Jim Ross has discussed the influence that the legendary Undertaker had on Mick Foley’s early WWE career when Foley debuted for the company in 1996.
Foley joined the then World Wrestling Federation after previously competing for WCW and ECW as Cactus Jack. Ross, who was head of talent relations at the time had detailed his desire to ring Foley to the company. Chairman Vince McMahon was hesitant but as Ross explained agreed to bring Mick Foley in for a very peculiar reason.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, Ross discussed the influence of The Undertaker in helping Foley do well. Foley’s debut in the company came the day after WrestleMania 12 and from the off Foley’s new character Mankind had his sights set on The Deadman. The two men then feuded with each other for most of the year.
Jim Ross explained the impact The Undertaker had at the time:
“Let’s not discount the influence that Undertaker had in this whole equation. When Vince saw that one of his most iconic stars ie The Taker wanted to do this program and he was rejuvenated to a certain degree. That’s magic for a promoter.”
“Now, both men are very much equally invested and you know Taker was so unselfish. His job was to get Mick over so that somewhere down the line when the story concluded and Taker went over he would’ve beaten somebody significant and it would be a great win.”
The Undertaker did get his win against Foley at the 1996 Survivor Series. Taker defeated Mankind in a match with Paul Bearer suspended above the ring in a shark cage. This came after Bearer had turned on the Phenom and joined Mankind at SummerSlam that year.