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[1998-04-20-WWF-Raw] Dude Love vs Steve Blackman

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Vince McMahon is doing commentary. Now, they are saying this isn't a #1 Contender's Match. Vince is again saying something big will happen at the pay-per-view or fans can get their money back. Dude puts on an abdominal stretch and the bell immediately rings. Now they are playing off of Montreal, which at one time was a good idea. Blackman attacks the timekeeper and Vince can't believe Blackman would treat the timekeeper like that. Then Austin comes out and attacks Dude and also gets his hand son Vince. I don't know if people got the angle right away. I know I didn't at first. But Austin is so hot it almost doesn't matter. Vince is pissed off in the ring ready to fight Austin, but Patterson and Brisco eat stunners when trying to reason with him. Austin chases Vince up the entrance ramp as the show goes off the air.

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Weird main event but it plays up the PPV as the bell rings mimicking MOntreal and Vince is appalled on commentary at Blackman attacking the referee. Austin comes down and attacks Dude quickly before setting his sights on McMahon. He throws Vince and starts to pounce on him before Dude comes back. This is a good closing sequence with Vince wanting to fight and then seeing Patterson and Brisco get stunned and turning it around. Dude is interspersed throughout this to keep heat on the title match coming up. A pretty by the numbers go home Raw but still an effective one.

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Match sucked, but the finish was awesome. Montreal Screwjob finish with Dude going over in an ab stretch. Plays on the fears Austin will be screwed on Sunday. Austin blasts Dude and lives up to his promise by throwing Vince around. They get enough Dude and then Stunnering of the Stooges that Vince only has to take one bump. Austin keeps his word and Vince looks strong. Great shit.

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Our first recreation of the Montreal Screwjob, back when that idea was kind of cool. The build to Unforgiven has been pretty blah, though the really pushed main event was the Inferno Match anyhow, but I'll take something that's blah but at least focused over the chaos that's WCW's main event scene. There's something to be said for just sticking to the plan.

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I liked the build to Unforgiven. All the Austin/McMahon stuff was great and this match was really Austin vs McMahon with Dude Love as the surrogate because it is way too early to do Austin/McMahon. I actually like the Dude Love character more than most. They set up that Foley is pissed about Austin. The Foley character most associated with Austin is Dude Love. I think Foley was trying to stick to Austin by using his "friend" against him, but Foley doesn't get that Austin fucking wouldn't piss on Dude if he was on fire.

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Perhaps not the best match to be saying this after, but Foley really is an underrated MVP for the WWF between 97 and 98, able to move up and down the card, and be credible whether he is working with someone at a main event level or lower down the pecking order. Transitioning between his three personas and in and out of tag teams he is so consistent, pretty much providing at least a *** match in every PPV in 1998. As seen with this Austin feud, he's a perfect first rivalry for a new champion, someone to be seen as a threat, but that never really suffers from taking losses. In fact, I'm pretty sure he loses every PPV match he is in during this year but gets increasingly more over.

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