On This Day: May 31, 1998 – In Your House #22: Over the Edge: Russo At His Best. Seriously.

In Your House 22: Over The Edge
Date: May 31, 1998
Location: Wisconsin Center Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Attendance: 9,822
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Well it’s a month after Backlash and nothing has really changed. Taker is kind of waiting for a feud which would come soon enough, the Nation and DX have started their feud that would last until Summerslam, Kane and Vader are going at it again and we get Austin/Love 2. The buildup for this actually existed, as Foley had to earn his title opportunity, this time by beating Funk in the first ever hardcore match and then Goldust in a regular match.

See what that does right there? It gets Foley back to where he was without he and Austin interacting because Foley is beating midcard guys that he’s supposed to be better than. That’s something that is drastically missing from wrestling today and would help them out quite a bit I think, as it would stop the monotonous matches we get on a weekly basis. I remember this main event being better than last month’s so let’s see if I’m right.

The intro video is of course over the top as anything with scenes of the Nazis marching around Europe as a voiceover talks about how people must conform but Austin is disagreeing with this. That’s going a bit hard with the idea of Vince ruling all don’t you think? I mean, can you imagine a place about wrestling where the authority figures are referred to as Nazis? That’s a screwed up place if I’ve ever heard of one. We get that weird kind of country sounding music again which just doesn’t work at all.

Legion of Doom vs. Disciples of Apocalypse

Sunny and Droz are with the LOD. Droz for those of you that don’t know was a decent wrestler but nothing great. He was crippled and is now in a wheelchair after a botched move that was neither guy’s fault. He works for WWE.com I think or something like that. Animal scared the heck out of me by using a dragon screw leg whip. Where in the world did he learn something like that?

That’s a decent move that is fairly difficult. Hawk takes a pile driver which for some reason he has never once sold in his career that I can remember. We get that American Originals line again as I don’t get what the point of that was. It was never incorporated into their gimmick or anything like that. The announcers try to imply that the LOD have lost a step and aren’t as popular as they used to be.

Not sure if I agree with that or not. I think that’s what JR said but I had some trouble hearing over the LOD chant. For some reason JR insists this should be a number one contenders match, but he never says why. You win a match and you get a title shot apparently. Droz hits one of the DOA and Animal powerslams him for the pin.

Rating: C+. This was ok. The problem was that they styles were far too similar style wise and the flow was just not there. This was fine for a warmup though and it did just fine in that sense. The crowd loved the LOD and that’s what the match was built on. That and Sunny looking great of course.

Rock comes out to badmouth Milwaukee. That’s something that could be done more often also: random interviews and promos. Just have someone come out and talk for a bit. It’ll work wonders. Farrooq comes out and beats on him. He pile drives “on a chair” which clearly is behind Farrooq when Rocky’s head hits. Rocky is taken out in a neck brace.

Jeff Jarrett vs. SteveBlackman

Jarrett’s annoying manager Tennessee Lee, more famous as Colonel Robert Parker in WCW, introduces him. Blackman has his stick things now. This match is ok but that’s all it is: ok. It’s the definition of filler as they had a minor feud going but it was nothing special at all. It’s just two guys having a basic match that would be good on a house show. The fans aren’t really that into it as neither guy has a very exciting style.

There’s nothing that bad but it’s just not that exciting at all, which is odd because Jarrett can have good if not very good matches. I guess it depends on his opponent. Blackman was ok for what he was but I never got into his gimmick. It just felt like it was very bland and had almost no thought put into it at all. Lee of course gets involved and that goes nowhere until he hits Blackman with one of his sticks to let Jarrett pin him. Jarrett needs Debra and badly at this point.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t bad but it really wasn’t that entertaining. It’s hard to comment on matches like these because they’re just there. It was ten minutes of acceptable wrestling but I never really cared who won or who lost, nor did I care about their mini feud. Decent match, but just filler and not particularly good filler.

We see the setup for Sable and Mero, which was based around Sable wanting to be free of him but him saying no. The deal is Sable picks someone. If Mero wins, Sable is gone but if the other guy wins, Sable is free.

Marc Mero vs. Sable

Yeah of course it’s her. Mero gives a speech about how this is ridiculous and it shouldn’t have come to this and lays down for her. You can fill in the dots yourself here as Mero rolls her up to get rid of her. She’d be back I think the next month or two as this meant nothing at all. I want to stone the person that wrote the goodbye song.

Rating: N/A. It was less than 30 seconds.

Cole recaps the 20 second match we just saw, in case we don’t remember it.

Kaientai vs. Taka Michinoku/Bradshaw

This is billed as a bonus match, meaning there literally was no build for it and it was just put on the card. Ok, that’s fine I guess. It’s 3 on 2. Now this match is even more proof of what was wrong with the LH division and it can be traced to a JR line. The three members of Kaientai are all light heavyweights that are ticked off at Taka (never explained why).

Ross says he’s looking forward to seeing Taka one on one with them in the upcoming months in some great light heavyweight action. Now in theory, that’s fine. You have a face against three heels, which should be at least three months of at least passable matches right? Well in theory, yeah that’s a good idea.

However, instead of having that be the case, Kaientai starts feuding with Val Venis of all people. I mean really, Val, I debuted last month with a porn star gimmick, Venis? Taka eventually turned heel and joined them, making the belt even more worthless as there were no face challengers for him until Christian debuted and won the title in October, or 4 and a half months after this.

The booking made no sense as Taka rarely ever defended the belt and simply was the champion. The whole thing was just to try to capitalize on WCW’s success and it never worked, mainly because Taka was the only light heavyweight on the roster. Dick Togo does a…..wait, there’s a wrestler named Dick Togo?

Anyway, he uses a swanton which JR calls a rolling headbutt, which it kind of is. Eventually Togo wins with a back splash. Oh I almost forgot: Al Snow was at the Spanish announce table as he was continuing to try desperately to get a meeting with Vince to get a contract. This led to some of the best comedy I’ve seen in a long time as Snow is absolutely hilarious when he’s given the chance.

Rating: B-. It was literally not announced but it was ok. No one really wanted to see it but factoring all that in, this was an ok match. The sad part about it is of course what I mentioned earlier with the complete and total failure of the lightweight division.

Sable is shown leaving the arena, which amuses the King for no apparent reason.

Intercontinental Title: Farrooq vs. Rock

We await the Rock who won’t come out, likely due to his neck issue from earlier. Slaughter instead comes out and says that he’ll award the title for Farrooq if Rocky isn’t out here by the count of 10. He starts the countdown and at 2 Rock’s music hits and he comes to the ring very slowly due to his neck. Now, think about this sequence for a second.

Does it sound even remotely complex? Not to me it doesn’t. A guy comes out, says one line and counts down from 10 to zero. Anyway you cut it, that shouldn’t be a hard thing to do. Somehow though, Slaughter manages to stumble over a bunch of the words. It was unbelievable to me. His count from 10 to 2 takes at least 30 seconds. How could someone go from world champion to this?

Farrooq jumps him and within a few seconds Rock’s neck is fine but he’s getting beaten on. This is a short match so it’s kind of difficult to talk about it. It lasts a little over five minutes which is odd to me. Rock lands the elbow which doesn’t have a name yet. They beat on each other the whole match which is physical to say the least. The main point of it comes when the Dominator is hit but Rock gets his foot on the bottom rope before the three count.

Farrooq is confused and argues forever during which Rocky recovers. He rolls up Farooq and uses the ropes for the pin. After the pin, more piledrivers follow so Rock’s neck is reinjured. The Nation comes out for the beatdown but DX makes the save and you know this is going to be one heck of a feud in the upcoming months, which it certainly was.

Rating: B-. While very short, it was intense. The length of the match can be overcome with good work throughout and this was a match like that. How these two never got the big blow PPV match is beyond me as it would have been at least quite good. The ending was kind of stupid though with Farrooq arguing WAY too long over the foot on the rope. Other than that, this was fine.

Kane vs. Vader

This is mask vs. mask, which is kind of stupid given Vader’s mask style but I get the idea they were going with here. It’s pretty much a redoing of their match from No Way Out but shorter and not as good. Vader is a pure jobber here and it’s really sad. You can tell that he’s on the verge of being gone and it’s pathetic. You want to talk about a guy that Vince just messed up to no end, this is it right here.

To me, it all comes down to Vince’s ego. Vader was a huge deal in WCW and overseas, so Vince didn’t want to use him. Someone with his size, look, ability and character is just so naturally easy to hate that it was mind blowing to think Vince didn’t cash in on it. I’m not saying you make him world champion for months on end, but he should have been in the main event scene, not jobbing to the rookie Edge when he debuted in a few months.

Anyway, Kane pretty much dominates here other than some token offense by Vader which was mainly punches. He uses the same fake looking wrench on Kane that Kane used on him in their last match. This really is going nowhere at all as Kane predictably sits up from the moonsault. He hits a decent chokeslam which is impressive given the gravitational pull of Vader’s fat.

Tombstone ends it and Vader’s mask is removed revealing…something we’ve seen about 10 times. Post match Vader says he’s too big and is a big piece of crap. Vince loved that line and I’d say Vince coined it as well. Vader would soon be jobbing to death as he was almost gone from the company within a few months. Ross talking about how no one can stop Kane is just stupid given his back to back losses to Taker.

Rating: C-. This was just two big guys beating on each other and a way to get Kane over even more than he already was. Vader was nothing at this point and had been for awhile which I’ve already gone over. No one thought he had a chance here and in a seven minute match he was somehow squashed which is hard to do in that short of a time frame. This wasn’t very good at all.

We get a mini legends ceremony with Mad Dog Vachon and The Crusher who are both big names in the area. Vachon literally is almost passed coming down the aisle by Crusher who comes out second. This is far below what they did in St. Louis a few months ago. Vachon talks for awhile with an odd voice and criticizes Vince for what he’s been doing lately and also corrects everyone and says Luna is his niece, not his daughter.

Crusher sings part of a polka which was part of his character or something. During this, Lawler is heckling them to no end, even booing so much that you can’t hear what Vachon is saying. He gets in the ring at the end and insults them even more. Crusher takes off his jacket and has arms that can rival Vader’s. This guy is a freaking truck. He punches Lawler and apparently he was 72 at the time.

That is insane as he is moving around very well considering his age and looks like he’s about 50. It’s fine until he takes his shirt off at least. Lawler takes Vachon’s prosthetic leg which is just not as intense as it was two years ago when Diesel did it.

Crusher punches him out again. Crusher gets the leg back to Vachon and Lawler attacks again and for the third time gets dropped. Was there a point to any of this with Lawler? The legends thing is fine but why have Lawler do his stuff? I don’t get that part.

DX says they’re ready for the Nation. Big lack of promos tonight.

D-Generation X vs. Nation of Domination

This is a 6 man with HHH and the Outlaws vs. Brown, Kama and Owen. It’s given a lot of time at nearly 20 minutes which is a nice plus. It’s your standard big fight but the benefit of a multi man team match like this is that everyone can fight everyone and it gives you a lot of different combinations to play with, as I’ve already gone into in my orgy comparison.

This was before HHH had really been promoted to the main event level status but this feud would put him in that place as the feud more or less boils down to Rock vs. HHH. Their ladder match at Summerslam is something I’m really looking forward to getting to as it’s one of my favorite matches. In this match a lot of the guys are beaten down so we get the slowdown process which allows for a lot of time to be killed without the match seeming repetitive in a nice touch.

Six mans have the potential to be great but they have to be done just right. Billy is still using a piledriver but has started using the Rocker Dropper which will become known as the Fameasser. This is a war for the most part and it’s working quite well I think.

Of course in the end it turns into the big melee that we were all waiting on with Henry and Chyna first getting involved with each other in what would one day become one of the defining moments of the Attitude Era as they would begin dating and Chyna implied she wanted a threesome and brought in a transvestite to sleep with Mark, which I’ve always thought was a rib on herself. Sweet goodness that was a long sentence. Anyway, the European title belt gets involved and Owen pedigrees HHH on it for the pin to end this.

Rating: B. This was a good match I thought. We had a long match here but it never was dull. The crowd being into it naturally helped things out a lot and it worked on a lot of levels. HHH vs. Owen was finally, and I do mean finally, coming to a close here and we would transition into Rock vs. HHH like it should have been all along. Either way, this was a good match with a nice flow to it.

Very long recap of Austin and Dude Love’s feud which now has McMahon involved in it. In tonight’s match, Patterson is the announcer, Brisco is the bell ringer and McMahon is the referee. In an interview Vince reminds us that this can only end by his hand. Remember that line. Also if Austin touched Vince, we have a new champion.

WWF Title: Steve Austin vs. Dude Love

Due to how many people there are, the entrances take over ten minutes on their own.  Brisco and Patterson both have to talk about their accomplishments forever and it’s just plain overkill at this point. It’s pure filler which could have been used for, maybe a match? Foley is still in his suit as he’s corporate now. This was the same place where he first said Austin 316, so this is a special place in company history, given that said line saved the company.

To kill even more time for no reason at all, Taker comes to the ring. Apparently he and Vince have been interacting lately, which would be another part of the Conspiracy Theory storyline. It’s a standard fight to start with Dude’s teeth apparently falling out. A Vince is dead chant starts up which is quite creepy when you think about it. They hammer each other even more until Love gets the claw on Austin.

It’s countered by having Love thrown into the ropes where his head gets stuck. They brawl onto the floor with JR asking how long is this going to go before it’s a DQ. Patterson announcers that it’s a No DQ match which Ross freaks over. A sick clothesline sends Foley over the railing where he lands on his head. These two are beating the tar out of each other as we get another reminder that it’s falls count anywhere, making this a hardcore match.

This was brand new stuff at the time so no one was really sure what to make of it. Austin is so over it’s scary as even a punch from him gets a huge pop. Vince’s expressions are making this match better as he is so desperate to get the title off of Austin. Many people don’t like him including myself but it’s hard to deny that he has talent in front of the camera and has a clear love for what he’s doing.

He was a big factor in Austin’s success and he’s making this work quite well indeed. The brawling on the cars near the entrance that say Brisco Brothers Body Shop is just pricelessly funny. Remember folks: it’s worth the drive. We get the token brawling which is often times the best part of a match. It takes up a majority of the time and while no one really believes the match will end here, it certainly makes for some entertaining spots and is the core of the match’s story.

Taker continuing to stand behind McMahon as a threatening presence is just freaking sweet. Foley misses an elbow onto the concrete which would just have hurt like nothing else more than likely. Dang that’s a short aisle. It takes almost no time to get from the entrance to the ring. Austin gets a chair that Foley brought in and in a funny spot is going so crazy with it he hits the top rope and it hits him in the head by mistake.

Austin then kills Foley with the chair but McMahon simply refuses to count. Foley accidentally blasts McMahon with the chair so he’s out. Taker beats up Patterson for trying to be the referee and then does the same to Brisco as the fans are going nuts. Both Stooges are chokeslammed through tables are ringside. Another stunner puts Foley out and then in the memorable part from this match, Austin grabs McMahon’s hand and counts the three as Vince is out cold.

It’s recaps and middle fingers a go-go as we go off the air. The next night on Raw Dude was fired and Mankind reappeared, causing Taker to lose to Kane in a #1 contenders match, setting up the double main event at King of the Ring, which is the Cell match with Taker and Mankind and the first blood match where Kane wins the title.

Rating: A-. The Vince and Austin was is the main part here, as well as Taker getting back into the main event picture. It was a wild brawl with the Stooges making it more fun with the added stipulations. It really showed how Austin had to overcome all kinds of odds to win and while Austin never really was in serious danger, it was fun to see how he would manage to win. Very fun match.

Overall Rating: B. This may not be a landmark show or anything like that, but it’s a fun one. There’s really only one boring match on the show which is filler with Jarrett and Blackman and even that’s watchable. The main event is by far the best match of the night as it’s quite fun indeed. It’s another show that isn’t particularly good, but it’ll more than do the job if you have 3 hours to kill. Check it out if you’re interested but you won’t be missing anything. The main event is worth a look though.

4 comments

  1. Mouldylocks says:

    I really enjoyed this review KB… When you’re doing older pay per views instead of live ones you really give detail on the characters, feuds and give your opinions.. I always look forward to older reviews.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Much appreciated. Thanks.

    FauladKaAulad Reply:

    a million percent agree with you there Mouldylocks

    Brings back a lot of memories…when I read through these oldies…

  2. Wayne says:

    The Austin vs. Dude Love match was one of the best matches in 1998. Classic.