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Kurt Angle

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I edited out the "technical" from the question. Some people may enjoy him but not think of him as a great technical wrestler. Don't want to stifle anyone's praise.

I was actually going to point out that Angle is a good technical wrestler when he wants to be. From memory, his matches with Benoit at Unforgiven and Eddy at WM20 had some pretty slick mat exchanges, at least by WWE standards. He'd probably have more fans here if he did more fireman's carries and fewer pop-up superplexes.

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Kurt Angle to me is great because he can have amazing matches with big men (Undertaker, No Way Out 06) or little men (Rey Mysterio Jr, SS02) and everything in between. He can have had hitting matches (Austin, SS01) or dramatic ones (Michaels, WM21) or a straight up pretty technical affair (Benoit RR03).

 

On the mic he can be deadly serious, comedic and again seemingly everything in between. He looks the part, he's reinvented himself a good few times and is credible due to his Olympic credentials. You can easily buy into Kurt Angle as being legit.

 

Also, like all great workers you can daydream about impossible matches with stars before and after his time on a certain roster. Kurt Angle of 2002 vs Bret Hart of 1994 anybody? Or how about CM Punk vs the Olympic Hero?

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He had a great build for a wrestler and was a machine. He was like a superior version of a young Scott Steiner. The kind of guy you'd hope someone with amateur cred would be. Dude doesn't have to be the greatest of all time to appreciate that he had a motor.

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The thing I hated the most about his first few years in the WWF was that he'd never actually mat wrestle for any length of time. At least it bothered me a lot at the time.

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I think he's one of the more purely talented wrestlers ever. Talent is a great base but doesn't necessarily mean it'll equate to a whole lot. I like some of his matches where he goes off his own beaten path a bit. I remember really liking Mark Henry vs. Kurt Angle from Judgment Day 2006; then again that memory stems from watching it once, in 2006.

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The thing I hated the most about his first few years in the WWF was that he'd never actually mat wrestle for any length of time. At least it bothered me a lot at the time.

This bothers me a fair bit too.

 

I mean, I'm not even all that interested in matwork in itself, and it's not like I need to see WWE matches full of long stretches on the mat when there are more appropriate places for that kind of thing. But like, you have a guy who's gimmick is that he's an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler, which is based on him actually being an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler in real life, and every single person watching knows this and buys into him as an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler...and the guy hardly ever demonstrates this. Hardly ever takes someone down to the mat and schools them, even when he's getting some shine, hardly ever uses wrestling tactics to get ahead or change momentum. He's always just punch, kick, stomp, suplex.

 

The only time he really does it is if he's working a deliberately-styled 'technical' match with someone like Benoit, Eddie or Shawn, and most of the time in those cases, he gets outworked. Which I am actually fine with as long as Angle is the heel and it's someone who has enough credibility in the, excuse me, 'universe' of WWE to hang with Angle, which those guys do because they were all portrayed as excellent wrestlers. But then you get to KOTR and SHANE MCMAHON IS OUTWRESTLING KURT ANGLE and I just tap on that nonsense. That's like Colin Delaney doing strength spots on Mark Henry levels of bullshit. Angle doesn't protect, or project, his own gimmick nearly enough.

 

There was that short period of time before leaving WWE where Angle was being built as the new ECW ace and worked as Shooter Angle, wearing a mouthguard, acting terrifyingly intense (even for Angle) and actually doing things like go for takedowns and work mat transitions and lay on guys, while still keeping traditional moves and having long TV matches when required. And I kind of enjoyed that version of Angle. I mean, if anyone on earth should be doing a faux MMA gimmick, it's Kurt Angle. And I guess the point is that it took a specific gimmick change for Kurt Angle, Olympic Gold Medallist, to actually start using amateur wrestling moves in his matches. It's such a waste of the talent and gimmick that he has to just work punch-kick like everyone else.

 

I always think back to Angle's feud with James Storm. I swear to God they built this match like it was Angle the Olympic wrestler versus Storm the redneck cowboy brawler, and then they got to the match and Angle was punching and kicking, before Storm took over with a headlock and other wrestling moves, and I just cried in despair at these guys not getting it.

 

I'm sorry I went off on a big anti-Angle tangent there, because I know that's not what this thread is for, and I do have a fair few positive things to say about Angle, which I will get to.

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I think he's one of the more purely talented wrestlers ever. Talent is a great base but doesn't necessarily mean it'll equate to a whole lot. I like some of his matches where he goes off his own beaten path a bit. I remember really liking Mark Henry vs. Kurt Angle from Judgment Day 2006; then again that memory stems from watching it once, in 2006.

Sometimes having too much talent means you never have to learn to wrestle smartly.

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I think the Scott Steiner comparison is interesting. Angle fans, how would you compare the two (Scott in his more athletic days, not his Big Poppa Pump gimmick). What strengths does Angle have as a worker that Scott Steiner didn't? Do you agree that they are similar types of wrestlers?

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I was such a huge fan of Kurt Angle for his first couple years in WWF. Thing is, I was just as much into his character than him as a wrestler. Loved the Three I's he would also spout about and thought his comedic timing on the mic was fantastic. Was super funny with Edge & Christian and also with Austin though I don't think that was the best role for Steve at the time. The guy gave me a lot of laughs. Also during that first year, people were really into that triangle love affair with Stephanie and HHH. I'd go to PPV viewing parties and half if not more of the people there were female.

 

As far as him as a wrestler, I've never really had problems with his style like other folks do. I thought his arrival was perfectly timed along with the Radicalz and Jericho getting pushed more. While the Attitude crash TV stuff continued you were getting better matches on shows compared to the year before. I remember at the time really enjoying his matches with Benoit and Jericho. His match with Rock at No Way Out was great and I thought the Ankle lock was great addition to his arsenal. I've read folks loved his match with Austin at Summerslam but I'm not as high on it due to all the referee stuff. Match with Mysterio was a wonderful opener for that Summerslam. I really, really like his match with a debuting John Cena in 2002. It could be the wonders of post production for a taped Smackdown but that is one of my favorite John Cena matches.

 

I still followed WWE during 2002 through 2005 but my interest would decline as the period went on. Actually started with Smackdown first so I didn't see a whole lot of the "Smackdown Six" as it was happening. I was able for revisit it a few years later and for the most part enjoyed what I saw. Didn't think it was the greatest thing but there was enough good matches to keep me entertained. The tag match at No Mercy 2002 was excellent from when I last watched it.

 

Angle is very similar to Michaels for me. I think both guys are great at bringing drama to their matches. It maybe overdone at times for both but I always felt when you are watching a live match of theirs on a big stage you had the chance to get something very exciting. Used to go to a Sports/Gaming venue that would show WWE PPVs and the people in attendance would always be going crazy for them. That WrestleMania match between the two had people going insane. My days as a regular watcher stopped for good in 2005. As much as I did like Angle, I didn't care to follow him over to TNA when he moved there. I didn't like him as much in 2004-06 from what I saw. Maybe the criticisms of his ring style are there but just from a character point he had done so many face/heel changes, I didn't care anymore.

 

I wanted to go back and look at Angle's matches to see if criticisms were valid but I just have so many other viewing projects going on. It's not so much seeing him versus Benoit or Guerrero but I wanted to see his matches against other people outside the Smackdown Six to see what is out there.

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I would just add that Angle was far more giving and selfless than Steiner. They were both suplex/spot-heavy guys insistent on "getting their shit in," but Angle tended to want to make his opponent look good, too. Sometimes to the detriment of the match (Shane McMahon). I'm not the guy to be pontificating on wrestling of the past decade but I don't know of Angle outright abusing guys the way Scott did.

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He had a fearlessness to do the silliest things possible outside the ring (even inside sometimes), that could just look stupid if anyone else did it but it would always be balanced in the end by a great match (or at least one that could steal the show). If WWE re-hired him today and put him on Raw tonight, he'd be just as over as Punk or Bryan right now.

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Growing up in the Attitude Era, Angle was definitely one of my favorites. He was a great character in the love triangle and just had great comedic timing. I may be alone in this, but I thought he was awesome with AJ Styles, Karen and Christian in like 2007 or 2008. My problem with him as a wrestler is that he very rarely brings the hate. Dont get me wrong, he can be intense, but he very rarely hates someone. I thought there was a lot of disconnect in the AJ matches because these are two in the build up that were bloodying each other, but would then just wrestle a straight match. Even the announcers would be like "What the fuck, I thought we were going to get a brawl". Also he tends to do Attitude style brawling as a opposed to Southern brawling that is my least favorite type of wrestling when he is faced with a street fight.

 

I just watched his match with Roode from this past Impact. It was a 2 out of 3 falls match and I guess it is supposed to be a pretty heated, competitive feud. It just felt like any other Angle match. Both guys wanted to prove they could beat each other twice within one match, but Angle did not seem hard pressed at all to try sell this anything different. I will say the finish to fall #1 was pitch perfect. Angle kicks his ass so Roode pushes the ref to distract and kicks him right in the balls. What a great heel finish. The 3rd fall was Angle at his worst with all finisher reversal that make his Angle lock and slam so ineffective. Roode uses the crossface now so plenty of that style of matwork. I don't want to say that style of matwork is just so perfunctory. There is no struggle. Roode rolled through an AngleLock and grabbed the bottom rope for a pinfall. I would say it was a pretty bad match.

 

Kurt Angle, to me, is the ultimate video game wrestler. There are times where he just presses "Square" and will just break your grapple and hit a move. Whats funny is the way he breaks out of a grapple looks exactly like in a video game. He lacks a sense of struggle and urgency. In a typical Angle match, it misses the intangibles. It just goes from spot to spot. In his mind and the minds of many, if I just string a bunch of good spots together thats a good match, but we know thats not the case. When you are that much of an athletic freak, you are going to have great matches and he has plenty. He just has so many lame or lazy ones too. It is too bad his ring timing is not as good as his comedic timing.

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When he arrived on TV (actually PPV) he was better than average for his experience level. He had a great gimmick and it was pushed and protected. I thought he was a little stiff and awkward in his first few months but that changed as he started to work with better wrestlers in non-squash matches.

 

He reminded me a lot of the original reaction the Toryumon wrestlers received. Most rookies in Japan got the same minimalist Da Stijl-like presentation with the matches to...uh....match. The fact that he wasn't cookie-cutter rookie formula made him look like an actual WWF superstar not long after his big debut. Stephanie McMahon started calling him cute on the air and they could have done a heck of a great feud with Triple H within a year of his initial breakthrough.

 

He first seemed a little wooden and forced in his promos but that would quickly change within his first year on RAW/SmackDown/PPV. He had a great cocky gimmick with catchphrases and personality that made him a perfect fit as either a babyface or heel.

 

For an Olympic gold medalist wrestler he didn't really do a lot of that "wrestling" stuff. He was a good WWF-style brawler. Slowly he picked up some of the traits (and moves) of his better opponents which made him that much more over. His gimmick was over enough that *open can of worms* fans all over believed he was a "technical wrestler". Angle was nuts enough to do crazy spots like moonsaults off of cages and quasi-death matches with dangerous assorted plunder.

 

He was exciting to watch from early on. He wrestled a style that can thrill the fans with action packed performances and that's probably a good thing in any lockerroom or from most fans' point of view. The injuries that derailed momentum and the fact that he seemed to wrestle the same match with everyone started to hurt my enjoyment of his matches. The true example of his non-stop action packed no-psychology style would be matches with superheavyweights like Big Show or Kane. Angle would routinely find himself being outwrestled in simple mat exchanges when it really didn't fit the storyline or the wrestler he was facing.

 

He's really the prototype for the greatest possible wrestler template. He has all the ability to be versatile in any role. If he is healthy and with the right opponent or agent he could probably wrestle any kind of match.

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Angle filled the Bret Hart void for me as my favorite up until 07 probably. Say what you want about both guys but some of the technical springs Angle can have are awesome. The Rey match from SS 02 is a good example. I also liked his Shawn matches quite a bit and his Benoit match at RR 03 is a masterpiece to me

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For all the criticisms I've given Kurt Angle, I'll always be a fan of Kurt Angle the character. His cheesy Olympic gold medalist gimmick was great in 2000-2001 with some awesome segments with Stephanie, Jericho, Rock, Vince, and Austin. I loved how when he came back as a face in 2003 the fans would chant "You Suck!" at the heels during his entrance. "The Wrestling Machine" Kurt Angle was awesome and is the best thing Angle ever did in my opinion. The creep pervert and anti-American stuff had some comedy but otherwise was too ridiculous for my tastes.

 

As a worker I think he was quite good in sprints. That's likely because of his working style but he put on some really fun matches with Rey Mysterio, Mark Henry, and John Cena in very short matches. I totally agree with some others that he's hurt severely by wrestling the same match with everyone but he does have great matches with Undertaker, Rock, and Austin in which most of those matches are unique in one way or another. Really, I was starting to enjoy his "Wrestling Machine" gimmick with matches against Mark Henry and Randy Orton. I think he had something there.

 

His work in TNA has produced a few great matches, a few good matches, a few fun matches, and a lot of bad matches. His best stuff has been against Jarrett but I've enjoyed one of his Joe matches and also one of his Christian matches.

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In general I hate comedic wrestlers. Kurt Angle is one of the few exceptions. Usually comedic wrestlers also carry that persona into their matches where Angle for the most part wrestled serious. That's the main reason why I enjoyed the gimmick so much, dumb jock who made me laugh in skits then made me mark out with good to great matches during that period.

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In general I hate comedic wrestlers. Kurt Angle is the one of the few exceptions. Usually comedic wrestlers also carry that persona into their matches where Angle for the most part wrestled serious. That's the main reason why I enjoyed the gimmick so much, dumb jock who made me laugh in skits then made me mark out with good to great matches during that period.

Absolutely for me too. I've not really kept with Angle now that he's in TNA, but when he first showed up, he really felt like a "total package" in the most non-Luger way possible.

 

He could be serious or fun on promos, depending on what was needed; he "got" it outside of the ring and inside. Angle seemed to be able to flip the switch from "I'm the EuroContinental Champion" to "I will murder you with suplexes" with great ease.

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I watched Angle RF shoot and his podcast with Austin within a week of each other a month ago and the thing that really grabbed my attention was that it was noted that Kurt began calling all of his own matches from 2002 onwards (I get the sense that Kurt was even calling matches against Eddie and Benoit). And I think that is where we can almost pinpoint where Angle began to slip up. I very much enjoyed Angle 2000-2003 (up to Brock Mania match). Kurt Angle "talented athlete who is a sponge to the business" is great, Kurt Angle "in ring general" is not. Kurt needs a Taker, Austin or even from the limited TNA stuff I have seen Jeff Jarrett to reign his shit in.

 

 

 

One of the things that really stood out in Kurt's shoot is that he keeps on saying he wants to teach the TNA guys to work "smart" and that is the way he was taught to work, it is pretty clear watching the shoot that Angle is delusional but this point drove it home.

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I think the Scott Steiner comparison is interesting. Angle fans, how would you compare the two (Scott in his more athletic days, not his Big Poppa Pump gimmick). What strengths does Angle have as a worker that Scott Steiner didn't? Do you agree that they are similar types of wrestlers?

On Starrcade 90, Paul E. compares Mr. Saito to the Steiners and argues that he's kinda like a protoype Jananese Steiner brother.

 

I wonder if a Saito / Angle comparison might work too.

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