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A Tale Of Four Promos – Much like the theme of the pay per view itself in July, there was very much a “home” and “away” feel about four promos cut by Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels over the course of the month. Bret thrived in home territory, playing up his patriotism and falling back on predictable if very effective anti-America schtick. Shawn at home wasn’t quite as effective, even in Texas Shawn lacked a real subject to rally against but still managed to be effortlessly watchable as he bounced off of McMahon in an effort to get a place on the Summerslam card.
It was the away performances of both men that perhaps told a more important story, as Raw (for some odd reason) had two shows in Canada and two shows in the US. Shawn’s appearance north of the border was something else – in cauldron of heat Michaels was in his element stoking the crowd. It was Bret’s appearance in the US that was probably the most stark, given what felt like ten minutes to fill Bret just couldn’t handle it, as the crowd just got bored. Bret did land a good line about the home City but it wasn’t enough.
Wait! That’s Not La Parka! – In what was otherwise a fairly quiet month on Nitro, there was an all-timer angle on the first show of the month as La Parka took on Randy Savage in the middle of the show. With Savage dominating, Scott Hall wondered up the ramp to brag and Nash was otherwise occupied, Savage came off the top and ate a boot from La Parka before he got up and hit Savage with the Diamond Cutter. Page whipped off the mask and revealed the ruse. Fantastically executed and a great crowd reaction. Big fan of this.
Vince Gets Physical – So, in amongst the back and forth promos between Shawn and Bret eventually came the news that Shawn had been moved into the guest referee spot for the Summerslam main event. Bret wasn’t happy about this and stormed the announce desk during the third week, he went at Vince and Vince went back at him as they had to be pulled apart more than once. A segment that was more significant than it necessarily was great, but very noteworthy at the time as Vince really had never done anything back up until this point.
Nitro Girls – Yes – that started in July 1997. Presumably to give Kimberly Page something to do, six female "dancers" attempted to add some life to transitions on Nitro. The dancing was barely passable, let's be honest, but the Nitro Girls did become a stample and one of the more memorable parts of the show particularly when it eventually started to go downhill. Also, in the first week of August, we get Alex Wright coming out and dancing with them, which is the best thing Alex Wright has ever done.
Dude Love – A properly bizarre moment, as Steve Austin is attempting to retain the title on his own Mick Foley comes on the Titantron as Dude Love as Austin’s saviour. Austin’s “What the fuck is in front of my eyes” reaction is perfectly on point as Dude joins the match. Austin’s still completely non-plussed, before he hits a Stunner with the refs back turned allowing Dude to pick up the pinfall victory and (for him, at least) win the tag titles. Noteworthy given who it was, but don’t let hindsight overcook how good this was.