Legendary WWE commentator Jim Ross has had a career like no other, calling some of the greatest matches in history for two decades. Good ol’ J.R. became the voice of wrestling during The Attitude Era. He’s had the chance to call some memorable matches, including The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8, and Mick Foley vs. The Undertaker‘s Hell in a Cell brawl.
There weren’t many matches that Ross had to miss during his time of employment with the WWE, but there was one iconic moment that he had to miss out on. As many of you may recall, Michael Cole was on the mic when Mankind (Mick Foley), defeated The Rock to win the WWF Championship in early 1999.
Jim Ross recently did an interview with Scott Fishman of TV Insider, and talked about how he regrets missing out on calling that WWE match:
“I worked so diligently and with all my heart to get Mick hired because I felt like he was a good citizen and a great opponent for The Undertaker, which I needed at that time. I didn’t get to call that match. That’s one of my regrets as far as Raw was that I was ill when Foley won his title. I thought it was a moment I would have loved to experience with him.”
Unfortunately, Ross was battling Bell’s Palsy— a condition where the muscles on one side of the face cannot be controlled and can be briefly paralyzed. With J.R. absent, Cole replaced Jim Ross and called one of the biggest turning points in WWE and wrestling history.
Mankind’s first WWE Championship win was monumental in different ways. For starters, nobody thought he would beat The Rock for the championship. It was a major upset, and a true underdog story if there’s ever been one.
More importantly, the Raw tapings of Foley winning the title aired on the same night when Hulk Hogan beat Kevin Nash in the infamous “Fingerpoke of Doom” incident on WCW Nitro.
WCW announcer Tony Schiavone told WCW fans that they were informed Foley would win the belt from The Rock, and encouraged fans to not change the channel. Instead, 600,000 fans switched channels to WWF, and saw Foley’s triumphant victory. This would begin WWF’s win over WCW in the Monday Night Wars.
Though it’s unfortunate that J.R. didn’t get to call this match, it doesn’t take away anything from the legendary career he’s had with the WWE.
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