Bill Banks Talks About The Highest Rated Wrestling Segment
The following is an excerpt from Bill Banks' Myspace blog. For those of you who don't know who Bill Banks is, he is a photographer for TNA. He is a genius who tagged a few segments along to Vince Russo.
THIS IS YOUR LIFE:
One of my proudest moments in the wrestling business was coming up with the idea for the highest-rated cable segment in the history of wrestling—the 1999 "This Is Your Life" with The Rock and Mick Foley.
At the time, The Rock and Foley had combined forces as "The Rock N' Sock Connection" tag team. The dynamic between them was that The Rock was too cool for a slob like Foley, but The Rock still had a soft spot for him. In turn, Foley did everything he could to impress The Rock and get on his good side.
When I was providing ideas to Russo and Ferrara on a weekly basis, one of the things I did was scan the TV Guide, reading up on plot summaries for upcoming movies and television shows.
One day, I came across the lineup for a "This Is Your Life" marathon of the old 1950s show. It gave me the idea to have Foley and Rock have their own. Knowing Russo was a fan of old television shows, I typed out the idea and emailed it to him—Mick would celebrate The Rock's life by reuniting him with his former girlfriend, a grade-school teacher, his coach, and some others.
Russo loved it and decided to go with it. I'll never forget watching it from backstage while it was happening in the ring—not only were the fans loving it, but so was everyone in the back. That is, except for Vince McMahon.
The entire segment went for something like 21 minutes, which McMahon was livid about. Even though we had overtaken WCW in the ratings war, they were still competition and McMahon didn't want to give them an inch. He thought it was too much time to devote to a "talking segment" and told Russo and Ferrara to never let it happen again.
So, after watching my idea unfold in the ring, it was a letdown afterwards to see that McMahon didn't like it. Russo and Ferrara were disappointed with Vince's reaction as well.
The next day was the SmackDown tapings. I got a ride from Dr. Tom Prichard from the hotel to the arena and a few minutes after arriving, I saw Russo come out of McMahon's office. "Go look at the door" he told me.
By that, he meant the production office door where the ratings from the previous night's RAW were posted for everyone to see, broken down by each segment. Next to the "This Is Your Life" segment were the numbers 8.4, and someone had circled it with a pen and wrote "Highest Ever."
I stood there for a few seconds letting it all sink in. When I turned around, Ferrara was behind me smiling—"Ya, nobody wants to watch those talking segments," he joked. I don't think McMahon ever apologized or even congratulated Russo or Ferrara.
I think it was in 2004 that WWE did another version of the "This Is Your Life" segment, this time with The Rock honoring Foley. The ratings were much lower for that one…
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