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On this date in WWF history: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Dude Love at Over the Edge 1998

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Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Dude Love at WWF Over the Edge on May 31, 1998.
Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Dude Love at WWF Over the Edge on May 31, 1998.

When the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) entered what would come to be known as the Attitude Era, they did so on the back of Stone Cold Steve Austin, who, as champion of the promotion, would play the largest part in sending pro wrestling into the stratosphere. But he had help -- and a lot of it -- in the form of one of the biggest heel characters in WWF history, Vince McMahon. Or rather "Mr. McMahon."

Austin and McMahon's feud had started in Sept. 1997 and when Stone Cold won the WWF championship at WrestleMania 14 from Shawn Michaels (which was the last time the belt would have the beloved Winged Eagle design), it signaled the beginning of the biggest and most successful program in company history.

Each week, McMahon would do what he could to break Austin. He did so because he wanted a corporate champion instead of the beer swilling, middle finger raising, rebellious "Rattlesnake," as the self professed Redneck from west Texas was a public relations nightmare. Despite his best efforts, though, the status quo remained the same and it looked like the two were heading for a match one night on Raw. They were in the ring and ready to go, too, until they were interrupted by one of Mick Foley's many incarnations, Dude Love. Dude attacked Austin and the two were set up for a match at Unforgiven later that month.

McMahon promised a catastrophic event that night, which turned out to be his attempt at recreating the Montreal Screwjob to get the title off Austin. It didn't work and during the course of the match, Stone Cold drilled Vince with a chair. This led to a disqualification, which got the win for Love but not the title.

So, naturally, the rematch was booked for the very next pay-per-view (PPV), Over the Edge, on this date in WWF history (May 31, 1998). Except this time, McMahon stopped at nothing to screw Austin out of the title and it led to one of the best matches of the Attitude Era.

In the course of booking the match, McMahon stacked the deck heavily in his favor. Dude Love would challenge for the title once more, but this time he would have some help from a couple of stooges. Indeed, Gerald Briscoe was given timekeeper duties while Pat Patterson was named ring announcer.

And to top it all off, McMahon himself would act as the special guest referee.

Just as the bell was about to ring for the match and it looked as though Austin would be out there on his own, the big gong hit and the lights went out, signaling the arrival of the Undertaker. He was out to even things up and we could finally get underway.

The two began in the ring, battling back and forth while working stiff as a board. Eventually, they went to the outside, where McMahon would make sure to scream at Austin that there were no count outs. Before long, McMahon walked over to Patterson and instructed him to make an announcement. So Patterson got on the microphone and said, "This is a reminder that this is a no disqualification match." This was particularly awesome because it was not booked that way beforehand and they only announced it when Love was tossing Austin around on announce tables.

As they continued battling, they ended up going up and down the entrance aisle. Once Foley hit a running neckbreaker, McMahon again ran over to Patterson and instructed him to make yet another announcement. "This is just a reminder that in this match, falls count anywhere," Patterson revealed.

So McMahon went running back to quickly try to count the pin on Austin, who kicked out at two. For every time Stone Cold would attempt a pin, McMahon would count -- slowly, of course -- but would shout "YES" each time Love kicked out. Seriously, this was awesome booking and everyone was on the money in their respective roles.

After battling through the stage set up, the two eventually made it back to the ring where Patterson gave Love a chair. Austin ended up using it against Love, however, leading to a pinfall attempt that McMahon defiantly refused to count. As Stone Cold was protesting, Love got back up and grabbed the chair. When he attempted to hit the champion, though, Austin moved and Love nailed McMahon instead.

Stone Cold then hit a stunner on Love. A referee came out to count the ensuing pinfall but Patterson pulled him out of the ring before he could get to three and knocked him out of commission. Patterson then got in the ring himself to count a fall for Love but Undertaker pulled him out and choke slammed him through one of the announce tables. So Briscoe got in the ring to attempt to count the fall but he got pulled out and choke slammed through the other announce table.

Austin then hit one more stunner on Love but with McMahon still laid out from the chair shot, and the other referee incapacitated thanked to Patterson's punch, there was no one to count the fall.

Stone Cold improvised and dragged McMahon's carcass close enough to him that he could pin Love while picking up McMahon's arm and slapping the mat three times to give him the win. Austin retained the title in a match that was unbelievably overbooked but as fun as they come. In fact, this is probably on the short list for one of my favorite matches of all time.

Watch it all go down below.