Monday Night Wars Documentary Review Episode 5: Have a Nice Day.

While episodes 2 and 4 of this documentary profiled a specific faction, NWO and DX, this is the first episode to focus on an individual wrestler, that wrestler being Mick Foley.

It starts with Arn Anderson explaining how the WCW strategy was to use already established stars (Sting is shown while he says this). Mick was in WCW, but was not a big star, and eventually left for ECW, Extreme Championship Wrestling. There’s an interesting bit here about how in ECW he turned away from his fans and purposely started having slower paced, scientific wrestling matches, as opposed to the more brutal, hard hitting, hardcore style his fans liked. He started wearing a suit and a pony tail,and carried a teddy bear named Chuck with him.

Meanwhile WWF was still using cartoony characters, and the same clip is shown when they made this point in other episodes. Foley eventually signed with WWF, and early design sketches are shown of ideas for his character. Foley thought about the destruction of Mankind, and came up with that name for use in the WWF. The early vignettes are shown that introduced him before he had his first WWF match on 4/1/96.

Early on Vince was not a fan, but apparently he gave some speech backstage where he admitted the methods he used in the past weren’t really working, and that a wrestler’s character should be an extension of their own personality.

From here the WWF showed home movies from Foley’s childhood, and his childhood character Dude Love was actually brought into WWF programming on 7/14/97. His WCW/ECW era character, the more evil Cactus Jack was brought in on 9/22/97 and got a huge pop from the crowd.

The infamous Hell in the Cell match is covered, where he got thrown off the cage by the Undertaker, only to continue the match and later fall through the cage, and still finished the match. Vince says today that match would be stopped immediately, but they were in uncharted territory then.

After this obviously his physical problems were taking their toll, so he started introducing more comedy into his act, hence the birth of Mr. Socko. His segment with the Rock: This is Your Life bit which drew 9 million viewers. It was not rehearsed at all, to the point where he introduced the Rock’s school teacher as Betty Griffin, when on the graphic for TV it read Mrs. Schubert.

Tony Schiavone is interviewed regarding Mankind winning the WWF title and it being spoiled on WCW programming. This was a tactic WCW used from the beginning, but in this case it backfired, as an estimated half a million people switched stations to see the title win.

Of all the personalities of this era, Mick Foley’s is undoubtedly the most interesting. This episode does a good job of chronicling the journey of perhaps the most unlikeliest of superstars and their rise to the WWF championship.

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