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The 'Angle'


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I've noticed that recently the WWE seems to be missing a performer I like to class as The 'Angle'. This term is named after Kurt Angle and below i'll describe what makes an 'Angle'

 

An Angle must be able to get over equally well whether as a Face or a Heel

An Angle must be an excellent worker, who can not just work well within their own style, but be versatile and adapt to their opponents style

An Angle must be able to Sell convincingly, no matter the size or style of the opponent

An Angle must have either an impressive or unique finishing move or in the case of a Submission move, it must always be applied correctly and give the impression that it could legitimately hurt someone

An Angle must have excellent Stamina and Conditioning and be able to perform regular matches in excess of 20 minutes

 

Those are just a few rules, obviously. Based on those rules, WWE by my reckoning doesn't have any performers currently of this caliber. In 2002-2004, WWE had 4 of these workers (Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit and Brock Lesnar) and probably because of this, WWE had some of its best ever matches during this two year time frame.

 

I think its a vital part of any Wrestling promotion, to have at least one Wrestler of this performance caliber. In TNA they have the trope namer (if you like) in Kurt Angle. Before his TNA days, Samoa Joe was considered this throughout his Independent run. In NJPW, you have the likes of Keiji Mutoh and most recently Shinsuke Nakamura. In the WWE prior to 2002, you had the likes of Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Ricky Steamboat, Curt Hennig and even Randy Savage.

 

 

Thoughts?

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Angle isn't an "Angle."

When reading the first post, I knew that someone would say just that within and hour of the time stamp. :)

 

Others caught Steamer, pointing to the "heel" aspect. Mutoh stands out to me as being an odd one.

 

We can take someone like Kawada who hit the majority of them... frankly almost all of them. But the "style" thing makes you pause a but. Hansen worked differently on some level than Misawa did, but it it really a "style" thing? Albright worked different from your standard AJPW worker, and Kawada's first singles match against him is probably as good as Gary ever looked in AJPW. But is Kawada "changing his style", or is it a bit more than Kawada's style fit better with Gary than anyone else in AJPW, and that Kawada was able to take things in his own style that lined up well with some other things someone else did who had good matches with Gary (i.e. Takada)? I'm not sure. It was a tremendous performance by Kawada, but a style change? Hmmm... not sure.

 

It's tough to find people who fit everything. Jumbo? I guess... maybe... kind of.

 

John

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Well, OK, we obviously don't need an Angle debate.

 

One thing a lot of people pointed to after WrestleMania is that the company shouldn't be reliant on Taker to deliver the strong match on the show (whether or not you think the match with Hunter was great or awful, it was the only one designed to really be memorable).

 

It's much easier to just label it the "good hand". People who you can plug anyone into a match with and it'll be good, who younger guys can work with and develop, who can be relied upon to deliver good matches almost time-in, time-out, etc...

 

I don't think it's that barren. The thing with the WWE, too, is that there's a large safety net. Between the agents mapping out the matches and the company "style" being what it is (regardless of your thoughts on it), there are a few guys who can be relied upon to have "a good WWE match" every time.

 

I think Danielson's wildly overrated as the "great worker of his generation", but he's delivered relatively strong matches when given time on PPV. His matches also, crucially, get over when given time, even if he's not "over" in the sense of getting a big pop on his entrance.

 

There's also Punk. And Rey, obviously.

 

I wouldn't call any of them "great" because of the silliness of the paint-by-numbers matches, but within the WWE setting I think they fit the bill.

 

---

 

Incidentally, when was Lesnar face?

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It's much easier to just label it the "good hand".

I don't think this is really what he is getting at. Your classic WWF "good hand" was someone like - and god we've talked about him of late - DiBiase. Someone who could have a good ten minute TV match with anyone and make it work. Other completely random examples include: Rick Martel, Chris Jericho, and Mr. Olympia from the Watts set.

 

I think the OP is getting at something quite different. I can't actually think of any examples because I'm not sure any exist.

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Angle isn't an "Angle."

That's what I was thinking too. And here's why:

 

An Angle must be able to get over equally well whether as a Face or a Heel

I'd say Kurt did this in the WWF.

 

An Angle must be an excellent worker, who can not just work well within their own style, but be versatile and adapt to their opponents style

Far more debatable point. Some say yes, others no. To me, Angle does what he thinks is best, non-stop high risks, suplexes, and almost crippling himself. But he did transition well to Rey Misterio's high flying by being a solid body catcher.

 

An Angle must be able to Sell convincingly, no matter the size or style of the opponent

When he actually sells, he is good. But it is another thing of when he actually sells.

 

An Angle must have either an impressive or unique finishing move or in the case of a Submission move, it must always be applied correctly and give the impression that it could legitimately hurt someone

The ankle lock is a cool move, but it has been exposed too many times for it to be a "lethal tap out every time" hold. There are times when he has the hold on that it looks like it wouldn't hurt my 83 year old grandmother who has drop foot. But this is a debatable point as well - I mean, the Von Erich's used a claw hold as their finishing move.

 

An Angle must have excellent Stamina and Conditioning and be able to perform regular matches in excess of 20 minutes

No doubt that Kurt has excellent conditioning and stamina. However, I doubt his neck/back/arms could manage a regular schedule of 20 minute matches.

 

The criteria eliminates Steamboat and other workers like Kobashi and Misawa, because they were never heels. Bret and Owen are the only two I can think of right now that cover all five areas undoubtedly. I think Flair is disqualified because of the 4th Angle because the figure four was his "finishing" move but never finished anything for him. Could Flair do as well against lucha opponents as Owen, or even Bret?

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I assumed he had just misspelled Ark-Angel de la Muerte.

But beyond the question of Kurt Angle being a guy who doesn't meet these criteria (...and I doubt most thinking Lesnar, Steamboat, Michaels, Nakamura or Mutoh fans would see those guys as meeting that set of criteria either), is does a fed actually need someone that meets all those criteria? Or why would they?

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Dust blacked out though. It wasn't counted as a submission or pinfall, but as ref stoppage. But I see your point, as I said "never", which I meant in the sense he never got the desired effect out of the move, i.e, a submission victory.

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Pretty sure he had a brief heel turn in TNA, but yeah.

I dunno if that would even count. It only lasted a couple weeks, Steamboat himself was clearly uncomfortable in the role, and at least half the crowd still treated him like a face anyway. (And we can add "tried to turn Ricky Steamboat heel" to the long, long list of reasons why Vince Russo is the dumbest booker in the business.)

 

And Rey, obviously.

Rey was only a heel for a few months with the Filthy Animals in WCW, and he wasn't any good at it. The dude is a born babyface-for-life.

 

The ankle lock is a cool move, but it has been exposed too many times for it to be a "lethal tap out every time" hold.

The normal version has, but not the grapevine variation. Sure, TNA stupidly had a couple of people break out of that one in meaningless Impact matches, but hardly anyone remembers that. When Angle grapevines the leg, there's a definite "well this match is finished" feeling from the crowd.

 

Angle is arguably the worst at adapting to opponents' styles. He wants to have the same match with everybody, no matter size or ability.

Calling him "the worst" in that area is wildly overstating it. Compare it to someone like, say, RVD or Abdullah who literally can't change their styles even if you were demanding it at gunpoint. Angle would adapt at least a little bit to some opponents; the matches he had with Mysterio didn't look exactly like the ones he'd have with Nigel, or Rock, or Benoit, or Taker. Sure, Kurt does have his generic "insert opponent here" matches that he does by numbers, but he's more like 90s-era Flair in having strong tendencies rather than ironclad rules about what he does in every match.
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I included Ricky Steamboat because I seemed to recall him having a Heel run in WCW, however upon closer research, I was wrong. I made this thread to create a discussion around my opinion that WWE is missing an Angle type performer. Honestly, when I think about this type of performer and the qualities I described in my original post, I think of Kurt Angle. He rose to the top of the world's biggest promotion inside of a year, within 2 years his wrestling ability was on par with the likes of Bret Hart, Chris Benoit, William Regal, etc,. There are very few Professional Wrestlers around that have been considered an all time great within the space of 10 years.

 

Obviously there are other and possibly better examples

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Really, there aren't many guys in wrestling history who all of those things apply to. I'd say Flair or Funk, but Funk's babyface runs always felt cold to me, and someone would surely chime in about Flair making everyone work his style.

 

Maybe Eddy Guerrero?

 

Angle definitely isn't someone I'd put in that category.

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I'm also curious if this is the best way to define someone's value. I think Chris Jericho, for example, is closer to everything listed here, despite many guys who are way better than him falling short in a few areas. Maybe that wasn't the intent, I'm not sure.

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Watching the 80's All Japan set really opened my eyes to Terry Funk as a babyface in the early 80's. He was SO sympathetic, crowd adored him, and he could light up the comeback torch with wild punches, emote facially and audibly with the best of them, bump like an ace, and when he would blade his ear, shit was ON.

 

As far as dudes that could truly do anything at a high level, Terry Funk and Eddie Guerrero are the primary two that come to mind. Both could brawl, work the mat, work heel, work face, bleed, sell, bump, work varied styles and varied opponents, etc.

 

What about Lawler? The Bockwinkel matches, Funk matches, Dundee matches, Jimmy Hart matches, Miz matches, etc show his range. He's equally as good face and heel, so on...

 

I thought people stopped believing in the Angle gaga years ago...

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