On January 23rd, 2000, the epic street fight between Triple H and Cactus Jack took place at the Royal Rumble. In 1997 Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Mankind first crossed paths. Arguably, his wars with Mankind/Mick Foley/Dude Love/Cactus Jack made Triple H the ruthless, relentless competitor he became. He and Hunter waged war in street fights, steel cages, and hell in a cell.
Most notably, Triple H’s 1997 King of the Ring win was by defeating Mankind with a little help from Chyna. They also had a classic steel cage match that gave birth to Dude Love, another Mick Foley personality. As Jim Ross put it in one of my favorite quotes, “Hunter Hearst Helmsley is a blue blood, and Mankind has spilled blood all over the world.”
“Mick ….You’re Fired”
As time went on, Triple H became The Game. Mankind won the WWF Championship. Triple H was hell-bent on becoming WWE Champion which he accomplished by defeating none other than Mankind for his first WWF title on August 23rd, 1999. Shortly after that, Triple H married Stephanie McMahon and took control of WWF. Their first target was none other than Mick Foley. They even went so far as to humiliate and fire the hardcore icon.
TheGamee thought he was rid of Mrs. Foleys baby boy forever. He was wrong.
Cactus Jack is Back
The Rock organized a protest against the power couple demanding to reinstate Mick Foley, or the entire roster would walk out. Knowing that a champion isn’t a champion, Triple H agreed to reinstateFoleyy. After all, he’s beaten Mankind, dude love, andFoleyy himself before; no big deal. HoweverFoleyy wanted revenge. He surprised Triple H on Smackdown.
“Mankind was not ready to face HHH for the WWE Championship, but I think the WWF fans deserve a substitute for that match. I think you know the guy; his name is Cactus Jack.”
Foley took off his mankind mask and his suit to reveal a wanted dead or alive t-shirt. The fans knew what was happening. By the look in Triple H’s eyes, he knew as well. Cactus Jack was back.
WWF Championship Street Fight
Triple H vs. Cactus Jack
On January 23rd, 2000, a match was booked at the Royal Rumble in Madison Square Garden, New York City. HHH’s worst nightmare had just come true. Even worse, it was a No Disqualification Street Fight Match for the WWF Championship. This would not be for the faint of heart. Triple H made sure Stephanie McMahon Helmsley was nowhere near this massacre.
Cactus Jack attacks HHH immediately. The WWF Champion bit off way more than he could chew this time. However, being the cerebral assassin, he wantedFoleyy to wear himself out. When the time was right, he hit him with the ring bell. Hunter repeatedly used a steel chair on the challenger. Crazy as Cactus was, he seemed to like it. He chased Triple H into the entrance aisle.
Cactus gave the champion several suplexes on a wooden pallet. He also used a trash can on the Game’s skull. Then, Jack went for his favorite weapon, a 2×4 wrapped in barbed wire, affectionately named “Barbie.” Unfortunately for Jack, the champion caught him with a low blow. Being the sadistic star he is, Triple H used the weapon on Cactus Jack. You could see the barbed wire lacerate his body with each blow.
The Epic Street Fight Between Triple H and Cactus Jack
Cactus came back and used barbie like a cheese grater on the Game’s head. Blood was pouring out the champion as Jack laughed maniacally. Cactus threw Triple H to the arena floor and tried a belly-to-belly on the announce table, but it was reversed into a back body drop. Triple H rolled him the ring and attempted a pedigree, but it was reversed into a bulldog face-first on the 2X4.
At this point, Triple H’s face was a crimson mass. The champion was losing so much blood. However, he was as bad as they come. The Game was as arguably more merciless than Cactus Jack. Triple H handcuffedFoleyy to the ring post. He then grabbed the steel steps and proceeded to ram him with it. InsteadFoley’ss drop toe holed him into the steps. This truly was a war zone.
Caught between a Rock and a Hardcore Place
As Cactus was handcuffed, he tried to fight back. Triple H repeatedly hit him in the head with a steel chair. Jack seemed to like this and just kept smiling at Triple H. Cactus Jack loved the pain. The two fought their way down the entranceway. Then, out of nowhere, the Rock hit Triple H with a steel chair in the head. It sounded like a gunshot went off in the arena. As Triple H lay unconscious, security took the cuffs off Cactus.
Like a madman, possessed Cactus grabbed the champion and drug him back to the ring area. First, he piledrove Hunter through a table. Then he reached under the ring and grabbed a bag of thumbtacks. In previous Cactus Jack matches, he used the thumbtacks to suplex his opponents. Yes, my friends, this Foley personality was his most violent. Cactus proceeded to spread out the tacks on the canvas.
Stephanie appeared at ringside concerned for her husband, and rightfully so. He tried to suplex Triple H on the tacks, but it was reversed into a back body drop. Cactus Jack landed on all those tacks. They were stuck in his body like a pincushion. Triple H pedigreed Cactus but only got a three count. Honestly, how much more agony couldFoleyy take? Triple H pedigreed Cactus Jack a second time on the tacks.
Cactus Jack was done. Triple H was still WWF Champion. Both superstars were spent. Now both stars have “spilled blood.” Triple H had to be carried out on a stretcher. It looked as if both competitors had been through hell. However, one month later, they would compete again in a Hell in a Cell match with Mick Foley’s career on the line at No Way Out.