It’s Mick Foley’s birthday Saturday (June 7), and the retired WWE superstar has the distinction of not having just one wrestling persona, but three. The three faces of Foley all found their way into the hearts of WWE fans over the years, because it’s hard not to love Foley.
To celebrate Foley’s turning 49 years old, take a little trip back in time to revisit each of Foley’s WWE debuts below.
It all started on April 1, 1996, when Foley made his first in-ring appearance as Mankind in a match against Bob “Spark Plug” Holly. The match went a long way to show exactly how deranged the Mankind character could be, right down to ripping out his own hair.
It didn’t take long for another of Mick’s personas to creep it’s way onto TV. This time it was Dude Love, a self-proclaimed cool cat, who showed up to be “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s tag team partner on July 15, 1997. Dude Love was based on a character Foley created in college, though the WWE version included a lot more tie-dye.
Dude Love wasn’t long for the world, though. Eventually the last, and most terrifying, face of Foley would rear its ugly head. Cactus Jack, the persona Foley wrestled as in hardcore matches all around the world, made his WWE debut against Triple H on Sept. 22, 1997.
While Jack’s debut was certainly memorable, the character had a second run in WWE that was perhaps even more powerful. It was, again, Triple H who made all the difference in the return. While it would be easy to laugh off yet another persona of someone you’ve beaten, Triple H’s shocked and horrified reaction to Jack’s return is what made the entire thing so special.
Now a WWE Hall of Famer, in addition to being a best-selling author, it’s guaranteed Mick’s contributions will be remembered in professional wrestling forever. Mrs. Foley’s baby boy made good, and couldn’t have done it any better.