Mick Foley originally disliked Vince McMahon’s idea to have him defeat The Rock for the WWE Championship on the January 4, 1999 episode of WWE RAW.
In one of the most famous moments in RAW history, Foley pinned The Rock to win the WWE Championship for the first time. The Rock recaptured the title from Foley twice before he went on to feud with Steve Austin in the build-up to WrestleMania XV.
Foley discussed his rivalry with The Rock on the latest episode of Austin’s “Broken Skull Sessions.” The Hall of Famer said Vince McMahon had to convince him to win the WWE Championship from The Rock.
“I was against the idea of me winning the title, so when Vince tells me and Rock that he wants to do a title change, it seems like bad business to me,” Foley said. “I’m like, ‘Change titles three months before this program?’ I swear, I don’t swear, I exaggerate and say I think I saw Rock looking for Ashton Kutcher [former host of hidden camera show Punk’d] to come jumping out of a bush because people don’t turn down title runs. I was like, ‘I don’t know if it’s good business.’ And then Vince has to talk me into the wisdom of having us exchange the title.”
Performing as Mankind, Foley’s second WWE Championship victory over The Rock occurred in a Halftime Heat special during Super Bowl XXXIII. Two weeks later, The Rock regained the title from Foley before he shifted into his feud Austin.
Vince McMahon trusted Mick Foley to get the best out of The Rock
Although The Rock went on to become one of WWE’s most popular stars, he received mixed reactions from fans in the first two years of his career.
On “Broken Skull Sessions,” Mick Foley explained how he always knew The Rock would establish himself as a top name for Vince McMahon’s company. He also felt it was his responsibility to ensure that WWE fans booed The Rock – a bad guy at the time – during their rivalry.
“When I put my mind to try and make sure somebody was more valuable when we were done, I feel like I was one of the most effective people at it,” Foley added. “And if that guy wasn’t more effective, then I’d feel like we failed no matter how good the matches were.”
Foley succeeded in his task to remain the top good guy in his storyline with The Rock. Following their rivalry, The Rock lost the WWE Championship to Steve Austin at WrestleMania XV. He then ended his on-screen alliance with Vince McMahon before he turned babyface, and the rest is history.
Please credit Broken Skull Sessions and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.
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