Foley joined WWE in 1996, and the promotion quickly booked him for a feud with The Undertaker. The Deadman was the company's top babyface when he faced Foley at the King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1996.
Jim Ross stated that Mick Foley was well-liked in the locker room and everybody wanted to work with the former WCW star.
"The other thing about it is, you get a guy that is universally liked in the locker room. You don't have a shortlist of guys who don't want to work with him. He worked with everybody we had over time, and some guys were just, discerning, you know, they, some guys just bit**** about who they worked with sometimes just so they could flex their muscles to rest of the boys."
Jim Ross believes The Undertaker was unselfish when he feuded with Mick Foley
Jim Ross said Vince McMahon changed his mind about Mick Foley and that the WWE boss provided the superstar with the flexibility to explore an exciting gimmick.
JR added that The Undertaker was eager to work with Foley, and The Deadman's opinion mattered a lot to Vince McMahon. JR also revealed that The Undertaker went up to McMahon and spoke positively about Foley.
"To Vince McMahon's credit, Vince let him (Foley) have that flexibility. He let him have that ability to have that input, and I think that was a key turning point in, you know, Vince changed his mind on Mick, obviously, after we got him there. Vince changed his mind. He saw that 'Well, there is kind of something here.' Because 'Taker would go to Vince and say, 'I like Jack.' He liked Jack too, Jack Daniels, but he liked Jack! He was willing to play ball and have a new dance partner because 'Taker knew at the end of the day, he is going over. But in the meantime, you've got to build the guy so that the seven-foot babyface is perceived by the fanbase as being in trouble, i.e., being in jeopardy. It worked out quite nicely."
Jim Ross said there was no question of ignoring The Undertaker's influence in Mick Foley's Hall of Fame career.
According to JR, The Undertaker felt rejuvenated during his program with Foley, and the outcome was on-screen magic. The Undertaker was unselfish and wanted to voluntarily put Foley over.
"Look, let's not discount the input and the influence that The Undertaker had in this whole equation. When Vince saw that one of his most iconic stars, i.e., The 'Taker, wanted to do this program, and he was rejuvenated to a certain degree, that's magic for a promoter. Because now both men are very much equally invested and you know, 'Taker was so unselfish, and his job was to get Mick over so that somewhere down the line when the story concluded, that when 'Taker went over, he would have beaten somebody significant and it would have been a great win."
Jim Ross also explained that Vince McMahon had no option but to keep The Undertaker happy. Everything fell into place perfectly for Mick Foley as The Undertaker and McMahon backed the storyline.
"Vince was going to be happy because 'Taker was going to be happy. You always want to keep your stars happy as you can. It wasn't that 'Taker was higher maintenance or he needed the attention and all that stuff. No more than any other human being needs that attention or a certain amount of adulation."
"So, I think everybody involved was happy. 'Taker was willing to take that elbow off the apron. Mick was more than willing to give it to him because nobody, at least in my view, had really done anything that was significantly damaging to Taker because you've got a 300+ pound guy jumping off the apron and driving his elbow hard into the Deadman. That's pretty strong s***, and it takes two to tango. Actually, it takes three to tango because you still had to have the blessing, so to speak, of the owner, and the owner was all in at that point in time."
Mick Foley defeated The Undertaker in a stiff match at King of the Ring in 1996, and Jim Ross felt that the decision to put Foley over was right.
JR added there were no objections to the booking plan, and the match portrayed Foley as a ruthless heel who could believably take The Undertaker down.
"No, not really, because it was actually the right thing to do. You want to do a program with 'Taker and Mankind with Mick. So, you start the program having the antagonist lose? I don't think so, and 'Taker had no issue with it. I believe it was the right thing to do it. It was not formulaic. It was not predictable. There was not a god damn soul in that audience that night. Where were we in? Dayton? Dayton, Ohio, I think. Was it Milwaukee? Okay. I think it was the right thing to do, and everybody involved had no issues with it."
Mick Foley ended up having a legendary career in WWE. Foley's battles with The Undertaker in the late 90s are rightfully considered iconic, and it added to the most explosive era in professional wrestling history.
Please credit Grilling JR and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.