Mick Foley On The Moment That Kickstarted The Attitude Era

Mick Foley Hell In A Cell 1998

Mick Foley was one of the faces of WWE’s Attitude Era – but the Hall of Famer believes the era began well before his time as WWE Champion!

Heralded by many as the peak of professional wrestling, the Attitude Era is arguably the most fondly-remembered time in WWE history. Favoured for its in-your-face personalities, intense storylines, and unforgettable moments that remain etched in our minds.

When, exactly, the Attitude Era kickstarted remains a divisive topic. Scenes including ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin’s iconic Austin 3:16 line and Vince McMahon’s speech from a December 1997 Raw Is War are credited with starting the era but as for Mick Foley, he cites it as beginning immediately after the Montreal Screwjob.

‘The Hardcore Legend’ discussed this on the latest Foley Is Pod, recalling a speech made to the locker room by Vince McMahon:

“Man, I remember coming off a WrestleMania that does not fare well at the box office. Buy rates were not much higher than what a normal pay-per-view would be. So I don’t think I felt those winds of change until a time in ’98 when Vince had a talk with all the talent.

He said in a way, you know that he didn’t say the time did pass them by, he said he had to adapt to changing times that the era of the, he didn’t say the occupation, you know the occupational wrestler, which would be you know, a Mountie, or Repo Man, you know, there was no shortage of jobs, IRS, those days were over. And that if we were going to be competitive, or maybe beat WCW we had to start bringing more of ourselves out into the characters. That was what I thought was the precursor of the Attitude Era.

Probably I think you could argue that also Mr McMahon, Vince McMahon becoming the evil Mr McMahon character in the wake of the Montreal Screwjob may have been the Attitude Era as well. So, I think they were definitely breadcrumbs you know, hints of it, here and there. And then at a certain point, it was just, you know, they just, nothing was left to chance, you know, and just threw everything out there and some of it stuck.”

Mick Foley was one of the highlights of the Attitude Era, enjoying multiple reigns as WWE Champion. The first of these reigns, aired on Raw’s 4 January 1999 broadcast, marked a change in the Monday Night Wars. An estimated 600,000 viewers turned the channel after discovering he was scheduled to dethrone The Rock.

Wrestling as Mankind, Cactus Jack, and Dude Love, the WWE Hall of Famer enjoyed several memorable rivalries with the likes of The Rock, The Undertaker, and Triple H. Elsewhere, the three-time WWE Champion received two Match of the Year awards from Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 1998 and 1999.

The Attitude Era is believed to have concluded on 24 June 2002, when Vince McMahon uttered those two famous words: Ruthless Aggression.