Ahead of the return of the WWE Halftime Heat special, which airs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl this evening live on the WWE Network, WWE Hall Of Famer Mick Foley reflects back on his participation in the 1999 installment of the show, which featured him competing against The Rock in their infamous "Empty Arena Match."
"I think a year earlier MTV has had a lot of success doing Celebrity Deathmatch with claymation figures -- one of which was Stone Cold Steve Austin -- and they'd done a tremendous rating during halftime of the Super Bowl," Foley recalled. "I don't know when the idea came to Mr. McMahon to take that giant audience and kind of keep it for ourselves, but I do remember being asked about it -- and then it was my suggestion that The Rock and I do an empty arena match."
"The Hardcore Legend" spoke about how different it was than anything else on TV, as well as how WWE risked putting so much focus on himself and The Rock.
"The fact that it was so completely different than anything on television was also indicative of the chances we regularly took, whether it was on the microphone or in the ring," Foley said. "Later on, [that] really led to great chemistry as a tag team. We were really rolling, and it was understood that The Rock was going to go on to bigger and better things -- one of them being a WrestleMania main event with Stone Cold Steve Austin."
Because their "Empty Arena Match" was taped, Foley recalled hustling through the airport the night it was scheduled to air.
"I do remember really hustling through the airport to try to catch that match live [on USA Network], and so I walked into a lounge in the airport where some guys were watching the Super Bowl halftime," Foley said. "I convinced them to switch over to Halftime Heat. They were really getting into the match, up until I hit the Rock with a bag of popcorn. Up until that point I had been taking a pretty legitimate pounding at the hands of 'The Great One' and they were 'ooh-ing' and 'ahh-ing.' All of a sudden the popcorn [spot happens] and they turn to each other and go, 'That wouldn't hurt.' Maybe in retrospect I should've found a different devastating object to pummel him with."
WWE Halftime Heat 2019 is scheduled to air live via the WWE Network, as well as on the WWE App, WWE's YouTube channel, the WWE Facebook page, the WWE Twitter account and at WWE.com.
Check out the complete interview with Mick Foley at ESPN.com, and make sure to check back here at Rajah.com this evening for a complete WWE Halftime Heat 2019 recap.