I’m not really sure why it took the WWE this long to release a Mick Foley documentary feature. With his Hall of Fame induction occurring this past month, now seems like a great time to finally get one. Foley’s story is pretty well known to most WWE fans due to his autobiographies and his longevity in the business, but it’s nice to get the complete story in one place with comments from those who supported his career as well.
The Blu-ray runs 8 hours, 30 minutes total. The documentary runs 2 hours, 14 minutes, the bonus matches run for approximately 4 hours, and there are 2 hours and 20 minutes of Blu-ray exclusive features. The DVD and Blu-Ray are both rated TV-14.
“This is Your Life”: The Main Feature
As mentioned in the intro, there was a major roadblock in the way of the success of this documentary feature. Many wrestling fans have read Foley’s autobiographies, or have at least heard a lot of the stories told therein. The challenge for the WWE was making this documentary feel fresh while telling the stories most important to Foley’s career, even if we have heard a lot of them before. Now, I will admit I haven’t read Foley’s first two books in about ten years. After watching through the documentary, I didn’t feel like everything was totally rehashed, though. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised with the feature. Foley’s had a much longer, more storied career than it initially seems, and there are countless stories he has from his years in WCW, ECW, and WWE. Overall, WWE did a nice job picking out all of the main highlights, without staying too long on one particular subject. I’m sure you can all guess which stories and career highlights are going to be included. There aren’t any major surprises throughout the doc, but this isn’t really a problem for me.
One of my biggest concerns going into the documentary was actually the length. The last doc that ran well over 2 hours (Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line…) I found to be a little padded, and could have used more editing. Much to my surprise, I never found myself bored throughout this feature. As I said, Foley’s had not only a long career, but a career with a lot of twists and turns. I was concerned there would be too heavy a focus on some of Mick’s non-wrestling endeavours, but I think excellent work is done in giving these aspects of Foley’s life a nice retrospective without ever getting excessive. As a viewer, you get a good sense of what separates Foley from other WWE superstars, and I think that is about the most you can ask from any of these documentaries.
The best way that this doc was going to separate itself from Mick’s autobiographies was the inclusion of interviews from other talent. As usual, the WWE did a great job selecting the wrestlers to be interviewed for this feature. It’s still hard for me to believe that the WWE even bothered to reach out to Shane Douglas. I think this is pretty clear proof that they are willing to interview the best talent without giving the “WWE whitewashing” to the documentaries. After the past year or so, I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is becoming a regular trend, and there isn’t much more to say about it here.
Throughout the film, Foley and his friends mention on many occasions how great of a storyteller Mick has always been, whether in wrestling or in other aspects of his life. This is well reflected throughout the many stories Foley tells here. Even if you think you know Mick’s story in and out, I don’t think you will be disappointed at all in the documentary.
“Bang Bang”: The Matches
Jack Foley & Les Thornton Vs. The British Bulldogs (WWE Superstars, 9/86) – N/A
A squash match. The alternate commentary from Foley & Styles make this a nice watch, though.
Cactus Jack & Gary Young Vs. Scott Steiner & Billy Travis (AWA All Star Wrestling, 10/88) – 3/4 *
It’s interesting to see a young Foley wrestling a young Scott Steiner in this match. Overall, though, these two were very early in their careers, and Young & Travis aren’t anything special, so this match drags on a bit.
Cactus Jack Manson Vs. Brickhouse Brown (Wild West Wrestling, 4/89) – **
For a quick 10 minute opener, this was actually a pretty fun match. Nothing particularly great, but still a fun inclusion.
Cactus Jack Vs. Keith Hart (WCW Power Hour, 3/90) – N/A
Foley claimed this match was included “to show he could dish out a beating, since he usually took one”. Another squash match, but a nice showcase for some of Foley’s offence.
Submit or Surrender Match: Cactus Jack Vs. Sting (WCW Power Hour, 11/91) – ** 3/4
This match isn’t on the level of their match from Beach Blast 1992, but it still is a good match. It does feel like they throw everything they can think of into the match, but at times that can make it feel like it is just a collection of moves.
Falls Count Anywhere Match: Cactus Jack Vs. Van Hammer (Clash of the Champions XVIII, 1/21/92) – *
This match is kind of a mess, and I went in with pretty low expectations. The start of the match isn’t bad, but the ending is really silly.
Barbed Wire Match: Cactus Jack Vs. The Sandman (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 5/95) – ** 1/2
It’s hard to review a match like this. For the “ultraviolent” style, it’s a pretty average match. It comes together pretty well, but isn’t much more than that.
Cactus Jack Vs. Shane Douglas (ECW CyberSlam, 2/96) – *** 1/2
The storytelling in this match is excellent. This is a great way to do the “brawl around the outside of the ring” type of match.
Mankind Vs. Rocky Maivia (In Your House: Cold Day in Hell, 5/11/97) – **
This match takes place very early into Rocky’s career, and you can’t really tell, which is impressive. Overall, though, the match never goes out of “2nd gear” before ending. I also found it strange just how little offense Foley gets in (although this was a common problem during his career).
Mankind Vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (In Your House: Canadian Stampede, 7/6/97) – ** 3/4
For the most part, I really enjoyed this match. They were putting together a nice stretch of story, but the ending didn’t totally work for a DVD. For continuing a feud, though, I can understand it.
Dude Love Vs. Rocky Maivia (Raw, 11/17/97) – * 3/4
An average TV match. It serves to continue storylines more than anything else.
Hell in a Cell Match: Mankind Vs. The Undertaker (King of the Ring, 6/28/98) – ** 3/4
I think everyone already knows about this match…. The new commentary from Foley & Styles makes this a must-watch extra, though.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Mankind & Kane Vs. The New Age Outlaws (Raw, 7/13/98) – **
A decent match. Nothing too memorable, but a nice title change to see here.
WWE Championship Match: Mankind Vs. The Rock (In Your House: Rock Bottom, 12/13/98) – ** 3/4
This match ultimately served to continue a storyline more than be a PPV blowoff match, but in that role, I thought it worked very well. I will admit, though, that if you don’t know much about late-1998 WWE, you may be a bit confused by the storyline.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Mankind & The Rock Vs. Triple H & Shane McMahon (SmackDown, 9/2/99) – **
Another average tag team title match. Nothing much to write about.
Mankind Vs. Al Snow (SmackDown, 12/16/99) – N/A
I decided not to rate this match since I find the “brawl around the ring and backstage area” matches so difficult to distinguish. This is fun to watch, though, and a nice inclusion given the interesting history between Foley & Al Snow.
Hell in a Cell Retirement Match: Cactus Jack Vs. Triple H (No Way Out, 2/27/00) – ****
This match shows how to do a “hardcore” style match while still putting together a great story. A classic match.
Blu-Ray Exclusive Extras
The Blu-ray extras on this release really set it apart from other releases. To start off with, we get 5 promos, each of which are pretty great. The 2004 “Barbie” promo was a promo I had completely forgotten about, but I’m glad I was reminded about it. Outside of the legendary ECW promos, it might be Mick’s best promo ever. After this, we get a bunch of bonus stories that were not included in the main documentary. One of the coolest is a film Mick made in college about Dominic DeNucci’s wrestling school. A few of these extras felt like they should have been included in the main doc, including his “anti-hardcore” ECW gimmick and his time as a commentator. If you get the Blu-Ray, make sure you do not sleep on these extras. I’m not gonna spoil anything more here, but they are definitely worth watching.
“Have a Nice Day”: Closing Thoughts
Out of any DVD or Blu-ray that I’ve reviewed for the site so far, this is probably the hardest to give an overall review to. The documentary is great, and if you are a fan of the doc features on WWE DVD’s, then I would say that is worth the price alone. However, be aware that if you have read Foley’s books, there isn’t much that is particularly revolutionary here. It is nice to hear from wrestlers other than Foley, but you still will already know most of the stories. Believe it or not, I actually would have liked the doc to be a little bit longer. I felt like a few things were left out, and I rarely feel that way about the WWE’s doc features. I would put this doc on about the same level as the Stone Cold doc released a little over a year ago.
The bonus matches, on the other hand, are nothing to write home about. If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know that I’m totally fine with match compilations where the in-ring action isn’t amazing, as long as they are still entertaining. I enjoyed all of the matches from early in Foley’s career, even if they weren’t classics. The only change I may have made would be to include a Vader match, since Vader got so much time in the documentary. However, I was pretty let down with the matches selected from Mick’s WWE run. Of the 9 matches included, THREE are singles matches against The Rock, two are singles matches against Triple H, and one is a tag team match featuring The Rock and Triple H. That’s 2/3 of the matches. This felt really imbalanced. After thinking it over, what I actually would have preferred is only one disc worth of bonus matches, and a disc of bonus promos. Foley was really great on the mic, and this should have been better represented on the set better. For example, in the documentary, Mick talks about how his favorite time in WWE was his run as commissioner. However, there are no segments with him as commissioner as bonus content, which was a big disappointment. I also wish we could have gotten Foley & Styles commentary on every match, but I know that is a bit more of a pipe dream.
If you are a Blu-ray collector, then this set is an easier recommendation. The Blu-ray extras are fantastic, and I think that if you only collect DVD’s, you are missing out on some of the best stuff on this set. I’ve only been collecting Blu-ray’s for a few months, and this is the first time I felt that the Blu-ray extras were essential viewing. Again, if you are a fan of WWE’s documentary sets, pick this up for the doc and the Blu-ray extras. Just don’t go in expecting to be blown away by the match quality. I am all for rare matches being included on WWE DVD releases, however, I would have preferred either less matches overall, more variety, or a few more classics, even if they took place on a PPV.