The Rock and Mick Foley recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the night they effectively won WWE the Monday Night War.
During the second half of the 1990s, pro wrestling was more popular than it ever had been before and ever has been since. WWE and WCW went head to head every single Monday night via their respective shows, Raw and Nitro. Talent went back and forth and more importantly, fans went back and forth. For a long while, 83 straight weeks, in fact, WCW led the way in the ratings war.
There were a number of key milestones during the war between the two companies, but none more significant than the one that went down on January 4, 1999. In Raw's main event that night, Mankind would win the WWE Championship from The Rock. Since Raw was pre-taped that week, and Nitro was live, WCW announcer Tony Schiavone spoiled the result of the WWE Title match live on air. With that, hundreds of thousands of fans changed the channel.
As you will have likely figured out for yourself by now, last Friday marked the 20th anniversary of that iconic match and moment. To celebrate Mick Foley's first ever WWE Championship win, the Hall Of Famer went back to the arena where the match happened and ran fans through how he felt that night, and also the night the show aired a full six days later.
So cool to watch this. We had no idea we were going to make history this night and alter the course of pro wrestling & @WWE forever. @RealMickFoley is one of the kindest, sweetest, smartest, toughest and craziest men I’ve ever known. All love & respect to you my friend. #goat https://t.co/GKhne204za— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) January 5, 2019
Many wrestlers other than Foley had a key role to play that night, of course, including The Rock. Foley won the title from The People's Champion that night, and the wrestler-turned-Hollywood star also celebrated the milestone's anniversary. Rock tweeted "We had no idea we were going to make history this night and alter the course of pro wrestling & WWE forever." He also labeled Foley as "one of the kindest, sweetest, smartest, toughest and craziest men" he has ever known.
Even though WWE had already one back the majority of the ratings by the time all of the above went down, it was effectively the first sign that WCW was not going to be able to make a comeback. The start of the slippery slope that eventually led to Vince McMahon buying his competition for next to nothing a little more than two years later. It changed the course of wrestling history and is a moment that will never be forgotten.