The Common Man VS Mankind! The American Dream vs The Hardcore Icon! 2 men whose physical appearance was not enough to stop them from becoming huge stars thanks in large part to their ability to talk you into the building. But of course, the question here is… who did it better? Let the games begin.
Judging charisma isn’t as easy as it sounds, someone just has it or doesn’t and you know it when you see it. Mick Foley had to get out there and hold his own against some of the most charismatic men of any generation, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Vince McMahon, The Rock at the top of the list, and he managed to do that.
Dusty Rhodes was from a time when you didn’t have as many dueling mic promos, more one on one with an announcer looking into a camera. More people could talk up and down the roster in his time, but other than Ric Flair I don’t know who you’d list in the category of the men I listed above charisma wise. Perhaps it’s better to say everyone else was competing with Dusty.
I’m giving this one, close as it is, to Rhodes. I feel like he was compelling even when put in dumb situations like in his WWF run, and didn’t need to employ any tricks to entertain you, which Foley occasionally fell back on when talking.
Dusty Rhodes is a character who is close in every way to the man who created him, or perhaps is that man turned up just a little, Virgil Runnels Jr. As such he was an original character because Runnels himself is an original man, and obviously he embodied and understood the character, and the character influenced many and was copied many times, but not with the off the chart charisma Rhodes had.
Cactus Jack, scary Mankind, muppet Mankind, Dude Love, even Mick Foley himself, Foley employed many characters and was able to present unique voices in each. By studying closely what himself, and others, had done, he would take a promo and present a new twist on it, and is one of the people who has changed the way promos in the 90’s and beyond were presented. Point goes to Foley.
Dusty Rhodes knew he was the blue collar son of a plumber who worked hard and stood up for what he believed in, and he knew how to connect himself with his audience to relate with them, and they loved and cheered him for it. As said earlier, this is because he actually was the son of a plumber, he actually was like the audience that followed him. He knew it, and used it.
When Mick Foley was at his best and looked at doing a promo he would, much like say a Bret Hart, attempt to find the logic of his character regardless of behavior or situation and approach it much like an actor in a film. Therefore he could present these different characters and give a logic behind their actions and the audience always understood it. He may have been the best I’ve ever seen at this, and wins this category.
Both of these men were extremely effective. Was Dusty Rhodes, through his complete understanding of his persona actually a bigger star in his time who drew more money than Mick Foley was in creating the characters needed to further angles against who ever he was asked when ever he was asked?
Foley, as great as he was, never really had to carry a company or territory. He was made to be a foil for the few people ahead of him, which isn’t to say he wasn’t fantastic or important in doing so. But let’s be honest, the tickets were ultimately sold very much by others in the WWF in the attitude era, and before that and even after in TNA he never made a huge difference in the bottom line anywhere.
Dusty, by having that deep connection to his audience, was a bigger star much longer. In NWA he was a big draw with the # 2 company, and this isn’t like TNA today where the # 2 company struggles for relevance, the NWA was able to still draw some big money competing with the WWF. Also, in this day and age it’s hard to understand just how big some of these territorial stars were, but Rhodes in Florida started his connection to his fan base he carried throughout his career, and never had the struggles to find himself Mick did, being effective longer. This category is Rhodes.
Just so many. Dusty Rhodes True Grit promo on the Road Warriors, Cactus Jack Uncle Eric Promos from ECW. Dusty Rhodes Wined and Dined with Kings and Queens, Mick Foley alone in the ring with a spotlight shooting on Ric Flair. Rhodes 1st promo on The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase after he lost his sweet Sapphire, Mankind Summerslam 98 promo “How much wood can a Woodchuck chuck”. Rhodes telling Ric Flair It will never be over because “I am the legend and you are the man” against the ECW cane Dewey Cactus Jack Promo. The infamous Hard Times Dusty promo versus the Jim Ross sit down interviews with Mankind. I could go on all day. I mean literally all day. These 2 are just incredible and have so much great work to choose from.
I can’t choose, how could I? I hate to do this, but I give this one a draw.
It’s so very even. Both men won 2 categories with 1 a draw. Still, I want to pick a winner, but honestly both are great and this just comes down to personal preference because either could win, but I have to make a choice, so I’ll go with… I’ll go with… Damn it. I pick…