Thursday, November 12, 1998
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
A myriad of broken thoughts, held together by duct tape and wishful thinking
When Vince McMahon handed Mick (Mankind, Cactus Jack, Dude Love) Foley, the newly created Hardcore title two weeks ago, everyone assumed it was a joke. Here was one of the hardcore greats being handed a broken and battered title, held together by duct tape and hope, with the word Hardcore written across, not like a claim but like a lament. Many assumed that this was Vince's (and the WWF's) way of mocking Mick, instead of honoring him.
However, that wouldn't be giving Mick Foley enough credit. This is a man who sacrifices of himself, for the enjoyment of other's, a wrestler who defined the term "hardcore". Anybody, who has seen him fight in Japan or his stint in ECW or some of his more spectacular matches in the WWF, knows what the word "hardcore" and its legacy mean to this man. Rest assured that this new title was created with the blessing of the "King of the Death Matches" and logically is the only belt for him.
After all, the belt is a reflection of the individual who it was created and named after. Mick Foley is a "hardcore" icon and he has paid that price in spades. His body is covered in scars, his right ear is missing, as are two of his teeth, he walks with a limp and has had more concussions than Austin has had ovations. He's broken more bones and lost more blood than one can conceive and if it weren't for the Spanish announcer's table, would be cold in the ground.
He is a mirror of his new-found title, broken and battered but unbowed, not a pretty boy or a paper tiger champion (ie-Goldberg), with a shiny belt and no reputation but a testament to the price that must be paid to be "hardcore". He proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the belt means a great deal to him and that it would be defended in the style that it was named after. He said all this without saying a word and proved it this past Monday night's Raw when he faced Ken ("I'll get you Severn") Shamrock.
Mick and Shamrock have faced each other numerous times and their matches were always excellent, but Monday was the first of these that would truly be considered "hardcore". It was of course "Falls Count Anywhere"/ "No DQ". With a number of vicious chair shots, power moves on the outside, a belly to belly into the ring steps, a slam onto the steel entrance way and of course in the tradition of ECW (and wrestling in general), outside interference to give Mick the victory. This match stood out as one of the most violent in memory on any Monday night program and as the best match by far on Raw this week.
It also sets a precedent, one that states that even though Mick has received another corporate make-over (see Dude Love, circa this summer), he will be bringing and defending the Hardcore Championship and style to anyone McMahon pits him against. Which means eventually the mother of all Hardcore feuds will be back on, logically it can only mean a matter of time before Terry Funk makes his last curtain call in the WWF for another go at Mick Foley.
The newly-created Hardcore title is a title which now must be constantly defended to give it a history and credibility, if not than they might as well call it the Light Heavyweight title, but who could conceivably dethrone Foley for the new title? Sandman and Raven are both in WCW. Sabu the most serious threat from his ECW days isn't likely to ever go to the WWF (something about throwing chairs into the audience?). Onita and Pogo (along with a number of other truly psychotic wrestlers) are over in Japan and Tommy Dreamer isn't going anywhere. That leaves the one and only Terry Funk. The only question remaining is: Does the WWF have the stomach for what will happen if Funk and Foley meet for a title both have laid claim to with their blood?
Chris Gramlich originally hails from "anywhere he damn well pleases" (a.k.a. Vancouver, BC). His hobbies include: wrestling, piercing various body parts, aggressive music, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Star Trek related programs, good animation, any all shark programs, video games, wrestling and walking his dog. Gramlich plays in a jazz/metal/punk/noise band called Association Area, being previous associated with bands such as Bad Blood and Tchort. Also a respected music writer based out of Toronto, "Hardcore" writes for the Exclaim and Doomhauled magazines.