“I Left Japan in a Wheelchair” – WWE Legend Mick Foley Recalls His Historic Match at AJPW

Published 05/09/2021, 7:45 AM EDT


Today marks the 17th anniversary of WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley’s last appearance in Japan. Foley, as Cactus Jack, faced Toshiaki Kawada for the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.

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The match took place in a HUSTLE PPV at the Yokohama Arena in Tokyo, Japan, back in 2004. Interestingly, Hall of Famer Goldberg was going to face Kawada but had to pull out as he got injured during a training session.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 23: Mick Foley greets the audience at WWE SummerSlam 2015 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 23, 2015, in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

Foley wrote to a fan on Twitter today, “I arrived in Japan for this match in a wheelchair, and left Japan in a wheelchair – but I did the match! This was my last appearance in Japan – 17 years ago, today. I’d love to go back to Japan for a convention sometime.”

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A few weeks ahead of this match, Foley faced Orton in a hardcore No Holds Barred Falls Count Anywhere match at Backlash 2004. Aimed for the Intercontinental Championship, Foley regards the match as the best of his career.

In the match, a thumbtack-covered Orton defeated Foley to retain the title. Orton hit Foley with his signature move, the RKO onto a barbed-wire-covered baseball bat.

Mick Foley replaced Bill Goldberg in the match

As we mentioned earlier, Foley replaced Goldberg at the last minute. In the same thread, Foley revealed what transpired for him to take the place of Goldberg.

It was simply a game of cash as a feeble Foley replaced Goldberg, as he was getting paid the same amount originally going to Goldberg. “When my agent told me I could make Bill’s money, I told him I couldn’t walk, but I’d be in that ring!,” Foley told a fan.

When Foley fought Kawada, the former was well past his prime days. Despite the age and the injury, Foley put up a stellar fight against the champion.

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Kawada got the win after 13 minutes of the fight. Although the question remains whether Goldberg could win the title, a beat-up Foley could never do it.

The champion would reign until February 2005, when Satoshi Kojima defeated him at AJPW Realize. Kawada is a legend in his own right. He extensively worked with AJPW for most of his career.

Kawada is 5 time Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion, a 9 time World Tag Team Champion, three-time winner of the Real World Tag League, and a two-time winner of the Champion Carnival. He now mostly appears briefly throughout the Japanese promotions.

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Angana Roy

1092 articles

Angana Roy is a WWE and AEW author for EssentiallySports, having published more than 800 professional wrestling articles. She is currently pursuing higher studies in English language and literature from the University of Calcutta and has over three years of experience in journalism. As a life-long fan of the sports entertainment brand of pro-wrestling, her work consists of live coverage of weekly shows, PPVs, speculating the future course of storylines and everything in between.

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