January 4th 1999 marked a huge turning point in the Monday Night War. On a pre taped show, Mankind faced The Rock for the WWF Championship, a match he would win. Being WCW; prior to the match WCW announcer Tony Schiavone famously said “That’ll put butts in the seat” when revealing that Mick Foley would win the championship. Curious fans flocked channels to witness the incredible and historic moment. With the 25th anniversary of Raw incoming, Mick Foley spoke with Sky Sports about that night.
Thinking his first WWE Championship win in January of 1999 was a ‘mistake’:
“It meant so much to me on a personal level and I think I’m right in saying the fans have voted it the best ever Raw moment,” Foley said. “I’m excited to have been part of so many big matches on Raw. But I saw me as champion as 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. 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.”
The ratings showing how big of a moment it was:
“It was not seen as a big moment at the time,” Foley said. “I saw it as a big moment for myself because I’d never dreamed of being champion, but we all thought it had been an exciting conclusion to a good show. We didn’t realize the force of the show until the ratings were revealed the next day.”
WCW booking the Fingerpoke of Doom” match between Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash the same night:
“I did watch Nitro later that night and the ‘Fingerpoke of Doom’ was a dreadful creative decision, but the even worse decision was to give away the ending to our show,” Foley replied. “It obviously backfired. It’s interesting to talk to Eric Bischoff these days and he says he was doing what he thought he had to do to make his show better. He miscalculated and ended up kind of giving us a huge victory.”