Jim Ross has said he would have “screwed up history” if he’d been in charge of the WWF as he would never have allowed Mick Foley to be thrown off of Hell In A Cell.
There is arguably no more iconic wrestling visual than Foley flying through the air after being launched off the top of the demonic structure by The Undertaker at King Of The Ring 1998. The bump was Foley’s idea and the ultimate extension of his risk-taking style that had earned him legions of fans all over the world.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, former Head of Talent Relations at WWE Jim Ross has spoke about Foley’s wrestling style and how he and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon tried to convince Foley that less is more.
“It’s hard to correct things that have already happened. He had no filter. He always wanted to please the fans, he always wanted to do more for the guy he was working with. Mick was a very unselfish performer. But yeah, we had those conversations [about him doing fewer stunts], it’s like the one Vince had with him after Hell in a Cell [with Undertaker] ‘We’ll never ever come close to doing this again.’”
“I talked to Mick about that several times, sometimes he would do too many things. You keep taking big chances, somewhere along the way you’re going to get your ass blown up. Limit your chances, eliminate as many of these opportunities to put yourself in the hospital, and affect your career going forward. I don’t want to say he didn’t listen, I know Mick appreciated the concern that we all had for him, especially me, because I put my reputation on the line to get him hired. But, you couldn’t convince him, he only had one style. He would listen, he would thank me for the concern or anybody else that was speaking to him but it wasn’t going to matter. He was a wild horse, he’s going to run.”
Although McMahon told Foley “never again” after the fact, Jim Ross went on to say that if he’d had run of the company the terrifying bump would never have happened at all.
“I would’ve screwed up history. If it would’ve been solely up to me, it would’ve never happened. The risk/reward is too finite. How do you get up from that? How do you not break something? How do you not destroy body parts? Something has got to give here. You don’t learn to do this in wrestling school. I would’ve said no, the risk is too high based on the risk/reward ratio. I’m glad I didn’t have a vote on it, I didn’t know he was going to do the damn thing. That’s what’s beautiful about it, I didn’t even know that spot was in the match. At the end of the day, I guess it worked out well, we’re still talking about it in 2021. I know Vince after it was over, he said we’re never doing something like this ever again. You just can’t follow it. It’s just too dangerous.”
On the topic of Foley, Jim Ross also discussed the moment where the star became “made” in Chairman Vince McMahon’s eyes, and how that became the genesis of one of McMahon’s oft-repeated lines.