WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley is one of those wrestlers who has quite literally seen and done it all.

 

Starting from the backyard, where he famously jumped off of a neighbor's rooftop, Foley made his way to several regional territories before landing work in the NWA/WCW. From there, he gained a reputation as The Hardcore Legend, taking crazy bumps in Japan, ECW, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, the WWF/E and even TNA under the names Cactus Jack Mankind, Dude Love and sometimes as plain old Mick Foley. But the following list are of people who probably didn't... have a nice day!

For this list, we're focusing on storyline rivalries Foley had with wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike, not speculating on what may have happened backstage..

In counting down the Top 50 Mick Foley Rivalries, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories looked at the following criteria:

 

  • How prominent was the rivarly?

  • What type of stage(s) did it play out on?

  • How memorable were the matches and/or segments?

  • How much did the rivalry do to advance either person's career?

 

If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.

 

Ready? Here we go!

50.

Mikey Whipwreck

Mikey Whipwreck started out as Cactus Jack's (reluctant) tag team partner when the two captured the ECW World Tag Championship in 1994, almost by accident. But later in Foley's ECW run, he betrayed Whipwreck as part of an earlier heel turn.

48.

CM Punk

CM Punk and Mick Foley never had a match against each other, despite run-ins during their time in Ring of Honor and WWE. And even though the proposed match where Foley was to captain a team against Punk's team at Survivor Series was changed, their confrontation on Raw was strong enough to rank on this list.

46.

Kurt Angle

Speaking of Mick Foley as Commissioner, WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle is one of the wrestlers that made his role a tough one, even assisting in Foley's on-screen firing. Years later, the two continued their rivalry in TNA, with Foley tapping out to the Olympic Gold Medalist in the main event of Victory Road 2009.

44.

Shawn Michaels

Mick Foley and WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels only had one major match, but it was a doozy. The main event of 1996's In Your House: Mind Games featured Mankind challenging for the WWF World Championship. 

42.

Van Hammer

In the early 1990s, Cactus Jack often found himself across the ring in WCW from Van Hammer, a promising mid-carder who never really graduated past that level. Cactus and Hammer had a wild match at Clash of the Champions XVII.

40.

Ron Simmons

In 1992, WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons captured the WCW World Championship. One of Simmons' opponents was Cactus Jack, aligning himself with Jake The Snake Roberts and The Barbarian. Foley battled Simmons for the title at Clash Of The Champions XX.

38.

Samoa Joe

Surprisingly, the rivalry between Samoa Joe and Mick Foley took place not in TNA or WWE, but in Ring of Honor in 2005. Foley (in between WWE gigs) claimed he wanted to get Joe into the WWE, if only he would tone down his style to come to the "big time." Joe refused, making Foley the heel during several ROH shows.

36.

The Public Enemy

Cactus Jack was initially scheduled to team with Terry Funk against The Public Enemy, when Funk left ECW. This led to Mikey Whipwreck as a substitute in their rivalry with the Philly-based tag team at several ECW shows.

34.

Chris Jericho

Cactus Jack and Chris Jericho first faced off against one another in ECW circa 1996. A few years later, both were in the WWF and, as Jericho wrote in his autobiography Undisputed, Foley never pinned him. The Hardcore Legend rectified that in 2013, when he pinned Y2J while accepting his Hall of Fame ring.

32.

Chris Candido

In 1994 during his time in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Cactus Jack often attempted to rehabilitate Boo Bradley, which did not sit well with Bradley's ally Chris Candido. Cactus and Candido had several matches, including a Falls Count Anywhere match at Christmas Chaos.

30.

The British Bulldog

The British Bulldog (no relation) was a frequent opponent in Mankind's early WWF years. At WrestleMania XIII, Mankind and Vader took on Bulldog and Owen Hart. Later, Foley's alter-ego Dude Love and Stone Cold Steve Austin took on the Hart Foundation members as well.

28.

Chyna

When Mick Foley began shedding his Mankind persona in favor of Cactus Jack and Dude Love, he was feuding with Triple H, meaning he also had to contend with The Game's bodyguard, WWE Hall of Famer Chyna, with the two even facing each other in a match on Raw.

26.

The Sandman 

In 1995, Cactus Jack went after ECW World Champion The Sandman in both a Barbed Wire Match and a Falls Count Anywhere Match. Foley once a grabbed a flying pan from someone in the audience and legitimately put Sandman in the hospital with a concussion.

24.

Eric Bischoff

Eric Bischoff and Mick Foley appeared together in WCW and WWE, but it was in TNA where both were stakeholders in the company and feuded over ideologies. Interestingly, Foley presented Bischoff as his "hero" in ECW as a way to becoming the ultimate heel amongst hardcore fans.

22.

Owen Hart

Although Mick Foley had nothing but respect for Owen Hart in real life and even dedicated a chapter of best-selling autobiography Have A Nice Day to The King Of Harts.... the two had a prolonged rivalry in the late-1990s, including intentionally bad "hardcore" matches when Steve Austin was out injured.

20.

Jeff Jarrett

Mick Foley and WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett began in TNA as business partners, but the relationship soon fell apart. Foley attacked The Chosen One, leading to a match at Sacrifice 2009 that also featured Kurt Angle and Sting, with each man having to put something on the line.

18.

Abyss

Mick Foley and Abyss began as a tag team in TNA, though Foley turned on him. This led to a Monster's Ball Match at the 2009 Bound For Glory pay-per-view. Abyss won and shortly thereafter, Foley and Abyss once again began teaming up.

16.

Abdullah The Butcher

Cactus Jack and WWE Hall of Famer Abdullah The Butcher were tag team partners in WCW, united with the purpose of eliminating Sting. But a falling out led to a vicious series of matches between them, including a gory Steel Cage Match in Philadelphia.

14.

Eddie Gilbert

Although ECW hadn't quite been established in 1990, Cactus Jack and Eddie Gilbert had a series of gory matches in the precursor Tri-state Wresting Alliance. They main-evented in the TWA for several shows, including vicious Steel Cage and Barbed Wire Matches.

12.

Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon attempted to manipulate Mankind by acting as a father figure of sorts. But that relationship predictably collapsed, leading to a feud with McMahon's Corporation. Years later, he would gain some measure of revenge during his reign as Commissioner Foley.

10.

Edge

The rivalry between Mick Foley and WWE Hall of Famer Edge began in 2000 when Commissioner Foley made life hard for Edge & Christian. Their feud returned for WrestleMania XXII, where they had a brutal Hardcore Match - and then weeks later, began teaming up. 

8.

Big Van Vader

In 1993, Big Van Vader powerbombed Cactus Jack on the concrete floor during an episode of WCW Saturday Night. After a bout with amnesia (don't ask), Cactus returned to battle Vader at Hallowe'en Havoc. Years later, Cactus would actually lose his ear in a match with Vader!

6.

Randy Orton

Mick Foley came out of retirement in 2004 to answer the challenge of Randy Orton, who was just coming into his own. After initially refusing to face The Legend Killer, Foley battled Orton at WrestleMania XX in a tag team match and the followed up with a brutal No Holds Barred Match at Backlash.

4.

Triple H

One of WWE Hall of Famer Triple H's first major WWF programs was against Mankind in 1997, who used the opportunity to morph into his Cactus Jack persona. They rekindled their rivalry in late 1999, which led to Foley's first "retirement" match at No Way Out 2000. And even as an authority figure, Foley had issues with The Game.

2.

The Rock

Although they were paired together as the unlikely Rock and Sock Connection, they were pitted against each other for several big events, including the main event of Survivor Series 1998, Rock Bottom, Royal Rumble 1999 and even as part of WrestleMania 2000. Most famous was their "I Quit" Match seen in Beyond The Mat.

49.

Boo Bradley

Another tag team Cactus Jack formed in the mid-1990s was with Boo Bradley (a/k/a Balls Mahoney). In Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Bradley was teamed with Chris Candido and often battled Cactus before he convinced Bradley to turn babyface.

47.

William Regal

In 2001, William Regal was WWF Commissioner, helping lead the troops into battle against The Alliance. But towards the end of that year, Regal turned on his home company, necessitating a return by WWF Commissioner Foley. While they never had a Commissioner match, the two had an intense feud.

45.

Leatherface

Leatherface (not to be confused with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre character), was a wrestler in Japan played by former WWF star Corporal Kirschner. Leatherface and Cactus Jack battled it out in the IWA until the horror character was fired for performing a dangerous move on Hiroshi Ono.

43.

Shane McMahon

Mankind may have never been WWF World Champion if not for Shane McMahon. Shane O'Mac screwed Mankind out of a match and then was taken hostage, with Mankind demanding a title match against The Rock.

41.

Christian

In 2000, Commissioner Foley began a love-hate relationship with Christian. Foley constantly tried to outfox The Creepy Little Bastard, once making him wear a chicken suit in order to lose weight for a Light Heavyweight Championship match.

39.

The Motor City Machine Guns

One of Mick Foley's biggest beefs in TNA was with The Motor City Machine Guns, who refused to give The Hardcore legend any respect. Foley forced Alex Shelley to wear a turkey suit and later battled him and partner Chris Sabin in a handicap match on TNA Impact.

37.

Shane Douglas

Mick Foley and Shane Douglas literally started out in the business together as prized students in Dominic DeNucci's wrestling school. Their careers came together again in ECW, where Cactus Jack was often seen as a lackey for The Franchise until they engaged in a feud that culminated at Cyberslam 1996.

35

Eric Embry

During his early days in World Class, Cactus Jack (then Cactus Jack Manson) was a member of Devastation Inc. He sfaced Eric Embry, one of the top babyfaces in the area. Cactus even won the Light Heavyweight Championship (?) from Embry.

33.

Big Boss Man

While feuding with The Corporation, Mankind often found himself opposing faction member and WWE Hall of Famer Big Boss Man in a series of brutal WWF Hardcore Championship matches, including a ladder match for the title on Raw.

31.

Kevin Nash

While both Mick Foley and WWE Hall of Famer Kevin Nash were together in WCW and WWE, it wasn't until both were in TNA that a rivalry developed. They met at the Hard Justice 2009 pay-per-view over the short-lived TNA Legends Championship, which Nash won.

29.

The Big Show

In the lead up to WrestleMania XV, both Mankind and The Big Show were lobbying to officiate the evening's main event. Foley won their match to get the honor, which sparked a feud with Big Show that included a Boiler Room Brawl Match.

27.

The Nasty Boys

In the mid 1990s, Cactus Jack worked several pay-per-views with The Nasty Boys, teaming with both Maxx Payne and Kevin Sullivan. One of their most memorable contests was at Slamboree 94, with Philadelphia hockey enforcer Dave Schultz as referee.

25.

Paul Orndorff

Harley Race arranged a match between Cactus Jack and WWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff to see which heel would tag with Race's champion Big Van Vader. Orndorff won, but Jack got revenge by assaulting him with a shovel and turning face in the process, beginning a feud.

23.

Sabu

When Cactus Jack left WCW in the mid-1990s, one of his first "dream" opponents was the equally hardcore Sabu. They battled in ECW, but they also had a pair of Desert Death Matches in the Las Vegas-based NCW, which included Cage With Weapons Match.

21.

Al Snow

Speaking of Have A Nice Day, Al Snow is the constant butt of Mick Foley's jokes in that book. In the ring, the two briefly became WWF Tag Team Champions. Mankind later found out that Snow was intentionally making Mankind's partner The Rock look bad to get an "in" with Foley.

19.

The New Age Outlaws

In 1998, Mankind battled Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) and when both men fell into a dumpster. WWE Hall of Famers The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) pushed the dumpster off of the entrance ramp, leading to a Dumpster Match  at WrestleMania XV.

17.

Kane

Kane's first match was against Mankind at the Survivor Series 1997. While the two monsters briefly put aside their differences to win the WWF Tag Team Titles, they engaged in a Hell In A Cell Match, all while still being tag team partners!

15.

Kevin Sullivan

Kevin Sullivan was one of the first and last people Cactus Jack worked with in WCW.  He began as a lackey of Sullivan's that often read books during their matches. And although they held tag team gold together, one of Cactus' last WCW matches was against Sullivan.

13.

Stephanie McMahon

Stephanie McMahon has frequently been at odds with Mick Foley. She aided Triple H during his feud with Cactus Jack in 2000, and some years 17 years later, they picked up the bad blood when Foley was Raw Commissioner and McMahon was the brand's General Manager.

11.

Ric Flair

What began as a real-life disagreement between Mick Foley and WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair over comments in their respective autobiographies spilled over into the wrestling ring, leading to a pair of WWE matches in 2006. They also feuded when both men were in TNA.

9.

Tommy Dreamer

Speaking of Edge and Mick Foley teaming up.... their initial target was ECW legend Tommy Dreamer. But the bad blood between Foley and Dreamer goes back to ECW, when Cactus Jack began targeting Dreamer is now-famous "anti-hardcore promos."

7.

Stone Cold Steve Austin

Mankind and WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin arrived in the WWF around roughly the same time, but it took meddling by Vince McMahon to pit Austin against Foley's Dude Love and Mankind. This led to a series of matches, including 1998's Over The Edge where the deck was stacked against Austin.

5.

Sting

Cactus Jack's return to WCW in 1991 saw him face WWE Hall of Famer Sting, which included a Falls Count Anywhere On The Gulf Coast Match at Beach Blast. Years later, both were reunited in TNA, where they picked up again with a Steel Cage Match for the TNA World Title at Lockdown 2009.

3.

Terry Funk

Mick Foley and WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk are possibly wrestling's best example of frenemies. In the mid-1990's, they had battles including the famed IWA King of the Death Match in Japan. Years later, they reunited in the WWF, only to turn on each other, battling on Monday Night Raw and even in the Royal Rumble.

1.

The Undertaker

Mankind's very first target in the WWF was The Undertaker, blindsiding The Dead Man on an episode of Monday Night Raw. This led to more than a half-dozen pay-per-view matches over the years, including the first-ever Boiler Room Brawl and Buried Alive matches. But the bout this rivalry is most closely associated with is the Hell In A Cell Match from King of the Ring in 1998, where Undertaker sent Mankind off the top of the structure and later chokeslammed him from the top of the cage to the ring below. 

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Wrestling Merchandise and Memories podca
Wrestling Historian Mike Rickard