Ric Flair once referred to Mick Foley as a "glorified stuntman" for his contributions to the pro wrestling industry throughout his illustrious career. Flair's argument, more or less, was that Foley didn't have enough talent to work proper, so he sold out his body and called it "hardcore wrestling," the inspiration for which spawned entire companies and a style of work that caused a great deal of kids to get injured and wrestlers to shorten their careers or end up addicted to painkillers. Or both.
Perhaps the most infamous example of Foley's insanity came on this date in WWF history (June 28, 1998) when Foley, working as his Mankind character, met up with Undertaker for the third ever Hell in a Cell match at the sixth annual King of the Ring event.
Instead of starting the match in the ring and working their way out of the cage, as Shawn Michaels had done with Undertaker in the first Cell match, Foley wanted to up the ante. So he (or Terry Funk, as he tells it) came up with the idea to start off by climbing the cage and beginning on top of it. This would also serve to set up a spot Foley had planned that would provide one of the most famous clips in pro wrestling history.
The two battled back and forth along the top of the cage. There was a bit of foreshadowing, though no one could know it at the time, when they walked over an area of the cage and it nearly collapsed underneath their weight. That should have been warning enough of how bad of an idea this was, but this is Mankind we're talking about here.
Eventually, they worked their way over to the edge of the Cell with Mankind teasing a fall. No one ever thought he would go through with it, though, nor did they think Undertaker would be willing to actually send him off, considering if they did it wrong and misjudged anything, it could result in death. But this was before Owen Hart's fall and the wrestling business was in a different place at the time.
So they did it. Suddenly and without warning, 'Taker grabbed Mankind and sent him flying off the cage onto the Spanish announce table some 16 feet below, which separated his shoulder. This prompted Jim Ross to deliver one of his many famous calls.
"Good god, almighty. Good god, almighty; that killed him. As god is my witness, he is broken in half!"
Ross and his partner Jerry Lawler immediately started calling for medical assistance from those in the back, struggling to toe the line between keeping kayfabe and getting help for a friend who had just taken one of the most insane bumps in the history of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
Unbelievably enough, it didn't end there.
A whole gang of personnel came out to check on Mankind, including Sgt. Slaughter, Vince McMahon, Terry Funk, and a medical team. They raised the cage with Undertaker still on top in order to get a stretcher out to ringside to get Mankind to the back. As they were wheeling him out, the cage came back down and "The Deadman" started to slowly climb down it, even slower than normal thanks to a broken foot he was dealing with coming into the match.
But then there was some commotion in the entrance way and by the time cameras cut back over to see what was going on, Mankind was back up. And not only was he back up, he was heading back to the ring to continue the match. And not only was he back up and heading back to the ring to continue the match (with a smile on his face, no less), he was heading back to climb the cage again.
Undertaker, still hovering on the side of the cage, climbed back up with him.
When they met, 'Taker delivered a few punches before setting Mankind up for a choke slam. When he picked him up and slammed him down, the top of the cage broke and Foley went crashing down to the hard mat, with a chair following right behind him that cracked him in the face when it hit.
Lawler on the call:
"That's it, he's dead."
Ross right behind him:
"Will somebody stop the damn match?! Enough's enough!"
Mankind was knocked out by the fall and the chair had dislodged one of his teeth, which ended up coming out through his nose as you can see in the above picture. Undertaker would later say he thought Foley may have been gone for good at this point and that he was extremely uncomfortable with continuing the match. He didn't show it, though, not while medical personnel rushed back into the ring to check on Foley, who was completely laid out and suffering badly at this point.
But still, it wasn't over.
Undertaker jumped down through the opening in the cage, an incredibly painful task considering his foot but nothing compared to what the man lying in a heap of flesh right next to him was going through, and the ring cleared out. Terry Funk stayed in so Undertaker could attack him and deliver a choke slam while Mankind recovered.
He managed to do so, too, standing up and taking a punch just minutes after suffering a concussion. The match would continue on for a few more minutes before Mankind went under the ring and found a bag full of thumbtacks. He brought them in the ring and poured them out on one side of it, leading to several big tease spots that either 'Taker or Mankind would take a back bump on them.
In the end, Mankind ended up jumping on Undertaker's back only to have "The Deadman" walk over to the thumbtacks and drop down. He missed the majority of them and it looked like Foley had been saved from having to absorb yet another painful spot.
But, again, we're talking about Mankind here.
After getting back up from this, Undertaker choke slammed Foley directly onto the big pile of thumbtacks. All that was left was a throat slash to signal the end and a tombstone piledriver to get the three count to mercifully bring to a close one of the most grueling matches in WWF history.
By the time all was said and done, the list of Foley's injuries was long and included but was not limited to: one and a half missing teeth, 14 stitches below his lip, a concussion, a dislocated jaw, a bruised kidney and a dislocated shoulder.
Witness all the destruction below.