Badseed's Bottomline #387:
I Wish It Was Just An Angle
Hey yo! It is a sad day in wrestling. Watching ECW, I realized it was true; Kurt Angle was really released from his contract. Heís done with the WWE and most likely, he is done with wrestling. I wanted to believe it was some kind of angle, but it appears to be true. Wrestling just got less interesting.
I remember when I first watched Kurt Angle show up in the WWE. I was an even bigger fanatic of wrestling then and I didnít even have cable television. I would always watch it at someone elseís house and one day, it was a Sunday, I saw Tiger Ali Singh invite Kurt Angle in the ring. Playing off his Olympic gold medal status, they tried to offer him money to disrespect America, but he refused and looked like a hero to the crowd.
I didnít like him. He looked like a total throwback to the 80ís. I thought we were going to get an over the top good guy who told us to eat our vitamins and say our prayers. Instead, the WWE sensed that the fans would hate him right away, but grow to love him and rather than make a mistake like they did with the Rock, they went with Kurt Angle being a heel right away, right down to the boring match with Shawn Stasiak that prompted the crowd to chant boring and led Angle to denounce them in the middle of the match, showcasing great mic skills that would become his trademark.
What the fans hated more was his three Iís lecture of intensity, integrity and intelligence. It was like Angle was the anti-Hogan, made even more clear when he parodied Steve Austinís beer truck scene with a milk truck, leading JR to scream out Milk-A-Mania is running wild. Anyways, Angle played the pompous jackass to a tee, but he could wrestle better than anyone and went on an undefeated streak that just pissed off fans who just wanted him to suffer his first loss already.
Even HHH wanted that to happen, jealous that his wife Stephanie seemed to have a little crush on him. This was the first sign that Angle was being groomed to be a main event level player. The mini-feud never materialized until much later, but the roots of which began during his debut and fans started to take notice.
Even after losing his undefeated streak to Tazz, Angle remained a force in the WWE and would win the European title and then the IC title, hold them both at the same time. And the fans were actually starting to cheer a bit. Angle would lose both titles at Wrestlemania in a great match involving Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho, which was a prelude of things to come for Benoit and Angle. Losing both titles, Angle still moved up in the ranks, feuding with The Undertaker, winning the King of the Ring and then feuding with HHH and The Rock over the World title at Summerslam, the first wrestler to truly break the glass ceiling in the WWE that had The Rock, HHH, Steve Austin and The Undertaker on top and everyone else looking for a way in.
Angle would suffer a concussion in the match and come back for the finish, the first sign of the guts he had that eventually led to his wrestling demise. But at this point, Angle was hot. He would win the world title and soon add an ankle lock and start developing a mean streak.
Angle would flip back and forth between comedy, dangerous heel and all around good guy and no matter what role he played, outside of one as the Smackdown GM (Damn, Teddy Long has been GM for awhile), he performed it so well, he made you forget his other antics. And he could wrestle. He was good on the mic, he was great in any role and he could wrestle. I sincerely believe that Angle is the best all around wrestler to ever step foot in the ring. You love HHH, but can he wrestle like Angle? You love Benoit, but can he talk like Angle? You see my point?
Angle could have a great match with just about anyone. It is easy to have a good match with Chris Benoit. Wrestlemania classic with HBK Ė thatís to be expected. You have your obvious great matches with Edge, too. Eddie Guerrero is a great wrestler himself and the two had a great match.
But remember Summerslam when Angle wrestled Rey Mysterio for the first time? Rey Mysterio could hang with the big guys, but no one knew it because of the way he was treated in WCW, but Angle helped make Mysterio a star.
Remember King of the Ring, when he beat Christian, lost to Edge and still fought one more grueling match with Shane McMahon that absolutely stole the show. McMahon had good matches in the past, but he is not a trained star and their match was gold.
Angle even made the Big Show look good. And we all know how great a showman Undertaker is, but Angle and Undertaker had a mat classic that really surprised everyone and now any type of feud between the two would be a selling point for the next Wrestlemania, but alas that may never be.
I think the only wrestler Angle did not have a good match with was Mark Henry, but who could. The guy tears his quads just standing up. But I will never forget the feud with Brock Lesnar. Wow. It so sucks that Lesnar never stayed, because that feud would have only got better if Lesnar grew as a wrestler.
And Angle captured every title alive; WWE World Title, WCW World Title, US title, IC title, European title, World Tag-Team title (what a team he had with Chris Benoit) and the King of the Ring. It was a damn shame that they never gave him the ECW title. In such a short amount of time, Angle accomplished it all and it is just a true shame not to see him in the ring. I hope whatever he is going through gets dealt with. I hope his injuries heal and I hope that maybe in a year or even two years, Angle comes back and gives us one or two more great years of wrestling with a new crop of stars.
But with Angle gone, ECW needs a similar type wrestler. I nominate Angle. He canít carry Raw or Smackdown, but can you imagine Benoit vs. RVD or Benoit vs. CM Punk, but even better, can you imagine Benoit fighting the guy that actually led to Benoit earning the crippler status, Sabu! I would love to see Benoit replace Angle in ECW, but when it comes down to it, I donít think anyone can replace Angle in that ring.
But with the way wrestlers have left wrestling in recent years, I am happy Angle is okÖhe can fix his life and then, hopefully then, come back better than ever before.
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