Classic Induction: Cactus Jack, Lost in Cleveland – Say It With Me: “Amnesia Angles Never Work”

25 Submitted by on Wed, 13 August 2014, 15:00

In his best selling book, Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, Mick Foley went into great detail about how WCW butchered his career over and over again. He went into great detail about a series of skits known as “Lost in Cleveland”, which has in turn led to many requests for it to be covered here at WrestleCrap.

I vaguely remembered the skits. And now that I in the midst of recapping them, I wish that vague recollection is still all I had. And I’m sure Mick feels exactly the same.

A bit of a history lesson for those unfamiliar with the happenings preceeding this storyline. Cactus Jack was finally getting a bit of a push against the monster known as Big Van Vader. Vader wasn’t the watered-down wimp Hulk Hogan (and later the WWF) turned him into – no, he was a vicious beast at the height of his career. A lethal combination of strength, size, and agility, Vader brutalized opponent after opponent during his reigns as WCW Champ.

During a broadcast of WCW’s flagship program, WCW Saturday Night, Vader tackled the challenge of Cactus Jack. The match was brutal, and ended with Vader powerbombing Cactus on the concrete floor. Cactus blacked out and had to be helped to the back. It was a brutal attack, with great visuals, and since Vader had already ripped Jack’s ear off in a match in Germany, it seemed that a major feud wherein Jack sought revenge was just weeks away, and was sure to make tons of money.

Well,, that’s what SHOULD have happened.

Instead, WCW fans discovered a whole new world of pain.

Some time after Jack was powerbombed, WCW began showing vignettes of a bogus news reporter named Catherine White who was searching of Cactus, who no one had seen since the match with Vader.

White was able to track Jack down somewhere in Cleveland, as he had befriended a group of homeless people in the area.

One of the homeless folks was a con artist by the name of “Swampy”, who led the daffy reporter to Jack’s secret hideout.

And so we come upon Jack, giving the homeless insight on his life at sea.

Yes, on his LIFE AT SEA.

You see, Mick Foley was no longer Cactus Jack, but rather a sea farer who had drifted ashore. He had no idea who Cactus Jack was, of course, because he had AMNESIA.

But, amnesia or no, Cactus was a babyface. In fact, he was able to convince Swampy that he was better off working for a living than drinking (maybe he should have talked to Jake Roberts)…

…and he also repaired little children’s bicycles.

I think I can say without fear of argument that there’s not a man, woman, or child reading this that wouldn’t take their bike to Cactus Jack’s All Night Holistic Bicycle Repair Shoppe.

White decides, for whatever reason, that she should make Cactus remember who he really is. So she recruits Cactus’ wife Colette and his son Dewey.

Of course, WCW felt that Cactus’ real life wife was too attractive, so they hired some frumpy woman to play her instead!

“Colette” made a plea to Jack…

…which infuriated his new girlfriend, known as “Bang Bang”.

This led to Colette running away in tears, Dewey in tow.

So what happened? What was the exciting conclusion, you ask? Well, Cactus made a surprise return at a Clash of the Champions special, and attacked Vader. You see, this whole thing was just a big set-up all along, and Cactus only pretended he had amnesia to get inside Vader’s head!

I only wish I had amnesia, and could never remember this angle ever again.

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25 Responses to "Classic Induction: Cactus Jack, Lost in Cleveland – Say It With Me: “Amnesia Angles Never Work”"
  1. Even by WCW standards, this was stupid and pointless.

    • CoolSuplexBro says:

      …but by TNA’s standards, it’d be somewhat-less stupid and pointless than everything else on Impact.

  2. patricko says:

    I remember watching one of these segments, where there was a guy who was doing a bad Nicholson impersonation.

    Only positive about this fiasco was that they realized it sucked, and they pulled the plug earlier than planned.

  3. The Gold Standard says:

    and dumped it on Mike Rotunda….Captain Mike anybody?

  4. Thomas Moffatt says:

    Along with amnesia, angles that never work include weddings, dancing, religion and excrement – for examples please see Wrestlecrap…

  5. JimbolianJimJimbJolianbJiSmbJimJim says:

    If you have WWE Classics On Demand, you can watch part 1 of this hubbub on WCW Worldwide ’93. As a huge plus, they also got previous inductee the Beach Blast ’93 Promo featuring the one and only CHEATUM!

  6. Forest George says:

    Why was Mike Rotundo – the Captain of a Boat?

    • Well um… because.. uh… because he was the “Captain” of the Varsity Club.. and… that’s about it.

    • Rock 'n Roll Man says:

      Pro Wrestling Illustrated did a feature on “Captain Mike” with the headline, “They were going to take my Varsity Letter away!”. I’m guessing he “received a letter from his college saying how disappointed they were by his behaviour, saying the antics & people he was hanging out with (Kevin Sullivan) were in their eyes, unworthy of being a representative of their alumni”, so Mike decided to be a face again & decided to go nautical for some reason. Ha! Could you imagine if Trucker Norm joined him as his first mate & they re-created the Skipper / Gilligan dynamic? It would definitely have been more Wrestlecrap.

      Anyway, that Captain Mike gimmick only lasted what, a couple of months before he turned heel again. He was the original client in the York Foundation, changing his name to Michael Rotundo. Alexandra York insisted her clients (later Terrance Taylor, RIchard Morton, Thomas Rich) use the elongated versions of their names. This particular gimmick, which also didn’t last very long was the pre-cursror for his WWF 1990s gimmick, Irwin R. Schyster I.R.S.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I usually enjoy even the goofier parts of that era of wrestling, but this was just bad. The very definition of CRAP, albeit with very little wrestling.

  8. mfm420 says:

    just for a heads up, (even though this is a year old repost) the vader/cactus jack ear incident happened well after these vignettes, not before (these aired summer of 93, the ear incident was march of 94)

  9. Mister Forth says:

    Really stupid stuff. This was a bad time for wrestling.

  10. Third String Point Guard says:

    What, no reference to the guy who was doing a passable (IMHO) Dustin Hoffman from Rain Man impersonation?

    Then again, I can’t find it anymore on YouTube. Great induction, beyond a shadow of a doubt! (Sorry, still can’t get over that other induction!)

  11. Kareem Ofweet says:

    The timeframe is a bit off. Jack’s ear wasn’t ripped off his head until early ’94. The amnesia angle was in ’93, which led to their blowoff match at Halloween Havoc.

  12. If they ever show this on the WWE Network, you need to redo this with better footage.

  13. Janelle says:

    The worst part? After Foley had tried to save the angle by claiming it was a deception to get into Vader’s head, the announcers completely ignored the fact he said this and continued to play up his amnesia even though he’d just told everyone he didn’t really have it.

    Even when Foley gave WCW a way out of the hole they’d dug themselves, they weren’t competent or alert enough to take it. It’s like when a fan theory makes more sense and is more dramatic than the story itself and the author just pretends it doesn’t exist because they’re too stubborn to know when they’ve failed.

  14. Erich says:

    I had the opportunity to see Mick Foley this past weekend, and asked him about this. The angle petered out, and ended with his promo crapping all over it. I asked how he was able to kill something they had spent so much time and money producing.

    Turns out it was supposed to be a 12 week angle, with vignettes leading up to his memory returning, at which point vengeance would be sought. So Mick also used those 12 weeks to get some much needed knee surgery. What nobody knew when he went in for the operation was that everyone involved, WCW, the film crew, the actors, EVERYONE, would realize that it was irredeemably bad. Halfway through, they killed it, and nary a word was spoken again until Mick returned and gave his (completely authorized) promo which wiped out the entire story in five short minutes.

  15. segaz says:

    This is so goofy, I love it. Wrestling wouldn’t be the same wihout dumb stuff like this.

  16. Jimbolian says:

    Maybe it’s because of the grainy images, but what’s been bugging me for all these year is that doesn’t look like Mick Foley at all. Did he get a haircut and shaved his beard off?

  17. Ropeadope says:

    In response to the Captain Mike Rotundo thing:

    Yes, he did turn heel and change his name in 1990, but it was to Michael “Wallstreet” the gimmick being that he had gotten a lot of money or something. York was brought in as his financial manager and formed the York Foundation after Wallstreet left to become IRS.

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