TJR Retro: WWE Over The Edge: In Your House 1998 Review (Steve Austin vs. Dude Love)

TJR Retro: WWE Over The Edge: In Your House 1998 Review (Steve Austin vs. Dude Love)

The WWE Over The Edge 1998 event was the 22nd In Your House event. It was also the first time WWE used the name “Over The Edge” for a PPV. They used it again the following year, but that event had a tragedy when Owen Hart fell to his death, so WWE chose not to use the name again. This show was headlined by Steve Austin and Dude Love in a rematch from Unforgiven 1998, which is a match that had a controversial finish.

Regarding the main event of this show, I loved it and wrote a full column all about it many years ago. Due to that, I’ll have more about the build and the analysis than usual. I’m going to try a different format for the rest of the show because I know it’s really a one match show, so I’ll do a summary style review of the early matches while the main event will be in-depth as usual.

The first-ever Over The Edge PPV did a disappointing 203,000 PPV buys, which was the second-lowest PPV number of the year with only February’s No Way Out (of Texas) show doing a worse number. I think part of the reason for that is because it wasn’t a strong card from top to bottom although I thought the main event was an appealing match. Plus, this game was going up against Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers, which drew a huge audience on TV.

This show followed WrestleMania 14 and Unforgiven 1998.

Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:

“”Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Dude Love compete for the WWE Championship in a No Disqualification Falls Count Anywhere Match with Mr. McMahon as special guest referee. The Nation faces D-Generation X in a six-man tag team match. The Rock defends the Intercontinental Championship against Faarooq. Kane faces Vader in a Mask vs. Mask match and more.” 14+ (D,L,V)

The VHS looked like this:

wwe over the edge 1998 vhs

The poster looked like this while noting that Ken Shamrock did not wrestle on this show:

wwe over the edge 1998 poster

Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Let’s get to the show.

WWE Over The Edge: In Your House
From Wisconsin Center Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
May 31, 1998

The opening video montage, known affectionately as “Mr. McMahon’s Utopia,” is probably one of the best opening video packages ever. It was the perfect way to get fans ready for the main event match as it emphasized Vince McMahon’s Machiavellian tactics to try to take the WWE Title away from Steve Austin.

There was a big pyro display to welcome us to the show. Plenty of signs in the building as usual. Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler were the commentary team as usual.

L.O.D. 2000 – Hawk & Animal (w/Droz & Sunny) vs. Disciples of Apocalypse – Skull & 8-Ball (w/Chainz)

Pre-match notes: LOD 2000 were the faces while Disciples of Apocalypse were the heels. Skull & 8-Ball had multiple names in their careers but were best known as The Harris Twins.

There was a lot of brawling early on. Skull was in control of Hawk for a bit with repeated elbow drops and a sidewalk slam. Skull hit a poor looking piledriver and Hawk got back up with a clothesline along with a neckbreaker. Hawk got a two count after a body slam. When Hawk went up top, he jumped off with a clothesline, Skull moved and Hawk bumped to the floor where Chainz beat him up. After a few minutes, Hawk hit a running clothesline. The heels continued to control the action by doing cheap shots to Hawk. DOA kept on working over Hawk for several minutes. Animal got the hot tag with a double clothesline. Chainz did a distraction, DOA switched the legal man, Droz hit a DOA guy in the back (the referee didn’t see it) and Animal hit a Powerslam for the pinfall win at 9:57.

Winners by pinfall: L.O.D. 2000 – Hawk & Animal

Analysis: 3/4* Bad match. The pace was so slow, there were a lack of exciting moments and the finish was poor too. They did that kind of finish to show that Droz was a guy on the rise while Hawk was slowing down, so Droz was the reason they won. Hawk really looked like he was in bad shape here. It’s sad to see.

The Rock was the Intercontinental Champion and he made his entrance for a promo. Rock insulted Milwaukee for drinking beer and sausage all day. Rock also insulted Milwaukee women. Faarooq went down to the ring to attack Rock with punches. Faarooq had a chair, Rock kicked it out of his hands and when Rock swung the chair, Rock hit the ropes with the chair, so the chair hit Rock in the face. Faarooq gave Rock a piledriver “on the chair” but the chair was not underneath it. JR had to sell it like Rock hit the chair while Lawler said Faarooq missed it. The other Nation of Domination guys ran down there, so Faarooq punched them and left. A few minutes after that, Rock was placed on a stretcher and taken to the back.

Analysis: It was just an angle to tell a story before the Rock/Faarooq match later in the show.

Steve Austin, the WWE Champion, was interviewed by Michael Cole. Austin said he didn’t trust anybody. Austin said it doesn’t matter who is out there because he’s going to be the WWE Champion after this match is over. Austin didn’t know if anybody was going to watch his back (that would come into play later). Austin said that Vince McMahon’s ass will always belong to Steve Austin. That’s an awkward phrase, pal!

Jeff Jarrett (w/Tennessee Lee) vs. Steve Blackman

Pre-match notes: Jeff Jarrett was a heel while Blackman was a face.

Blackman was in control for several minutes early in the match. They had a couple of good nearfalls early with backslide pin attempts. Al Snow was sitting at the Spanish announce table with Head and then Al was taken away. They did a long sleeper spot with Blackman fighting back and Jarrett hit a belly to back suplex so both guys were down selling. Blackman was building momentum with a backbreaker and a spinning heel kick. Blackman hit an impressive bicycle kick, so Lee was on the apron to distract. Blackman got a nearfall for two. Blackman hit Jarrett with one of his karate sticks that the referee didn’t see and that got a two count with Jarrett getting his foot on the rope. Lee hit Blackman with one of Blackman’s sticks while Blackman was on the top rope (the referee was looking at Jarrett), so then Jarrett covered Blackman to get the win at 10:15.

Winner by pinfall: Jeff Jarrett

Analysis: *1/2 The match was slow-paced, not that exciting and had a lame finish. Since Jarrett was managed by Lee, it made sense that they would do a finish with Lee getting involved. It was just a boring midcard match. These two guys wrestled a lot in this era as two midcarders on the show. It was never that interesting.

A video aired from Raw with Marc Mero telling Sable that if she can find a wrestler to beat Mero then he will free her of her personal services contract. However, if Mero wins then she has to leave WWE forever. Sable agreed to the match.

Marc Mero made his entrance for the match. Sable was also dressed to compete for the match. The story was Sable could pick a wrestler to compete, but she was dressed like she was going to wrestle. Sable said she got herself into it, so she’ll get herself out of it. Sable said she didn’t need any man fighting her battles and if anybody will win her freedom it’s going to be her. Mero said that this business ruined their relationship. Mero said she was willing to risk her body, so he’s going to do something he should have done a long time ago and give Sable her freedom. Mero called for the bell.

over the edge 98 sable marc mero

“Marvelous” Marc Mero vs. Sable

Pre-match notes: Marc Mero was the heel and Sable was the face. They were married in real life, but that wasn’t mentioned on the show. I assumed most of the audience knew they were married.

The bell rang to start the match and Mero laid down on the mat to let Sable pin him. Sable covered Mero, but then Marc turned it into an inside cradle for the one…two…and three! Mero wins. It went 0:29.

Winner by pinfall: Marc Mero

Analysis: I’m not going to rate this. It was more of an angle than a match.

Marc Mero celebrated the win as if it was the greatest victory of his career. JR said he couldn’t believe it. Mero to Sable: “Get the hell out of the WWF.” Sable left looking all sad like she was going to cry. Mero sang the “na na na hey hey goodbye” song poorly. Sable left. JR: “What a jackass.” He was speaking about Mero, of course.

Sable was interviewed by Michael Cole. Sable said she didn’t think Marc could stoop so low. Sable thanked her fans for the support and said goodbye.

Analysis: Sable leaving WWE “forever” ended up being a few weeks. This is why fans don’t believe WWE stipulations that often.

The Rock was shown in the locker room with Nation of Domination members Owen Hart, D-Lo Brown, Mark Henry and Kama. Dok Hendrix was there to inform Rock that Commissioner Slaughter has told The Rock that he has to defend his title tonight or he will be stripped of the title.

The next match was a “bonus” handicap match, so they just added it to the show when they figured out that they needed another match.

Kaientai (Sho Funaki, Dick Togo, Men’s Teoh) w/Yamaguchi-san vs. Bradshaw & Taka Michinoku

Pre-match notes: Bradshaw & Taka were the faces while Kaientai were the heels. Taka was also the Light Heavyweight Champion. This was several years before Funaki was the number one announcer that loved saying “indeed” a lot.

Bradshaw did a press slam where he launched Taka over the top onto the three heels on the floor. The story early on was the Kaientai guys were scared of Bradshaw because he was big while they were all cruiserweights, so they ran away from Bradshaw as much as they could. Taka hit an impressive Tornado DDT. Bradshaw used his power to take out Teoh and Funaki while Taka hit a moonsault onto Funaki. The heels took control after Dick Togo (what a name) hit a powerbomb on Taka. The heels focused on Taka as the face in peril for a few minutes. Funaki and Teoh hit a double team DDT/neckbreaker for two as Bradshaw broke up the pin. Togo hit a Swanton Bomb that Jeff Hardy would use as his finisher in his career with JR saying “it was like a headbutt.” The Kaientai guys kept cheating, but Taka came back with a spin kick to break free. Bradshaw got the hot tag, hard body slam on Teoh, Powerbomb on Funaki, but then Togo hit a low blow and dropkick. Bradshaw came back with a kick, clothesline and a release Tiger Suplex. Taka hit a missile dropkick. Taka hit the Michinoku Driver that he made famous and got a two count. Teoh hit a Chokeslam on Taka. Bradshaw was busy with Teoh and Funaki, so Togo hit a Senton Bomb off the top on Taka for the pinfall win at 9:52.

Winners by pinfall: Kaientai (Sho Funaki, Dick Togo, Men’s Teoh)

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid tag team match with some fun moments. It was the second-best match of the show. I liked the story of the match with Taka as the face in peril for most of it and then Bradshaw used his power to nearly get the win for the team. The numbers game was too much as Kaientai worked really well together throughout the match. There were some cool moves in the match, but it was too short to really stand out.

Sable was shown walking out of the building with her suitcase and something in her hand while still in her ring gear.

They aired a “WWF Attitude” commercial featuring the superstars talking about how tough their job is and all of their accomplishments.

Faarooq entered for the Intercontinental Championships match. The Rock was slow to make his entrance since he was injured earlier in the show. That led to Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter announcing that The Rock signed a contract to defend the Intercontinental Championship, so Slaughter ordered Rock to defend the title within ten seconds or Faarooq will be awarded the IC Title. There was a ten second countdown, Rock’s music hit again and Rock slowly made his entrance with Rock wearing a neckbrace and referee Tim White forcing him to get down to the ring.

Intercontinental Championship: The Rock vs. Faarooq

Pre-match notes: The Rock was the heel Intercontinental Champion. Faarooq was a babyface. The Rock kicked Faarooq out of the Nation of Domination.

Faarooq hit Rock with the neckbrace. After Faarooq hit some clotheslines, Rock bailed to the floor. Faarooq brought Rock back into the ring. Rock finally got some offense with a clothesline. Rock with a body slam. Rock did the People’s Elbow and connected to it to a pretty good reaction. They didn’t call it a People’s Elbow yet. After Faarooq got some punches, Rock hit a DDT for two. Faarooq with a spinebuster, then Rock had to move closer to the rope to set up the next spot as Rock got his foot on the bottom rope for a two count. The referee countered to three but then realized Rock’s foot was on the bottom rope. Rock did a double leg takedown, Rock pinned Faarooq and put his feet on the ropes. The referee didn’t see it, but Rock gets the win at 5:07.

Winner by pinfall: The Rock

Analysis: 1/2* A short match with cheap booking to keep the title on the heel champion. They messed up the foot on the rope spot. It didn’t look good at all. I don’t think the booking with the false finishes helped either guy. They didn’t do this to try to have a great match. It was more about the angle than anything else with Rock getting the cheap win. Dave Meltzer gave this -* in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which is probably too harsh, but I can understand why somebody would hate it.

After the match, Faarooq hit Rock with two piledrivers. The other Nation of the Domination members went into the ring – Owen Hart, D-Lo Brown, Mark Henry and Kama. They attacked Faarooq with punches. Degeneration X showed up for the save because they had issues with the Nation. DX was in a match against The Nation later in the show.

Kane (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Vader

Pre-match notes: Kane was a heel while Vader was the face. Kane lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania and Unforgiven. Prior to those losses, Kane had a dominant run following his debut in late 1997. Vader was 43 years old at the time of this match.

They said that this was a mask vs. mask match where the loser had to take off their mask. Vader took off his mask plenty of times in his career, so it was obvious who was going to win.

Vader knocked Kane down with two running body attacks. Kane was able to overpower Vader with a suplex. Each guy knocked the other guy down with clothesline. The pace was really slow. Kane got a body slam followed by the top rope clothesline that he did in all of his matches. The crowd was quiet as Kane applied a weak looking chinlock. Kane knocked down Vader and Kane hit Vader with a Chokeslam. That was kind of a weird sequence as Vader rolled out of the ring. Vader got a wrench from under the ring, Bearer yelled at the referee, so Vader hit Kane in the ribs and back with the wrench. They went back into the ring. Vader with a clothesline. The crowd came alive as Vader went up, Vader jumped off the top with a moonsault, but Kane moved and Vader hit the mat. Kane hit a Tombstone Piledriver on Vader for the pinfall win at 7:20.

Winner by pinfall: Kane

Analysis: * A slow paced match between two big guys that exchanged a lot of power moves. Kane needed a PPV win after losing to Undertaker at the last two PPVs, so having Kane beat Vader made sense from a booking standpoint. The wrench spot was weird, but I guess it was done to have Vader getting in some offense and wanting to protect Kane by making it cheap offense. Kane’s Tombstone on Vader was an impressive display of power.

Post match, Kane took off Vader’s mask and Lawler was shocked to see what Vader looked like as if we have never seen him before. Kane put Vader’s mask on “daddy” Paul Bearer, who said: “It’s time, it’s time, it’s Paul Bearer time.” Paul was great.

Vader was interviewed by Michael Cole after the match. Vader said he got his butt whipped. Vader said that maybe “Vader Time” is over. Vader: “I ain’t nothing but a piece of shit. A big fat piece of shit!” Vader left. They did not bleep the swear word on WWE Network, so that was left in it as it aired.

Vader vs. Kane - Mask vs. Mask Match: May 31, 1998

Analysis: I remember that promo because of what Vader said. It was likely what he felt at the time. Vader was really out of shape here and he knew it. Vader left WWE in October 1998 and would go back to Japan where he had more success as he wrestled until his late 40s.

Let’s Honor Some Wrestling Legends

There was a segment where Michael Cole introduced The Crusher and Mad Dog Vachon (who had a prosthetic leg). They were called Milwaukee wrestling legends. Both men were helped to the ring by some women. Vachon was given a plaque. Vachon thanked his wife and said he loved his niece Luna Vachon. Vachon thanked Vince McMahon for putting wrestling on the world stage. The Crusher did some rambling for a promo and he was given a plaque. Jerry Lawler went into the ring saying it was 1998, not 1948. Lawler taunted Vachon and tried to kick his wooden leg. The Crusher punched Lawler and the fans popped big for The Crusher while Lawler left the ring. The fans chanted for Crusher. Lawler took off Vachon’s prosthetic leg and threw it at Crusher. Lawler tried a cheap shot, so Crusher hit Lawler with Vachon’s prosthetic leg. That ended this segment.

Analysis: This was lame even though it was designed to be a segment to honor some local Milwaukee legends. It is surprising that they would put this on a pay-per-view during this era full of action. The roster wasn’t that deep, though, so it was a way to fill some time while honoring the legends.

Degeneration X got a big pop for their entrance. They were in full babyface mode by this point. At the last PPV, Unforgiven, they were still heelish. When they tried to “invade” WCW, that helped propel them into the babyface world. It was the first time Triple H was a babyface in WWE. Triple H did his “Are you ready?” promo leading to the “let’s get ready to suck it” line. Road Dogg did his classic introduction as well. Billy Gunn had two words for the Nation of Domination: “Suck it!” That was it.

Degeneration X (Triple H, Billy Gunn & Road Dogg) w/Chyna & X-Pac vs. The Nation of Domination (Owen Hart, Kama Mustafa & D-Lo Brown) w/Mark Henry

Pre-match notes: Degeneration X were the faces. Triple H was the European Champion while the New Age Outlaws duo of Road Dogg and Billy Gunn were the Tag Team Champions. The Nation of Domination were heels. Owen Hart joined The Nation of Domination on May 4th, so it was a few weeks before the show. That put an end to Owen’s babyface run (post Survivor Series) after about six months.

Brown was in control of Dogg with running shoulder tackles. Dogg with an arm drag and a jumping splash onto the back of Brown. Owen got a lot of heat when he tagged in with Gunn hitting him with a clothesline. Gunn celebrated a press slam on Owen, but then Owen came back with a spinning heel kick. Hunter tagged in for the first time with the jumping knee to the face and he got a backbreaker. The heels took control after Owen hit a low blow kick on Hunter that the referee didn’t see. JR noted that the guys in the locker room call Kama “The Godfather” and we know that would become his name later in the year. Gunn sent Brown into the turnbuckle with a catapult. Hunter, Dogg and Gunn all got some offense on Brown with Gunn getting a two count after a suplex. Hunter got a knee drop for two. The heels took over against Dogg with Owen getting a cheap shot and Kama took control with a back kick to the head. Owen hit a piledriver on Dogg for two. The heels isolated Dogg from his team for several minutes. Dogg managed to hit a running cross body block on Owen for two, but then Owen hit an enziguri. Hunter hit Owen in the back when Owen tried a Sharpshooter. Kama went for a splash off the middle ropes, but Dogg moved and Kama hit a clothesline leading to a chinlock. Brown hit a backbreaker and then a moonsault off the top for two with Hunter making the save. Dogg avoided an elbow drop by Brown off the middle ropes.

Gunn got the hot tag with clothesline, punches and a back body drop. It turned into a brawl with all six guys. Gunn hit a Fameasser (called Rocker Dropper by JR) and Chyna punched Henry on the floor. The referee left the ring to watch that instead of the match. Gunn and Hunter hit a spike piledriver on Brown on one of the titles. Owen went back in, elbow to Triple H and Owen hit a Pedigree on Hunter on the title. Owen covered Hunter, the referee Mike Chioda went back in the ring and counted the pin to give Owen the win. It went 18:33.

Winners by pinfall: Nation of Domination (Owen Hart, Kama Mustafa & D-Lo Brown)

Analysis: **1/2 A long match that was just average for the most part. They finished strong with a lot of action, but it was just too long for this type of match. It was clear that Owen and Hunter weren’t the two legal guys in the match (Gunn and Brown were), yet the referee counted them. I did like the finish with Owen hitting a Pedigree on Hunter, which you didn’t see happen that much in Hunter’s career. I think it was a case of WWE wanting Owen to pick up the big win since he was new in the Nation of Domination group, so it was a significant victory for the group as the two sides feuded for several months.

The video package aired for the WWE Title match with Steve Austin defending the gold against Dude Love. Vince McMahon announced Gerald Brisco as the timekeeper, Pat Patterson as the bell ringer (he was the announcer) and Vince as the special guest referee. Vince talked about when he “assaulted” Austin with a steel chair in the back and got away from it. Austin got some revenge on Vince by telling some cops to arrest Vince for admitting assault against Austin. Vince said there was not one WWE superstar on the roster that can intimidate him. That led to Undertaker confronting Vince and giving him a Chokeslam. Austin would go on to hit Stunners on Patterson and Brisco, plus Austin hitting Dude Love with a steel chair. Vince got away before Austin could get him.

Analysis: Those Raw moments were so much fun and chaotic.

Vince McMahon was interviewed by Michael Hayes and Vince was with Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. Vince said he’ll call the match fair and square. Vince said if Austin assaults him during the match then he’ll strip him of the title and award Dude Love the title. Vince said “by my hand only” is the only way this match can end. Vince repeated the “by my hand only” line.

Analysis: That “by my hand only” line was a key part of the story and the match. By having Vince repeat it, he was telling the audience that it was important.

Howard Finkel read some cards doing an introduction for the guest ring announcer for this match. Pat Patterson walked out as the guest ring announcer with the fans booing him. Patterson introduced the timekeeper Gerald Brisco as well as giving out the address and the phone number of the Brisco Brothers Body Shop, which was pretty funny. The phone number was on one of the cars in the building. I’m guessing it was good for business.

brisco brothers body shop

Patterson introduced Vince McMahon as the referee using several adjectives that take ass kissing to an extreme, but lucky for Patterson it’s all on cards so he doesn’t have to remember them all. Patterson called Vince an “American icon” and a man that has made all of our lives worth living. Patterson: “Please stand in honor of our special guest referee and the owner of the World Wrestling Federation, Vince McMahon.” The fans booed Vince, who looked jacked in the referee shirt. Lawler gave Vince a standing ovation. Patterson introduced Dude Love as a rags to riches story that has followed Vince McMahon’s example. The entrance video made me laugh because it was absolutely hilarious. Dude hugged Vince when he got into the ring, which drew boos from the crowd. The fans popped in anticipation of Stone Cold, so Patterson called him a “beer swilling fool, a foul mouth punked” and a “disgrace to every human being alive today” so Patterson said he’s not going to introduce a bum. That was hilarious. JR said this man needs no introduction. Once Austin made his entrance, the pop was huge. It was typical of what Austin got in this era, but whenever you hear it again you realize just how popular this man was. JR noted this was the same venue as King of the Ring 1996 when Austin first said the “Austin 3:16” phrase. Austin handed Vince the referee the WWE Title. Vince swore to Austin that he’ll call it down the middle.

Analysis: I loved the introductions from Patterson. It made me laugh so much back then and it still does today. I thought it was very creative.

The match was about to being when The Undertaker’s music hit and the Deadman made his entrance to a huge ovation from the crowd. JR: “Could we have a volunteer?” The story was that Undertaker was there to make sure things went smoothly and that Austin wasn’t screwed out of the title.

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WWE Championship: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Dude Love (Vince McMahon was the special referee)

Pre-match notes: Austin was the babyface WWE Champion that won the title two months earlier. Dude Love was a heel. Vince McMahon was the referee as noted. The Undertaker was the self-appointed enforcer at ringside.

A tie-up started things out and when they broke, Austin gave Vince the finger to the delight of the crowd. Dude with a shoulder tackle got two since Vince counted very fast. Huge “Austin” chant from the crowd. Austin was in control and he knocked Dude’s new teeth out with a kick. Austin stomped on Dude’s teeth. Dude with punches, Austin ducked after a whip into the ropes and hit a Thesz Press followed up by a clothesline to the outside. Dude sent Austin side first into the ring steps and whipped him into the steel steps. Taker approached Vince on the floor to scare him. Back in the ring, Dude with the Russian legsweep for two. Dude whipped Austin hard into the corner with a knee to the ribs. Vince told Dude to cover and Dude got two, so Vince was pissed off. Austin was back up with a neckbreaker, three clotheslines and the kicks in the corner as the crowd was going insane. Austin stomped on Dude. Dude ducked Austin, then Dude applied the Mandible Claw, but Austin was able to hurl Dude causing Mr. Love to have his neck stuck in between the ropes (just how he lost his ear). They went outside the ring with more brawling as Dude delivered a hiptoss to Austin onto the Spanish announce table. Patterson announced the match is a “No Disqualification Match” all of a sudden as JR and the crowd was pissed off about that. Dude choked Austin with a cable at ringside. Austin tossed Dude into Brisco and Dude took a seat on the guardrail. Austin with a clothesline and Dude takes a NASTY bump hard onto the floor landing on his side. OUCH! The Undertaker stalked Vince and Vince had the same expression he had on the night he pissed his pants. Back in the ring, Austin missed a “splash the guy on the middle rope with your ass” move and Dude capitalized with a baseball slide dropkick to the outside again. Dude hit a neckbreaker on the floor as Vince rushed over to Patterson to tell him something. Patterson announced that this is a “Falls Count Anywhere Match” too. JR was pissed off: “Since when? That’s not right!” The crowd was booing as Dude was on offense.

They worked their way up the aisle to the old-fashioned cars as Austin delivered a clothesline. Dude hit a back body drop on the hood of a car as the windshield breaks (Ouch!) and that got a two count. Dude got a to count while pinning Austin on the front of the car. More brawling around the cars leading to Austin getting a two count after he sent Dude into the top of the car. Austin went for a Stunner on the car, but Dude shoved him off and did a sunset flip off the hood of the car on the floor for an innovative spot. Austin was thrown into a guardrail as well as the back of a car. Dude got a lead pipe and Austin was bleeding after doing a blade job when he was sent into the car. Dude hit Austin in the back with the lead pipe. Dude hit a suplex on the floor as both guys were bumping all over the damn arena. Dude climbed on a car, but missed the elbow in a spot that he discussed in his book. Foley said he chickened out with that leap, but I think we can forgive him. Austin covered for a slow two count as Vine was staring at Undertaker standing right here. Austin sent Dude into steps and into the ring. The fans were really into it. You think anybody in the crowd is drunk? Milwaukee? Draw your own conclusions. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, my friends. It’s merely a comment.

Patterson tripped Austin as Dude pounded Austin’s bloody head. Austin was thrown into an exposed turnbuckle (Dude took the pad off). Dude hit a running knee attack and sent Austin into the turnbuckle again. Dude applied a chinlock. Patterson handed Dude a chair, which he used to drill Austin in the ribs and a really hard chair to the back. Dude with the double arm DDT on the chair for a two count as the crowd gasped all at once. Dude ran at Austin with the chair, Austin got a boot up and then a clothesline. Austin with a BRUTAL chair shot to the head of Dude. Austin went for a pin, but Vince wouldn’t count. Boos from the crowd! Vince lied! What a bastard! Sorry, I was caught in the moment. Dude grabbed the chair while Austin argued with Vinny Mac. Austin moved out of the way, so Dude absolutely drilled Vince with the chair to the head! It was a really stiff shot that Vince took without using a hand to block it. Austin with a Stunner, Mike Chioda ran in to count, but Patterson yanked him out of the ring and decked him with a punch as the crowd was pissed off again. Austin yelled at Patterson. Dude was up and applied the Mandible Claw again as Patterson slid into the ring to count. Patterson was pulled out of the ring by Taker (you knew he had to do something) who proceeded to Chokeslam Patterson through the English announce table (the Spanish are spared, for now). The crowd loved that! Austin was still hurting, so Dude pinned him again and Brisco goes in the ring to count. Bad move by Brisco because Taker pulled him out and Chokeslammed Brisco through the Spanish table (not so lucky now, amigos). The crowd was going absolutely insane now! Austin was up, kick to the gut and Austin delivered the Stunner to Dude! Holy shit this crowd is going crazy! Austin grabbed Vince’s limp body and hit the mat with Vince’s hand three times (remember, Vince’s hand only could count the pin) to get the 1…2…3 and retain the title. It went 22:27.

Winner by pinfall: Steve Austin

Analysis: ****1/2 It was an excellent match. This match had everything needed to be a classic. It was for the WWE Title, it featured the top babyface, and the top heels, two very good workers and a memorable storyline. The best time to have a babyface champion retain the WWE Title is when the crowd actually thinks he will lose the belt. You have to create an atmosphere so electric that the fans will question whether their hero will keep his title. That’s what they did here. By stacking the deck against Austin, it made the victory feel that much greater. Dude was outstanding by taking some big bumps throughout the match while nearly benefitting from Vince’s cheating as the referee. Austin was working hard, taking bigger bumps for him because his neck was pretty bad at this point, so taking big bumps wasn’t that smart. There were some nasty chair shots in the match with Austin hitting Dude at one point and then Dude’s chair shot that hit Vince. The presence of Vince, Patterson & Brisco was smart and then you had Undertaker trying to prevent the interference. It was booked really well. In Foley’s first book, he called this match an “elaborate twenty-minute epic drama.” Well said. I agree. A perfect fit as a main event in the Attitude Era. That’s for sure.

Austin gave Vince and Dude the magic fingers and stared down Taker, who he would eventually meet at SummerSlam 1998. JR was proud to inform us that Steve Austin is the toughest S.O.B. he has ever seen. Austin celebrated with the WWE Title, much to the delight of the crowd. If you want to hear a loud pop just watch this match because the crowd was going absolutely insane particularly after it is over. They showed some replays of the key spots.

Austin’s celebration continued on the hood of a car by the entrance. The fans popped huge for Austin as usual. That was the end of the show.

This event had a runtime of 2:47:24 on WWE Network.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show rating (out of 10): 4. 5

This was a one match show in a lot of ways with Austin and Dude having one of the best matches of 1998 WWE in the main event. I remembered it being a great match, but then when you watch it again and hear the crowd response, it’s amazing how much the fans got into everything Austin did. As I wrote in the match review, it was booked so well with all the hijinks at ringside, Vince McMahon getting knocked out by a Dude Love chair shot and Undertaker there to prevent any cheap interference. It worked well. It’s such a fun match to watch.

The rest of the show was disappointing. Some of the matches were rushed while the DX/Nation tag team match went way too long at nearly 20 minutes. The segment with legends felt like they were just killing time and they had to add a handicap bonus match due to the lack of matches. I felt bad for Rock and Faarooq not really getting a chance to have a decent match because what they did was more of an angle that was disguised as a match. The Marc Mero/Sable angle worked in terms of pissing off the crowd thinking that Sable was gone, but of course, she was back a few weeks later. The LOD guys looked WAY past their prime in the opener. That was a bad choice to start the show. Other than the main event, what I remembered most about the show was Vader calling himself a “fat piece of shit” after his match, which surprisingly is still in the WWE Network version of the show without any edit.

When it comes to this show I would only recommend the main event including the funny introductions from Pat Patterson. Other than that, it’s mostly a skippable event.

 

FIVE STARS

  1. Steve Austin
  2. Dude Love
  3. Vince McMahon
  4. Owen Hart
  5. Triple H

 

OPINIONS

Best Match: Steve Austin vs. Dude Love (****1/2 out of 5)

Worst Match: The Rock vs. Faarooq (1/2*)

Most Memorable Moment: Dude Love accidentally hitting Vince McMahon with a chair to the head, which led to Austin beating Love.

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

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John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport