Hardcore legends Mick Foley (left) and Terry Funk (right) highlighted Heavy on Wrestling‘s "Have a Funkin’ Nice Day" show Saturday night at Mortorelli Gym on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Foley, a three-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion also known as Mankind and Cactus Jack, was the referee, while Funk, a 64-year-old with the constitution of a vending machine, was the special enforcer in the main event, HOW’s first heavyweight championship match between "Anarchist" Arik Cannon and "Professional" Ben Sailer.
Sailer, who left the match bloodied and looking like the aforementioned hardcore duo, came out on top at HOW’s fifth show since its inception in 2007, but the crowd of 1,091 responded — predictably — loudest for Foley and Funk.
"[Saturday] was amazing. I was in the ring with Terry Funk. I was in the ring with Mick Foley," said Cannon, a 26-year-old from Chicago. "Truth be told, both Terry Funk and Mick Foley were my favorites as a kid. So, personally, it couldn’t have gone any better."
The same goes for Dave Sabick, the 23-year-old Duluthian who owns and operates HOW.
"I’m to the point now where I’ve gotta come up with something that will make it even bigger," said Sabick, who was happy to break the 1,000-spectator mark and wants to host his next show in spring 2009. "We brought huge names here. We brought the best that you could probably get."
Cannon, a HOW regular who has wrestled worldwide for seven-plus years, wanted to be at his best Saturday for the promotion and his peers in the ring.
"I was nervous because of the implications of the show and how much this show meant to Heavy on Wrestling and the Duluth-Superior area. But as a wrestler, in my mind, I was like, ‘I just don’t want to mess anything up. I don’t want to look like a fool in front of these guys,’ " Cannon said of competing in a match that included Foley and Funk. "Arguably, these guys are two of the biggest names in professional wrestling. So the last thing I wanted do is trip and fall on my face. Any mistakes in the ring would have been a burden for me."
Sabick said Funk, who has retired more times than George Foreman and Michael Jordan combined, wants to have a final match — involving barbed wire — against Cannon at HOW’s next event.
"He told me, ‘If we’re gonna do this, let’s sell it out,’ " Sabick said.
"Popular" Nate Bash def. Austin Aries
Mikey from "Spirit Squad" def. Dicky Rodz
Cherry def. Dafney and Ann Brookstone (triple-threat match)
Arya Daivari wins four-way elimination tables match for No. 1 contender spot against Venom, "The Future" Joey Envy and Big Brody Hoofer
The Highlanders (Robbie and Rory McAllister) def. The North Star Express (Ryan Cruz and Darin Corbin)
Black Stallion def. Giant Thoruf Marius (with the help of Midget Bad Boy Brian, who turned heel on Marius)
"Professional" Ben Sailer def. "Anarchist" Arik Cannon