Welcome to a new series of articles here at the MWC Blog that we shall call: Cases For The Greatest.
This is where I examine some of the wrestlers who are often viewed by some or many as the greatest pro wrestler of all time and why they have an argument in being so.
Oh It's True, this time we'll take a look at The Olympic Gold Medalist; Kurt Angle!
Ring Name: Kurt Angle
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Weight: 237 lbs.
Trained by: Dory Funk Jr. & Tom Prichard
Debut: August 20, 1998 (ongoing)
WWE Championship (4x)
WCW World Heavyweight Championship (1x)
World Heavyweight Championship (1x)
WWE Intercontinental Championship (1x)
WWE European Championship (1x)
TNA World Heavyweight Championship (6x)
TNA X-Division Championship (1x)
IWGP Heavyweight Championship - IGF Version (1x)
10th WWE Triple Crown Champion
5th WWE Grand Slam Champion
2nd TNA Triple Crown Champion
WWE Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 2017)
Tragos/Thez Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame (Class of 2012)
WON Wrestler of the Year (2002)
January 1996 - Took home the Gold for Amateur Wrestling at the Summer Olympics with yes, a broken freaking neck!
August 20, 1998 - Had his first in-ring match during his developmental years for the WWF against head trainer Dr. Tom Prichard.
November 14, 1999 - It's Survivor Series in Detroit, Michigan. Angle had his WWF debut winning against Shawn Stasiak.
February 2000 - His run as the "Eurocontinental Champion" becoming the first and only to hold both the WWE Intercontinental and European Championships.
October 22, 2000 - First of his four reigns as WWF World Champion.
2001-2002 - The infamous "Invasion" storyline wherein Angle sided with the Alliance at the end joining forces with WCW and ECW.
March 30, 2003 - Headlined WrestleMania 19 against Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship.
2002-2006 - Involved in a variety of feuds and storylines until his departure. Holding titles along the way too, most notably WWE's version of the World Heavyweight Championship.
December 28, 2006 - Kurt Angle officially debuts for Total Nonstop Action (TNA.)
May 13, 2007 - He becomes the inaugural TNA World Heavyweight Champion winning a Triple Threat against Sting and then NWA World Champion Christian Cage.
June 29, 2007 - Defeated Shinsuke Nakamura for the "IWGP Heavyweight Championship" but is not officially counted due to the belt being unrecognized after Brock Lesnar departing ways with NJPW while still the champion. This reign is however recognized in Inoki Genome Federation (IGF.)
August 12, 2007 - Hard Justice TNA PPV wherein Kurt Angle all held the TNA World Heavyweight, World Tag-Team, X-Division, and IWGP Championship simultaneously defeating Samoa Joe in the main event making him the only man to do so!
2008-2016 - Continuous work for TNA, in fact he has wrestled there longer than in WWE and was always treated as one of their top stars.
2016-2017 - After leaving TNA, he wrestled in the indies for a bit mainly in the UK for promotions such as ICW, RevPro, and WCPW (now known as Defiant) as well as main eventing TripleMania XX in Mexico for AAA promotion in a hair vs hair tag-team match. Him and Jeff Jarrett vs. Electroshock and LA Park.
2017-2018 - Return to the WWE being inducted into their Hall of Fame as well as being the RAW General manager.
April 8, 2018 - His first match in WrestleMania after seven years winning a tag-team match with a debuting Ronda Rousey defeating Triple H and Stephanie McMahon!
2018-Present - Farewell tour. Projected to be his retirement match at this year's WrestleMania against Baron Corbin.
There have been many who were amateur wrestlers transitioned into pro wrestling but nobody ever had the same amount of success as Kurt Angle! The only other one who can probably argue as such is Brock Lesnar, but in my opinion from a consistency stand point, Kurt Angle still beats him by a mile!
Right from the beginning WWF coaches at the time; Dory Funk Jr. and Dr. Tom Prichard were already impressed with Kurt ever since he tried out to be a pro after his stint in the Olympics. Lo and behold their impression would ring true as he became a natural! Obviously they tried out the bland babyface All-American stuff with him first but Kurt is clearly more than that pathetic washed up gimmick, he himself is a character of its own and thats made him suceed.
Being a legit athlete, you would think he wouldn't partake in such silly antics and gimmicks? But he allowed himself in those scenarios to create one of the most compelling characters wrestling has ever seen. Yes, he is the proud Olympian who can probably outwrestle 99% of any roster at any given day, but he also can be the funny milk drinking man if he pleases and you still wouldn't question his legitimacy because that is already proven! From shaving his head bald, to having rap battles against John Cena, to also having his own rendition of HBK's theme song, the man is not shy away from pulling such acts for the sake of entertaining the fans!
But its not only the character that makes Kurt great, once it comes in the ring, the nonsense is out of the equation, that is where the Olympic gold medalist comes out as he performs his very best against any given opponent! It did not take a while before Kurt would leave classic after classic in his time in the WWE. Pit him to any opponent and you're probably gonna get a memorable match one way or another! Every WrestleMania bout of his was certainly something to remember.
WrestleMania 16: Angle vs. Benoit vs. Y2J for the EuroContinental Belts, WM 17 the masterpiece that is technical wrestling was showcased between him and Benoit, WM19 his main event with Brock Lesnar definitely puts the latter on the map, WM20 another art of technical wrestling vs. Eddie Guerrero, my favorite of them all though is one of the greatest matches in both men's careers: Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels in WrestleMania 21! It did not need a complicated storyline, it was just simply to find out who was the better wrestler over the other.
It is proven that Kurt is one of the best ever to lace up a pair of boots, but his accolades speaks in that volume too. Over the course of his prime years, he has become a 13x World Champion between his runs with the WWE and TNA! Oh and that lone odd win as the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, which in itself is not counted in NJPW history, but that is a controversial topic in it of itself.
Anyways some might say that it is in TNA where Kurt Angle truly prospered as a wrestler and you are entitled to your opinion if you think so and there is an argument to be said about that. After all he worked for that company for a good decade! In the WWE while he was treated as a main eventer, he was still somewhat a second fiddle in the two eras he wrestled there over to true top guys like Austin & Rock, then later on to Brock Lesnar, but in TNA Angle was THE MAN no question about it. TNA was already a somewhat known brand across the wrestling scene before Kurt's involvement. There were up and coming wrestlers such as AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe making waves while other veterans and big names were also part of the company too, but right when Angle made his debut with the company it is still one of the greatest moments ever and truly legitimized TNA's position as a wrestling brand. At least for a moment before all the shenanigans happened but I digress.
Now that he is nearing retirement, let us take a moment and appreciate what Kurt Angle has done for the wrestling business. He has worked matches despite the pain he was going through, both physically and emotionally. The man gave it his all and it did cost him a lot. He wasn't a perfect man by any means but in the end he managed to become better and make his way to the WWE and be seen as a true legend that he is. He was at the top of it all and accomplishments wise he cannot be denied. Olympic gold medalist and 12x World Champion, among a slew of many other belts and records. All of that seemed lost until he managed to pick things back up and claw his way onto becoming a living legend! Oh it's true... It's Damn True!
That is why he has the Case for being the Greatest!
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The name is Super Mastodon. Been a wrestling fan throughout my life, and I share my interest with you here, at the MWC Blog.
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