Back again for a new ‘Spooky Wrestler Of The Day’ number three and this is one you’ll never forget. A lot of talent with scary wrestling characters, usually have more than one gimmick and this is exactly the case for this man. Cactus Jack is cool, Dude Love is definitely cool, but Mick Foley’s scariest gimmick went by the name of Mankind.
In 1996, Mick Foley wrestled under Cactus Jack in WCW, but when he made the switch to WWF, a new gimmick was thrusted upon him as he became “Mankind,” a deranged schizophrenic maniac, strapped in a leather mask who lived in the boiler rooms of the arena’s. As if the look wasn’t creepy enough, Mankind shrieked during his matches and often yelled “Mommy” while rocking in a seating position and ripping out his own hair. The aesthetic of Mankind alone is freaky, you wouldn’t want to catch this man in a back alley in fear that he may chop you up or hold you and not let go. But, when he stepped in the ring, it was evident that this man would go to great lengths to win a match. He’s so crazy that he’d hurt himself just to hurt you too and if that wasn’t bad enough, when he did get you in a prime position, he’d take his middle and ring finger and shove it down your throat until you pass out. What an absolute sick man!
In April of 1996, Mankind debuted on TV defeating Bob Holly. The deranged character freaked out the audience with children in the crowd putting their hands over their eyes. But, you’re always peeking through the cracks of your fingers to see what this psycho is going to do next and that was exactly the basis of his first huge feud against another pro-wrestling phenom, The Undertaker.
During the feud with The Undertaker, it seemed Mankind got even crazier, his mind was unfolding in the worst ways right in front of the viewers eyes. As mentioned earlier, Mankind would live in the boiler room inside of the arena’s and that lore led us to his own signature match when he faced Undertaker in a “Boiler Room Brawl.” The basis of the match was both men starting in the boiler room and the only way to win was getting out, making their way to the ring and capturing the infamous Urn from Paul Bearer. Well, Undertaker nearly won the match but Paul refused to give him the urn, instead turning on his long time friend and joining alongside Mankind.
The duo of Paul and Mankind went on to reign terror over the roster and continuously aggravate The Undertaker, challenging him in many matches including a Buried Alive match, one of the scariest matches in wrestling history. Many people have many fears in life but one of the most popular human fears is being buried alive, so what’s scarier than fighting another man who’s trying to put you in the ground, literally? Well, probably scarier when that man is a maniac like Mankind. Undertaker ended up winning the match but Mankind got the last laugh when he buried Undertaker anyway. Undertaker ended up getting the ultimate last laugh when he defeated Mankind at In Your House: Revenge Of The Taker. Following the Undertaker feud, Mankind moved on and slowly started to merge in his other faces of Foley as Dude Love and Cactus Jack.
We’d then see Mankind return on and off and the psychopath that once was, quickly turned into a fun loving maniac that became a fan favorite. Still rocking the same leather mask, his gear changed from leather strapped wrestling gear to sweatpants and a untucked button up shirt with a custom tie. The mandible claw finishing move quickly got an upgrade to Mr. socko, the same basis of sticking your fingers in someone’s throat, but now with a sock on his hand that had a drawn on smiley face. We’ve seen Mankind have iconic comedy segments with the likes of The Rock and even Vince McMahon himself, but the fire was still in his belly whenever he was face to face with The Undertaker. Years following their ‘96 feud, the two would have one more go at it at the 1998 King Of The Ring event when Undertaker and Mankind battled it out in a Hell In A Cell Match, which prompted one of the most iconic moments in WWE history when the now fun-loving mankind was thrown off the top of the cell multiple times by Undertaker, pushing his teeth through his nose and even almost be stretchered out before pushing his way off the stretcher and making his way back to the ring, proving that the maniac was still somewhere deep down in his soul. Mankind is known now for being a likable maniac, but originally, he struck fear into the hearts of many men and showed his psychotic behavior would freak out fans world wide.
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