WWE legend Mick Foley has opened up on the reasoning behind matches during the Monday Night Wars not being competitive, which led to some wrestlers pretending to be injured so they didn’t have to compete.
With a focus from both companies on building towards big attraction matches, there were occasions during the height of the rivalry between WWE and WCW where a top-level star would be in a contest which was clearly a mismatch, and used purely to push upcoming shows and appearances.
Speaking on the latest edition of Foley Is Pod, Mick Foley has given an explanation for why it made sense, however the fact shows were selling out so quickly led to questions over pay.
I think it had a lot to do with the Monday Night Wars because before the Monday Night Wars, you didn’t get competitive matches all that often. You know, I grew up in the era with the enhancement matches in WWF. And it was like, you know, here’s another mismatch and then an announcement would come on just over the match talking about the upcoming matches in your area, and that’s what we accepted that wrestling on TV was. So under that premise, you did not want to be on the losing end of any of those matches.
I think, though, when we started and I will say when I was growing up, you’d see like Paul Orndorff, and Brian Blair, and I was probably 15, 16 at this time, and they would tear it down. Every once in a while you’d see a really good match on television. But when you started out of necessity, having to add good matches, even main event matches.
I can’t argue whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that after a pay-per-view, you’re going to see one or two [of] those matches that you paid to see on free TV the next week, so we’re giving away main events or strong cards. But at the same time, the brand itself was becoming so big, that you didn’t have to [give away matches].
This is one of the things I argued with JR over the money is that, you know, when I was unhappy with a payoff and I’d call, he’d say, ‘Well, you weren’t in the main event.’ I’d say, ‘Jim, the shows are selling out before we even list a card like this is, you know, I should be paid for being one of the cornerstones and one of the reasons people go out to buy tickets at a time.’ You know, other people might argue that wasn’t the case. But I was the guy, you know, arguing on my own behalf.
When it came to losing matches, Mick Foley acknowledged that for characters like his it wasn’t so much of a problem, but could have caused problems for others.
But getting back to the competition, and the good matches regularly, you didn’t have to win to make an impression on people. And so there were some characters that lend themselves better to losing than others. You know, I didn’t feel like I got hurt from losing. Now, if Rick Rude, when he was in WCW, lost as often as I did, that would hurt a guy like Rick Rude.
So there were some guys who needed those wins all the time. I mean, those who would be hurt by losses, there were other guys who were not hurt by losses. I would argue that they would then lean too heavily on the guys who could lose and get away with it by having them lose so often that [it] no longer meant as much. But then, again, the short answer would be during the Attitude Era when the quality of the matches was more important than who won.
Mick Foley became a three-time WWE Champion during his time with the company, and was one of the most recognisable (even if it was multiple) faces of the company during The Attitude Era.
In a unique take, Mick Foley recently discussed which three WWE stars were exempt from the company’s dress code.
With thanks to Inside The Ropes for the transcription.