“This Was a Historic Moment”- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Mick Foley Celebrate Historic Career Point

Published 01/06/2021, 6:43 AM EST


WCW had the upper hand over WWE in the Monday Night Wars and all hope seems lost until two men changed the course of professional wrestling history- The Rock and “Mankind” Mick Foley.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The infamous night on January 4th, 1999 saw a massive switching viewership from WCW to WWE to witness the crowning of Mankind as the new WWE Champion, leaving WCW in the dust. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

To celebrate the iconic incident, Mick Foley and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson took to Twitter. The two of them recalled the glorious night that changed history and decisively set WWE on the perch over its arch-rivals.

Before the infamous Raw episode, WCW had been beaten WWE for 84 straight weeks in viewership ratings. They were recognized as the most popular Wrestling promotion at the time. 

However, it all changed on January 4, 1999, when The Rock was set to defend his WWF Championship against Mick Foley. Unfortunately, the results of the fight were leaked to WCW, and then CEO Eric Bischoff instructed commentator Tony Schiavone to announce the news on WCW Nitro live. 

WCW lost about 600,000 viewers to WWE in its biggest mistake

This was an effort to spoil the mystery element of WWE’s product but would go down as the biggest mistake made in Bischoff’s life. Excited to see the big underdog Mankind win the title, about 600,000 viewers switched channels to USA Network for WWE from WCW Nitro!

While Mankind was busy winning the Championship, WCW featured Hulk Hogan pinning Kevin Nash after touching him with a finger. This blatant oversell enraged viewers who obviously found the WWE product far more interesting.

The incident would go down as the Fingerpoke of Doom as it diluted WCW’s product, as well as its upper hand on WWE in terms of content and viewership. 

The Rock and Mankind gave the fans a match of a lifetime

The massive change in viewership, ridiculed by Schiavone as putting “butts in seats” ironically came back to bite WCW and the phrase also became a popular saying. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

This decisive victory for WWE ensured its future as the top of the Pro Wrestling chain and also gave them a huge advantage in the Monday Night Wars, a privilege Vince McMahon had not enjoyed for a long time.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

If it was in terms of battles, January 4, 1999, was the Waterloo for the Monday Night Wars. The Rock and Mankind will forever be remembered and glorified as the men who changed the trajectory of Professional Wrestling history. 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Luke Dias

1330 articles

Luke Dias is a senior WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports, having published more than 1000 articles on professional wrestling. Having completed courses in Advanced Writing from the University of California and Media and Ethics from the University of Amsterdam, Luke is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Xavier’s College. His tremendous knowledge of WWE history enables him to make past connections, adding depth to the articles.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT