Jim Ross has discussed Shawn Michaels facing Mick Foley at In Your House: Mind Games in September 1996, saying that it did more for Michaels’s career than any other match.
In a career littered with iconic matches, Michaels with Foley as Mankind in 1996 has been lauded as a classic. Foley has gone on record saying this match was one of his favourite from his own WWE Hall Of Fame career.
A few short months after Foley’s WWE debut and a feud with the legendary Undertaker, Mankind found himself receiving a WWE Title match. Foley met Michaels in the main event of Mind Games with the Heartbreak Kid ultimately retaining the title.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, Jim Ross said he believed the match held more meaning than just being for the championship. Ross noted the match showed fans a side of Michaels they had yet to see.
“This is the match that proved to the fans that Shawn Michaels was tough and he could fight. I thought that was really important because Shawn had always been known as a finesse guy, you know; slick, smooth, arm-drag, drop toe-hold, superkick, things of that nature, very sophisticated style. But can he fight? You’d seen him throwing some punches on a comeback or something, but he was not known as a brawler. Working with Mankind, Shawn had to brawl. Successfully brawl or get eaten alive.”
“This was that match I was thinking about where it did more for Shawn’s career than, to date, any match he ever did. The only other match that I can think of that’s as significant as that might be the WrestleMania 25 match with Taker, ironically. Not that Shawn hasn’t had other great matches, but you know what I mean. I thought it was just a fabulous presentation by both guys and again as I said earlier, I just think it probably did as much for Shawn Michaels’s career as any match that I remember him having.”
In the years that followed Michaels found himself in matches that suited a brawling style of attack. Most notably the first-ever Hell In A Cell match with The Undertaker in 1997. Also, Michaels’s return match in 2002, a brutal Unsanctioned Street Fight with Triple H.
Current AEW announcer Jim Ross has also discussed working at the announce desk with Paul Heyman, a man he calls a “pain in the ass.”