Cactus Jack and the Moral Justification of Great Wrestling Heels

Curator's Note

Pro wrestling is often described as being about good vs. evil, but a long-term view of wrestling storylines can reveal greater complexity, as characters switch from face (hero) to heel (villain). As soap opera veteran Scott Bryce has said, the greatest villains don’t see themselves as evil but rather justified and/or misunderstood. Mick Foley plays Cactus Jack in 1995 as a cult hero face who doesn’t turn against the ECW fans but rather who has been betrayed by those fans, who he feels ask too much of their heroes with nothing past ephemeral gratitude in return. As is the case with some of the most enduring wrestling heels, Jack vilifies the fans, and in the process taps into some of the portrayers’ own frustrations.

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