, Frank.” Frank.