Mankind Wins The WWE Championship

Mankind Wins The WWE Championship
The Night That Changed It All

Let me set the scene.

It’s the late 90’s. WCW isn’t exactly breaking down WWE’s door, but they’re still a threat. They’re still there, watching, and waiting. All they need is one chance, and the tide could turn, yet again.

Now – fast forward a bit, and we’re on January 4th, 1999. It’s a Monday night, so if you’re a male from 13-35, you’re going to sit down and watch Monday Night Raw, or Monday Night Nitro.

Me personally, I was watching Raw. That meant I was watching, uninterrupted, as Mankind won the WWF Championship from The Rock. I still remember it pretty vividly, actually. I was standing in front of my television, with the volume really low, because it was a little after 11PM, and I didn’t want my mom to know that I was still up, watching wrestling (I was ten, started young).

Also, it was Mankind vs The Rock for the WWF Championship. On Raw! You’re damn right I was out of my seat! I wish stuff like that would happen now.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I was about to write a whole thing on how I would love more title changes, but then I realized – that’s not what I want at all. I want better title changes. I want to see a title change that makes me care as much as this one did. I was so happy for Mick Foley when this happened.

For anyone watching Nitro, they were told ahead of time that this was going to happen. It was done in such a scummy way. Tony Schiavone (WCW announcer) says, in the most dismissive manner I’ve ever heard, “that’s gonna put some butts in the seats.”

He also made this disgusted noise that always makes me want to jump through the screen and punch him in the face. For the sake of my television (and wallet), I force myself to remember that he was only doing his job. Still, though – he was a little too good at it.

Eric Bischoff (Nitro’s producer) would do things like that, all the time. It usually worked for him, to be fair.

This time, though – 600,000 people changed the channel to watch Mick Foley win the WWF Championship. Good. You want to know what the fans who stayed with WCW were given?

A turd sandwich, that’s what: the Fingerpoke of Doom.

This is it. This was the moment that lost the Monday Night Wars for World Championship Wrestling. They never recovered.

600,000 changed the channel that night, and I guarantee a lot of them did not come back.


Barry Ford