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[2001-06-24-WWF-King of the Ring] Shane McMahon vs Kurt Angle (Street Fight)

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Not sure if I labeled this match correctly (or even if one needs permission to post a match), but I was really curious what other people thought of this one.

Plenty to touch on, but as I just watched this again after a couple years, some thoughts sprung to mind -

1. Both guys are ostensibly heels (?) as Shane is the "evil WCW" owner and Angle is a cocky jerk, but Shane obviously has much of the crowd support in the match (and in the build). This doesn't really hurt the match for me as ANY McMahon bout is really just about watching an untrained rich guy get mercilessly destroyed by a member of the roster and, with Shane, few did it better. The bumps he takes, particularly the nasty one that I can't believe didn't cripple him at the entranceway, are ridiculous.

2. In terms of hardcore, streetfights, I really like this one. At a time when the WWE were putting these sorts of matches on all the time, this one still stands out. I like how it starts with Angle bullying Shane, daring him to actually wrestle, before Shane wisely decides to use whatever he can (canes, trash cans, his own body) to hurt Angle. Angle, meanwhile, seems to be toying with Shane, more interested in watching him suffer than actually winning the match - something that seems logical to me (logic and Angle don't always go hand-in-hand).

3. Unlike in the Ultimate Submission Match with Benoit from a month or two earlier, where Angle's selling is stop-and-start, I only saw one time in this match where Angle pops up and "no sells" Shane's onslaught. In the last third, Kurt's expressions and (accidental or not) stumbling are really great. After tossing Shane-O like a rag doll through two glass walls, covered in blood himself, you finally get the feeling that Angle has been exhausted, not so much by Shane, but by his own relentless efforts to top himself, to dish out punishment, to prove his greatness (remember this is his 3rd match of the evening). At this point, he does try to end the match...but, first, he can't muster the energy to get Shane into the ring for the cover. Then, he can barely push him on the cart. Then, when he does cover him, Shane kicks out. Finally, Angle devises an (admittedly) contrived solution - the Angle Slam from the top rope with help from a wooden board - but its obvious that there is nothing left in the tank.


But while I thoroughly enjoy this match and think both guys work incredibly hard and execute things flawlessly at times (Shane's kickout after he inadvertently hits a 7 Year Itch on a trashcan is remarkable), there is still the nagging sense that this match spits in the face of pro-wrestling a bit too much. I get it - this is Angle's third match of the night, Shane has the advantage of weapons and is the fresh man, Angle "toys" with him too much, Shane is battle-tested (having defeated Big Show, Test, and Vince McMahon prior to this)....but, at the end of the day, the untrained boss's son is able to go toe-to-toe with an Olympic Gold Medalist. He kicks out of the kind of beating that would've, could've, and probably should've paralyzed him. This match is an action movie inside a ring, but there will always be that sense that instead of pitting Schwarzeneggar vs. Stallone, we're watching The Terminator struggle to put away Rob Schneider.

And like imagining Schneider get ripped apart and shot to shreds by a heartless cyborg, I'm not saying that this match doesn't bring a smile to my face. I'm just saying that, by its very nature, I'm not sure how I'd rank it on a list of best WWE matches of its time or any time.


What are your thoughts?

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I really dislike this match for a multitude of reasons but something I'll mention, outside of the obvious, is that Angle is so quick to go from spot to spot. I know that's a common criticism of Angle's work but I feel like this is the first time that we really see it. There's a section early on where he's beating Shane down and his heel work is impacted by how quick he goes from suplexing him to dragging him up to suplexing him again. If he let it breathe and allowed Shane to sell each individual one, it would have worked a lot better. The spot where Angle goes down and goads Shane into a mat exchange and Shane just kicks him straight in the ribs is great though.

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Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon - WWF King of the Ring 2001 Street Fight

 

Call me crazy, but I thought this was a really great match, haters be damned. I had never actually seen it before and was totally prepared to hate it, but I thought they pretty much hit this one out of the park given the circumstances.

 

Lets get to the main criticism: Kurt Angle, Olympic Gold Medalist Wrestler has a pretty even struggle with Shane McMahon the pudgy, untrained Greenwich-born boss' son. First I think people hype up the Olympic Gold Medalist thing too much to unnecessarily widen the gulf to prove a point. If you take it to its logical conclusion, the only person with enough credibility to stand in a ring with Angle is someone like Brock Lesnar. On top of that, Angle very rarely uses his amateur mat background. He wrestles like a pretty conventional pro wrestler. It just so happens that in this match he acts more like Olympic wrestler than usual, but I think they cover that well. I think the story of the plucky underdog trying to survive against the wrestling machine was really well-executed from an offensive standpoint.

 

Now MY main criticism: I think there is a ***** match lurking in here, but this falls very, very short of the mark because Shane McMahon is absolutely atrocious at eliciting sympathy from the crowd. If he could sell how in over his head he was, this match would have shot up the charts. Still, I think the good far outweighs the bad in this match. This is an all-time great Kurt Angle performance and I don't even like Angle as a wrestler that much (see how much I trash him in my reviews of his TNA matches, he is pretty much the only person alive who cant have a great match with AJ Styles)

 

Lets bear in mind, Angle has already had two matches going into this match. Angle totally overwhelms him to start. Taking him down with ease and generally manhandling him Olympic freestyle. I think Shane getting the Dragon Leg Whip and the slaps to the back of the head (which he could have done way better) was just your routine fun babyface shine where the babyface shows up the overconfident heel. So Angle being an overconfident heel doubles down and leaves himself in a prone position to have Shane see if he could wrestle him and Angle just totally overpowers him. So Angle again lets himself be ridden, but this time Shane-O Mac is wise enough to just punt him in the abdomen and then mount him and reign down the haymakers. Angle bucks him off and Shane turns it into a track meet and from there he uses the barricade as elevation to use an aerial assault to gain more momentum from his moves. With this all working for him, he now goes for the Kendo Stick and brains Angle. PERFECT! Totally credible. If Shane McMahon had any chance in hell, it was to do that use Angle's overconfidence against him, turn it into a track meet, use his surroundings and weapons. Angle was totally on fire as a wrestling machine. If Shane could have just sold, this would have been an insanely great opening.

 

I loved the Angle bridge outs on Shane's covers. Such a cool, macho hot dog thing to do. Shit on Shane the wrestler all you want, but he has a better Sharpshooter than the Rock. I was not in love with Shane being this dominant, but I think it was more than covered by the amount of weapons shots. Shane knows he needs a home run so he goes for a Shooting Star Press on a trash can on Angle, but only gets the trash can, OW!!! Great transition. Angle then leads Shane up to the entrance way. I had seen one of the Belly To Bellys where he goes through the glass because it was on the don't try this at home, but I had no idea the first time IT DID NOT BREAK AND HE LANDED RIGHT ON HIS HEAD! HOLY SHIT! Then when he went through, he and Angle got cut up bad. I was hooked. It was some Foley-level crazy shit, but it worked for me. Angle's pride was severely wounded this punk kid was spitting in the face of Superman and he had snapped was going to destroy him. Then again inside the Gorilla Position, I had no idea about this section. Two more suplexes into the glass and didn't break, landing with a thud before Angle chucks him through the glass. Nasty, nasty, nasty. Angle is so beat up, he needs a cart to wheel him to the ring. I would have loved it to the end there, but I have no problem giving Shane one last hope spot with a LOWBLOW (another great setup for Shane Offense) and an Angle Slam. Angle beating the tar out of him with a piece of table and then the Super Angleslam to finish was great.

 

If Shane was any way at all sympathetic, I would say this is a serious MOTYC. One of the all-time great Angle performance, total sadist on top, but looked vulnerable when he needed to. All the Shane offense was very well set up and led to his big chance on the trash can, but he missed. Gets destroyed in a violent fashion through glass, one last hope spot set up by a low blow before a nice finish. Really could not have been better laid out. Awesome, awesome match. ****1/4

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