For All Mankind – The Life And Career Of Mick Foley (Cert 15)
3 Discs DVD/2 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 375 minutes approx.
If you’ve been a wrestling fan for a while there is a fair chance your DVD collection may already contain the two previous releases dedicated to Mrs. Foley’s Little Boy. While they contain a number of his most famous matches, this new release is the most comprehensive to date, with a two hour plus documentary that tells the (almost) complete story of Mick Foley’s impressive and painful career in wrestling that saw him go from a skinny wannabe to a hardcore legend and best selling author.
Along with the man himself we hear comments from some of Foley’s close school friends, who paint a rather interesting picture of one of wrestling’s great eccentric characters, and some of the people who shaped his early career including trainer Dominic DeNucci and Mick’s training partner Shane Douglas (hell freezes over again!), along with the usual luminaries as Jim Ross, Michael Hayes, Arn Anderson, Kevin Sullivan, Terry Funk, Triple H, The Rock, Paul Heyman and Vader, all of whom have nothing but great things to say about our hardcore hero.
We follow Foley’s fortunes from his inauspicious WWF debut in 1986 where he was promptly murdered by the British Bulldogs to his long forgotten first run in WCW as Cactus Jack Manson. The second WCW run where Foley made his name is given more time before a quick look at his Death Match legacy in Japan and his run in ECW where he helped establish the hardcore aspect of the promotion.
From then on its familiar territory for modern wrestling fans as we enter the WWE years from his debut as Mankind to the goofy Dude Love to the re-emergence of Cactus Jack to Commissioner Foley to the mixed bag of comebacks after his supposed retirement in 2000. Foley the author, Foley the father and Foley the stand up comedian close out this programme and by the end of it one truly feels like they’ve been on one hell of a journey.
Being a WWE production the bias is towards his tenure under the auspices of Titan Towers, and to be fair it was arguably the most eventful, so Mick’s run in the ECW predecessor Joel Goodhart’s TWA in 1991 where he and Eddie Gilbert had their infamous Three Falls match which was in fact three separate extreme matches held over one night: a barbed wire match, stretcher match and steel cage match.
Despite a couple of matches featured in his last DVD, there is no mention of Foley’s Smokey Mountain Wrestling run. This release also takes it for granted that the bulk of the audience aren’t canny enough wrestling fans to know about Foley’s brief stop at ROH or his three year run with TNA which are glaring but understandable omissions as it isn’t good business to promote the competition.
All of the key points and milestones of Foley’s career are given the once over –the home made video “The Loved One”, his main event feuds with Sting and Vader in WCW, the losing of his ear (footage included!), Mankind vs Undertaker, the Three Faces of Foley in WWF, THAT Hell In A Cell match, THOSE brutal chair shots, the Rock & Sock Connection, his retirement at the hands of Triple H and subsequent return to headline Wrestlemania and the great comedy of his commissioner run.
Funnily enough his personal and bloody feud against Ric Flair in 2006 which was based on comments about each other in their books is absent which surely would have made for a fascinating commentary from both Foley and the Nature Boy.
Matches? You got ‘em. Discs two and three of this set are crammed full of Foley’s finest from the early days to the end. A few repeats from the earlier releases appear in this set with new commentary but the compilers have dug deep into the vaults to uncover a few unreleased gems. From the AWA we have a tag match from 1988 in which Cactus Jack opposes a young and not yet bulky Scott Steiner while a real rarity crops up in the form of a 1989 match again Brickhouse Brown from Wild West Wrestling – a splinter group promotion from Bill Watts UWF which was soon absorbed by WCCW since it used largely ex-WCCW stars anyway!
There is an exciting “pre-hardcore” TV match from WCW TV in 1991 against Sting while gore fans will enjoy a barbed wire match against Sandman from ECW, the brutal hardcore match from 2004 which features a star making performance for Randy Orton.
What makes this such an enjoyable release is that Mick Foley is a genuine and honest guy and he narrates his life story, both professionally and personally, without any artifice or sense of ego. He is very honest about what he did and didn’t like about his career and makes no excuses for the various decisions he made.
He comes across as passionate and thoughtful, yet ultimately thankful for the life he has lead and everything he has got from his career. It is not until watching this collection that one realises just how much of a pioneer Foley was, in the sense of his wrestling style, his promos and how he paved the way for wrestlers to expand their horizons beyond the squared circle, most notably on the literature front.
For All Mankind is about as complete a DVD retrospective as one will see about an unsung hero of the wrestling business who worked his way to the top and earned his respect the hard way. Fans of Mick Foley won’t be disappointed with release – a top notch visual companion to his excellent autobiographies. Stick this in your DVD/Blu-ray player and Have A Nice Day!
English subtitles for the hard of hearing
Sting’s Birthday Cake – WCW World Championship Wrestling – October 5th 1991
No Ear Surgery – WCW Saturday Night – September 10th 1994
Barbie – WWE RAW April 5th 2004
Cutting Edge – WWE Smackdown – August 1st 2008
Relevancy With CM Punk – RAW September 24th 2012
DeNucci Training School
Arrested in Italy?
Cactus Jack – The Name
Birth of Bang Bang
On the Spot
Farewell in ECW
Kevin Sullivan – Mentor
Rock ‘n Sock Jacket
Loogie Heard ‘Round the World
Mr. Socko vs. The Cobra
Favourite Mick Foley Persona
Sheamus Meets Mick
Rating – **** ½
Man In Black