June 28, 1998, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
When Mick Foley met the Undertaker at the 1998 King of the Ring co-main event, fans were prepared to witness a cage match between two of the toughest performers in all of wrestling. Foley, in particular, was known for taking great risks in his matches and being willing to endure great pain as a show of his toughness for the fans. Prior to the match, Foley was discussing ideas with Terry Funk, wanting to make the match as memorable as possible. Funk jokingly suggested that Foley let the Undertaker throw him off of the top of the cage. In his book Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, Foley remembered that “Yeah, I shot back, then I could climb back up – and he could throw me off again. Man, that was a good one, and we were having a good time thinking completely ludicrous things to do inside, outside, and on top of the cage. After a while I got serious and said quietly to Terry, I think I can do it.”
Foley walked down the aisle first in his Mankind persona and instead of entering the cage, he climbed on top of it. The Undertaker followed suit and the two began brawling more than 16 feet above the ground. After a series of blows, the Undertaker grabbed Foley from behind and tossed him off of the top of the cage. Foley soared through the air in front of a stunned crowd before crashing through a ringside broadcast table. Play-by-Play announcer Jim Ross screamed “Good God almighty! Good God almighty! That killed him!… As God as my witness, he is broken in half!” Foley was attended to by medical staff and was eventually wheeled up the ramp on a stretcher amidst an eerie silence from the crowd. After cutting back from replays, the crowd saw Mankind climb off of the gurney and push his way back to the cage, where he climbed back up to meet the waiting Undertaker. The two began battling again and the Undertaker gained control and picked Foley up to slam him atop the cage. Part of the cage, however, was weakened and Foley went flying through it, slamming onto the ring canvas. Foley was knocked unconscious and WWF personnel flooded the ring. When he recovered enough to signal that he was prepared to continue, the two continued their brawl with Foley being slammed onto hundreds of thumbtacks before being pinned.
After the match, Foley was found to have suffered numerous serious injuries, including a bruised kidney, a dislocated shoulder, a laceration of his lip, a dislocated jaw, a severe concussion and two teeth knocked out, one of which could be seen protruding from his nostril. While fans raved about the brutality and incredible risks in the match, it ushered in a brief period where wrestlers with limited skills sought to gain popularity by risking death in undertaking falls from great heights to gain acclaim from the fans. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter later wrote that the match “was a terrible thing because of all the stunt bumps it encouraged and how guys got into the business thinking they could get over by doing that stuff rather than wrestling.“