Mick Foley and Kevin Nash on Jan. 4, 1999: The night that changed wrestling

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January 04, 2013

WWE CLASSICS: Mick, WCW spoiled your title win before it happened, but the moment still resonated with fans. Why do you think that is?

FOLEY: I think until that moment there was maybe not so much a definite standard to what a champion should look like, but a definite standard to what a champion should not look like. And yet, I had built up an incredible amount of goodwill and credibility with the WWE Universe. People had watched me work my way up from the Clarksburg Armory to Madison Square Garden. I believe people were ready to accept it. And ready to believe in it.

WWE CLASSICS: How did you feel about Tony Schiavone’s comments?

FOLEY: It hurt at the time. When I heard it, it hurt. But no doubt about it, it turned out to be the best thing that could’ve possibly happened to me.

WWE CLASSICS: When was the first time you saw Eric Bischoff following that night?

FOLEY: I actually saw him on an airplane only three weeks later. I was coming back from the Royal Rumble in January 1999 and he was traveling somewhere else. I think we just exchanged formalities. Any bitterness I had about it was kind of erased when the ratings came out. I actually waited until the ratings came out until I called Tony Schiavone and I just left a purposely very forlorn message saying, “Listen, it’s Mick Foley. I heard what you said. I honestly don’t know why you guys would do that to somebody who worked so hard for so long for your company. And in truth, it probably just hurt your ratings. But anyway, I just thought I’d say hello.”

WWE CLASSICS: Did you hear back from him?

FOLEY: Tony ended up calling me back and my wife answered the phone. She came to me and said, “It’s Tony Schiavone and he sounds really sad.” I knew as soon as he made that comment on air that it was probably put in his ear by Bischoff. Tony and I had a nice little conversation, but honestly I’m not bitter toward the players of that evening, because it all combined to make for the best possible scenario.

WWE CLASSICS: Did Eric ever apologize for those remarks?

FOLEY: He never apologized on a personal level, but he said he wouldn’t do it again if it was his decision. He did what he thought he had to do for his company. I think there should be exceptions. I think they should have factored in how hard I worked for those guys. I think the sarcastic “Wow, that’ll put a lot of butts in the seats” was really the one that hurt. It was like dismissing my entire career as a joke. And it turned out the joke was on them.

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