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Tale of the Tape: Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley

At SummerSlam, Mick Foley and Ric Flair, two of WWE’s most decorated legends, will square off in a match that will ultimately end when one of them screams “I quit!” Since defeating the Hardcore Legend by disqualification in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match at Vengeance, Flair has obsessively petitioned Foley for a rematch. Foley continued to refuse until the “Nature Boy” cited a passage from Foley’s book, Foley Is Good, in which Foley claimed that his favorite match of all-time was Flair’s “I Quit” Match against Terry Funk in 1989. The opportunity to force Flair to quit was too juicy for Foley to pass up, much to the delight of the “Nature Boy” who screamed, “May one of us bleed to death in Boston!” If Flair manages to make Foley say “I quit,” it will be a rare SummerSlam defeat for the Hardcore Legend.

Mick Foley has appeared at four SummerSlams, emerging victorious in three of those appearances, several of which involved extreme circumstances. Appearing as Mankind, he faced some of WWE’s biggest names and fought in one main event.

In 1996, Mankind appeared in his first SummerSlam in a Boiler Room Brawl. While placing a man known as the Hardcore Legend in a Boiler Room Brawl may appear to be unfairly tilted in his favor, no one could claim that any man has the advantage against his opponent that evening, Undertaker. In order to win, the competitors not only had to escape the boiler room, but also had to get to the ring and retrieve an urn from the waiting Paul Bearer. Despite being beaten to the ring, Mankind was able to apply the Mandible Claw and grab the urn after Paul Bearer turned on the Deadman.

The next year, Mankind was once again in his hardcore element, this time in a Steel Cage Match against then up-and-coming Superstar Triple H. After hitting an elbow from atop the steel structure, Mankind took the long way out by climbing up and over the top of the cage for the win.

In 1998, Foley suffered his lone SummerSlam defeat, although it came as the result of a disappearing act by the enigmatic Big Red Monster, Kane. At the time, Kane and Mankind formed one of the unlikeliest duos ever to hold the World Tag Team Championship. However, before they were set to defend their gold against the New Age Outlaws, Kane vanished from Madison Square Garden without a trace. As the old saying goes, “The show must go on,” and so Mankind was left to defend the championship alone against The New Age Outlaws in a Handicap, No-Disqualification, Falls Count Anywhere Match. After Mankind was beaten by a piledriver onto one of the Tag Team Championships, Kane reappeared out of a dumpster and added injury to insult by pummeling Mankind with a sledgehammer.

The next year, Mankind returned for his final SummerSlam, having ascended to the height of his popularity among WWE fans and readers everywhere who had helped make his book, Have A Nice Day, a New York Times Best-Seller. In a star-studded main event of future Hall of Famers, Mankind faced the unenviable challenge of stepping into the ring with Triple H and WWE Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. With special guest referee Jesse “The Body” Ventura officiating in his hometown of Minneapolis, Mankind pulled off the unlikeliest of victories, pinning Austin with a Double-Arm DDT in the center of the ring after the Rattlesnake had somehow survived a Pedigree from The Game. With the victory, Mankind became WWE Champion for the final time.

Although he is a 16-time World Champion, Ric Flair’s SummerSlam resume is not nearly as impressive as Foley’s. He only has one fewer SummerSlam appearance, but the “Nature Boy” has acted in a mostly complimentary role at the annual pay-per-view event.

Only once, in his first SummerSlam in 2002, did Flair participate in a match as a one-on-one contestant when he faced Chris Jericho. Jericho was able to apply the Figure-Four Leg Lock on Flair, who appeared to tap out. However, the referee deemed that the match was not over yet, and the wily veteran Flair took advantage. A low blow enabled him to lock Jericho into a Figure-Four of his own, giving the “Nature Boy” the victory by submission.

The next year, Flair appeared at ringside when fellow Evolution members Randy Orton and World Heavyweight Champion Triple H grappled against Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels in one of the most dangerous matches in WWE history: The Elimination Chamber. After Goldberg had eliminated Michaels and Jericho, he had his sights set on the injured Triple H. However, Flair was able to help his Evolution teammate by passing him a sledgehammer, which The Game successfully used to help him win the match and retain his championship.

In 2004, Flair made a similar appearance, accompanying Triple H to the ring for his match against Eugene. Flair was once again able to help Triple H win his match, although this time around he did so accidentally. Flair was on the receiving end of a brass knuckle punch from William Regal, which distracted Eugene just enough for The Game to deliver a Pedigree for the pinfall.

Flair’s SummerSlam history may not be as decorated as Foley’s, but in his three appearances the "Nature Boy" has shown that he has the cunning to deliver the results he wants. Foley, on the other hand, has a proven track record, having beaten some of the all-time icons in WWE history at the Biggest Party of the Summer. He will be hoping to add Ric Flair to that list on August 20. Will he continue to have SummerSlam success, or will Flair be able to strangle the words “I Quit” out of the Hardcore legend?

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