Almost twenty (20) years ago in the back of a bingo hall in Philadelphia (i.e., the ECW Arena), Mick Foley delivered a tirade of a promo that is now considered and has long stood as the most passionate, as well as haunting, of his professional wrestling career. Known amongst pro wrestling fans and experts as the “Cane Dewey” Promo, the rant features Foley — who at the time was competing in Extreme Championship Wrestling as Cactus Jack — addressing a fan who had written the words “Cane Dewey” on a sign, which was a seen by most as a sickening message pointed at Dewey Foley, Mick Foley’s then-three-year-old son.
Back in that time, Foley — as Cactus Jack — had been riding high as a villain in ECW. To Foley, the idea of Cactus Jack becoming a bad guy in THAT company, in front of THAT audience seemed impossible; given the hardcore style of Foley’s repertoire and ECW hardcore wrestling style. Foley said that he was able to get there by taking a combination of how his wife felt about that sign, as well as his personal frustrations toward the state of the wrestling business of the early 1990s and his place in it. Foley was frustrated with the feeling that ECW fans asked a bit too much from the wrestlers in his “Anti-Hardcore” promos (in terms of the physical risks) and from the ever-flowing influx of weak performers entering WWE. As a result, Foley was able to let that frustration come out in a positive way through this emotional and unforgettable interview segment.
The Transcript of Mick Foley’s “Cane Dewey” Promo:
“More than anyone else in that ECW dressing room, Tommy Dreamer, maybe more than anyone else in the wrestling industry you are willing to pay the price. To sweat, to bleed, to suffer. You’re willing to bear that cross. And I say Tommy, DON’T DO IT! Because in order to sacrifice and bear that cross for them… it means that I’ve got to suffer too. And I’m telling you from a voice of experience that they’re not worth it, Tommy. THEY’RE NOT WORTH IT! You see you got the choice – NOT ME! I made my bed of nails and now I got no other choice but to be powerbombed on it. But you see Tommy, the world is smiling at you. The wrestling business is smiling at you. AND DON’T YOU FROWN BACK ON IT!
I’m going to take you back to a very deciding point in my life – a time when I believed in something. A time when I thought that my face and my name made a difference. Do you remember the night, Tommy Dreamer, because it’s embedded in my skull, it’s embedded in my heart, and it’s embedded in every NIGHTMARE that I will ever have. As Terry Funk took a broken bottle and began slicing and dicing Cactus Jack, the pain was so much that I’ll be honest with you Tommy. The pain was so much that I wanted to say I quit, Terry Funk, I give, I wave the flag, and I’m a coward – please don’t cut me anymore.
Then I saw my saving grace. You see, Tommy, I looked out in that audience, my adoring crowd, and I saw two simple words that changed my life. ‘Cane Dewey.’ Somebody had taken the time and the effort and the thought to make a sign that said, ‘Cane Dewey’ and I saw other people around, as every moment in my life stopped and focused in on that sign and the pain that shot through my body became a distant memory- replaced by the pain that will be embedded in my skull ‘TIL MY DYING DAY! ‘Cane Dewey.’ ‘Cane Dewey.’ Dewey Foley is a three-year-old boy, YOU SICK SONS OF BITCHES!
You ripped out my heart, you took everything I believed in and you flushed it down the damn toilet. You flushed my heart, you flushed my soul, and now it sickens me to sit back and see other people making the same mistake. You see, Tommy Dreamer I’ve gotta to listen to my little boy say every day of my life ‘Daddy, I miss Atlanta,’ and I say, ‘That’s too bad son, because your dad traded in the victorian house for a sweatbox in Long Island. Your Dad traded in a hundred… thousand dollar contract, guaranteed money, insurance, respect and the name on the dotted line of the greatest man in the world – to work for a scumbag who operates out of a little pissant pawn shop in Philadelphia.’
You don’t expect me to be bitter? Tommy, when you open your heart, when you open your soul, AND IT GETS SHIT ON, it tends to make Jack a very mean boy. And so, I’m saying to you – before I take these aggressions out on you – to look at your future and realize that the hardcore life IS A LIE, that these letters behind me are a blatant lie, that those fans who sit there and say ‘He’s Hardcore He’s Hardcore He’s Hardcore’, wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire, you selfish son of a bitch!
But, I want you to understand Tommy though he’s hurt you time and time again, deep in his heart, Raven wants you to understand that the hatred I have in here is not for you. No, no – far removed. You see, Tommy, I’m not doing this because I hate you – I love you, man! I only want the best for you, but when I hear that WCW called up your number and you said, ‘No thank you’ – well, it makes my blood run cold. As cold as that night in the ECW arena.
And so I have got a moral obligation – you see Tommy, I’m on the path of the righteousness and righteous men wield a lot of power. So if I’ve got to drag you BY YOUR FACE to that telephone call and dial collect and say, ‘Hello Eric, it’s me, Cactus, and though I know I’ve burned my bridge, and I’ll never be taken back with open arms – I’ve got a wrestler who would glady trade in his ECW shirt for a pair of green suspenders.’ And Tommy, just think of that sound in your ear when Uncle Eric says, ‘Welcome home, Tommy Dreamer, welcome home.’ I love being right.”