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The Top 7 Kurt Angle WrestleMania Matches

March 28, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
WWE Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey WrestleMania 34 Ronda Rousey’s

If you judge a WWE Superstar based off of their booking & performances at WrestleMania, Kurt Angle ranks alongside some of the best to ever compete. Throughout his tenure with WWE, Angle was almost always featured in a championship match at the Show of Shows. If he wasn’t, there was typically pride on the line between the Olympic Hero and one of the best in the game.

Angle’s final WrestleMania match will be all about pride. He’ll be battling a man who’s very proud of himself even if nobody else is impressed, Baron Corbin. On paper, it doesn’t look like it’ll be one of Kurt Angle’s most magnificent WrestleMania performances. Maybe we’ll end up pleasantly surprised. Maybe Baron Corbin’s Uber driver will drop him off at the wrong football stadium in New Jersey.

This week, we look back at Kurt Angle’s best WrestleMania matches.

7. vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania 2000)

I had ridiculously high hopes for this back when it happened. Three of my favorite in-ring performers were involved. Angle, Benoit & Jericho could steal any show they were on at this point, and I was expecting magic. I was hoping for something on the level of Savage vs. Steamboat, and since I’d been watching WrestleMania All Day Long I was definitely in that nostalgic mood.

The booking hurt it from the beginning. The first fall being for the Intercontinental Championship & the second fall being for the European Championship made no sense…other than the fact they wanted Jericho to win the European Championship for a happy ending. The IC strap was always more important though, so leading off with it was weird.

Watching it back all these years later, I still feel it comes up short of expectations. It’s go-go-go, but not quite to the next level that these guys reached at other times. It’s still a fine match, a little bit better than I remembered it, but it wasn’t one of those WrestleMania Moments. In fairness, Angle was still on the way to realizing his powers at this point, and if you could somehow get all of these guys together at their peak it would probably break people.

6. vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton (WrestleMania 22)

Triple Threats are something I’ve grown tired of the years. Way too formulaic. One guy sells, two guys go at it. Another guy sells, two guys go at it. Yadda yadda yadda. We saw this in the previous entry. With these matches, at least for me, they’re better the shorter they go. If guys are going balls out from the beginning to get the pin, it works better for me.

That’s why I rate this higher than the WM 2000 match, even if Benoit & Jericho got to get more shit in than Orton & Mysterio did. These guys went all out from the beginning & worked their asses off. It wasn’t the main event, but Angle & Orton did their best to put Rey over. The crowd was much more into this match as well.

I mean, we’re talking about a Chicago crowd here, while WM 2000 was in Anaheim, so it’s not a fair comparison. Maybe Angle, Benoit & Jericho would have benefitted from the WM 22 crowd when they were all in their prime. I’m not here to figure these things out. All I know is that this match worked a lot better for me many years after it happened. Even if the arena was filled with fog.

5. vs. Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania XIX)

This was the one & only time that our Olympic Hero went on last at WrestleMania. This was built up for ages beforehand. The two most accomplished amateur wrestlers in the history of WWE going at it in the main event on the grandest stage of all. If you ranked guys that competed under the banner of the McMahons over the years as shootfighters, they would be at the top of the list. Angle had already won his Olympic Gold Medal, Lesnar would win the UFC Heavyweight Championship some years later. You might question the legitimacy of WWE, but you wouldn’t question the legitimacy of either of these guys.

The Angle/Lesnar feud was a good piece of business set up to put Lesnar over as the future of the company. Which he was until he peaced out one year later. Angle did all he could here to make Lesnar look like a killer, and Lesnar had no issue selling for a man he had respect for. Brock’s second run has made it obvious that he’ll have great matches with people he respects & very average matches with people he doesn’t. Every match he had with Angle, he had no problem with selling and making his opponent look good. Probably because Kurt would have kicked his ass if he didn’t.

Of course, what most people remember from this match is the botched Shooting Star Press. I get why they thought it was a good idea, but Brock hadn’t done it since he got called up from OVW. Trying to do that at that length after he’d already worked almost twenty minutes was asking a bit much. It ended up a WrestleMania Moment, but in the wrong way.

4. w/Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon (WrestleMania 34)

I was worried about this one. Ronda Rousey was having her first wrestling match. Stephanie McMahon had only ever been a part-time wrestler. Triple H & Kurt Angle were in the back nine of their in-ring careers. This had serious train wreck potential.

As it turned out, Rousey was a natural. A little rushed & a touch awkward at times, but everything she did worked & got a reaction. Stephanie was good in her role. Angle & HHH weren’t the Angle & HHH from back in the day, but they were good enough and did the greatest hits.

It was probably the best match of the night, though I remember really liking Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair as well. WrestleMania 34 is too long for me to consider re-watching the whole show, but I still feel comfortable with that statement.

3. vs. Eddie Guerrero (WrestleMania XX)

One year after losing the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, Angle tried to become WWE Champion again. Eddie Guerrero had won the championship from Brock Lesnar in February, and he was riding a wave of momentum & fan support. Angle, an Olympic hero that always did what was right, was outraged that a liar & cheat like Eddie was so beloved by the fans & had ascended to the championship after overcoming addiction.

As usual, SmackDown’s championship was positioned below Raw’s on the totem pole. Most people were more interested in the triple threat match for the World Championship that went on last. That match is remembered more today, but Angle & Guerrero put on a match worthy of any championship. They had different styles…Angle was all about working as fast as possible while Eddie liked to take it slow & tell a story. They clashed from time to time, but more often than not they put on a good show.

The best thing about this match was the finish. Eddie’s ankle had been worn down by Kurt’s ankle lock in the latter stages of the match, so he untied his boot to ease the swelling. Angle went for the ankle lock, yanked the boot off, and Eddie rolled him up while he was in a state of shock. Oh, and Eddie was using the ropes for leverage too. Classic Latino Heat, always finding new ways to lie, cheat & steal his way to victory.

2. vs. Chris Benoit (WrestleMania X-Seven)

Or as it’s called on WWE Network: “Kurt Angle In Singles Action”! This card is considered by many to be the greatest WrestleMania of all time, and I’d have to agree with them. Of course there was Austin vs. Rock, McMahon vs. McMahon, TLC & all sorts of interesting matches on display. I was looking as forward to this as any match on the show, as I was solidly in my workrate phase as a wrestling fan. These two guys were as good as it got in the business in my eyes.

I loved how this match started out with both men on the mat working an amateur style for several minutes. It was about finding out who the better wrestler was. The fans hung with it, which you wouldn’t expect from a stadium crowd. Angle was the man who snapped and made it more traditional, as Benoit was actually hanging with him on the mat. It was a back & forth match with Angle having slightly more time on offense, but Benoit got the lion’s share of his stuff in too. It got about thirteen minutes, but it felt even shorter than that. Angle was able to get the win thanks to a low blow & using the tights, just like every Olympic Gold Medalist always has at one point or another.

Benoit & Angle had very similar mindsets when it came to pro wrestling. Each man left it all in the ring every single night. It would have been really hard for them to have a bad match, especially on a stage like WrestleMania.

1. vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 21)

Angle & HBK had managed to steer clear of each other since Michaels’ return, as Michaels had wrestled on Raw while Angle was on SmackDown. Both men were considered among the best of the era by fans, so this was something of a dream match. It more than lived up to expectations. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan called Angle vs. Michaels the greatest match he’d ever seen, and many folks had similar praise for it.

Much like the X-Seven match, this one started out with some mat wrestling where Angle’s opponent got the advantage. The tide turned outside the ring when Angle bounced Michaels’ bad back off the ringpost with an Angle Slam. Angle spent the next several minutes working that back over with various suplexes. Michaels came back, of course. One of the ringside announce tables got involved. At the end, we ran through all of the finishing moves while the fans went crazy & Angle finally got the win once he grapevined the ankle lock. It was an early showing of what became the Epic WrestleMania Style that Michaels specialized in over later years.

Somehow, considering how matches regularly reach six stars & above nowadays, this didn’t quite make it to five stars. The only knock I can think of is that the execution on some of the high risk moves wasn’t perfect. There was also one of Angle’s trademark late kickouts towards the end that was probably actually a three count. Regardless, it certainly rates as one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time, and Angle’s best on the Showcase of the Immortals.

Of course, that may change with Baron Corbin.

article topics :

Kurt Angle, WrestleMania, Steve Cook