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    Thursday, January 19, 2017

    #ThrowbackThursday (1/19/17): A Look at Kurt Angle's Great Moments

    This week, we've all been raving about the fact that Kurt Angle will headline this year's WWE Hall of Fame Class. For many fans, this was merely a question of not if, but when—and as it turns out, it'll be soon enough.

    So naturally, there's been a lot of discussion on how Angle has gotten to where he is today. Over at the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas community, Red Ollero started a discussion to see what fans' favorite Kurt Angle moments were. We figured this would be a great feature for a #ThrowbackThursday, so we've taken some of the videos posted over there, as well as a couple other shining moments from the Wrestling Machine, and put it all together here.

    Kurt Angle throws Shane McMahon through glass, WWF King of the Ring 2001

    At the height of the WCW/ECW Invasion, Angle found himself crossing paths with Shane McMahon. This resulted in Angle fighting McMahon in a Street Fight at King of the Ring, despite having already participated in the actual tournament prior. This is a classic Shane match, featuring him getting tossed around like a rag doll in various violent ways. Angle actually tried to toss Shane through a glass panel several times, with the one above being the one where the glass actually broke. Angle would go on to actually join the Alliance later on, only to be revealed as a plant when he helped the Vince McMahon win back control at Survivor Series.

    Kurt Angle vs. Edge in a Hair vs. Hair Match, Judgment Day 2002

    After Angle proved to be the deciding factor that led the WWE to victory during the Invasion, he began a feud with former ally Edge. Notably, this was where those "You suck!" chants really took off, They were already there before, but Edge got crowds to start chanting this at full volume, much to the chagrin of the Olympic gold medalist. Whether it was directed at Angle himself (as a heel) or at his opponent (as a face), this remained a fixture for the remainder of Angle's WWE career.

    Angle may have gained a chant, but he also lost something in this match. This was the match that led to Angle's receding hairline being shaved, as a punishment for losing to the Rated-R Superstar. From hereon, Angle retained the signature bald look that remains until today.

    Kurt Angle vs. John Cena in a rap battle, 2003

    After a successful neck surgery, Angle made his big comeback in 2003, inserting himself back into the WWE Championship picture. One standout moment in this run was when he faced off against (vintage) John Cena not in a wrestling match, but in a rap-off. It turns out that freestyle wrestling wasn't the only kind of freestyle he knew.

    In as much as Angle made a career out of forcing people to tap out, his in-ring segments and backstage skits are just as noteworthy. He has an incredible sense of comedic timing, and that showed when he delivered some sick burns to Cena here. Whether he was face or heel, Angle found a way to get fans to crack a smile. Angle would even expand into other fields of music later on, such as his legendary rendition of Shawn Michaels' theme.

    Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar in an Iron Man Match on SmackDown (September 18, 2003)

    Brock Lesnar's first run in the WWE saw him face Kurt Angle on more than one occasion, usually with the WWE Championship at stake. One of their most memorable matches took place on an episode of SmackDown, when Lesnar challenged Angle for the belt in a 60-minute Iron Man Match. Yes, these two went at it for one entire hour, trading suplexes and grapples in an amazing display of ability. Lesnar won the match 5-4, but he went through hell to put Angle away.

    Oh, and if you thought that all these guys did was fight, think again. Angle and Lesnar had more than their fair share of funny moments, including this backstage segment involving a competition between the two.

    Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe in Six Sides of Steel, TNA Lockdown 2008

    After leaving the WWE in 2006, Angle kicked off a new chapter in TNA. One of his early noteworthy matches came against fellow submission machine Samoa Joe, whom he fought in countless matches for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Prior to this match, Angle had beaten Joe three out of four times, leading Joe to a state of despair. He was gunning for the top championship, but had yet to actually claim it as Angle had bested him at every opportunity. He then put his career on the line in this match, stating that if he could not beat Angle again, he would quit wrestling forever. 

    Once again, this was a battle of attrition between two submission specialists, with each guy trying to wear the other person down. Joe eventually managed to pin Angle, kicking off his first TNA World Heavyweight Championship reign. Despite the loss, Angle continued to maintain a strong presence in TNA, being constantly involved in the title scene as well as various significant storylines.

    Kurt Angle vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, NJPW Resolution 2009

    During Angle's stint with TNA, the company had a partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling, This resulted in several crossover matches, which led to Angle being involved in the hunt for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

    This was a confusing era which saw two IWGP Heavyweight Championships being recognized (thanks, Inoki!), with Angle winning the IGF-recognized belt when he forced longtime rival Brock Lesnar to tap out. They eventually unified the two championships to avoid further confusion, with Angle losing the unification match to an early, pre-swag Shinsuke Nakamura.

    Some time later, Angle challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi for the belt, which led to the two having a match at NJPW's Resolution '09. In an intense match, Tanahashi proved that he was the Ace of the Universe, taking out Angle with a pair of High Fly Flows.

    BONUS: Kurt Angle vs. Abbas Jadidi, 1996 Olympics Men's Freestyle 100-kg Finals

    Of course, it wouldn't be a throwback if we didn't go back to the very start! While this isn't exactly the kind of wrestling we're used to watching, it's still worthy of discussion because this is where a large part of the Kurt Angle we've come to know began. This is where he won that gold medal, officially putting the wrestling world on notice with his immense athletic ability.

    Oh, and for those of you who don't know, Angle won this tournament with a broken freakin' neck.


    Of course, this isn't everything noteworthy that Kurt Angle did. There's actually a long, long list of that, but we'll be stuck here forever if we try to talk about all of them! Who can forget his outstanding series of matches against Chris Benoit, his fights with Eddie Guerrero, or his long feud with Jeff Jarrett in TNA? What about his Three Degrees of Pain match against Desmond Wolfe (now known as WWE's Nigel McGuinness)? Heck, there's even that time he showed off his vocal chops to Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon! Angle is a name without any shortage of great moments in wrestling, and for that he definitely deserves his spot in the Hall of Fame.

    What are your other favorite moments from Kurt Angle? Let us know in the comments section below!
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    Item Reviewed: #ThrowbackThursday (1/19/17): A Look at Kurt Angle's Great Moments Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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