Hardcore Legend and WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley was recently interviewed for Sports Illustrated's regular Extra Mustard feature, and he talked about how Vince McMahon was never a fan of the Cactus Jack gimmick. Cactus Jack was the gimmick Foley portrayed in both WCW and ECW, as well as overseas in Japan. But after seeing what Foley could do in the Mankind persona, McMahon saw the light and realized the error of his ways.
"Mr. McMahon, you see, was not a Cactus Jack fan. But, following a notable first year in a leather mask as Mankind, Mr. McMahon had a change of heart, and not only gave Cactus Jack the occasional opportunity in WWE, but built up the Cactus character to be my toughest and wildest incarnation of all. It was if he was admitting to me, and whoever out there was watching, that he just might have missed the boat on that Cactus Jack guy after all!"
Foley says that by allowing a 'non-traditional' looking guy to take the top slot in the company, McMahon opened the door for future generations of alternative-type stars.
"In so doing–in allowing a guy who (in his opinion) didn't look like a star, Mr. McMahon just may have opened up the possibility that other unlikely prospects might find a home, and stardom inside the WWE. Maybe, just maybe, the lesson learned from the Cactus Jack experiment helped open the door for future WWE Superstars such as Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and Kevin Owens–all of whom flourished in what would have been seen as a very unlikely environment a generation earlier. So, yes, WWE deserves much of the credit for how they chose to portray a colorful journeyman like Cactus Jack. But there was something real there too–something fans could truly believe in."
You can read the entire interview at this link.