Dominic Deucci also got a copy of the tape, and he offered Mick to train him. Foley made his debut on June 24, 1983 in the independent circuit under the name Cactus Jack Manson he defeated Kurt Kaufman. Mick wrestled in the independent circuit for some years without gaining much success, but one of Mick's wishes came through, when he started working for the WWF in 1986, where he wrestled shortly under the guise of Jack Foley, he only worked as a jobber, but he learned a lot from this experience.
After competing for Titan, Mick started working for the CWA. Where he joined Robert Fuller's Stud Stable in 1988. Together with Gary Young, Cactus defeated Bill Dundee and Todd Morton in a tournament final to win the CWA Tag Team Title on October 23rd, 1988. Fuller was mad because he didn't win the title, so the rest of his stable turned on Jack and Young, who lost their title to Robert Fuller and Jimmy Golden in November. Later that month they lost a loser leaves town match on November 20th.
Cactus then joined the World Class Championship Wrestling, where he was quite successful. In one of his first matches on December 30, 1988, Cactus defeated Eric Embry to capture the WCCW Light Heavyweight Title. But lost it back to Embry on January 4, 1989.
Cactus then joined the stable of Gen. Skandor Akbar, where he hooked up with Super Zodiac and they started to team on a regularly basis. They dethroned the WCCW Tag Team Champions, Jeff Jarrett and Kerry Von Erich on May 19, 1989. June 9, 1989, Jeff Jarrett and Mil Mascaras where able to defeat Jack and Zodiac.
Cactus then found a new tag team partner in the shape of Scott Braddock, and they defeated Jeff Jarrett and Matt Borne to win the WCCW Tag Team Title, on August 4, 1989. Even though they were only able to hold on to the title for a week, before being dethroned by the former champions Jeff Jarrett and Matt Borne, the title changed name to the USWA Tag Team Title. After the defeat Jack moved on to the NWA.
Jack's stint in the NWA isn't one of the easiest to remember, like his jobber stint in the WWF, Jack didn't have much success. Again the promoters couldn't see the qualities that Jack had, so he was jobbed to death. Jack did have an feud with Norman, which also included the Road Warriors, but that is the best you can say about that.
Cactus then went back to the independents, where he was respected. He first started working for the UWF, where he appeared on the UWF's only pay-per-view Beach Brawl, where the team of Sunny Beach and Steve Ray defeated Jack and Bob Orton. Cactus then joined the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance, where things started to heat up.
In Tri-State Jack started a violent feud with the late Eddie Gilbert. This feud got Jack a "cult" following who would follow Jack because of his repertoire of high risk moves. The feud with Eddie Gilbert have been by many called the feud of 1991 and involved a lot of gimmick matches. One of the feuds highlights was when Jack and Gilbert fought each other three times on the same card, Summer Sizzler II, August 3, 1991. In the first match Jack defeated Gilbert in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. Jack lost the following Stretcher Match. The Final Steel Cage Match ended in a double disqualification.
When Tri-State couldn't handle the money, Jack moved on to Global Wrestling Federation. There he was inducted into the heel group of the Boss, which included Rip Rogers, Muckan Singh, and Scotty Anthony. Jack worked hard in the GWF but was never rewarded with a title regain.
Jack's hard work got WCW interested, and they signed Cactus.
In WCW Jack debuted as a gift to Sting at Clash of the Champions XVI on September 5, 1991. Sting had just defeated Johnny B. Badd, when Cactus showed his "ugly" face, but the Stinger was ready for Cactus, because he previously had a similar incident with Abdullah the Butcher. Jack teamed with Abdullah the Butcher, Vader, and the Diamond Studd to take on Sting, El Gigante, and the Steiner Brothers in the Chamber of Horrors Match (steel cage with an electric chair in the middle), at Halloween Havoc 1991, but came out on the loosing end. When he accidently hit the electric chair switch with Abdullah in it.
Jack had a feud with Van Hammer, before he took on his partner Abdullah the Butcher. After these feuds Jack got a shot at the WCW World Champion, Sting. The two put on an excellent match at Beach Blast 1992. There, Cactus came out with the short end of the stick. But Jack was still one of the top contenders, and got another chance when Ron Simmons won the WCW World Title. But Jack wasn't able to walk away with the title.
A short feud with Johnny B. Badd followed, which started at Starrcade 1992 in the Lethal Lottery. Jack and Badd became partners, but Jack used most of his time attacking Badd. Then came a turning point in Jack's career, for the first time in many years, Jack was turned face. The reason for the turn was because Paul Orndorff attacked Jack during an interview.
Jack defeated Orndorff at SuperBrawl III, in a Falls Count Anywhere Match, which ended the feud. Jack was then named the number one contender for Vader's WCW World Title. They had their first clash at April 6, 1993. Jack defeated Vader by count out, but Jack suffered a broken nose and needed 27 stitches to close several facial wounds. This was the set-up for a rematch 15 days later.
On April 21, 1993, at a WCW Saturday Night taping, Jack and Vader went toe to toe. During the match Vader wanted to power bomb Jack outside the ring. Harley Race, Vader's manager, removed the protective padding off the floor. Vader powerbombed Jack onto the floor. Cactus Jack was seriously injured and nearly paralysed. Cactus then disappeared for a while. A series of interviews began, which involved the search for Cactus. They found him living with homeless people. He had no recollection of wrestling or his family. But Cactus returned to wrestling, when he saved the British Bulldog from an assault by Vader.
Vader defeated Jack at Clash of the Champions XXIV, with a helping hand from Race, but got a rematch when he defeated Yoshi Kwan at Fall Brawl 1993. These events led to the infamous Texas Death Match at Halloween Havoc. Vader and Harley Race knew that Cactus Jack wasn't an easy man to beat, so Race brought an electric prodder to the ring. It was a brutal match, which lived up to ECW standards using chairs and tables. Both men were bleeding all over the place. In the end Race used the prodder on Cactus Jack and this gave Vader the victory, because Cactus Jack wasn't able to respond to the 10 count. Rumors say that because of the brutality of the match, WCW didn't want Vader and Jack to clash at another pay-per-view.
Jack then decided that since WCW wouldn't give him another shot at the WCW World Title, he would focus on the Tag Team Title instead. But Jack knew that finding a partner, which had the right stuff, wasn't the easiest thing to do. Eventually Jack found his partner in Maxx Payne.
The team of Jack and Payne quickly showed that they could match any other team in WCW and quickly got a shot at the WCW Tag Team Champions, the Nasty Boys. Unfortunately the Nasty Boys had Missy Hyatt as their manager, and twice she saved the Nasty Boys from losing. At Spring Stampede 1994, the Nasty Boys won the Chicago Street Fight and injured Payne. Jack and Payne were awarded a rematch at Slamboree, but Payne wasn't able to make it. So Jack had to find a new partner, which turned out to be Kevin Sullivan.
On March 16, 1994, WCW was touring Germany. Cactus had a match against Vader in Munich. During the match Jack's head was caught in the ropes. While he was trying to free himself, his ear got torn off. Jack then had to make a decision, reattach the ear or go back to the States for his title shot at Slamboree. Jack chose the latter, and that is why Jack only have 1/3 of his right ear.
Jack and Sullivan won the WCW Tag Team Title at Slamboree. They were able to hold on to the title in a rematch against the Nasty Boys. But then disaster struck, at Bash at the Beach, Pretty Wonderful (Paul Orndorff and Paul Roma) won the title. After the match Sullivan blamed Jack for the loss and attacked him. This incident lead to their Loser Leaves WCW Match at Fall Brawl 1994, which Jack lost.
ECW and Japan
Since Jack now was out of WCW, he decided that he would spend his time wrestling in ECW and Japan, where he would concentrate on insane matches. In ECW and IWA, and later FMW, he found his home. Jack's first feud in ECW was with a man, who's just as insane as Jack, Sabu. The two had some excellent matches. Jack also worked some matches for Smoky Mountain Wrestling, but nothing interesting happened there.
Next in line was Terry Funk. This feud was short, because at Hardcore Heaven '94, the Public Enemy attacked both men. Funk then called for a chair, and the audience threw one chair after another to ring, and Public Enemy was buried under the chairs. Jack and Funk then decided to team up and take on PE two weeks later, but Funk's plane ticket failed to arrive and he quit the promotion. Jack then hooked up with Mikey Whipwreck. They relieved the Public Enemy for the ECW Tag Team Title.
Jack and Whipwreck were able to hold onto the title until November to Remember 1994, when Public Enemy regained the title. Kevin Sullivan then joined the ECW and Jack teamed with him until it erupted into a wild feud. This time Jack got the last laugh, as it was Sullivan who left ECW.
Jack then started 1995 by going to Japan to IWA, where he clashed with Terry Funk in one of many clashes of no rope barbed wire matches.
In ECW, Jack went after the Sandman, but the Sandman retaliated at the show called: Return of the Funker. Jack had just defeated D.C. Drake, when Sandman and the returning Terry Funk attacked and brutalised Jack, who got 56 consecutive cane shots, before Jack's ally Shane Douglas came to the rescue.
Jack pinned Funk at Hostile City Showdown 1995, and then went after the Sandman, whom Jack defeated in a no rope barbed wire match for the ECW World Title only to have then referee Bill Alfonso reverse the decision.
In Japan Jack's left arm was cut open by Leatherface, who used a chain saw to do the dirty job.
While working for ECW and in Japan, Jack also worked in the independent scene. Here he was very successful. He won the Ozark Moutain Wrestling Title and the Steel City Wrestling Title, respectively from Colorado Kid an T. Rantula.
August 20, 1995, IWA did the unbelievable, they staged a one night tournament to determine the undisputed King of Death Matches. In the first round of the tournament Jack clashed with Terry Gordy in a barbed wire baseball bat, thumb tack death match. The match showed that Jack is willing to do anything with his body, during the match Gordy stomped on Jack's head, which laid in the thumb tacks, but Jack won the match after a Double Arm DDT in the thumb tacks.
In the semi-final round waited Shoji Nakamaki, and the two clashed in a barbed wire board, bed of nails death match. This match was sickening, Jack decked Nakamaki with a bed of nails and the elbow dropped the bed, but Jack also got the taste of the bed in the match, but eventually Jack won, when he used the Double Arm DDT onto a board with barb wire.
The final was a no rope barbed wire, explosive barbed wire board, time bomb death match. Jack went up against his old nemesis Terry Funk. This match was brutal with the two bleeding all over the place, Tiger Jeet Singh interfered in the match, which helped Jack to the victory. Funk suffered third-degree burns. Jack got the victory after an elbow drop from the top of a ladder.
Jack had more success in IWA, as he together with Tracy Smothers dethroned the Head Hunters to win the IWA Tag Team Title, September 29, 1995. Tarzan Goto and Mr. Gannosuke relieved them of the title, October 1, 1995.
In ECW Jack team with Tommy Dreamer, but the team didn't last long because Jack turned on Tommy Dreamer during a tag match against the Pitbulls. He became the first man to defeat 911 on August 28. Jack then decided that the hard-core style of wrestling wasn't him. He started to use a more restrained style of wrestling, because the fans didn't show him the respect he deserved by putting his body on the line. Jack then hooked up with the philosophising Raven. But Dreamer wanted to bring back the violence and he knew that the only one who could do it was Terry Funk. But their first match was a disaster. Jack almost burned the arena to the ground, when he set a chair on fire.
Raven and Jack lost a tag team match to Funk and Dreamer at November to Remember '95, which witnessed a shopping trolley as a foreign object. Mikey Whipwreck defeated Too Cold Scorpio for the TV Title, December 29, 1995, where also the Tag Team Title was on the line. Jack then announced that he was Mikey's partner, but it didn't work. On February 3, 1996, The Eliminators won the title.
In Japan, Jack joined FMW, after IWA went bankrupt. FMW continued the antics from IWA, wild brawling featuring barb wire, bombs, glass and everything else in the book. Jack had many great matches with W*ing Kanemura.
Jack then signed a contract with the WWF. He started praising the WWF on TV, this lead to a short feud with his former ally Shane Douglas, who despises the WWF. The feud ended with a match, where Jack (in his street clothes) was handcuffed and put in the figure-four leglock. But Jack wouldn't quit. Suddenly Whipwreck came to the ring and smashed Jack with a chair, Jack was out and lost the match.
Cactus wrestled his last match in ECW in April 1996 against Mikey Whipwreck. Jack won the match and did the fargo strut with Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie. Cactus then cut an interview, where he declared Cactus Jack dead. Almost the same thing happened in FMW, but it was some months later in May, under the guise of Cactus Jack, Mick defeated Wing Kanemura in a barbed wire barricade spider net, broken glass death match, and then declared Cactus Jack dead.