(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31312961)
We have yet another appearance from Mick Foley at #65, against a pre-Crow Sting. Yet again, it is a brutal match, full of big bumps (from Cactus Jack) on the concrete floor and ramp. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a match where someone takes so many bumps on the concrete in such a short period of time. For that reason alone, this match is worth watching. Not only that, but they are both in or reaching their prime. Although it’s a short match, there’s plenty of stuff packed into it. The standards of a hardcore match are high nowadays (if you look elsewhere than the WWE), but the sheer amount of damage Jack takes is a sight to see.
In his first autobiography, Mick Foley said that this was his favourtie match prior to his match against Shawn Michaels at Mind Games 1996. Did he enjoy hurting himself?!?! Right from the start of the match, Jack took some big bumps. He took a back drop to the ramp, and a faceplant that almost put Jack’s head through the ramp. As is common with Jack, his offence is as self-punishing as his bumps; his first big offensive move is his patented elbow off the apron, where he lands awkwardly. He followed that up with the ridiculous sunset flip off the apron, which was sure to hurt Jack’s lower back far more than it would hurt Sting (or even put Sting down for the three count!). Towards the end of the match, Jack tried for an elbow from the second rope to the floor, but misses. The “splat” on the concrete is horrific to hear. Truly, Jack was a wrestler with no regard for his own well-being. Even something as simple as a clothesline to the outside becomes risky to Jack, as he followed through on the clothesline and bangs his hip/side on the apron. Why not just clothesline your opponent outside without following him out?!?!?
And that’s just his offence! Almost every bump he took during this match is on the concrete. Yes, concrete; the announcers make a big deal of not having mats outside the ring, presumably as a snipe at the blue mats the WWF used to have around the ring. Jack took a suplex, a few back drops, a body slam, and numerous other nasty-looking bumps from Sting on the concrete. It’s suprising Jack can even stand after all the punishment his back took throughout the match. The supposed story of the match is Jack’s injured knee, which suffered damage after Jack’s apron elbow. However, apart from a failed piledriver attempt, the knee doesn’t have great significance. It’s all about the punishment Jack takes, and it’s stunning to observe. Of course, that’s par for the course for and Mick Foley match, but here it seems overly exaggerated.
It’s fun to compare it to the deadly serious wrestling contest that happened on the same show between Rick Rude and Ricky Steamboat, placed at #85 (click here for my review). That’s a 30 Minute Iron Man Match, where every move was measured and psychologically sound. For Sting vs Cactus Jack, psychology was pretty much left before the ring bell. It’s all about the big bumps, and they are more than worthy of your attention. The short duration is perfect for this type of car crash match, as even towards the end the match loses some of its brutal rhythm (and the end itself is a little underwhelming). Jack was more than capable of introducing a complex psychology to his match, but this is a series of bumps on concrete that are as wince-inducing are they are compelling to watch.
VERDICT: 8/10. A brutal match that emphasises the insanity of Mick Foley. It’s all about big bumps on concrete, but they make it more than worthwhile!
Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die? Leave your comments below!
Click here for my review of #66 Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler (WWE Bragging Rights 2010)
Click here to view my list of reviews of the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die