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Kurt Angle

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I don't ever want to see Kurt Angle mat wrestle. Yawn. I want Angle to throw dudes around, work at an insane pace, and scream a lot while working his ass off.

 

Leave the boring grappling to charisma voids like Dory Funk Jr. Kurt Angle best portrays the insane roided up jock who will cave your face, drop you on your head, and then insult your girlfriend. He's not a tactician, he's physically superior and wants to beat you up. He's the asshole in high school who takes gym class too seriously but who everybody is afraid to confront.

 

There are few wrestlers ever i'd rather watch than Kurt at his best.

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I don't ever want to see Kurt Angle mat wrestle. Yawn. I want Angle to throw dudes around, work at an insane pace, and scream a lot while working his ass off.

 

Leave the boring grappling to charisma voids like Dory Funk Jr. Kurt Angle best portrays the insane roided up jock who will cave your face, drop you on your head, and then insult your girlfriend. He's not a tactician, he's physically superior and wants to beat you up. He's the asshole in high school who takes gym class too seriously but who everybody is afraid to confront.

 

There are few wrestlers ever i'd rather watch than Kurt at his best.

WHY DO YOU HATE MATWORK SO MUCH?!

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I don't ever want to see Kurt Angle mat wrestle. Yawn. I want Angle to throw dudes around, work at an insane pace, and scream a lot while working his ass off.

 

Leave the boring grappling to charisma voids like Dory Funk Jr. Kurt Angle best portrays the insane roided up jock who will cave your face, drop you on your head, and then insult your girlfriend. He's not a tactician, he's physically superior and wants to beat you up. He's the asshole in high school who takes gym class too seriously but who everybody is afraid to confront.

 

There are few wrestlers ever i'd rather watch than Kurt at his best.

You described the gimmick for the Steiners and no one praises them as much as Angle. What's the difference?

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The Gold Medal.

 

And really, Angle's suplexes never looked that impressive to me compared to the Steiners throwing people around. Angle was at his best when he was a half-comedic clueless putz in 2000/01 to me.

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Guest TheGreatPuma

I don't ever want to see Kurt Angle mat wrestle. Yawn. I want Angle to throw dudes around, work at an insane pace, and scream a lot while working his ass off.

 

Leave the boring grappling to charisma voids like Dory Funk Jr. Kurt Angle best portrays the insane roided up jock who will cave your face, drop you on your head, and then insult your girlfriend. He's not a tactician, he's physically superior and wants to beat you up. He's the asshole in high school who takes gym class too seriously but who everybody is afraid to confront.

 

There are few wrestlers ever i'd rather watch than Kurt at his best.

You described the gimmick for the Steiners and no one praises them as much as Angle. What's the difference?

 

Scott is better overall in tags. Angle is great overall/ better overall in singles/is a better wrestler overall though early Scott Steiner has soooo much X factor in potential and wrestling ability it was scary . Scott Steiner early career kayfabe wise comes off as one of the most fearsome/unbeatable/invincible wrestlers ever. When watching as a youngster, I had an extremely hard time buying anyone winning against him.

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Guest TheGreatPuma

The Gold Medal.

 

And really, Angle's suplexes never looked that impressive to me compared to the Steiners throwing people around. Angle was at his best when he was a half-comedic clueless putz in 2000/01 to me.

Well, the Steiners are at the very top for throwing people around with suplexes so their suplexes look better than almost anyone by comparison. Part of the reason Kurt's suplexes aren't as great as the Steiners is because he grew up pro wrestling in the WWE style. If he grew up as a NJPW star his suplexes would be better overall. In WCW, the Steiners could do what they wanted pretty much.

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Yeah, I agree the WWF style really hurt the perception that Kurt was a killing suplex machine to me. Hell, Taz was much better in the role in ECW.

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I don't ever want to see Kurt Angle mat wrestle. Yawn. I want Angle to throw dudes around, work at an insane pace, and scream a lot while working his ass off.

 

Leave the boring grappling to charisma voids like Dory Funk Jr. Kurt Angle best portrays the insane roided up jock who will cave your face, drop you on your head, and then insult your girlfriend. He's not a tactician, he's physically superior and wants to beat you up. He's the asshole in high school who takes gym class too seriously but who everybody is afraid to confront.

 

There are few wrestlers ever i'd rather watch than Kurt at his best.

WHY DO YOU HATE MATWORK SO MUCH?!

 

I don't "hate" matwork per say, although it's not something I require in my evaluation great matches or of what I consider great workers.

 

But yeah, so the reasons stated above, that's not what I want out of Kurt. I'll watch Blue Panther work guys over on the mat all day. I want Kurt to murder people, yank off his straps, and behave like a lunatic. That's when he's at his best

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I don't ever want to see Kurt Angle mat wrestle. Yawn. I want Angle to throw dudes around, work at an insane pace, and scream a lot while working his ass off.

 

Leave the boring grappling to charisma voids like Dory Funk Jr. Kurt Angle best portrays the insane roided up jock who will cave your face, drop you on your head, and then insult your girlfriend. He's not a tactician, he's physically superior and wants to beat you up. He's the asshole in high school who takes gym class too seriously but who everybody is afraid to confront.

 

There are few wrestlers ever i'd rather watch than Kurt at his best.

You described the gimmick for the Steiners and no one praises them as much as Angle. What's the difference?

 

Can't speak for others, but I dig vintage Steiners a lot. I love this sort of gimmick.

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Guest TheGreatPuma

Scott and Angle are pretty similar. Before this comparison was even brought up, I had thought in the past that two of my fav 450 splash attempts are from Scott Steiner and Kurt Angle. From the commentary, it sounds like this was a trademark Scott Steiner move. Check out Steiner vs Wojo on youtube and Kurt Angle's 450 attempt against Sting. If you type in Scott Steiner 450 splash you can see both of them.

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I don't ever want to see Kurt Angle mat wrestle. Yawn. I want Angle to throw dudes around, work at an insane pace, and scream a lot while working his ass off.

 

Leave the boring grappling to charisma voids like Dory Funk Jr. Kurt Angle best portrays the insane roided up jock who will cave your face, drop you on your head, and then insult your girlfriend. He's not a tactician, he's physically superior and wants to beat you up. He's the asshole in high school who takes gym class too seriously but who everybody is afraid to confront.

 

There are few wrestlers ever i'd rather watch than Kurt at his best.

WHY DO YOU HATE MATWORK SO MUCH?!

 

I don't "hate" matwork per say, although it's not something I require in my evaluation great matches or of what I consider great workers.

 

But yeah, so the reasons stated above, that's not what I want out of Kurt. I'll watch Blue Panther work guys over on the mat all day. I want Kurt to murder people, yank off his straps, and behave like a lunatic. That's when he's at his best

 

I'm not someone who needs matwork in a match either. And it's not like I'm asking for him to do it in all of his matches or even most of them. It's when you get to shit like an untrained Shane McMahon out-wrestling Kurt Angle on the mat, or Angle never using amateur wrestling moves at all that I find it a little too ridiculous that he's completely ignorant of his gimmick and how to work it.

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Since I will never get a response to this anywhere else, I want to pose a question.

 

I did a top 25 matches in Royal Rumble history piece for Place to be Nation and on it I listed the minis match from 1998 (#22) and I did not list the Benoit-Angle match from 2003. What I want to know is how anybody can think that the Benoit-Angle match is better. They are both spotfests that lack stories that are just put together to pop the crowd. However in the minis match the high spots are all these cool high flying dives and springboards, while the Benoit-Angle match is filled with German suplexes and popping up after dangerous moves.

 

A match with no real story, a spotfest, makes a let more sense to me with midgets wearing masks then it does in a World Title match. To me, the minis match made more sense in that context and had better spots and kind of flowed better.

 

So, why the love for Benoit-Angle and the hate for the minis match?

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What about the other issues with your list? RR 95 over RR 04?

I can't watch 2004 because it forces me to cheer on a child murderer for over an hour. 1995 is under rated it's a fun solid match with a quick pace, good Bulldog and Michaels story and it has Dick Murdoch.

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Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (Insurrexion 2000)

 

Crash Holly comes out and sits on commentary where he's incredibly distracting. Hard to really say much about this match. It was just a bunch of stuff that happened in a vacuum. I did like Angle's execution on his suplexes, but it's hard to be interested in a match where even the commentators don't care.

 

**

 

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (Wrestlemania 17)

 

Angle cuts a promo against Texas and cowboy hats before the match. He has a lot more charisma than his opponent.

 

Some amateur stuff to start, which is faintly ridiculous if you think about it. As if Benoit could go toe to toe with an Olympic Gold Medalist. What they do here is not so much matwork two men looking to get their submission finishers, ankle lock vs cross face. I'm not a fan of that in the first two minutes of the match, you've got to build to it. I think it's poor psychology. You might argue that they are trying to establish for the crowd what sort of match this will be in order to educate them, but I don't buy that.

 

Angle takes things outside and slams Benoit on the announce table. Suplex. Cover. Back suplex. Cover. Okay, this is all fine, but what was the point of the early sequence grappling over the submissions? Ignoring that for the moment, this is a decent heat sequence worked at an even and methodical pace.

 

Chop exchanges now culminating in a nice belly to belly by Angle. His execution is superb. Another belly to belly. Benoit's selling could be more expressive.

 

Jim Ross busts out a Jack Brisco reference!! He compares Angle to Brisco. Heyman says he only likes Brisco because he's from Oklahoma and JR gets angry.

 

Benoit bringing Japanese style hard and stiff chops now. He's ramping up the intensity. Snap suplex. Superplex. Beautifully executed. Rolling German suplexes. Crowd seem oddly muted for this. Neat counter by Angle for an ankle lock attempt. Benoit counters into the ankle lock himself. Crippler cross face. Angle counters and now he applies the Crossface himself.

 

Heyman is talking a lot of shit on commentary about how he's never seen a greater display of hold and counter hold. He needs to watch more wrestling if that's true.

 

The submission elements of this match have been very poor. Angle hits the Angle Slam but it only gets two. Heyman says he's never seen anyone kick out of that. Maybe that was true at this point? Angle goes up for a Moonsault, Benoit gets his knees up. He goes up for the diving headbutt. Only two. Armbar take over by Benoit but Angle rolls him up and over with the tights for 1, 2, 3.

 

This was a really mixed bag. The middle portion with Angle working the heat and then Benoit coming back with the stiffness was well worked and everything was very smooth. But the opening and closing portion built around the submission finishers was really bad. There was virtually no attempt at telling any other story but "it's my finisher or yours", which can work but not if that's all there is. Angle didn't do a single move to soften up the leg or the ankle for the hold. I get that maybe the ankle lock isn't a move that requires the leg to be softened up and that it works on suddenness and sharp pain, but damn it this is wrestling. That's true of the spinning toe hold and of the figure four too.

 

JR compared Angle to Brisco, but the comparison is very superficial because here we don't really see any understanding from him of how to work a body part or soften a guy up for a submission finish, which I find baffling in a match built around the idea of submissions. Heyman was talking about the display of counter wrestling here, but we were a long long way from Dory Funk Jr here because neither guy did anything at all to actually work organically through different holds as counters. I'd got as far as to say the matwork (if you can call it that) was exceptionally poor. And Benoit was every bit as guilty as Angle for that. The ground game of both guys consisted of precisely two moves: the ankle lock and the crippler cross face.

 

What's even weirder is that if you follow the story they were trying to tell, why did the thing finish with a roll up? Baffling storytelling. I did like the execution of the throws, but this was explicitly not worked as a spot fest. It was being sold as a psychological duel and as that it failed dismally.

 

***

 

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (Backlash 2001)

 

Okay, so they used the Mania match to set up this match which is now officially built around submissions? Weird booking, but it doesn't retroactively help the WM match one iota. Angle cuts a funny promo on Chicago about Michael Jordan quitting in his prime. He also randomly calls Roger Ebert a pig! Ha ha, I wonder how many people there got that. Benoit comes out showing not much charisma as per usual. He's the Dory to Angle's Brisco I guess. Ha ha.

 

Jim Ross talks about attacking joints and body parts. I do hope he's not setting up these guys to fail. Angle goes to the single leg takedown and it looks to be him going for the ankle lock. Benoit counters by ... going for the ankle lock, and then going for the Crossface. Come on Benoit, you must have learned more holds in that New Japan dojo.

 

Benoit goes for the Crossface again. This is really crap. Benoit goes for the Crossface outside and gets it for a while. Angle is pissed and grabs a chair. Fairplay he's selling his shoulder. But it looks like he was playing possum because explosively he goes for the knee and gets the ankle lock for the first submission. 1-0. Terrible so far.

 

Both guys seem to immediately forget about their respective injuries as they start up again. Angle targets the leg with a series of chop blocks and Benoit does start selling the leg, but this very quickly gives way to him hitting the Crossface for 1-1. This is appalling.

 

Benoit starts to mix it up a bit now. Arm drag. Arm breaker. Shoulderbreaker. Sustained focus on the left shoulder, and this is good focus. 10 minutes into the match that's the first sign of any real psychology. But then Angle comes back and hits the ankle lock for 2-1. Christ, I'm hating this.

 

We come back and Angle hits the Crossface for 3-1. Bad is the only word for this.

 

Heat sequence for Angle now. Back suplex. Stomps. Action goes outside, rolls back in and Benoit hits a backdrop to send Angle to the outside. I'll say this though: Benoit's chops are tremendous,

 

Back in and Angle goes for the arm breaker again. This is the first time this match has actually resembled a proper submissions match. Abdominal stretch. Jim Ross busts out a Wilbur Snyder call!

 

Benoit hits the sharpshooter now. But he's in the ropes. Half crab by Benoit makes Angle tap. That sequence was quite nice. Angle sells his lower back. Cat and mouse now and Angle suckers Benoit coming back in the ring. Apart from execution, the strongest aspect of Angle's performance has been in his heeling. He could almost be an 80s heel.

 

Back in and we get a suplex. Angle has the leg and threatens the ankle lock. Benoit gets to the ropes before he can do it. Angle is clearly playing for time now and resting on his 3-2 lead. He's being slow and methodical. Takes it outside. Happy to go back in when the ref tells him. This bit of heel business is the best psychology he's shown so far. His character stuff is good.

 

Angle goes to a chin lock / veiled choke. Ref goes to the arm. Benoit is again not very expressive in his selling here. And his struggle is not very convincing either. Hits a jaw breaker. Angle hits a clothesline. About 3:30 left.

 

Belly to belly suplex. Another one. Benoit reverses an Irish whip and goes for the rolling Germans. Counter exchange now which leads to Benoit hitting the ankle lock for 3-3. 1:36 left. Another poor fall.

 

Another German by Benoit now but Angle hits a low blow. Ankle lock, Benoit gets to the ropes. Back suplex. Ankle lock. Benoit is about to tap, but the time expires for a draw.

 

The ref now declares this must for to sudden death. Oh god. I wish it could have been over already. Angle pounds on Benoit. Belly to belly. Benoit is selling his leg, so why is Angle not targeting it? Makes no sense. Benoit rolls through something and Angle gets some weird lying abdominal stretch on. But Benoit gets to the Crossface and

Angle taps.

 

I really didn't enjoy this. For a submissions match the psychology was through the floor bad. The first 15 minutes or so are just appalling. Things pick up a bit when Benoit works on top but it's very short lived. Surely people don't think this match is good?

 

**1/2

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Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (Backlash 2001)

I really didn't enjoy this. For a submissions match the psychology was through the floor bad. The first 15 minutes or so are just appalling. Things pick up a bit when Benoit works on top but it's very short lived. Surely people don't think this match is good?

 

**1/2

From about 2000-2002 I watched every PPV with a ground of friends with a rotation of who paid and hosted. This match completely killed the crowd to the point at about 10 minutes in we were all checked out of the match and talking to each other for the next 20 minutes until it ended. I tried to watch it again when I first got the Network and I still didn't think it was any good.

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That's one I like a lot, here's what I wrote about it a while back,

 

 

These two will meet a few more times!

 

The middle meanders a bit, and the ending leaves a lot to be desired. Those are the two gripes I have with this match, but they are significant gripes. The ending falls flat and isn’t in line with the rest of the match. It fits into Kurt Angle’s character, but in terms of this specific match it feels out of place. The middle section doesn’t last that long, so it’s not as big of a problem. Yet, what middle there is does meander and stall what is otherwise an excellent match. It’s not that I want a quicker pace in the middle of the match, rather I would have liked a middle section that was tighter and worked more to support the beginning and end of the match.

The gripes are significant, but they aren’t enough to stop this from being a great match. My favorite part of the match is easily the opening few minutes. The amateur wrestler in me came out and really enjoyed the way Angle and Chris Benoit worked those first few minutes. They weren’t completely in amateur mold, it was more of a catch-as-catch can approach, but it got me jazzed nonetheless. They trade holds back and forth with lots of smooth and believable transitions taking place. In a few short minutes Benoit and Angle easily establish that they are on a different level than the rest of the WWF when it comes to hold for hold wrestling.

The final section of the match toys with the elements introduced in the first section. Benoit and Angle trade holds yet again, and again it is Benoit who gets the upper hand. Some people may be irked by this, but I think it drives home the fact that we’re watching professional wrestling and not amateur wrestling. Benoit can hang with Angle because of the training he has, and the pedigree he comes from. Angle can hang because of the athlete he is and the natural wrestler that is Kurt Angle. Back and forth, back and forth, Angle and Benoit trade moves and slowly take larger and larger risks. There’s something about the trading holds approach of an Angle versus Benoit match that appeals to me and this match is no exception.

This is by no means the best match one will see between these two pro wrestlers. It’s a great match though, despite not living up to some of their soon to come matches. A hot open and a superb end stretch make up for the meandering middle and downer of an actual ending. I’ve changed a lot as a wrestling fan over the years, but for all the reasons listed Chris Benoit versus Kurt Angle still appeals to me greatly, and this is yet another match of theirs that lived up to the hype.

Cheers,
Bill Thompson

 

I think I went **** on the match.

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I thought the most interesting thing in the WM 17 match was that Angle was clearly blown up after the opening amateur stuff. He was clearly winded but Benoit looked fine.

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Certain elements of the Mania X7 match review I disagree with - the roll-up finish with the tights was the last desperate act of Angle to try and prove he was better. The entire build was built on Angle's complex of having tapped out on Raw and being "outwrestled". So he immediately tries to outwrestle him but they go to dead heats every time, until Angle takes a cheap shot to gain the upper hand. It comes down to "you hold-my hold", as mentioned, because again the driving force was trying to make each other tap after the Raw angle and Angle's inferiority complex. The ref bump is unnecessary, but it sets up Angle being outdone and tapping again, and so completely forgoes the priniciple of trying to prove that point to take the cheap, hollow victory any way he can with the tights.

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What about the other issues with your list? RR 95 over RR 04?

I can't watch 2004 because it forces me to cheer on a child murderer for over an hour. 1995 is under rated it's a fun solid match with a quick pace, good Bulldog and Michaels story and it has Dick Murdoch.

I agree. The 2004 Rumble was one of my favorite matches for a time, but I can't cheer on a child/wife murderer now, and it is hard to watch most, if not all of Benoit's stuff.

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I really like Angle. But here's my thing with him. Back in like 99-2001, remember the hype that he was to be the next Flair, the next great heel? He was being hyped by the dirt sheets as having the potential to be the greatest heel of all time. For a guy who was over 6 ft, was an Olympic gold medalist, and could cut a good promo, the career he had is incredibly disappointing. I think that is where the backlash comes from. Its that he never really got better after his first year or two, if anything he got worse. There seems with most great workers to be a peak in ring psychology when they've been working for 10 years or more. Angle just never seems to have had that peak. If anything, 10-15 years in, he regressed from his first two years in.

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A big talking point on Angle across this board is that his matches don't make since because he was a gold medalist in wrestling who wouldn't wrestle his opponents. My argument against this being a huge detraction comes from a different perspective as when Angle debuted I was a six year old child who participated in amatuer wrestling and was genuinely excited to see an amateur wrestler in the WWE. During Angle's first year he would generally only tease mat wrestling. The thing is, that was good enough for me. In an era where nobody was doing anything that resembled actual wrestling on the ground, generally when they did it was a rest hold, Angle taking that 15 seconds to do a take down and lean on his opponent was good enough for me and made me pretty excited as a young fan. Angle got over really quick and was ushered into the upper card within a year of his debut and the idea of a young wrestler trying to mat wrestle and have entertaining matches with HHH, Austin, Taker etc just seems insane to me. If that was the case the common audience they had in 2001 (the Austin, Rock crowds) would have refused to embrace him. So I think watching Angle matches and not being able to get past him not using his wrestling skills just seems really odd.

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