When Mick Foley defeated The Rock for the WWE Championship on that fateful night back in 1999 he initially believed WWE was making a mistake.
Mick Foley‘s ascent to the top of the pro wrestling pyramid is one of the greatest underdog stories in the history of the industry. Even though Foley dreamed of being a WWE Superstar for the majority of his childhood, someone with his look back then was unlikely to ever really make it. Well Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy proved all those doubters wrong, broke the mold, and became one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time.
There are dozens of memorable moments from Foley’s career, but the most feel-good one has to be when he won the WWE Championship on Raw in 1999. Foley, as Mankind, defeated The Rock on what was a pre-taped show. WCW Nitro was live at the time and they gave away what was going to happen on their rival’s show. That turned out to be the biggest mistake WCW ever made as 600,000 people switched channel to see the title change.
While it was undoubtedly one of the greatest moments of his career, Foley recently revealed to Sky Sports that he thought the idea of having him win the title was a mistake. “I didn’t think it was a good idea. I always thought the challenger should be chasing the champion, and The Rock was a great champion,” Foley admitted. “But it turned out to be the best thing for everybody. We were going up against a massive live WCW show at the Georgia Dome in front of 40,000 people and nobody thought we’d be celebrating a big victory that night.”
That same night there was also a title change on Nitro. The infamous Finger Poke Of Doom took place, ironically one of the worst angles in wrestling history running alongside one of the best taking place over on Raw. Up until that night WCW had been leading in the ratings for almost two straight years and managed to change that by shooting themselves in the foot twice in the space of one show.
Foley winning the WWE Championship that night was clearly best for business back in 1999 and what a relief Foley didn’t try to talk Vince McMahon out of it. The man formerly known as Mankind has clearly always been a pretty smart guy and even though he didn’t think he was the right person to lead the company at the time, he wasn’t going to stop anybody from giving him the chance to do so.
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