Cactus vs. Vader
Written by Adam Zimmerman
Out of all the wrestling rivalries that one can think of; I'd say you'd be pretty hard-pressed to come up with one that's more hard-hitting, more brutal, and more "real" than this one. These two men beat the ever-living shit out of each other whenever they wrestled... wait, that's not entirely accurate. Let me reword that... Cactus Jack let Vader beat the ever-living shit out of him whenever these two wrestled!
It was pretty one-sided as far as the brutality went. Don't get me wrong; Vader was tough! I mean, he is literally the only wrestler I've ever seen to shove his eyeball back into it's socket and then continue the final 10 minutes of a 20-minute match with Stan Hansen! It's just that in this case - Foley seemed content on taking a vicious beating with every encounter as opposed to dishing it back out.
After a couple of initial matches; the idea was thrown out there to do an angle with a storyline injury. I suppose, Mick Foley being the 1993-era Cactus Jack that he was at the time, decided to achieve a "storyline injury" by letting Vader powerbomb him on the exposed concrete at ringside, legitimately giving him a concussion and damn near breaking his neck in the process. Gotta respect Foley for always taking one for the team to make wrestling seem as legit as possible but, man, he really pushed the limits of the human body A LOT!
This injury is what lead to the infamous "Lost In Cleveland" vignettes that most of us have tried to forget over the years. To be honest, I HAVE (thankfully) mostly forgotten them. How did it go? Cactus Jack is in a mental hospital (somewhere in Cleveland I can only assume) and he has amnesia but he doesn't really have amnesia. He's just playing some sort of 'mind games" with Vader that don't end up making sense in the end. I believe I remember someone doing a bad Jack Nicholson impersonation in one of these things. I guess that was a "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" reference? I think that pretty much sums up this dumpster fire of an angle. To be fair to Mick; this was WCW's doing and he wanted an "injury storyline" that was more serious in order to create some sympathy for the Cactus Jack character. This is what he got, though. That's WCW for you.
It was during this rivalry, while having a match with Vader in Munich, that Foley infamously got his ear torn off. For years, it was said that Foley's ear was torn off by the botched "hangman's maneuver" that he did with the ring ropes. If you watch footage of the match, though, you can see that Foley's ear is almost torn off by the ring ropes but is still attached. It's only when he gets back into the ring and Vader (accidentally, I would assume) grabs his ear, does it actually become detached from his head. I guess that means Vader is the person responsible for tearing off Mick Foley's ear.
On a side note; I always remember an interview I saw with Foley and his daughter Noelle in which she said, "No one knows what it's like to have a dad that might come home, missing an ear like that" to which Foley responded, "Well, it's not there but technically, I've never really 'missed' it", An awesome quote from the man himself.