Thursday, 20 September 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWF Over The Edge 1998 - In Your House 22

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - In Your House 22: Event Poster
May 31, 1998
Wisconsin Center Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I get a cold shiver down my spine when I think about WWF Over The Edge. After all, it was at the 1999 version of this event that one of my all-time favourite wrestlers, Owen Hart, was tragically killed.

Still, this is the 1998 version, the first Over The Edge event that we're here to talk about tonight. So, as much as possible, I'm going to push the events of 1999 out of my mind for the time being and concentrate on this show.

Let's get to it, shall we?

You Must Comply

We began our show tonight with an intro video which took footage recounting the rivalry between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon spliced it with footage of armies marching and 1984/They Live-style messages telling us to obey and be compliant.

The overall effect was to liken McMahon to a dictator not too dissimilar to Hitler, and Austin as the anti-hero renegade who refused to conform.

The main reason behind the video, however, was not merely to look cool (which it did) but to remind us that Austin would face Dude Love tonight with McMahon as the referee, Gerald Brisco as the timekeeper, and Pat Patterson as our guest ring announcer.

Could Austin overcome such insurmountable odds and still walk out with the WWF title?






That was the question Jim Ross asked as he welcomed us to tonight's show.

No, came the resounding reply from JR's broadcast colleague, Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

With all that out of the way, it was onto our opening match.

LOD 2000 (Hawk & Animal w/ Sunny and Darren Drozdov) vs. The Disciples of Apocalypse (Skull & 8-Ball, w/ Chainz)

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Sunny Celebrates with Animal of LOD 2000
Since we last saw them at Unforgiven 1998, Hawk and Animal had befriended newcomer Darren 'Puke' Drozdov, kicking off a storyline that would take a disturbing turn later on in the year.

Here, Droz hung around ringside with Sunny whilst his team went to war with Skull and 8-Ball in a passable contest that hasn't aged well.

What I mean by that is that whilst the crowd were super hot for it (or at least they were super hot for the LOD) watching this match back, you just don't feel that this was anything worth getting excited over.

After 12 or so minutes, Skull and 8-Ball tried to pull the old switcharoo, but Droz got involved and ended up giving his team the assist for the win.
Your Winners: LOD 2000

As Sunny celebrated with her boys, the camera got a close up of her and gave us an eye-full of her nipple. I'm glad I only noticed this now. I don't think my 13-year-old self would have been able to cope with Sunny nips back in the day.

Farooq takes out The Rock

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - The Rock cuts a pre-match promo before facing Farooq
After leading a mutiny and usurping Farooq as leader of The Nation, The Rock was scheduled to defend his Intercontinental title against the man better known as Ron Simmons later on in the show.

Instead, The People’s Champ debuted his new theme music -the original version of the theme we all remember him using- as he strolled to ringside to make fun of the Milwaukee crowd.

Having heard enough, Farooq himself ran out to attack his adversary.

The Rock brought out a chair, but instead of plastering Farooq with it, we got the familiar spot where he misses, the chair hits the ropes, and bounces back into his own face.

Farooq then delivered a piledriver, aiming for the chair but missing but a good mile. Jim Ross, ever the professional, still tried to convince us that the move had landed.

Eventually, the rest of The Nation ran out to make the save and Farooq just kind of walked away.

That left The Rock selling the piledriver as if it had landed on the chair...from a great height...before having his neck trampled on by an elephant.

EMTs came down and put Rocky on a stretcher with a neck brace, all but telling us that tonight’s Intercontinental championship match wouldn’t be taking place.

Whilst this wasn’t a horrible segment, the fact that the chair-shot clearly missed really ruined it, especially when they tried to sell it that The Rock was legit hurt.

Michael Cole is a Silly Bastard

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Michael Cole interviews WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin
Out in the locker room, Michael Cole asked WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin if tonight would be the last night he’d walk to the ring with the title.

‘Hell no, you silly bastard,’ replied Austin, before making up for the lacklustre show so far with a compelling promo in which he vowed to retain the belt.

Asked whether anyone had volunteered to watch his back and keep Mr. McMahon in line, Austin said no, because everyone was too scared of Vince.

This would become an important point later on in the show, but for now it was just a really good segment that really delivered.

Double J (w/ Tennessee Lee) vs. Steve Blackman

Yes, they were only referring to Jeff Jarrett as Double J at this point, with the announcers never once saying his full name.

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Jeff Jarrett goes just by the name Double J
Along with Double J and Triple H, I heard WWF also tried Quadruple P and Octuple Z but they didn’t take off.

Whatever you want to call him, Double J was introduced by his promoter, Tennessee Lee before going up against Steve Blackman, who was competing in his first WWF Pay Per View singles match and his first PPV match of any kind since the 1998 Royal Rumble.

The match was pretty good for what it was, but it became obvious that it didn’t really matter.

At one point we were interrupted by Al Snow invading the Spanish announce team, and at others Ross and Lawler ignored the action completely to talk about The Rock and Sable.

Still, Blackman and Jarrett -sorry, Double J- put on a decent show that ended when Tennessee Lee hit Blackman with one of his own sticks as the Lethal Weapon scaled the top rope.

JJ made the cover, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Double J

Up next, we were taken back to Raw, where Marc Mero had made a deal with Sable:

She could pick anyone in the WWF to represent her, and it that wrestler won, Sable would be free to leave Mero. If Mero won, however, Sable would have to leave the company.

Marvellous Marc Mero vs. Sable

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Sable took on estranged husband Marc Mero in a one-on-one match
Rather than picking someone to represent her, Sable claimed she didn’t need any man to fight her battles, and would take on Mero himself.

Feigning chivalry, Mero said the whole thing had gone too far, called for the bell and lay down, inviting Sable to pin him.

When she made the cover, however, the dastardly heel kicked out at two, wrapped her up in a small package and won the ‘match.’
Your Winner: Marc Mero

Afterwards, Mero tried to rally the crowd into singing ‘Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Hey Goodbye’ but the crowd weren’t into it.

Nor were they into much else for that matter.

This whole segment fell flat, and wasn’t entertaining at all.

Sable Says Farewell

Backstage, Michael Cole interviewed Sable, who gave an emotional farewell, thanking the fans for their support.

With that, Sable was apparently gone, but would be back by the time of the next In Your House event.

The Rock is Hurt

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - The Nation tend to a hurt Rock backstage
Pandemonium ran wild backstage as The Nation tended to The Rock, who was still wearing his neck brace.

Owen Hart yelled random words at the camera as Doc Hendrix told us that Sgt. Slaughter had insisted that if The Rock didn’t compete tonight, he would be stripped of his title.

3-on-2 Handicap Match
Kaientai (Dick Togo, Sho Funaki, and Mens Teioh w/ Mr Yamaguchi) vs. WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku & Bradshaw

I always had a soft spot for Kaientai. Their match on the first ECW PPV was a highlight of that show and there was always something about seeing them in action that appealed to me.

Here, although this wasn’t the greatest thing any of them had ever done, they certainly didn’t disappoint and delivered an entertaining contest that was always at its best when Taka Michinoku was going up against his former stablemates.

Bradshaw was no slouch here either, and played his role as the big man laying waist to his smaller opponents really well.

In the end, however, not even Bradshaw’s size was enough to combat the quickness and cunning of three opponents.

Dick Togo drilled Taka with a senton bomb to win the match for his team.
Your Winner: Kaientai

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Sable leaves the arena after losing to Marc Mero
Before the next match, we were shown Sable leaving the arena, and the World Wrestling Federation, whilst still wearing her wrestling attire.

I mean, c’mon, wouldn’t you at least let the girl put some pants on first?

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock vs. Farooq

Three times they played The Rock’s music and three times The Great One failed to surface.

That was until Sgt. Slaughter came out and basically made a huge mess of his lines.

What he meant to say was that, as Commissioner, he was ordering The Rock to defend his title.

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - The Rock defended the Intercontinental title against Farooq
What he actually ended up saying was something about him representing something. I don't know, it made no sense at all.

Eventually, The Rock did arrive to put Slaughter out of his misery.

Wearing a neck-brace and selling his injury for all it was with, the champ was met outside the ring by a fired-up Farooq, who took control early on and dominated the bulk of this short and forgettable -though not particularly horrible- match.

At one point, Farooq thought he’d won but it turned out The Rock had his foot under the rope. A few seconds later, the champ gained the advantage and scored a fluke pin with both feet on the ropes.
Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Rock

Afterwards, Farooq picked up where he left off and nailed The Great One with a piledriver. The Nation then ran in for the beat down, but DX made the rescue.

So far, this whole show feels like it’s missing something. A quality match is probably what it is.

Mask vs. Mask
Kane (w/ Paul Bearer) vs Vader

This rivalry stretched back to No Way Out of Texas, when Kane smashed Vader in with a wrench.

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Paul Bearer managed Kane against Vader
Tonight, The Mastodon looked to get revenge in a ridiculous Mask vs. Mask match.

By ridiculous, I mean the stipulation was. Honestly, Vader losing his mask was like The Red Rooster losing the red dye from his hair.

Still, Jerry Lawler tried his best to sell the possibility of seeing Vader unmasked as something we should get excited about.

Nobody did get excited when the big man inevitably lost, just as nobody got excited for the match itself.

I mean, it was there, and it was OK, but blah. I’m so bored by this show that even writing this review is tough going.
Your Winner: Kane

Afterward, Kane gave Vader’s mask to Paul Bearer, who put it on and did a little dance. Then, Michael Cole asked Vader what went wrong, and Vader gave us his famous promo where he referred to himself as a ‘big fat piece of shit.’


Honouring Milwaukee Legends

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Mad Dog Vachon was honoured in a mini Hall of Fame-type ceremony
Up next, Michael Cole took the time to introduce local legends Mad Dog Vachon and The Crusher to honour them in a brief segment akin to a bad Hall of Fame induction.

Vachon, last seen at In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies when his leg was used in the finish of Shawn/Diesel, thanked his wife, told us he loved his niece, Luna Vachon, and then thanked Vince McMahon for putting wrestling on the world stage.

As for The Crusher, well, I’m honestly not sure what he said, but I think it was something like ‘rar rar rar arggghh.’

Eventually, Jerry Lawler got in the ring to mock the two old-timers and even ‘stole’ Vachon’s false leg, but Crusher got the leg back and beat Jerry up with it.

This was supposed to be comedy -I think- but, like everything on the show, it fell flat.

D-Generation-X (Triple H, Road Dogg, and Bad Ass Billy Gunn w/ Chyna and X-Pac) vs. The Nation (Kama Mustafa, D’Lo Brown, and Owen Hart w/ Marc Henry)

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Road Dogg hypes the crowd before DX vs. The Nation
It was only at the previous months pay per view, Unforgiven 1998, that DX had still been technically heels.

Now, thanks to those famous ‘Invading WCW skits’ and a well-timed feud with The Nation, they were fully-fledged baby faces receiving the loudest pop of the night.

Meanwhile, The Nation had added Owen Hart to their mix and were beginning to show a little more of their own personality. That meant that, whilst he wasn’t yet a proper pimp, Kama Mustafa did come down to the ring chomping on a cigar.

At one point in the match, JR even told us that the ‘boys in the lockeroom’ called Kama ‘The Godfather,’ or ‘Sir.’

I mention all of this because it’s more interesting than the match itself.

Ok, so this was one of the better bouts on the card, but it still was only mildly entertaining at best.

What, could nobody on this card be bothered at all?

In the end, we got the predictable ‘babyface-in-peril-makes-the-hit-tag-and-all-six-men-start-brawling’ bit which resulted in Billy Gunn and Triple H hitting D’Lo Brown with a spiked piledriver onto the European title.

Hunter made the cover, but then Owen Hart ran in and blasted him with a pedigree onto the title to land the win.
Your Winners: The Nation

Time for the Main Event

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Mr McMahon prepares for his special referee role in the Austin/Dude Love match
Before the action, we got a video package reminding us of the build-up to this match and how Vince had said that he accepted the condition of somebody able to volunteer to keep an eye on him and make sure he called the match fairly, because he knew that nobody would have the balls to do it.

That took us to a backstage interview in which Doc Hendrix asked McMahon (w/ The Stooges, obviously) whether tonight would be Austin’s last night as champion.

That, said McMahon, was up to Austin, but what he did know was that the only way the match was going to end was by his (McMahon’s) hand only. Remember that for later.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Dude Love (Special Referee: Vince McMahon)

Prior to the match, Howard Finkle gave Special Guest Ring Announcer Pat Patterson an over-hyped introduction that had obviously been forced upon him by the evil heels.

Patterson then gave the same kind of ass-kissing intro to Special Guest Time Keeper Gerald Briscoe, Special Guest Referee Vince McMahon, and, of course, our challenger, Dude Love.

WWF - Over the Edge 1998 Review - Dude Love vs. WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin
Patterson then refused to introduce ‘a bum’ like Steve Austin, but Austin, of course, needed no introduction. The Texas Rattlesnake blew the roof off the joint as he made his way to the ring, ready for war.

Predictably, given that JR had spent most of the night telling us that The Undertaker was in the building for no reason, The Dead Man came to volunteer to keep his eye on McMahon.

Finally, the bell rang, and the only match on the card worth watching got underway, though not before a large ‘VINCE IS GAY!’ chant erupted from the crowd which JR told us was actually ‘Vince is Dead.’

I laughed.

Gay or not, Vince decided halfway through the match that it was now Falls Count Anywhere, which gave us an entertaining trip up to the entrance and plenty of fun spots involving the junkyard cars that made up the Over the Edge set.

It was the finish though that was the most entertaining part of all.

A chair came into play, which Austin used to knock Dude Love out cold with.

Vince, however, refused to count, prompting Austin to get up in his face. Love recovered and charged at Austin with a chair, but the champ ducked, and Dude took out The Chairman instead.

With the ref down, Foley gained the advantage and Pat Patterson tried to count the fall, but Undertaker dragged him from the ring and choke slammed him through a table in a truly beautiful moment.

The same happened to Gerald Briscoe, and I’ll admit to jumping out of my seat with excitement - just when I was wondering why we loved the Attitude Era, spots like that remind me.

In the end, Austin stunned the challenger then grabbed an unconscious Vince McMahon and used the boss’s hand to make the three count.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Afterwards, Austin and Undertaker exchanged glances, leading us into Austin’s next feud.







That, ladies and gentlemen, was a tough show to watch. Everything up to the main event was either uninspired, confusing, or just plain bad.

The main event, however, was phenomenally entertaining and a true must-see Attitude Era match.

When you do see it, however, be sure to skip the rest of the show, because it really did suck.


1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
  3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
  8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
  9. WCW Slamboree 1998
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    Retro Pro Wrestling

    New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.