The 50 greatest WWE Championship Matches ever!

#40 Mankind vs. The Rock: Royal Rumble 1999 (Jan. 24, 1999)

No WWE Title Match was as vicious, infamous or downright unsettling as the “I Quit” Match from 1999’s Royal Rumble event. The wild brawl has been immortalized in documentaries, books and on this very website. Foley himself has told that it’s difficult for him to rewatch the encounter’s sheer brutality and has admitted that the contest simply went too far.

Why the horror? That would stem from the extended sequence in which The Brahma Bull cracked a handcuffed Mankind with a steel chair time and time again. The beating was bad enough, but the sight of Foley’s wife and kids crying in the front row was enough to turn anyone’s stomach. Finally, with the champion unconscious, The Rock placed the microphone near Foley’s mouth while a prerecorded message of those two important words played over the arena’s PA system.

Mankind might have lost the title that night, but his fearless performance added to his already tremendous mountain of respect. — Z.L.

Relive this brutal contest in Anaheim, Calif.