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mprice

[2001-08-19-WWF-Summerslam] Steve Austin vs Kurt Angle

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So this match hasn't been talked about on here. I absolutely love the brutality and chaos of this match. Angle becomes an absolute "man possessed" by his need and desire to not only beat Steve Austin to a pulp but also to take his title. Austin plays an awesome heel here, both using underhanded tactics as well as finally taking advantage when Angle starts to fall apart for a bit. It becomes such an insane bloodbath that no one knew when it would stop. However it finally did stop in an ode to King of the Ring 97's Michaels/Austin match as Austin takes out referee after referee leading to EVIL REF Nick Patrick coming out and DQ'ing Austin. He may have kept the title, but the war would be far from over.

 

This match is one that I enjoy because it was a bright spot in a dark hole called the Invasion angle. This match came in between a great Shane/Kurt match at King of the Ring and then a Rock/Jericho classic at No Mercy of this same year. However it seemed like truly great matches were few and far between during this time up until about the middle of 2002. With people turning every day, it was good to see a focused Angle fighting a similarly focused Austin for the title. I would have loved seeing this be the main event, but of course the crowd had to be sent home happy with the Rock/Booker T match.

 

The first time I watched this was a taped version given to me by one of my sister's friends that also had In Your House 3 on it. I watched the entire show and was quite disappointed until this match came on. Watching Austin and Angle meet in the middle of the aisle way leading to the beginning brawl was just amazing.

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One of the best WWE matches of the 2000-2009 decade. A simply incredible heel performance by Austin. His mannerisms and facial expressions were out of this world. Angle also gave a great performance as the tough underdog babyface. Tons of hate, intensity and blood and the non-finish with Austin taking out all those referees and the DQ worked perfectly with the story as it emphasized his frustration and desperation while protecting Angle. **** 1/4

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WWF World Heavyweight Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Kurt Angle - WWF Summerslam 2001

 

The logic behind Austin's turn to the Alliance was actually really logical in a total psycho way. Austin was an insecure, paranoid champion, whose grip on reality was tenuous at best so it is easy to believe that he really thought Vince hugging Angle was a sign he was going to be replaced. Thus he jumped ship to "safer" waters. The rest of the video package shows him as a total maniac beating up his own Allies to improve performance. Angle was perfect for the role of WWF babyface hero that is bringing the gold back. He could finally shine as white bread All American Olympic Gold Medalist.

 

This match is how you make somebody. Angle came out of this match looking like a million bucks and like one tough son of a bitch. Austin gave one of the best lunatic performances since Randy Savage's heyday in 1997. It took him decking some refs for me to make that comparison. I love a real unhinged character like that, a completely reprehensible bully. Austin cheated like a muthafucka this whole match and I loved it. You know what eerie though was when Austin's music hit and there was no real reaction. Maybe, people are right that heel turn was bad for business. I thought the TV was great at the time and even had my parents buy this PPV for me. Angle was awesome at bringing the fire during the shine. I would have liked to seen Austin go more towards the ankle since it was softened up on TV prior to the match (I did like the Anklelock tease from Angle as a reversal) rather than the suplexes, but that's personal preference. The suplexes I guess was more watching Austin beat Angle at his own game. Angle firing off the Germans and tenaciously holding was a good spot to show his resolve and Angle to leverage his suplex-laden offense. Angle goes for the Angle Slam and eye poke. God Bless Steve Austin! A heel's heel! Austin had some awesome chops in 2001. Superplex, all these suplexes feel strange from Austin. STUNNER! No reaction and kick out and barely a sound. I know we are in California, but that is just damn depressing. STUNNER AGAIN! Now the crowd wakes up and Angle goes flying to the floor. This is where the match goes from great to classic. Austin repeatedly smashes Angle's head into the post and busts him wide open, full crimson mask. Austin beats the holy hell out of him and Angle is taking his licking, but he keeps on ticking. You can actually hear crowd becoming more and more invested in Angle compared to just minutes ago where they barely made a sound for him kicking out of a fucking Stunner. Angle applies the Anklelock to Austin as he is climbing over the barricade and he is trying to out-crazy Austin! The crowd loves it as he drags him back into the ring and puts it on him there. Austin was great selling all this. Angle's comeback was perfect for getting him over. He was meeting Austin right at his level. Suplexing him all over the floor and then hitting a beautiful moonsault. The crowd was really getting behind him and he was showing more true babyface fire than I think he ever did in the rest of his career. The Million Dollar Dream was an interesting choice by Austin. It took the match back down into a heat segment feel after a firey comeback, but now the crowd was more invested in Angle they cheering him harder. Ballsy move by Stone Cold, but it works because Angle was a runaway freight train so this would sap his energy and the crowd was more into Angle so they wouldn't lose him by slowing him. Veteran move. Austin also learned how to kick out and not relinquish the hold so big news! STUNNER! KICK OUT! He goes for it again and ANGLE SLAM! KICK OUT! Austin nails the ref. The cycle continues Angle gets a nearfall so Austin nails the next ref until WCW Referee Nick Patrick calls for a DQ and thus Austin retains the belt.

 

Austin was a cheater, psycho, a coward and a bully all wrapped into one awesome heel package in this match. Angle was the consummate fired up white bread babyface. This would rank among best uses of blood ever. I think blood can enhance a match, but I think blood was incredibly valuable to getting over Angle's struggle to reclaim the belt for the WWF. The finish was fine by me and thought it stayed true to Austin's character and built to a rematch. I thought the beginning of the match was a little ho-hum and kinda suplex-trade-y, would be my only complaint. I think this is overrated at #10 for best WWF match of all time, but it is still a stone cold classic. ****3/4

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Oh this one's a masterpiece. This might be the original suplex city match given how crazy Angle went with the German suplexes in the beginning. Angle was great here, he took a classic ass kicking and kept fighting back. As good as he was, Austin was on a completely different planet as the psychotic heel champion who used every shortcut in the book in an attempt to beat the challenger before retaining the title on a DQ when he started wiping out referees. I liked Angle going nuts when he ankle locked Austin on the floor. The closeup of him bloodied screaming "you son of a bitch" is really effective stuff. The finish doesn't bother me at all, it makes complete sense that the Alliance ref would fuck the WWF guy over in the end so they could keep the title. My only gripe with this match is how high it set the bar for their future matches. Nothing was going to top this. I'd genuinely place this in my top 5 matches of 2001 and would put it very high on my list of best matches of the decade. *****

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So, this feud began because Steve Austin was jealous that McMahon was hugging Angle and not Austin? That has to be one of the more unique fire starters in wrestling history. I haven't been following this angle at all, and the only info I have on how the Invasion angle unfolded is from the video package before the match. I liked the way they made it seem like Austin and  Angle were screaming and singing the song. Austin seems pretty great in the video montage. It seems kind of odd that Austin has betrayed Vince so soon after aligning with him, but like I said, I haven't been following it, and I'm too lazy to read up on it. The match is good. I don't know how much I buy Angle as a babyface all of a sudden, but it's a good match. It's amazing how much of these Attitude Era matches take place outside of the ring. I wonder what that was like for the live audience. Probably pretty awesome if you were on the right side of the ring. Things are going along swimmingly until the finish. Maybe the finish works in context, but to me it was a letdown, especially for a major PPV. You could get away with that on TV, but on pay-per-view? Jim Ross oversold it as well. He kept babbling about how Angle fought with everything he had, right down to his bone marrow. C'mon, Jim. He got screwed, but so did everybody else on every episode of RAW and Smackdown, and every pay-per-view. Don't act so bloody surprised. And I really do not like Heyman on commentary. The King needs to come back and talk about puppies or something. Good match, but Austin vs. Benoit was better. 

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While this isn't a total Austin carry job, Austin calling this match stopped Angle from leaning back on his worst tendencies. Angle bleeds a gusher and sells his beating well, and his sudden comeback when he locked on Ankle Lock on Austin as he was climbing back over the barricade looked organic and put over his submission as a huge threat. I love how they could work this as a technical match while still keeping the hate flowing. The ending is overbooked with multiple referees going down, but it's the good kind of overbooking. Austin looks like a psychotic monster and Angle looked like the biggest babyface one the planet once this was all wrapped up. 

★★★★¾

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Great match - I wasn't that keen on the start, but it picks up pretty quickly, and as Sleaze says in his post, after the second Stunner it's incredible. I thought the finish was fine - agree with cactus that it's the good kind of overbooking, making Angle, who I've never been a particular fan of, look like a red hot face and Austin like a man who's completely lost control.

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