flair_foleyLast week, I wrote on Twitter that I would review my favorite TNA match. Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair from TNA’s “Before the Glory” Impact show is my favorite TNA match. That may be somewhat of a surprise because it is not one of the greatest TNA matches. I haven’t seen many of the classic TNA matches, but even if I did, I think this match would still be my favorite TNA match. I love this match because I got to see two legends have one last great match. Foley is one of my favorite wrestlers of all-time. He is number two behind The Rock. Many people might say Foley’s last great match is his WrestleMania 22 match against Edge. Many people might say Foley’s last great match is the “I Quit” match he had with Flair at SummerSlam 2006. I say this match that I’m going to review is Foley’s last great match.

The Facts:

  • This was a last man standing match and it happened at “Before the Glory” three days before the TNA Bound for Glory Pay-Per-View.
  • According to The Internet Wrestling Database, this was Mick Foley’s final singles match.
  • When this match happened, Foley was 45 years old and Flair was 61 years old.
  • Foley said he experienced concussion-like symptoms following this match.
  • Foley talked about this match during an interview with Drop-d.ie. Foley said, “It was a really cool match, it was really intense, it was way more than the sum of its parts, I might add, some people might look at it and say ‘he used the barbed-wire bat, he used a table, he used a barbed-wire board’, but when you saw the intensity and that we wrestled the entire four and a half minute break we were off TV, and that’s unheard of, there was really something about that match. You can’t just put something down on paper and say ‘let’s go out and do that’, there needs to be a special atmosphere for something like that to happen.”
  • In an interview with The Sun, Foley said, “I was really happy with that last match I had with Ric Flair. If that turns out to be my last match ever that would be a really good way to go.”
  • Foley talked to In Your Head! Wrestling in 2011 and said his TNA highlight was this match. Foley talked about this match being on TV and not the Bound for Glory PPV. Foley said, “I was glad it wasn’t on the Pay-Per-View. . . .The people are not in the habit of ordering [TNA’s] Pay-Per-Views. . . . A couple million saw it as opposed to tens of thousands. If I have one regret, it’s that they didn’t build that match up to be a bigger deal on TV. They had a video package all ready that they didn’t run because they were going long and one of the frustrating things was knowing that there was a lot of filler on that show and just saying why didn’t someone make the call to put the package in there, make that match as big a deal as it could be and just forget some of that stuff that you can see on any other week on TV.”
  • Ric Flair called Foley a “glorified stuntman” in his book, Ric Flair: To Be the Man. Flair wrote, “When I first started on the booking committee (in WCW), Foley was working as Cactus Jack and doing an angle where he was living in a homeless shelter. I admit it – I didn’t know what to do with a three hundred-pound guy living in a homeless shelter. It took P.T. Barnum, in the form of Vince McMahon, to take a guy whose claim to fame was his willingness to get thrown off a cage, turn him into Mankind, and make him into a champion. Foley has a cult following because of his contribution to hardcore wrestling. But hardcore is such a small part of the history of this business. When I was training, falling off a ladder was not a prerequisite to making it as a professional wrestler. Being fundamentally sound was. . . . I don’t care how many thumbtacks Mick Foley has fallen on, how many ladders he’s fallen off, how many continents he’s supposedly bled on, he’ll always be known as a glorified stuntman. Verne Gagne didn’t fall off a ladder. Dory Funk Jr. didn’t fall off a ladder. Neither did Wahoo, Steamboat, or Steve Austin. Terry Funk was a great worker before he started doing that. Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, and Chris Jericho can do it and maintain their reputations because they’re already respected as athletes. . . . I’m not saying that Mick Foley wasn’t a star, that he wasn’t a great attraction. But in my estimation, Mick Foley was not a great worker. He couldn’t punch. He couldn’t kick. . . .  There’s a difference between being a great performer and being a guy – like Brutus Beefcake or the Ultimate Warrior – who became famous because he happened to be working for Vince. It’s the same with Foley. When he hasn’t been working for Vince, there’s been no demand for him whatsoever. He’s just another guy.” Flair’s comments were in response to Foley blaming Flair for not recognizing Foley’s full potential and writing in Have a Nice Day, “Ric Flair was every bit as bad on the booking side of things as he was great on the wrestling side of it.”
  • This match is on the TNA Mick Foley: Hardcore Legend DVD.
  • The announcers during the match were Mike Tenay and Taz.
  • The time length of the match shown on TV was 9:52.
  • This match can be watched at http://youtu.be/fjloY4ZR6F0.

The Match:

Ric Flair attacked Mick Foley in the corner and ripped off the tape on Foley’s head. Foley’s wound was uncovered and Foley started bleeding around his eye. Flair threw Foley out of the ring. Flair was attacking Foley by the guardrails and Foley hit Flair with a low blow. Foley grabbed his Countdown to Lockdown book from a fan at ringside and tossed the book into the ring. Foley threw Flair into the ring and then grabbed a barbed wire baseball bat that was hiding under the ring steps. Foley entered the ring and attacked Flair with the bat. Flair was busted open and he left the ring. Flair walked to the entrance stage and Foley followed him. Foley slammed Flair’s head onto the broadcast table. Foley pressed the barbed wire bat against Flair’s face. Flair poked Foley in the eye and then threw Foley off the entrance stage! Foley crashed through a table below! The TNA crowd chanted “Holy Shit”! TNA went to a commercial break.

After the break, Foley and Flair were back in the ring. TNA showed the TV viewers what they missed and it was Foley getting attacked by Flair with his book. I have seen wrestlers getting attacked by their own weapon, but I don’t remember seeing anyone getting attacked by their book! Back to the live action, Flair was in control of the match. Flair brought a bag of thumbtacks into the ring and emptied the bag onto the ring mat. Flair was attacking Foley in the corner and Foley blocked one of Flair’s attacks. Foley backdropped Flair onto the thumbtacks! Some of the tacks were sticking to Flair’s body. Foley brought a barbed wire board into the ring. A barbed wire bat, thumbtacks and now a barbed wire board? I can’t remember any other time those weapons were used during a free TV match. Foley got Flair into the corner. Foley grabbed the board and ran into the corner with the board in front of him! The barbed wire made contact with Flair’s body! Both Foley and Flair had a lot of blood on their face at this point. The referee started to count because this was a last man standing match and Flair got up at five. Flair and Foley were hitting each other with chops and punches! Foley bought a table into the ring. Flair hit Foley with a low blow! Flair put Foley on the table and then picked up the barbed wire board. Flair swung the board like it was a steel chair and hit Foley! Flair went to the top rope and jumped onto Foley! The table broke and both men were down. The crowd chanted “TNA”. The referee started counting both men. Flair got up first and then did his famous flop. Flair fell face first onto the tacks! The referee didn’t see that Flair was up so he continued to count both Foley and Flair. The referee’s count reached ten and he ended the match. Foley was barely standing in the corner and the referee gave the victory to Foley.

Winner: Mick Foley

Rating: ****

A week after this match, I attended a Mick Foley book signing in suburban Chicago. When Foley signed my copy of Countdown to Lockdown, I should have told him that I really enjoyed watching this match. This match isn’t one of TNA’s greatest matches, but it should be one of TNA’s most important matches. TNA can say something that WWE can’t. TNA can say that Mick Foley and Ric Flair’s final great match happened in a TNA ring. I stopped watching wrestling from 2003 to 2007 so this match was the first great Foley match I watched on live TV since the Attitude Era. It was awesome to see one of my favorite wrestlers of all-time have one last great match. I was also very impressed by Flair’s performance. Flair doesn’t appreciate hardcore wrestling as much as technical wrestling, but he should be very proud of this match because that was an amazing performance by someone who was 61 years old. This match was special because Foley and Flair were able to perform at a high level way past their prime. To see Foley and Flair do this match in 2010 was amazing and they used weapons that will probably never be used during a match in TNA or WWE on free TV ever again. I was amazed that Foley and Flair were getting hit with barbed wire in a match that wasn’t on PPV. Wrestling Rambles writer Bryan Rose recently wrote a column called “Is TNA on its deathbed?” and wrote, “Bound for Glory is supposed to be TNA’s answer to Wrestlemania. Name me one match in the entire history of Bound for Glory that, just once, felt like an actual Wrestlemania match.” If this match happened at Bound for Glory instead of three days before it, Foley vs. Flair would have been that one match.

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