The SmarK DVD Rant for Mick Foley’s Hard Knocks and Cheap Pops


– Kind of weird that I’ve never done these discs before, so just as a change of pace from those whining about all the Rock-love on the blog, here’s some Foley-love. I’ll try to work Greatest Hits and Misses into the mix sometime this week as well, since it’s the vastly superior collection. This is the original Foley DVD from 2001, back before they turned the DVD compilation into an artform unto itself.

– Hosted by the Mickster.

– Part One: The Hard Knocks

– Mick starts out talking about Al Snow and their "relationship" (he refuses to call it a friendship), and immediately starts dogging on Al’s lack of selling skills. Mick confesses that they really did piss each other off with all the jokes and stopped riding together, but the success of the book healed the wounds.

– So Al and Mick go on a business trip to Las Vegas and beat up an annoying Rock fan while cracking jokes at the poker table ("I’ve been dreaming about a hand like this." "You dream about your hand all the time, Mick." "Shut up, Al."). The cheapshots continue with Santa Foley receiving "The Best of Al Snow" for Christmas, which is of course an empty videotape cover. Because there’s no such thing, you see.

– Onto the usual Rock N Sock Connection video package and their breakup over Rock being a jerk and throwing away Mick’s book. Mick notes that he started teaming up with Snow "and even though they sucked in the ring," they still won the titles. This leads to the feud between them because Al was the guy who threw the book in the garbage, although the feud never really went anywhere. We do get a clip of the GREAT finish to the hardcore match between them, though, as Al tries to trick Foley into DX’s dressing room, but it’s actually Rock’s dressing room, and an off-screen chairshot delivered by the Rock gives Foley the win.

– Mick talks about how he was supposed to retire at Survivor Series 1999, but Austin’s neck injury meant that Vince wanted him to stick around as a main eventer, and since he was feeling pretty good again he pitched the idea of reviving Cactus Jack for one last big run at Royal Rumble. So that leads to the AWESOME destruction of Mankind by HHH, as the character was totally destroyed and stripped back down to Cactus Jack again. The promo from Mankind on Smackdown as he transforms back in Jack is truly a great piece of business. The overdubbing of the classical theme is a bit of overkill, but that’s wrestling for you.

– Mick talks about getting taken off the road and how the WWF showed a series of stuff from the IWA to create the myth of Cactus Jack, which had him built up as a bloodthirsty monster by the time Royal Rumble came around. That, by the way, was the match that MADE HHH more than any other. Mick reveals that the trashtalk at the beginning was actually him asking Hunter where he could a bottle of his cologne. Way to shatter the illusion, Mick. Hunter pops in and says that they apologized to each other in advance for any injuries they were going to cause. It’s still one of my all-time favorite matches, although I don’t know if I can still go ***** on it 8 years later. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and watched it, so I guess we’ll see when I do the other DVD set. Hunter talks about worrying how they’d possibly live up to the hype, and the answer was of course barbed wire and thumbtacks, back before TNA made it into a cliché. By the way, DVD resolution clearly reveals how fake the barbed wire 2×4 was. It’s not even close to realistic. That second Pedigree into the thumbtacks is sick and shows how insane Mick really is.

– So it’s onto No Way Out, as Mick wanted to give the fans one last look at Cactus Jack. Hunter talks about how he’s so obsessed with the business that he goes to movies and wonders how he can turn what he’s watching into an angle, which is why he was planning the rematch from the moment that Royal Rumble ended. That’s what I’ve always heard about him, too. So the setup is simple and awesome: Cactus still wants the title, so Hunter offers him any match he wants, as long as he puts his career on the line. Mick says that he "didn’t like his chances of winning, if you know what I mean". Mick’s commentary on the clips is pretty hilarious, as he talks about breaking his own nose while dropping an elbow and analyzes footage of falling through tables while mocking his own butt and lack of speed. The very emotional end of Mick’s career is of course ruined by what happened next. Mick SWEARS he thought it was his last match.

– Mick says that Wrestlemania wasn’t a BAD match per se, although the table spot with Rock was particularly embarrassing for him as a professional. He still made it to Disneyland, though, because he’s HARDCORE.

– Part Two: The Cheap Pops

– So the next phase of his career begins with Foley taking over as the Commissioner of the WWF. The cheap pop and cheesy thumbs up were introduced to tweak HHH, he notes. So we get a montage of cheap pops.

– So Edge and Christian break out the kazoos at Kurt Angle’s birthday party, and Mick talks about how he lobbied HARD to be a part of it, but was denied for reasons he doesn’t understand. But it leads to Sodas Rule and various acts of tomfoolery, like Christian working out in a chicken suit to make weight. I miss fun-loving Edge sometimes. Kurt Angle popping in to say "Hey, my chicken suit!" is twistedly brilliant stuff. That whole era was a lost classic.

– Onto some clips of Mick’s verbal battles with Stephanie McMahon, and being a role model for nerds everywhere.

– Mick talks about the mini-feud with Steve Austin during the murder investigation stuff, and how he was getting worried that fans were turning him heel as a result.

– We get a quick bit on the Christmas book that he did, which I don’t think did that well.

– And we finish with Edge and Christian turning on their buddy, as Vince returns to the screen and fires him as Commissioner.

– And one last Snow joke before we go, as Mick offers him a title shot while drinking a soda, and when Snow replies "With the Rock?" we get a spit-take from Foley.

Bonus Matches

All stuff I’ve done before. Mind Games (of course), the RAW match from Nov 96 between Austin and Mick that I just did, Halftime Heat, and Over the Edge. However, Mick also asked for the inclusion of one other match, which I haven’t done since the original PPV, so why not…

Kennel From Hell: Al Snow v. Big Bossman

From Unforgiven 99. Commentary is overdubbed by Kevin Kelly and Mick Foley just to really rub it in. And they call it totally straight like it was a classic, which makes it funnier. So the incredibly stupid concept here is that there’s two cages, one big blue cage around the ring, which is then enclosed by a Hell in a Cell cage. And there’s dogs running around between the cages. They might possibly be shooting bees from their mouths when they bark, I don’t know, but I can’t possibly make this stuff up. Snow attacks to start while Kelly analyzes the denim wardrobe ("I believe he must have purchased it in some sort of discount store, possibly K-Mart…") and he locks himself into the cage while the vicious, killer dogs are released into the outer cage. Bossman climbs into the cage while Snow tries to fight him off with a shovel and Kelly worries about Bossman getting his legs bitten into stumps by the dogs. Best commentary ever. Snow runs out of the cage and climbs the cell, but Bossman pulls him into the cage with a suplex and they both sell it forever. The dogs are busy barking at each other while Bossman rams Snow into the cage a couple of times and draws a tiny bit of blood, which sends Foley into hysterics at the thought of the crimson mask. Kelly is APPALLED that someone would leave dangerous cookie sheets at ringside. Bossman tries cutting a hole in the ceiling, but Snow slugs him down, so Bossman uses wire cutters on his ear in one of the dumber spots of the match. Snow comes back with a bag of powder ("Some sort of industrial strength lye?"), which Foley notes is retribution for anyone who’s ever accidentally eaten a dog of some sort. The dogs are humping on the floor, which leads Kevin to wonder about the dogs actually reproducing during the match and over-running the arena with vicious, bloodthirsty puppies that will kill everyone. Bossman puts Snow down with the shovel and handcuffs him to the ropes, which has Foley worried about Snow losing consciousness and getting ravaged by the vicious dogs. Snow breaks free of the cuffs, uh, somehow and keeps Bossman from escaping, then grabs Head and puts Bossman down with it. They both climb the cell, but Snow goes out the door at 11:34 to win. I think the WWE is missing a potential market by not putting out DVDs of horrible matches with Mick Foley on commentary. As awful as advertised, with lame weapons and little contact. -***

– You also get Titantron videos for Mick Foley, Cactus Jack, Dude Love and Mankind, a nice touch.

The Pulse:

The documentary is interesting and it’s great to hear Mick’s take on the HHH matches, but really 2000-2001 wasn’t so momentous that it needed a whole DVD devoted to it. And the matches selected here are duplicated by the Greatest Hits and Misses set, so really the whole thing is kind of a waste. Recommendation to avoid.