Mick Foley has reflected on the first time he won the WWE Title on the 25th anniversary of that historic moment.
The date January 4, 1999 will always be a big one for wrestling fans because it was a huge night for both WWE and WCW. Six days earlier, WWE taped Raw on a Tuesday night, which was the norm in those days before Smackdown became a weekly show in August 1999.
That was the night when Mick Foley beat The Rock to become the WWE Champion for the first time. It wasn’t a clean win because Steve Austin screwed The Rock (and Vince McMahon) due to a chair shot as payback for all the bad things they did to Austin. That pop for Austin was very loud and when Foley covered Rock, that was also very loud. It was a huge moment for Mick Foley.
Meanwhile, on WCW Nitro, they had a live show where they gave the Raw results away while taking a shot at Mick Foley. They also had a “Fingerpoke of Doom” moment with Hulk Hogan beating Kevin Nash for the WCW World Title as a way to reboot the New World Order group yet again.
While talking to the WWE digital team in a video on YouTube, Mick Foley reflected on that WWE Title victory while admitting he never thought it would happen for him.
“It set in for me the moment I held the title. Because I had never seen that coming for me, so I never made that my goal. I wanted to have memorable feuds, I wanted to try to move people up the ladder, I wanted to try to create great moments.”
“But never once did I think one of those moments would be holding the WWE title. So because I never let it define success for me, I never felt bad when I did not have it. But I have to tell you, when they handed it to me, it felt more like a lifetime achievement award than it did a WWE title.”
Mick Foley Says WCW Made A “Tactical Error” By Taking A Shot At Him
As he continued, Foley spoke about WCW trashing his WWE Title win when announcer Tony Schiavone said this on the air.
“If you are even thinking about changing the channel to our competition, do not. We understand that Mick Foley, who wrestled here one time as Cactus Jack, is going to win their World Title. That’ll put butts in seats.”
It has since been revealed that former WCW President Eric Bischoff instructed Schiavone to say that. Schiavone even wrote a book about his career and called it “Butts In Seats” because of that night.
Foley spoke more about the WCW comments and how they helped WWE that night.
“They made a tactical error in giving away the results of the Mankind Rock match. And so I believe within seconds, up to 500,000 homes or fans switch channels, and the rest is history.
“What should have been a solid victory for WCW turned into a route by WWE, almost specifically, almost exclusively, because they made so many people wanna watch our show to see history being made.
“Even among the WCW fans, there was a feeling that I had been a hardworking guy who had never quite gotten to the top. And there were a lot of fans, even their fans, who wanted to witness it.”
Mick Foley would go on to win the WWE Title three times in his career and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013. Have a nice day!
H/t to SEScoops