When WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley joined the company in 1996, the wrestling world knew him as Cactus Jack, a name that had brought him fame in other promotions like WCW and ECW. However, Vince McMahon, WWE's enigmatic chairman at the time, was not entirely sold on the Cactus Jack persona.
In a revealing interview on the popular web series, Foley disclosed the genesis of his legendary character Mankind, including an alternative name pitch from Vince McMahon that could have drastically altered his wrestling legacy.
Jim Ross, who was overseeing WWE's Talent Relations back then, found himself in the difficult position of persuading McMahon to bring Foley into the fold. McMahon acquiesced, but he had a caveat: he wanted Foley to don a mask, signaling the birth of a sinister heel known as Mankind.
The character became iconic, not just for his eerie brown mask, but also for his unforgettable finishing move, the Mandible Claw, where he would paralyze his opponents by pressing his fingers against their tongues.
Mason to Mankind
During the Crazy Ones interview, Foley took fans behind the curtain, detailing McMahon's original pitch for the character's name: "Mason The Mutilator." Foley recounted his first reactions, stating, “When McMahon said, 'We’ve had crushers, destroyers, and executioners, but never a mutilator,' I knew that was the turning point”.
Foley wisely suggested a small but impactful tweak. "I told him, 'I love the concept, but what if we switch Mason to Mankind?'" he revealed. Foley opined that the name "Mankind" held a dual significance that went beyond the ring.
The name change was a pivotal moment, marking the transformation from Mason The Mutilator to just Mankind—a character who would go on to become one of WWE's most complex and memorable figures. In hindsight, Foley credits McMahon's initial suggestion for causing him to reconsider his character's identity, eventually leading to the streamlined and impactful moniker, Mankind.
The collaboration between the two wrestling minds shows how sometimes the best creations emerge from the synergy of different perspectives.
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