Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 389 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: March 8 2004
Since the majority of the 2007 Hardcore Edition was a re-release of the 2004 original, this review will cover both versions.
The initial two-disc compilation on the life and times of Mick Foley included more than a dozen of his matches, spanning seven years and four promotions. The King Of Hardcore left an indelible mark on wrestling prior to his first retirement(s) in 2000, and this is reflected by the quality of the action on display here, as this is a non-stop hardcore thrill ride. Foley himself serving as the informative and often amusing host is an added bonus.
The collection kicks off with two WCW bouts. Cactus Jack vs. Vader from a 1993 edition of WCW Saturday Night is notable for some brutally stuff offence, requested by Foley himself, which would result in Mick suffering a broken nose and WCW heavily editing the bout on television (the uncut version is the one we get here). Following this, Cactus and Maxx Payne battle The Nasty Boys in a hellacious Chicago Street Fight from Spring Stampede 1994, with Foley taking two painful-looking blows near the end (Mick being shoved off the ramp so that he landed hard back-first on the concrete floor, and Jerry Sags tw-tting him full-force in the side of the head with a shovel.
We’re then told the story behind Cactus Jack’s ECW promo (Jack was working for the then-Eastern Championship Wrestling between WCW dates) where he spat on the WCW Tag Team Title to try and convey his sense of lost pride. WCW understandably felt miffed that one of its titles would be treated in such a manner; regardless, it expedited the process of Foley leaving WCW in the autumn of 1994.
Whilst all of the four ECW bouts here have a similar theme (namely, brutal hardcore violence), each one has a standout aspect. Cactus vs. Sabu from 1994 is notable for its “dream match” feel (Foley acknowledges that the match didn’t quite match expectations at the time); Cactus vs. Sandman from 1995 sees Sandman legitimately knocked out, which adversely affected the finishing sequence (that this was a Texas Death match made things more awkward in this situation); Cactus and Raven vs. Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer from November To Remember 1995 features breath-taking bloodshed and came shortly after an incident where a burning towel temporarily set the Funker on fire; and Cactus vs. Mikey Whipwreck from 1996 was Foley’s ECW swansong, with fans showing true respect for Cactus despite his heel status. In between, we also get a short bout from Smoky Mountain Wrestling as Cactus faces Chris Candido.
Disc two focuses on his WWF tenure which he began under the mask of Mankind. We do not get any of his 1996 scraps with The Undertaker, so the first WWF bout is a great bout against Shawn Michaels from In Your House X: Mind Games. After that, we jump to 1997 where a superb angle sees Mankind and Dude Love introduce Cactus Jack for a very good Falls Count Anywhere war with Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who would soon transform into Triple H.
The year 1998 is first spotlighted by a fantastic hardcore battle with Terry Funk, where Foley first competed under his real name, which is followed by a so-bad-it’s-good dance celebration with an OTT performance by the previously-reserved Vince McMahon. Steve Austin’s guest commentary during this one is another highlight. This all leads to Dude Love vs. Austin from Over The Edge 1998 which is one of my favourite ever matches; few bouts provide more fun and pure entertainment than this one.
From there, we revisit the most famous match of Foley’s career and one of the most memorable matches of all-time, as Mankind and The Undertaker battle inside, on top of and through the Hell In A Cell in an unbelievably brutal match from King Of The Ring 1998. This one has never been topped (despite Shane McMahon leaping from a taller HIAC structure at WrestleMania 32), which considering the plethora of injuries Foley suffered that night, is probably a good thing.
The next featured match is Mankind’s first WWF title win over The Rock in a Raw match that proved pivotal during The Monday Night War (Steve Austin’s interference elicits such a loud crowd pop that it was only on a later viewing that I heard announcers Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler calling that moment). Since their I Quit rematch from Royal Rumble 1999 isn’t included, the final bout on the main feature is Cactus vs. Triple H in an outstanding Street Fight from Royal Rumble 2000 that allowed Foley to go out on a high come his first (and second) retirement shortly afterwards, and which played a major role in establishing HHH as a true main event player. If only WWE could instigate such a scenario to benefit Roman Reigns today.
There are two bonus bouts which gave humorous alternate commentary from Foley and Jonathan Coachman: Cactus vs. Sting under Falls Count Anywhere rules from WCW Beach Blast 1992 (which Foley considered his best match to date at that point) and a Cactus-Sabu ECW rematch (during which Sabu tries several times to break a glass bottle on Jack’s skull only for the glass to repeatedly fail to shatter, which must have hurt like hell). We also get plenty of interviews and angles from Foley’s career, including his famous Cane Dewey promo from ECW in 1995.
Obviously, not everybody will appreciate or like hardcore wrestling. If you do, though, you will find this DVD to be a virtually flawless tribute to the unforgettable career of Mick Foley with memorable moments and great action throughout. Despite some omissions, this is a phenomenal compilation on Mrs Foley’s Baby Boy.
Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect
|Image Source: Amazon|
Running Time: 540 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: April 23 2007
The Hardcore Edition includes four more matches from Foley’s comeback runs in 2004 and 2006. They are all of the hardcore violence genre, which should be no surprise to Foley fans. It does mean that some “regular” bouts from Mick’s return (like The Rock & Sock Connection vs. Evolution from WrestleMania XX) aren’t here, but those who enjoy this style of wrestling will be happy with the choices.
The first “new” encounter is Foley against Randy Orton from Backlash 2004, one of the best hardcore bouts ever and arguably Orton’s greatest match; Foley says that this became the defining bout of this career. We get a similar scrap with Edge from WrestleMania 22 which is a bit rushed, but has the classic ending of Edge Spearing Foley through a flaming table.
A six-man war from ECW One Night Stand 2006 provides a breathtaking amount of bloody violence and a rather rude pinning predicament to end the bout. The last match, an I Quit bout between Foley and Ric Flair from SummerSlam 2006, is pretty good but has been forgotten by fans in retrospect, perhaps because of the disappointing and confusing finish.
The first two extra matches were Match Of The Year contenders; the last two, not so much. On the whole, though, the bonus bouts (which have alternate commentary from Foley and Joey Styles) enhance an already-fantastic set. It’s not for everyone (to quote the original ECW), but any fans of hardcore wrestling will truly love this; the three-disc version really is the definitive Mick Foley collection.
Overall Rating: 10/10 – Perfect