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The Worst Stunner in History – After his neck injury had put Steve Austin out of in ring action for at least a few months, he was at least well enough to appear on TV and, seemingly, well enough to hit his signature move, even if nobody could attack him back. While it manifested itself as Austin taking out his anger on the likes of Sergeant Slaughter and Jim Ross, it was an angle on September 21st that would write itself into history. After Vince McMahon calmly laid out Austin's options going forward, Austin listened, then just hit McMahon with a stunner... which was great, save for the fact McMahon didn't take the move particularly well, going down in stages before convulsing violently on the mat. Still, it's a pretty iconic, "must-watch" moment.
Who's First? – It was pretty low key, but September 1997 marked the live television debut of former Atlanta Falcon Bill Goldberg. Built like a tank, with a 10/10 pro wrestling look, WCW quickly got Goldberg to television after a run in their powerplant and decided to just let him do what he was good at – kill people. In the first two weeks of his run Goldberg defeated Hugh Morrus and Barbarian in short order. While it's only gained value with the benefit of history, it was clear early on WCW had plans for him. On a product where wins at losses really didn't matter (seriously, ask Hulk Hogan!), after he picked up his second win Tony Schiavone said "Goldberg is now 2 and 0 on Nitro".
The Worst Main Event In Raw History – I may be exaggerating... although I really may not be! I mean, bloody hell. So, a week out from the UK Pay Per View the soon to be DX get a pre-match beat down in on Bulldog (who can't get any help because he needs reasoning for being cheered vs Michaels at the PPV). Which took Bulldog out of the planned Triple Threat main event alongside Triple H and The Patriot. So rather than just do a singles they randomly throw Savio Vega in there and, you know what? It was *shit*. Like, crowd chanting "BORING, BORING" bad as all three men lumbered around for what must've been about ten minutes before the whole thing mercifully came to a conclusion.
Save A Bit For Me – After being taken out by Curt Hennig at the pay per view to cover for what (yes, literally) was Flair going away to have a face-lift, Flair phoned in on the final Nitro of the month making his first real noise of note since the show. Flair spoke at length, thanking Hennig for re-lighting a fire inside of him and stopping him getting complacent. Flair disbanded the four horsemen, telling Benoit and Mongo to go their own ways, before emploring the likes of Diamond Dallas Page, Lex Luger and The Giant to "get" the NWO, but "leave a piece for the Nature Boy". We wouldn't have to wait long for him to return.
Brian Pillman's XXX Files – A bit of a moot point given that Pillman would pass away before the next pay-per-view, but quite where this one was going we’ll never get to find out. After beating Goldust at the Ground Zero, Pillman got the right to have Marlene as his servant for 30 days… which began with Pillman bundling her into the back of a car and speeding off. On Raw itself we saw the “XXX Files” a series of segments taped from Pillman’s hotel room. Marlene’s presence was only implied, it should be said, but the whole thing was of questionable taste and, honestly, questionable benefit. The idea, it seems, was for Marlene to develop a form to Stockholm Syndrone for her captor, and rather than settle it with, I dunno, a lawsuit, we’d “sort-it-in the-ring”.
Not Your Dog Spot... Not A Liver Spot – So, the week after Arn Anderson's tearful farewell we got the encore, a shot for shot remake starring Syxx (as Ric Flair), Konnan (as Mongo), Marcus Bagwell (as Curt Hennig), Kevin Nash (as Anderson) and, well, nobody for Chris Benoit but at one point a mannequin was considered for the role. Anyway, in an attempt to build towards Fall Brawl, the quartet did a largely amusing if incredibly long remake which hit a bit to close to home for Arn, regarding his mother and drinking issues. Nash landed some good shots, and it was funny more than it was outright offensive, but by the time it was all over it was all a bit flat. The original plan called for Flair and co to come out and clean house, but this was rejected in the idea of "building heat"…
Third Face of Foley – History has kind of forgotten how bad the first iteration of the Mankind character was, or the flat attempts to replace it with Foley's "Dude Love". While there is little doubting Foley's ability (as there wasn't before this) his success as Cactus Jack hadn't replicated itself since arriving in the WWF. On the 22nd September Raw he was tasked with facing Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a Falls Count Anywhere match, but as he explained during an interview between Dude Love and Mankind (yes, both of them talking to each other) it wasn't really their bag. But they knew someone who might and, at MSG, out making his WWF debut, was Cactus Jack to a great reaction.
Killer Mark Curtis – Fan interaction had become as a big of an issue as it was a boon for WCW, frequently major segments involved fans chucking garbage and beverages at performers (including a situation outside at Road Wild, where rocks were thrown), but fan's stepping inside the ring hadn't up until this point been an issue. That was until September 8th, during a match between Dean Malenko and Psicosis where a fan (seemingly as a promise/joke for his wife) ran through ringside and climbed into the ring where Mark Curtis (all 5ft 7 of him) nailed him with a knee lift before seamlessly floored him with a reverse chinlock, completely neutralising him before security could come out and deal with him. As if you needed an excuse not to love Curtis before this point.
Sting Picks His Side – It had been a long time coming, for sure, but Sting finally unloading on the NWO was still a great moment. At the conclusion of a 5-show month of a show that was frequently going much longer than two hours, after the usual NWO run in Sting came out, dropped his baseball bat, then just went to work on the NWO. The start to Hogan vs Sting had truly begun.