On March 16th, 1994, during a WCW tour of Germany, Cactus Jack and Vader would battle one another on the night Cactus Jack nearly lost his ear. The match itself wouldn’t be much different from their brutal battles before this. Both men would come to the ring much to the adoration of those in attendance. Before the match begins, Jack addresses Vader in German, much to the delight of those in attendance.
Vader would walk away from the ring only to throw a chair into the ring. Jack would take the chair, sit on it, and then proceeds to tell Vader what he was going to do to him on this night.
As soon as the bell rings, Vader attempts to show his dominance by posing and essentially trying to intimidate Jack. Cactus would have none of that as the two would lock up. However, after an initial lick-up, Vader would take Jack down with a running tackle taking him down. Vader then Jack against the rope, but Jack then regains the advantage and hits a DDT on Vader.
This forces Vader to leave the ring. Those in attendance would proceed to heckle Vader as he walked around the ring. However, Jack would have none of it and once again gets on the microphone, telling Vader to get back in the ring.
The Night Cactus Jack Nearly Lost His Ear
Jack has Vader tied up in a sleeper hold, but Vader gets out of it. With both men down, Vader would get to his feet first and proceed to lay in punches on Cactus Jack, who was lying against the ropes. Vader then would slam Jack and climb the corner turnbuckle and hits a Vader bomb; he would then proceed to pin Jack but to no avail. Vader then locks in a rear chin lock as fans would attempt to encourage Cactus Jack to break free.
The referee appears to warn Vader, who once again slams Cactus Jack. He then attempts another splash successfully, this time from the second rope.
In all his heelish glory, Vader would respond accordingly to the fans in attendance. He once again slams Cactus Jack and attempts another Vader bomb this time; he misses Jack. Jack then attempts a sunset flip, but Vader attempts to stop it but dropping down. The problem is Jack moves, and Vader lands on his backside, much to the delight of those in attendance. Cactus Jack then hits a clothesline on Vader over the top rope to the floor.
When both men get back in the ring, Cactus Jack attempted it again. This time, however, he wasn’t as fortunate. As Vader ducted, Jack would miss him completely, leading to his head getting caught between the top and middle ropes. The ropes were viced so tightly that the referee would struggle to free him in the process. As the referee eventually does, Jack drops down to the floor. But something is very wrong here.
While Jack proceeds to get himself up and get back into the ring, the fan video shows that the referee picks something p and hands it to someone at ringside. It was later revealed that the referee would be picking up what was Cactus Jack’s torn ear and handing it to the ring announcer.
Cactus Jack’s realization
While this was taking place, Vader and Cactus Jack continued to battle. The two men would exchange blows in the corner, with Jack proceeding to lay in clotheslines himself. A battered and beaten Cactus Jack could have simply relented and given up proceeding to end the match. However, despite feeling a shooting pain at the side of his head and seeing blood as well, Jack would continue to fight. He would fight off Vader’s best efforts.
It would be short-lived as Vader would shortly hit a clothesline thereafter, leading to a pinfall and a win by the mastodon. As Jack makes it to his knees, he sees his blood and discovers the bleeding is coming from his ear.
As the story of Cactus Jack’s ear has been shared, the torn ear was apparently passed on from the ring announcer to the booker at the time, Nature Boy Ric Flair. Unfortunately, Jack’s ear was never attached after that. Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) has shared on several occasions in his book Have a Nice Day. There he recounts his history with Vader. In the video clip below, he shares how he lost ‘two-thirds of an ear’ during this interview with Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Mick Foley explains how he lost part of his ear
‘Well, I was in Munich, Germany, and I was doing a move when I end up getting my neck caught in the ropes, which are actually steel cables coated by rubber and although my opponent (Vader) claims he saved my life by pulling me out of there a fan videotape showed that he actually had his back turned to me and was yelling at fans. I liken to the wolf that chews off its paw, you know. I’m not lying when I was. I literally thought I was going to die in there; the ropes were so tight on my neck.
So when I pulled out, now the ear didn’t just come off, and it ended up that I got back in, and there was quite a bit of blood coming down. I could hear little pitter-patters of blood on the blue mat.
Well, yeah, when Vader threw a punch, I blocked it, and I threw my own punch in there, and there you obviously fall off the side of my head.
It was a strange series of events because we’d actually had two referees flown home with injuries. So we had a French referee who was not able to tell me, ‘Hey, I’ve got your ear here,’ so he picked it up and handed it to the ring announcer, and while the match was still going on, the ring announcer tiptoed it to the back where, when I finished it was waiting for me in a bag of ice.
I probably had 50 stitches behind that ear beforehand and 50 more there right away.
While Cactus Jack’s ability to overcome injury time and time again, there are moments that are still shared. On this occasion, there was nothing quite like the night that he nearly lost his ear in Munich, Germany, against Vader during a WCW tour.
This is the story of the night Cactus Jack nearly lost his ear.