Thursday, December 29, 2005

Performer Analysis: Mick Foley

1) Innovation- 8/10- Foley, even early on in his career, realized that he didn't have a great body, but knew he had a high threshold for pain, and he utilized that to it's greatest potential. His high impact style and car wreck bumps would be something that many other wrestlers would use to get over once it was apparent Foley was a star. He led the way, along with many other wrestlers, for the industry to develop the "hardcore" style which was to use any and absolutely everything that wasn't nailed down in a wrestling match. To take it outside, to the hot dog stand, to the fans, to the alley, where ever it may go and really shake things up. Another thing I think Foley did that was innovative was to show the fans that he is just a real guy when the whole Dude Love scenario came up. We saw video of him and his friends jumping off their garage when they were younger. We knew this guy wasn't a sick, tortured figure who lurked in dungeons, as we thought of Mankind, and we knew he wasn't some bad ass dude from Truth or Consequences, those were just characters he played. Foley let the fans in and they understood him and appreciated him for that.
2) Conditioning- 7/10- This may seem like a high score at first glance. Everyone in the world can tell you Mick Foley is not in good shape. He doesn't have much muscular tone, he's overweight and he even seems to walk awkwardly. He'll telll you himself. But, his body has taken many beatings in many long matches with guys like Sting, Rock, Steve Austin, guys that are in prime peak condition, and Foley has went toe to toe with them, breath for breath. His stamina is off the charts and he has no drug or steroid use to speak of. For that, I would say his conditioning is superb, at least it was. I'm not counting that last match with Carlito.
3) Ring Skill- 10/10- Mick Foley knows the ins and outs of a wrestling ring. That is undisputed. He also knows the floor, the announce tables, the back stage area, the parking lot, the guy has been slammed anywhere you could find in any arena, including a boiler room. He knows how to tell a story during the time he's in there from bell to bell. And Foley is the undisputed king of bumps. He's taken them all and he's done it on the huge, grand scale of the global conglomerate of sports entertainment known as WWE. More people have seen Foley mutilate himself around the world than they've seen Evil Keneivel. There's probably not a lot he wouldn't have done if someone asked him to.
4) Character/ Psychology- 10/10- Foley is a master of psychology as well, as if ending up a writer doesn't give you a clue. He knew what role he took on and he engulfed himself in it, just as a method actor would. He used to wear the Mankind mask for hours before a scheduled match just to get a feel of being inside it and knowing that character. He's had huge main event matches that for the most part are world renowned and people still talk about today. That not only comes from knowing what to do inside that ring, but when to do it. That makes a lot of difference and Foley knew how to do that.
5) Interviews- 9/10- Whether they were non-hardcore ECW promos, goofy rhyming SMW promos, screaming, bang-banging WCW promos, or sick, childhood torture promos of WWF, Foley had a clear mission for cutting one: to further tell a story. So many interviews show up on TV, and by the end of them, you wonder why they were necessary. Foley took pride in cutting interviews and had a clear, direct message that he wanted to say in each of them. He worked out what he would say, and really tried to make them fit into the context of a storyline. I didn't give him a ten for a few specific examples( as harsh as they may be): His legendary ECW promos, which they are exactly that, for my taste are a bit too long winded, and the promos themselves are more memorable than the feud he was involved in, which I think shows that he didn't always know when to cook up the good stuff or when to hold back. Then, I think back to all his days of being Commissioner and I just shudder.
6) Face/ Heel- 10/10- Cactus Jack was a through and through heel. He was crazy! He hurt all the fan's favorite guys and showed no remorse for doing it, then again when he turned face, he used that same method and the fans loved him for it. Mankind was a devilish, depraved character who's only enjoyment seemed to be dishing out insufferable pain to others, yet when the fans cheered him, he was a charaicature of himself, a lovable clown, an entertaining and fun guy. Foley clearly defined himself as a face and heel effectively with the same character, which can be hard to do. He understood that they psychology of that character had to be altered and the fans had to pick up on that.
7) Basics- 4/10- While Foley takes a beating like no other in the ring, he's never been a scientific wrestling marvel. Many fans may say "Foley was a different kind of wrestler and it didn't matter that he didn't use them. Look at Hulk Hogan!" Well, I'll get to him eventually. Basic mat wrestling is the foundation for pro wrestling and it's roots are too long to be denied. When every wrestler began their training, they learned the basic tools needed to perform: headlock, takedowns, arm drags, these things are important and while not always utilized or needed over the course of a career, I still deem them important. Foley rarely displayed these and his punches and kicks were atrocious.
8) Fans- 10/10- As I said before, in any incarnation, Foley was either cheered or jeered according to his character, but there is no denying that the fans responded to him regardless. There are a few performers that the fans will take to and react to no matter what they are doing and Mick Foley is undeniably one of those performers.
9) Match/ Opp.- 8/10- Mick Foley has had some classic feuds in this business. Most come from his time in the WWE during the height of it's popularity. Undertaker, The Rock, Steve Austin, and HHH are a few that come to mind, but he also had several memorable grudges in other promotions, for example, Terry Funk, Tommy Dreamer, Sting, Vader, and even Van Hammer. Unfortunately, Foley missed the chance to really get to work some of the biggest names in our sport, at least not in a program of any length such as Hogan, Flair, Savage, Bret Hart, or really even Shawn Michaels. Those would all be feuds that would provide different and probably very exciting memories in the minds of fans. As far as matches go, Foley has done everything under the sun: hardcore, last man standing, hell in a cell, I quit, barbed wire, thumbtack, exploding land mines, you name it and he has endured it.
10) Gutcheck- 10/10- If after all is said and done, you had to point to one thing that made Mick Foley the star he is today, it's heart. He has proved it time and time again in barbaric matches where he has refused to give up. Injuries were a natural part of living this career and he accepted that and worked through it. Maintaining a good family life is another thing that's really admirable about Foley because it's such a hard task in the wrestling business.
Overall Score: 86/100

Ranking: Legend
PO: Thumbs Down
While I say I may not be the biggest Foley fan out there, I know many in the world that are. He may not be handsome, or in shape, or handsome, but Mick Foley in any incarnation is a legend in the wrestling business and there are millions of fans out there that still love and pop for him today. So, for my first career analysis, right here on..(pause for cheap pop) Never Hand Over, this is Jessie Robertson.

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