"To truly understand Mankind,
you must first break down
the words that make up his name:
Mank and Ind.
What do they mean?
It's a mystery.
And so is Mankind."
You would have a tough time finding a professional wrestling fan who could argue with the insane badassitude of Mick Foley. A long time veteran of the ECW, WCW and WWF/WWE, Foley was well-known for being a total crazy bastard who went out there and put his body on the line every single night, doing the craziest shit you could ever think of and risking serious physical pain and permanent bodily damage purely for the sake of entertaining fans who might never fully appreciate it.
Mick Foley got his start wrestling the ECW circuit in the late 80s as Cactus Jack, where he spent much of his time being backdropped onto barbed wire boards and face-planting tables. During one match, he suffered severe second-degree burns when he was thrown into some explosives that went off in his face. He won the Tag Team Belt once in ECW, and in 1995 defeated Terry Funk to win the title of "King of the Death Match", which is probably the most badass title you could think of. It sounds like something out of The Running Man or something.
After a brief stint in WCW, Foley burst onto the scene in the WWF in 1996 wrestling as the mentally-deranged Mankind. His humorous persona and complete lack of any sort of self-preservation instincts led him to become a huge crowd favorite, and during his career he would win the Tag belts eight times, the WWF Championship three times and would be the first ever WWF Hardcore champ.
The thing that really set him apart from the other wrestlers was that he was fucking crazy and constantly put himself in situations where he could have been seriously hurt or killed. At King of the Ring in 1998, he battled The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match, which would go down as one of the greatest wrestling matches in history. Towards the beginning of the match, Foley was fucking thrown from the top of the ten-foot cage, past the mat and through the Spanish Announcer's table on the floor. Later he would be chokeslammed through the top of the cage, an event which was NOT scripted, and would receive a concussion and be knocked unconscious when he hit the mat. He claims in his book to not even be able to remember the bout. In this match he received bruised kidneys, bruised ribs, a dislocated shoulder, several missing teeth and quite a few stitches in his lip, but it didn't even slow him down. A few years later he went back and did most of the same stunts AGAIN in his retirement match with Triple H, when he was also Pedigreed onto some fucking thumbtacks. He did this sort of shit all the time, all for the sake of entertainment.
After he realized that he had to stop taking serious blunt trauma to the head on a weekly basis, Foley released his autobiography, Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. The book topped the New York Times bestseller list and contained thoughtful insight into his wrestling career, and many people learned that in addition to making a career out of being a human pinata, Mick Foley also had a brain in his head and a gift for writing. Since the success of his autobiography, Foley released a follow-up book, a couple of children's books and two full-length novels, all of which have found success.
During his career, Mick Foley received eight concussions, had part of his ear ripped off, lost most of his teeth and required over three hundred stitches for wrestling-related injuries. The guy sacrificed his body for the sport, and left everything out on the mat. He gave it all and did it with a smile on his face, and that's the mark of a true badass.
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