Review: WWE Network’s Best 100 Matches: #82 Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Dude Love (WWE Title, Falls Count Anywhere, WWE Over the Edge 1998)

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WWF was at its second peak in 1998, and it was mainly down to the feud between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. McMahon needed somebody to fight for him, so he chose Dude Love as his corporate puppet. Their two matches, first Unforgiven and then at Over The Edge, should both be watched in sequence. Both are great matches, but this one has the edge (pun intended). It’s an insight into the ‘Attitude Era’ and a riveting, mayhem filled brawl!

Dude Love/Mick Foley was renowned for taking crazy bumps and an abundance of punishment. In 1998, his risk-taking reached its zenith. In Dude Love’s first match against Stone Cold at Unforgiven, Love takes a brutal fall onto the concrete from the ramp (similar to the one he took as Cactus Jack at Spring Stampede 1994), among other back-breaking bumps. Of course, little in this match at Over The Edge could equal the sheer insanity of the bumps Dude Love/Mankind took at King of the Ring 1998, in Hell in a Cell. But at Over The Edge, Dude Love suffers a hell of a lot. Stone Cold clotheslines him as he’s sat on the barrier, and Dude Love falls right on his head. Love misses a elbow drop from the roof of a car (yes, there are cars along the entrance ramp!) and lands oddly on the concrete.

They are standing on top of a car!
They are standing on top of a car!

“This is no longer resembling a wrestling match,” good old JR says as the match descends into a chaotic brawl. That’s no bad thing, by the way. Both wrestlers take wild bumps onto and off the cars. Don’t think that Stone Cold lets Dude Love absorb all the punishment: Love back drops Austin on the concrete floor and follows it up with a snap suplex! Even when the match returns to the ring, the steel chair is the primary weapon of offence. The ending, overstuffed with characters, adds to the chaotic nature of it all. It doesn’t take anything away from the supreme brawl we have just witnessed.

It set a template that many WWF main events in 1998 and 1999 followed; a match that falls out of the ring, continues with a few suplexes on the ramp/entrance, and returns to the ring to end in a controversial finish. Like I said before, watch both matches involving Dude Love and Stone Cold, as they are equally enjoyable. The Unforgiven match enhances the Over The Edge match if watched in sequence. But their rematch truly deserves to be in the Best 100…List.

VERDICT: 9/10. A wild and chaotic brawl that encapsulates everything the ‘Attitude Era’ was all about.

(Click here for my review of #83 WarGames at WrestleWar 1991)

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