Hey. For those who wonder who I am, I'm the same idiot that recapped (recrapped?) WCW shows on a wonderful website called DDT Digest. Since then, I haven't really done much recrapping due to general apathy thanks to the wCw Invasion. (Remember that?)
A few months back, I asked Guru Zim if I could contribute an article here and there and amazingly he agreed. The only problem was I wasn't sure what I wanted to contribute. Since I've actually had people bug me to write something for once, I decided to come out of hiding. To get back into the groove, I'm going to start with something small and get a gauge on how well my work is received.
That “something small” is a not-so-historic match that was a humble beginning for a legend in the business — eighteen years ago to this day, The British Bulldogs faced fearsome opponents Les Thornton and a rather skinny “Jack” Foley, a. k. a. Mick Foley, in a tough, tough match for the WWF Superstars show in front of 18,000 fans in Providence, RI. (This is off Mick’s DVD for the six people who don’t have it yet.)
As Mick explains, this is his second-ever professional match, as there is no known copy of his first outing. Unfortunately, Pat Patterson would not give Mick permission to use the “Cactus Jack” persona, but Mick relieves us by informing us that he made some suggestions to the Bulldogs and they would be put to use. E-yeah. Anyway, Mick also points out some spoilers to the match, which I’ll reveal as we get to them. Anyway, let’s set the DeLorean to September 13, 1986…
Les Thornton (228 lbs) and Jack Foley (242 lbs) vs. WWF World Tag Team Champions The British Bulldogs (469 lbs combined) with Captain Lou Albano
The team not named after canines is already in the ring. “Jack” Foley, wearing what appears to be an animal skin, is announced to a round of boos. Thornton doesn’t get much better treatment. The Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) get music and Lou Albano to lead them to the ring.
The bell sounds, and we get Davey Boy Smith and Thornton to start the contest. Thornton gets control on Smith with an armbar. Smith uses some gymnastics to flip out into his own armbar, but Thornton kicks Smith away. Thornton sends Smith down with a couple of forearms and goes for the cover. Smith bridges out of the pin at two and monkey-flips Thornton into an attempted bridge, but both men see-saw out of position. Davey Boy Smith was the power wrestler of his team, but never let it be said that he was no slouch in the agility department also. Thornton throws some rights in the corner as we get Jimmy Hart cutting a promo in one of those promo boxes the WWF would insert during enhancement matches like this one. Smith gets sent to the other corner, but crawls under Thornton and tries a victory roll, with Thornton blowing his end of the move — watch him lift his legs up for Smith to grab when the latter loses his grip. This gets two. Both teams tag out, and we get Foley vs. Dynamite Kid. Kid gets a quick suplex and then administers a butterfly suplex on Foley. Welcome to the WWF! Kid then pours on the hurt with a backbreaker and a snapmere, followed by a falling headbutt, a move that influenced a certain Canadian.
Kid tags out to Smith, who gives Foley a walking powerslam, a move that would eventually become Davey Boy’s finisher later in his career. Smith gets in a vertical suplex and covers for two. Smith brings Foley to a vertical base into a front headlock, at which point our future Hardcore Legend gets his first bit of offense — some punches to the gut. Foley goes to the eyes and sends Smith to the ropes, only to eat an elbow. Smith then gives a headbutt to Foley. Up until this point, the tag champs stuck to mat-wrestling and power-offense; they did not resort to any brawling or high-impact moves until Foley raked the eyes. It’s an interesting non-tidbit to point out considering that the tag champs were softening their victim up for what was to come.
Kid tags in, and this is where it all goes to hell for poor Mick. Foley gets sent to the ropes and eats a vicious clothesline to the chin. Foley mentioned during the preview to this match that said clothesline torn a ligament in his jaw, and it took a month for him to be able to eat solid food again. Maybe that’ll teach the Mickster to leap off sixteen foot cages… or maybe not. Anyhow, Les Thornton (remember him?) motions for Mick to tag him, but it ain’t happening kids, as Kid drags his prey to the Bulldog corner and tags in Smith. Smith ducks a punch from Foley, grabs him from behind and places him on the turnbuckle. Smith tags in his partner, and The Dynamite Kid delivers a super backdrop suplex that is enough for the three-count at 3:42. For those who care about this sort of thing, Albano did nothing of note outside of his usual rambling.
Anyway it was a rough night for Mick, who took the first of many, MANY beatings over the course of his career. He got virtually no offense and looked like a complete jobber, whereas Thornton was at least made to look competent against Davey Boy Smith before tagging out. Maybe if Thornton stayed in, the “enhancement talent” would have lasted longer. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
The match itself was your typical star vs. scrub match, although I liked how the Bulldogs kept resorting to suplexes and slams to injure Foley’s back enough to setup for the big move — the backdrop suplex off the top turnbuckle. Most matches nowadays have the finishers come out of nowhere after various punch-and-kickery. (see: TNA Xplosion) It’s refreshing to see wrestlers not only stick to the basics, but actually tell a story within the time allotted. That’s all I ask for.
So… where are they now?
Mick Foley got beat up many, MANY more times, but eventually got to the point where HE did the asskicking, and actually won a few world titles out of the deal. He retired, became a best-selling author, blah blah blah, you know the story.
I’m not sure what Les Thornton did after this, but this Google search will give you information on Mr. Thornton and his career. If anyone knows what he did after 1986, feel free to chime in.
Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid held onto the titles for the remainder of the year, until in January when they lost the titles against the Hart Foundation. (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) Dynamite was unfit to wrestle due to an injured back, so Davey Boy was forced to go it alone. It also didn’t help matters that the crooked referee Danny Davis was also against the Bulldogs. Dynamite soon retired, leaving Davey Boy to try out a singles career, winning the Intercontinental, European and Hardcore titles. He was released from the WWF in late 2000 and unfortunately passed away while on vacation in 2002. RIP, Davey Boy Smith.
I’ll admit this isn’t the best report I’ve put out, but what can you expect from a guy who was retired? Please send feedback via replies if possible, and hopefully I can use it to hone my style. Thanks for reading!