wrestling / Columns

Kurt Angle Squared Circle Meet & Greet 2023 Review

October 22, 2023 | Posted by Lee Sanders
Kurt Angle Meet & Greet Image Credit: Lee Sanders

Squared Circle Collectibles hosted a Kurt Angle meet & greet over the weekend. This event allowed fans to interact with the WWE Hall of Famer in person. This was a can-not-miss event for wrestling fans such as myself. The event also provided a chance to make things full circle. Allow me to elaborate more on that last thought. You see, two years ago, my wife and I went on a cruise. It was a themed wrestling cruise hosted by Chris Jericho cruise. Kurt Angle was added as a special guest weeks before the ship set sail. We were excited to meet him, especially my wife, as she grew fond of his work through the years. I can remember calling cruise customer service. It was to find out if Mr. Angle was doing meet and greets along with autographs. They weren’t sure, as someone directed us to inquire when physically on the cruise—Fast-forward and when on the cruise, it still wasn’t known. Even fellow passengers were getting vague information. We all found out the next day (Day 2) on the cruise that the Olympic Gold medalist would be doing meet & greets. We were given the times, and disappointment came when we all showed up.

There is nothing negative about Kurt Angle and his people, as they were fantastic. It was everyone attached to organizing the cruise events we fans held accountable. As we all waited in line to meet Angle, we were told he wasn’t signing anything: no pop figures, belts, posters, nothing. Tables filled with fan props of Kurt Angle memorabilia. Many people I spoke with during the cruise agreed that meeting Kurt Angle was awesome. It was just the lack of communication from the cruise staff that was bad. Even some of the staff members I spoke with off the record weren’t fans of how that information wasn’t relayed to fans in time, as they felt embarrassed.

To not have my big gold belt signed that day was a disappointment. I told my wife one day that Mr. Angle would sign Goldie, and all would be correct. Fast forward almost two years later, and an opportunity finally came. Kurt Angle was in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) area the day before for my event. This one was for the ACW promotion in Hagerstown, MD. I almost didn’t know about the event until a friend brought it to my attention. Had I known about that event, I would’ve attended it as well, as I love supporting local wrestling feds. Saturday morning came as I set out to drive on 270-South to begin my 90-minute commute to Squared Circle Collectibles.

Image Credit: Lee Sanders

I greatly appreciated commuting during the day for this event. I recalled precisely one year to this meet & greet day when I met Bret Hart at Squared Circle. By the time we got up to wait in line, there was less than an hour of daylight left. That event was held in the evening. Sadly, most places were closed when I was done with that one and wanted to eat somewhere. I couldn’t do sightseeing and settled on SHEETZ before heading home. This time around, I was able to take in the lively sights and sounds West Virginia had to offer. It’s beautiful out there as you come across so many woods, forests, horses, and cows in some parts. It also makes the trip worthwhile when great Motown music is playing in the background.

I arrived at the store with over thirty minutes to spare before Kurt Angle arrived. I was taken aback by how small the line was with people. Including myself and others, there must’ve been 60 people total. My wife reminded me again of Angle’s appearance at the Hagerstown event for Adrenaline Championship Wrestling. Not knowing my geography from West Virginia to Hagerstown, I asked her the distance between the two, and instantly, she replied 50 minutes in decent traffic. I reassured her that we would likely be done here in 30 minutes and made a wager. By the time 1 p.m. came for the event, the line increased but not by much. I thought this was great for anyone who wanted to get a later start. At least they’ll be able to walk right into the store. There were a lot of older people in my age range in line, which made me feel right at home. I remembered some of the people I saw in line from the Bret Hart event. Yes, my memory is excellent when it comes to faces. The way the staff organized this was top-notch and solid, from line organization and where to go to while being super friendly and interactive.

One of the things I love about Squared Circle is that you rarely see the same things for sale twice. For instance, I saw an AEW TBS Championship replica. It was my first time seeing it in person. I must say it’s beautifully designed and you appreciate it more than seeing it on television. The store has a great collection of POP figures. I find the amount of them out there to collect amazing. For the hardcore fan, Squared Circle is a place to keep in mind for some rare gems. I came across a Michael Jackson Thriller version I almost purchased while waiting. They expanded on their wrestling toy line since the last I was there. On hand were WWE figures and an independent wrestling toy line called Legends of Lucha Libre by Fanaticos. The craftsmanship by Fanaticos reminded me of the old WWE Legends from the JAKKS Pacific line. Scaled back drastically since my last visit is Squared Circle’s AEW toy line. Last time, I saw many AEW figures and boxed sets with rings. I didn’t see anything on this occasion and possibly missed them. Into G.I JOE and Transformers? Squared Circle has that, too, as well as autographs for sale.

Image Credit: Lee Sanders

The line moved relatively quickly, as we could see Kurt Angle in no time. There was a nice moment right before where we saw Angle finish interacting with a father and son. The son must’ve been eight years old and had short blonde hair. As they opened the door to exit, the son quickly whipped his head back to ask Mr. Kurt Angle what his all-time favorite match was. Angle repeated the question and promptly said his match versus Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 21. That’s a damn good pick! You can do a semester of classes breaking that match down. Indeed, it was one of the best I’ve seen in my respected lifetime. My moment came when I was able to shake Angle’s hand. I told him how honored I was to see him again. I reminded him quickly that I saw him last on the Jericho cruise. He smiled and laughed as he told me how great of a time he had there. He told me something interesting about that cruise I didn’t expect. Angle informed me that he told them he’d love to come back on future cruises. Sadly, he was informed that they were going in a different direction as they wanted newer and younger people on the cruise. I was stunned to hear this, as Kurt Angle has so many fun stories to share. You could easily have him do his podcast on the cruise on top of meet & greets. Financially, his contributions would be a success if booked right. Speaking of podcasting, I took the time to let him know how much I appreciated his podcast.

I was honest when I told him I have it in rotation with Jim Cornette and Kevin Nash. He laughed and said to me that’s some exciting company as he signed my 8×10 photograph. Angle then looked at my gold belt, trying to find a place to sign. I said to him where he was signing that he had good company. Kurt Angle was signing next to Bret Hart’s autograph as I pointed it out to him. He moved back in awe and said he’s honored, and that’s some outstanding company. We all then posed for some photos, and I shook his hand again. I told him how much I loved and appreciated his work and thanked him for all the great matches. He thanked me for coming out to see him again, and everything came full circle with that.

Only some days do you get to meet one of your wrestling favorites. Not every day you meet an Olympic Gold medalist and Hall of Famer, let alone twice! In a day and age where there have been some really bad meet & greets (Mercedes Mone, anyone), you appreciate those who do it right. I can’t stress it enough: if you get an opportunity to meet Kurt Angle, take advantage. It is money well spent, as you’ll have a great time, and Kurt Angle genuinely makes you feel good. He is in an upbeat mood. You can’t fake that, as the man displayed it on the cruise. There, Angle enjoys conversing with his wife in the general food court. Fans were interacting with him, asking how he was liking the cruise. He was very conversational, friendly, and upbeat even back then. Indeed, what you see, and experience is what you get. Shoutout to the great staff at Squared Circle Collectibles. Another fantastic event that was well organized without any delays and functioned smoothly. They are continuing to build an excellent reputation for hosting events. A lot of people in the wrestling community are sleeping on this one. If you like traveling, bookmark these guys and keep tabs on who’s stopping by the store. Mick Foley is coming through in November. I am such a huge fan of Foley’s that I might attend that one if possible. However, I’m still on cloud nine, meeting Kurt Angle again. I am happy that Goldie was signed, as sadly, I only have one more spot for an autograph, and then I have to get a new belt. I’m thinking of the WWF Eagled-Wing design next. Trust me, I’ll have Kurt Angle sign that one, too, if possible. It’s true, it’s DAMN TRUE!

article topics :

Kurt Angle, Lee Sanders