Mick Foley’s “For All Mankind” DVD was released in the U.S. on Tuesday April 16 and will be released next week in Europe. To celebrate the DVD release, I decided to review a Foley match. I didn’t want to review a match everyone has seen so I’m reviewing a match that is not one of Foley’s most famous matches. In 1996, Foley competed in a match as Mankind against Stone Cold Steve Austin on Monday Night RAW and it happened early in both of their WWE careers.

The Facts:

  • This match happened in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • This was the first ever Mick Foley vs. Steve Austin match.
  • This match happened the night after Survivor Series. Austin had a classic match against Bret Hart and Mankind competed against Undertaker at Survivor Series in Madison Square Garden. Foley was disappointed with his performance at Survivor Series and vowed to have a strong showing the next night on RAW.
  • Foley wrote about this match in his first book Have a Nice Day. Foley wrote, “Steve and I had been talking frequently about the contracts we’d recently been offered that, while not embarrassing, were not nearly on the level of Marc Mero. This filled us both with the potent combination of pride and anger, and we vowed to show Vince [McMahon] the error of his contractual ways. Without even talking about what we’d do, we tore the house down in a match that many called the best RAW match in several years. There was nothing fancy about it, just a great give-and-take contest, but the intensity was high, and the chemistry was there.”
  • This was a Toughman Contest. The winner of the match would be considered the toughest man in the WWF. The match originally was supposed to be Vader vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, but Vader got injured by Yokozuna at Survivor Series.
  • The announcers who called this match were Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler.
  • The unofficial time length of the match was 9:01.
  • This match can been seen on the Mick Foley: Hard Knock & Cheap Pops DVD and at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20C79jokZ14

The Match:

Mankind attacks Stone Cold Steve Austin from behind while Austin is making his entrance. Austin and Mankind brawl near the entrance and a bunch of referees are trying to break it up. The match has not started yet. Mankind whips Austin into the ring steps. They both enter the ring and the match officially begins. Austin attacks Mankind in the corner. Mankind and Austin leave the ring. Austin jumps off the ring apron and hits Mankind. They fight outside a little bit and then get back in the ring. Austin hits Mankind with a clothesline. Austin hits Mankind with a punch and Mankind falls out of the ring. Mankind grabs a chair outside the ring, but Austin kicks Mankind before he can use the chair as a weapon. Austin picks up the chair and the referee takes it away from him. Austin looks at the referee and Mankind hits Austin from behind. Mankind tries to Irish whip Austin, but Austin reverses it and Mankind goes into the security guardrails. Austin brings Mankind back into the ring. Austin misses a clothesline and Mankind applies the Mandible Claw. Austin gets out of the hold by kicking Mankind in the balls. RAW goes to a commercial break with both men on the mat.

After the commercial break, the match goes outside the ring again. Mankind picks up Austin and drops him head first onto the guardrail. Mankind gets in the ring and Austin climbs onto the ring apron. Austin tries to suplex Mankind out of the ring, but Mankind blocks it and suplexes Austin into the ring. Mankind tries to Irish whip Austin, but Austin reverses it. Mankind bounces off the ropes and hits Austin with a swinging neckbreaker. Paul Bearer is at ringside because he is Mankind’s manager. Mankind hits Austin with a leg drop. Mankind tries to Irish whip Austin and again Austin reverses it. Mankind needs to stop trying to Irish whip Austin because Austin is reversing it every time. Mankind bounces off the ropes and Austin applies a sleeper hold. Mankind is able to drive Austin backwards into the turnbuckles and Austin releases the hold. Austin charges out of the corner and Mankind hits him with a clothesline. It looks like Mankind is going for a piledriver, but Austin blocks it and backdrops Mankind over the ropes. Mankind hangs onto the ropes and doesn’t fall off the ring apron. Mankind hits Austin with a move that looks like the stunner and Austin’s body bounces off the top rope. Austin is down and Mankind climbs up the turnbuckles. Austin gets up and pulls Mankind off the turnbuckles. Austin stomps a mudhole and then knocks Mankind out of the ring. Mankind grabs Austin and slams his head onto the ring steps. Austin picks up Mankind and drops him on the guardrail. Austin throws Mankind into the ring. No pin attempts in this match yet. Austin jumps from the middle turnbuckle and hits Mankind with an elbow drop. First pin attempt and Mankind kicks out. Austin drives his shoulder into Mankind in the corner. Mankind almost falls out of the ring. Austin hits Mankind with punches and Mankind falls out of the ring. While Austin is pulling Mankind back into the ring, The Executioner enters the ring and attacks Austin from behind. Random fact: The Executioner’s son is former WWE superstar Jesse/Slam Master J. The referee ends the match.

Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin via disqualification

Rating: ***

I liked watching this match, but it’s not a great match in my opinion. I don’t think Foley was lying when he said many people consider this to be one of the best matches in RAW history because he said that over ten years ago. Today, this match is not considered one of the best matches on RAW, but back then it was probably was a great RAW match because 1996 was only a few years after RAW’s first episode aired. WWE.com recently posted a list of the top 50 greatest matches in RAW history and this match was not on the list. 6 out of the 50 matches were older than this match. I like this match for historical purposes. It was the first ever Mankind vs. Stone Cold match and it’s rare to see a Mankind match from 1996. Many of Foley’s most famous WWF matches happened during 1998-2000. He had so many great matches from that time period that it is strange to see him wrestling on Monday Night RAW with the old set that had the huge RAW letters in 1996. It’s strange to watch a Mankind match with Vince McMahon as the main announcer because so many of his great matches were called by Jim Ross or Michael Cole. It was enjoyable to see two future Hall of Famers compete in a match that happened before they became huge stars in the WWF.

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