Tuesday, 9 April 2013

WWE DVD Review: For All Mankind - The Life and Career Of Mick Foley

As wrestling fan for nearly three decades (scary I know) I feel I  have pretty much seen it all and watched it all in the industry. I was fortunate enough to become a fan at a time when Ted Turner's WCW were on the rise, The UK scene still had a TV outlet and the WWE (then WWF) were on the brink of world domination.

During these years I was able to see many of my heroes perform live. This was a time when the WWE, WCW and UK promotions toured one to two times a year and we got to see some of the companies top stars perform for a very reasonable fee.

I over a short time saw Sting lose the WCW World Title, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart perform live in a small hometown ring and even got to meet WWF superstar Rowdy Roddy Piper in person too. He was a pop star back then (don't ask).

You may wonder where I am going here? Well the answer is that whilst much of the wrestling industry at that time was about the performers physique and character, there were the odd few who defied the rule and broke the mould.

I am of course talking about such guys as Vader, The Fabulous Freebirds and others who stood out for not being musclebound cartoon-ish characters.

Mick Foley was one such wrestler. Mick is not a man who has the conventional build of a grappler. Yet this is a man who as brightened up every company he has worked for and also netted himself a nice selection of title belts along the way.

Foley's secret to his success is one that many will not follow. He found out early on in his career that he was not only able to receive an absurd amount of punishment, but he made it look easy. Mick was (and still is) that rare breed of wrestler who would willingly bleed, take un-protected blows to the head with weapons and accept some of the worst beatings imaginable.

Although he started out as the crazed Cactus Jack Mick over the years has fought as himself, Mankind and the party loving Dude Love. Each of which have proved their worth in some way or another.

Mick has always been a wrestler I look up to and I very rarely saw him work a match that I felt short-changed by. Of course to many fans he is the guy who Undertaker famously threw off the Hell In A Cell Cage (which has been seen on many WWE DVDs since). But this is a man who has done so much more.

The worry sometimes with wrestling profile DVDs is that sometimes they can repeat their previous selves (Foley to date has at least five DVDs about him on the market). What is nice here is that even with Mick's previous DVD outings we do have some new material here.

Foley now seems to be happy with his place in life and wrestling. The documentary section here is well made and covers his career perfectly. We get to learn about his early days and the struggles (gambles) he undertook to achieve his dreams. We also get to learn about his trips to Japan, his big breaks and the pivotal moments in his professional life as a wrestler.

This is a man who very literally has given his body, blood, sweat and tears for his profession.

So what can you expect to see here across these three discs? First up disc on is a fine documentary. Mick is wonderfully nice and witty in his pieces and each talking head (from WWE staff old and new) adds to the piece perfectly. Of course we don't get to see anything from any current TNA staff (but that is to be expected). Even the most diehard Foley fan will find something new here.

His charity work for example has not really been touched upon before. It really does endear you to the man.

Discs 2 and 3 house over 15 matches, taking in most of his career and many companies he has worked for. There are also a few nice alternate commentaries by Foley and former ECW commentator Joey Styles (this includes the infamous Hell In A Cell with Undertaker). There are many new to DVD matches, some from WCW, ECW, early WWF footage and much more. We also get to see Foley in Tag action, him battle Sting, being brutalised by The British Bulldogs and a graphic scrap between Cactus Jack and The Sandman. This last one is fought under barbed wire rope rules and leaves nothing to the imagination.

For All Mankind: The Life and Career of Mick Foley is available from April 22nd 2013.

Visit www.wwedvd.co.uk for more details.
RRP: £24.99 (DVD), £34.99 (Blur-ray)

By Phil Allely

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