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Superstar Sleeze

[2003-03-30-WWE-Wrestlemania XIX] Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar

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WWE Champion Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar - WrestleMania XIX

 

Weirdly enough, this is the match that cemented I would be a wrestling fan the rest of my life. Vince Russo killed my interest in pro wrestling in 2000 as a long time WCW fan. I enjoyed WWF in the summer of 2000, but by fall of 2000 was not even watching that. I was really sad to find out that WCW was sold to WWF. I gave the Invasion a chance and again I checked out by September when I realized how badly bungled it was. Then I heard the NWO, my favorite act ever, was coming back in 2002 so I tuned again only to be disappointed and this time I was done after WrestleMania X-8. it had been a year since I watched wrestling and had totally put it in my rear view mirror. Then my Dad got a cable box scrambler and to try out his new gizmo he taped this WrestleMania XIX. I remember being like, whatever Dad, I don't watch this anymore. Then I saw Shawn Michaels was back and I was like ok, lets give this a shot. Remember Hogan/Vince was pretty awesome and seeing a Rock/Austin PPV match for the first time was pretty mind-blowing. It was only one man that made me say, Holy shit, I need to watch this every week and that was Brock Lesnar.

 

I tweeted today that Brock Lesnar should be remembered as the greatest freak athlete and artistic genius of our generation. His bumping in this match was off the charts. His explosiveness and power unparalleled. His nuanced selling in this match is only matched by those veterans of the craft that would have 5-10 times the experience. I have discussed Brock's high wrestling IQ before, but what's scary is it existed all the way back here and can be traced back to 2002 against the Undertaker. Brock Lesnar absorbed pro wrestling psychology like a sponge. Seeing him execute is always a treat.

 

There is something weird about this match. I can't put my finger on it, but it just was not compelling as a match. As an individual performance by Lesnar it was breath-taking. The explosiveness of the early chain wrestling was incredible. The selling of the ribs as a consistent thread and conveying the fight through that pain was great. His amazing bumps into the turnbuckles, on the suplexes especially the backflip off the release German was breath-taking. Angle for all his faults was not that bad. Lesnar would overpower him on the mat early so he started to attack the injured ribs. He would ultimately gain control off a great German suplex into the turnbuckles (awesome bump). Angle did sit a hold for a stretch of the match, which did grind the match to a halt. Lesnar's comeback was not quite as ferocious as I would want. I would say that would be my one criticism of him. It did get a little finisher-trade-y towards the end especially with all the constant kicks to the gut to set up the moves. I did like the first Anglelock with Angle countering F-5 with an inside heel trip into Angle lock, Brock fighting and Angle converting into a half crab. The grips were so well-done in this match. Didn't care for the F-5 kick out. The second F-5 into Shooting Star Press into a third F-5 was weird. I assume the third F-5 only existed because the Shooting Star Press was botched?!?! ***3/4

 

This is a very good match and still not sure why I don't think it is great because Angle is very measured here and is focused on the ribs. Lesnar is great at selling and bumping. Finish stretch is so 2003 with the kick outs and trading maybe that is it? I totally agree with the 13 year old version of myself in believing this was the new future of pro wrestling, a big bumping, power, athletic freak. Brock, I am so glad you made me a pro wrestling fan for life. There is no amount of stars I can give to that.

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Angle's neck was holding on by a thread coming into this match. I think Benoit was a substitute for Angle if he couldn't make it. I thought the match was as good as your gonna get with the circumstances.

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I loved this match. I’ve heard some people say it’s basically a spot fest and no story which is clearly not the case here. Angle works on the ribs for most of the match. Lesnar sells really well too. A lot of his offence is respected as a result and all he can do is hit the F-5 but he can’t capitalise almost every time. Sure at the end, both were just hitting moves but it came across as desperation to me. Angle is flawed as a wrestler but he was great here. Honestly I think Brock is the more weaker of the two in this match. ****

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LOVED the beginning grappling - there's a real charming, competitive feel to it, which is to be expected from these two. Loved Angle's mid-section targeting too - he's really vicious with it, with plenty of slams, strikes & amazing holds to damage it. Brock's selling is really good throughout as well + all of his comebacks are explosive & awesome. I do think the match drags at some points of the match though, and overall it feels longer than the official 21-min runtime of it, but it is a damn good one overall. ***3/4

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