The A&E program WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures has unearthed some important wrestling memorabilia before — Ric Flair’s butterfly robe, Jerry Lawler’s crown, Katie Vick — but none was as elusive as the right ear of Mick Foley.
Deemed the rarest wrestling collectible in the world, the mangled lump of flesh and cartilage was last seen in Germany in the spring of 1994.
Researchers for A&E spent years meticulously piecing together what happened to Foley’s ear after it was liberated from Foley’s head:
- The referee grabbed the ear and handed it to ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta.
- Cappetta gave the ear to Ric Flair, the booker at the time
- Flair wrapped the ear in athletic tape, labelled it “raw chicken, do not eat,” and put it in a cooler with beers for the drive to the next town
- Johnny B. Badd saw it in the cooler and thought it was unsanitary to keep raw meat with the beer, so gave it to Alex Wright and told him to find a freezer to put it in
- A bratwurst vendor accepted the ear from Wright and put it at the back of his meat freezer, where it stayed for several decades
- The strange piece of “chicken” was found in 2021 the vendor’s son, a lab technician, who took a biopsy to determine its age.
- The biopsy revealed a perfect DNA match to Foley, who generously donated DNA samples around the world during his career, typically via a small gash in his forehead
Foley will be reunited with the ear on the season premiere of WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures, which will feature the full reattachment surgery.