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Jim Ross Recalls Infamous Rock vs. Mankind Royal Rumble 1999 Match

May 2, 2024 | Posted by Andrew Ravens
The Rock Mankind Royal Rumble 1999, Mick Foley Image Credit: WWE

On a recent episode of his podcast, “Grilling JR,” Jim Ross discussed a wide range of topics including The Rock’s feud with Mankind in WWE from 1999. Here are the highlights:

On The Rock vs. Mankind’s Royal Rumble 1999 match: “Yeah, it’s uncomfortable, to be honest with you. And those two guys were just so hell-bent on making a lasting impression. And the fact that here it is 2024, and we’re still talking about it, proves their point. They did make a lasting impression. And so, anyhow, I thought it was too much. The Rock had so much power with Vince, and so did Mick to a little lesser degree, that Vince pretty much acquiesced or whatever they wanted to do. And the thing I’ve always said, Connie: once you get in the ring, your control and your restraints are off because you’re own now. So if the term went into business for themselves is applicable here, and I think that it is, they took it as far as they possibly could. And I’ll never forget that match.

“Those chair shots rang in my head for weeks, it seemed like. Because you gotta remember, as the head of talent relations I gotta pay these dudes. And I gotta book the towns, and make sure they’re medically sound and all that good stuff. So it was a big risk. I probably would have felt the same way about the Hell in the Cell, but I didn’t know they were going to do that either. And that helps me. It sounds like sometimes when I say I didn’t know what they were going to do, I was totally uninformed. Look, I had a pretty good idea we’re gonna see some sensational things. But I didn’t — I don’t want to know, because I liked the surprise element and I think it reflects back in my voice and my delivery. And so that means the fans get a real JR and not an acting JR wrestling announcer. Just how JR the fan would call something that he saw on his monitor.”

On Rock vs. Mankind’s empty arena match: “I liked the concept. I liked the concept. I wasn’t overwhelmed in a positive way by the execution of it. It got a little too gimmicky for me.”

On whether the concept could still work: “I think the fans might be over it. I think I’m over it, just for the record. But yeah, I — look, in the right presentation with an adequate build that connects the dots and makes sense, could an empty arena match still work? Yes. Maybe once a year, maybe not that often. But it’s not dead, it can work if there’s a meaning for it and a great build. A concerted effort to build it with some continuity and creativity. But I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Well, those shows that we did for Tony Khan and the Dailys shows during COVID — boy, they were tough. We were using extras as members of the crowd. It was just a tip of the hat, quite frankly. And I got a black hat, I just don’t have it on. So it just — I don’t know, man. I don’t think I don’t think the idea’s dead. But I think it’ll be a while before we see another one.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the Grilling JR podcast with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.