The first official TV-14 PPV of the “Attitude Era”, Over the Edge ’98 happened in the midst of a ten-week winning streak against World Championship Wrestling (who last won on April 20, 1998, the night Hollywood Hogan regained the WCW World title from Randy Savage) where the Austin/McMahon story was taking over the wrestling world and producing, arguably, the best moments in the industry at the time.
While the ratings for Monday Night RAW had picked up and the tide of the “Monday Night Wars” had turned in the Federation’s favor their Pay-Per-View events were largely hit and miss. At the time Over the Edge ’98, the start of a classic summer of events for the WWF, received mixed reviews, with the classic Dude Love/Stone Cold main event saving the show for many fans and critics.
But how does Over the Edge ’98 hold up two decades later? Let’s hit ‘play’ and find out!
Edits aren’t a big deal, for those wondering, with only the WWF Superstar Line promos snipped. “WWF” blurring and muting have also been restored.
Context for this event on the Network is complete as all prior PPVs and previous editions of Monday Night RAW are currently available for you to enjoy right now!
WWF Over the Edge: In Your House 22 (WATCH)
Date: May 31, 1998 – Location: Wisconsin Center Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Attendance: 9,822 – PPV Buyrate: 0.58 (>211,000 homes)
Commentators: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler – Interviews: Michael Cole & Dok Hendrix
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Rock
WWF World Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn)
WWF European Champion: “Triple H” Hunter Hearst Helmsley
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Taka Michinoku
The PPV opens with a 1984-esque vignette highlighting the Austin/McMahon story and the Austin/Dude Love main event, juxtaposing Dude’s willingness to conform with Austin’s disobedience while illustrating the obstacles Austin faces from Mr. McMahon and The Stooges.
In the arena the pyro blows the doors off before Jim Ross welcomes us to the show, chatting with Jerry Lawler about the main event with Lawler saying Austin will not retain the title.
— “Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH – 3:27)
L.O.D. 2000 (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal) w/Sunny & Darren Drozdov vs. The Disciples of Apocalypse (8-Ball & Skull) w/Chainz
Once upon a time the Road Warriors were the tag team kingpins of the Midwest in Verne Gagne’s AWA but by the spring of 1998 they were (sadly) a shell of their former selves. Hawk is in terrible shape. Tired and lethargic Hawk gasses halfway in and is barely able to lift his shoulders to kick out or keep his feet. The match breaks down after Animal gets the tepid hot tag. In the chaos Chainz illegally swaps with lookalike Skull but is glommed by Droz before suffering an Animal powerslam for the 1-2-3 at 9:57.
WINNERS are L.O.D. 2000 (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal) w/Sunny & Darren Drozdov (Pin, 9:57)
After replays of the finish, and some awkward editing, we go to ringside where J.R. and “King” talk about the issues between The Rock and Faarooq.
Intercontinental Champion The Rock comes to the ring next, telling the crowd he didn’t become a “blue chipper and a Champ” drinking Milwaukee beer and eating bratwursts. “On the other hand,” The Rock says, “if The Rock grew up here in old Milwaukee and he had to choose and pick one of those overweight, beer drinkin’, bearded female pigs to call his own, well hell, The Rock would be doin’ a lot of suckin’ down on beers just like a baby sucks on a pacifier, if you smell what The Rock is cookin’.”
Moments later Faarooq runs in and beats down The Rock before piledriving Rock on a steel chair. The Nation make the save but Faarooq manages to drop both D’Lo and Kama before escaping the ring. Eventually EMT Owen Hart puts The Rock in a cervical collar and Rock is stretchered to the back. The fans, meanwhile, could care less about this mess.
Next we go backstage to Michael Cole and WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin says Mr. McMahon can do whatever he wants but Stone Cold will still be WWF Champion when the night is over. Austin says no one wants to watch his back because they’re afraid of what Mr. McMahon “would do to them.” Austin says that “Vince McMahon’s ass will always belong to Stone Cold Steve Austin” before kicking Cole out of the room.
In the ring, meanwhile, Tennessee Lee introduces Jeff Jarrett.
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 24:35)
“Double J” Jeff Jarrett w/Tennessee Lee vs. “The Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman
This one starts out fast with momentum swing back and forth until Jarrett, with Lee’s help, takes control. This was Blackman’s first singles match on a WWF PPV and while he was still rough around the edges it’s not a bad outing. Partway through we get an Al Snow/Spanish commentary angle and learn that Commissioner Slaughter is forcing Rock to defend his Intercontinental title no matter what. As for the match (yes, one is happening) the end comes after Tennessee Lee cracks Blackman with one of Blackman’s martial arts sticks as Blackman scales the ropes. Jarrett makes the cover and scores the win at 10:19.
WINNER is “Double J” Jeff Jarrett w/Tennessee Lee (Pin, 10:19)
Up next is footage from the go-home RAW of Marc Mero challenging Sable to find a man to face Mero at Over the Edge for Sable’s freedom from her “personal services contract” but, should Sable’s man lose, Sable is gone from the Federation forever.
Sable comes to the ring alone. “I got myself into it, and I’m gonna get myself out of it,” Sable tells Mero. “I don’t need any man fighting my battles for me. And if anybody’s gonna win my freedom, it’s gonna be me!” Marc wonders what happened to their relationship and blames the business for destroying it. Mero then says he’s going to do what should been done long ago and give Sable her freedom.
— “Intergender Grudge Match” – If Sable Wins Sable is Freed from “Person Services Contact” with Marc Mero, If Sable Loses Sable Must Leave the WWF (WATCH – 38:41)
“Marvelous” Marc Mero vs. Sable
Mero tells Sable he’s going to lay down and let Sable pin him. But when Sable tries Mero rolls Sable up in an inside cradle to win the match at the :30-second mark. Though it’s not a real match it’s still a well done segment that these two pull off extremely well.
WINNER is “Marvelous” Marc Mero (Pin, 0:31)
After the match Mero gleefully tells Sable to “get the hell out of the WWF!” Then Mero sings sings the obligatory “Na-Na-Na-Na” song.
Next we got to Michael Cole backstage who is joined by a demoralized Sable, who says she should have known better and thanks the fans before saying goodbye.
In the back Dok Hendrix is with The Rock and The Nation and tries to ask Rock about Commissioner Slaughter’s ruling that if The Rock fails to defend the Intercontinental title The Rock will be stripped of the gold but no one in The Nation gives Dok the time of day.
— “3-on-2 Handicap Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH – 47:26)
Kaientai (Dick Togo, Men’s Teioh, & Sho Funaki) w/Yamaguchi-San vs. Bradshaw & WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku
This match is exciting, fast-paced, and physical but the crowd is largely dead. Kaientai control much of the action with Taka taking the brunt of the punishment. Bradshaw gets another of the nights tepid hot tags and kicks the bejabbers out of all three Kaientai. Bradshaw survives a triple-team and destroys Kaientai, including hitting a devastating Tiger Suplex on Teioh. In the end, with Bradshaw distracted with Funaki, Teioh drops Taka with a massive chokeslam as Togo comes off the top with a senton bomb for the pin at 9:54.
WINNERS are Kaientai (Dick Togo, Men’s Teioh, & Sho Funaki) w/Yamaguchi-San (Pin, 9:54)
After a replay of the finish we see Sable, bags in hand, slowly exiting the arena for (supposedly) the final time.
Next we get the all-time classic “I’m not really an athlete?” “Attitude” promo.
Faarooq comes to the ring and waits as The Rock is announced twice but doesn’t arrive. WWF Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter comes out and says that The Rock signed a contract to defend the Intercontinental title and gives Rock to the count of ten to get to the ring or be stripped of the Intercontinental title, which Slaughter will award to Faarooq. At the count of three Rock’s music hits and the Champion arrives, cervical collar and all.
— WWF Intercontinental Championship – “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:01:05)
Faarooq vs. The Rock(c)
Faarooq meets Rock and the two brawl in the aisle before Rock eventually makes the comeback. The match isn’t all that bad and, for my money, tells one heck of a story. The finish, however, is a clusterflub. Faarooq thinks he’s won the match but Rock’s foot was clearly on the bottom rope. While arguing with the official The Rock takes Faarooq down and, with Rock’s feet on the middle ropes, scores the pin at 5:10 to retain the title. After the match Faarooq hits two more piledrivers on Rock before The Nation makes the save and beats the stuffing out of Faarooq. Moments later D-X run in and clear the ring of The Nation.
WINNER and STILL WWF Intercontinental Champion, The Rock (Pin, 5:10)
— “Mask vs. Mask Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:14:17)
Kane w/Paul Bearer vs. Vader
This is another physical match with Vader taking the fight to Kane but it’s a bit of a dud. In the end Kane survives a wrench attack before moving out of the way of Vader’s moonsault and ending the match with a colossal tombstone piledriver at 7:20.
WINNER is Kane w/Paul Bearer (Pin, 7:20)
After the match Kane unmasks Vader and gives the mask to Paul Bearer to wear. Bearer dons the mask and hilariously mocks Vader.
Michael Cole interviews a defeated Vader at ringside, who says that “maybe ‘Vader time’ is over” before calling himself a “big, fat piece of sh*t.”
Up next is a tribute to two of Milwaukee’s greatest wrestling starts, Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon and The Crusher. As J.R. puts over the legends “King” dumps all over it. After Vachon thanks his wife, his niece Luna, and Vince McMahon and Crusher does his thing Lawler steps in the ring and calls Vachon and Crusher “old farts”. Lawler berates Vachon and attempts to look at his artificial leg when Crusher drops the Bolo Punch on Lawler, who flees to the commentary table clutching his throat. Lawler sits at the table for a moment before going back to the ring and removing Vachon’s leg. Crusher goes after “King” but Lawler uses Vachon’s leg to hold Crusher off. When Lawler goes after Crusher from behind Crusher gloms Lawler with Vachon’s leg to a big pop. An irate Lawler returns to commentary and continues to badmouth the legends.
— “6-Man Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:37:25)
D-Generation X (WWF Tag Team Champion Road Dogg, WWF Tag Team Champion “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, & WWF European Champion “Triple H” Hunter Hearst Helmsley) w/Chyna & X-Pac vs. The Nation (Kama Mustafa, D’Lo Brown, & Owen Hart) w/Mark Henry
This is a solid 6-man, both physically and psychologically, that is all about the heated Triple H/Owen Hart feud, though D’Lo Brown shines throughout. The match breaks down late when Billy Gunn gets the hot tag with fights all over the ring. In the chaos Gunn and Triple H hit a spike piledriver on D’Lo onto the European title before Owen manages to hit Triple H with the Pedigree on the same European title to score the pin at 18:34.
WINNERS are The Nation (Kama Mustafa, D’Lo Brown, & Owen Hart) w/Mark Henry (Pin, 18:34)
After replays we see an excellent vignette telling the story of the Austin/McMahon/Dude match to come.
Backstage Dok Hendrix interviews Mr. McMahon who says it’s up to Austin how the match will unfold. McMahon says that if Austin puts his hands on McMahon at any time the match will be stopped and the WWF title will be awarded to Dude Love, stressing that the match will end “by my hand only.”
Next we get the ridiculous, hilarious introductions of Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, Mr. McMahon, Dude Love (with his new teeth gleaming), and Stone Cold Steve Austin, including some great one-liners from J.R.
Right before the bells rings The Undertaker comes to ringside to ensure Mr. McMahon calls it down the middle.
— WWF World Heavyweight Championship – “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 2:02:42)
Special Guest Referee: Mr. McMahon
Special Guest Ring Announcer: Pat Patterson
Special Guest Time Keeper: Gerald Brisco
Dude Love vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin(c)
This is my favorite WWF/E match of all-time. It’s not the greatest match by any means, but it’s damn fun! The commentary is incredible, the action and psychology are brilliant, and the story is nearly perfect. From the constant changing of the rules (“no D.Q.”, “falls count anywhere”, etc.) to Austin stepping on Dude’s teeth (“Dude has lost his smile,” Lawler quips) to the super hot crowd, this is WWF “Attitude” at its best in my book.
After brawling all over the set, including Dude landing a sunset flip from the hood of a Cadillac, a bloody Austin gloms Dude with a steel chair only for Mr. McMahon to refuse to count the fall. Dude hits Mr. McMahon with the chair by mistake and is crushed with a Stunner when a second referee runs in. Patterson wipes out the second ref as Dude sinks in the Mandible Claw on Austin. Patterson tries to make the count but is chokeslammed through the announce table by Undertaker, who chokeslams Brisco through the Spanish announce table mere moments later!
In the ring Austin blocks the Claw and hits a second Stunner before using Mr. McMahon’s limp hand to count the 1-2-3 to retain the WWF Championship at 22:28.
WINNER and STILL WWF World Heavyweight Champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin (Pin, 22:28)
After the match Austin celebrates as Undertaker stares the “Rattlesnake” down before leaving the arena. Austin talks trash to Mr. McMahon before we see replays of the final moments of the match. Austin continues to celebrate atop one of the cars as J.R. signs off to end the PPV.
It’s safe to say that the all-time classic main event “saved” this show, but there is a lot to like.
The physicality of the handicap match, the story of the Rock/Faarooq bout, and the Sable/Mero story are but a few. But make no mistake about it, the main event is the only great match on the card. Though I liked the show as a whole the bulk of it falls flat 20 years later. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. If you have, well, it’s what you remember it being!
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Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
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