Champion: The Best of Kurt Angle
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Don West, Mike Tenay
So you might remember around Christmas 2013, TNA released a bunch of their DVDs on their Youtube page for free and said it was just for that weekend. It’s now six months later and they’re all still available for free. I might as well take advantage of it and throw some stuff out there, starting with this one. I’m pretty sure the title speaks for itself. There are ten matches on the set and I’ll be doing all of them fresh here. Let’s get to it.
This was released in November 2008.
This whole thing runs seven hours in length with the documentary eating up a lot of that. Expect a lot of stuff to be condensed into a few sentences for the sake of time and space. I won’t leave anything out, but if Kurt talks about the Olympics for ten minutes, it’s going to be summed up as “LONG discussion of the Olympics” unless something major pops up.
We open with the announcement of Angle’s signing from No Surrender 2006. The fact that they announced Impact going to prime time first and THEN gave the major surprise made this even better. It was a genuine shock that people didn’t see coming and that’s what you shoot for with something like this. What a lot of bookers don’t get though is it needs to be something people actually WANT TO SEE, rather than just shock for shock’s sake.
Angle talks about the fans thinking the silhouette was of Goldberg and then lost their minds when they saw his face. I’ll buy that one.
We go to Impact where Samoa Joe has been told to give up the NWA World Title belt (he wasn’t champion) but he ripped up the documents telling him to do so. This brought out Kurt Angle for his Impact debut. Keep in mind that this was when Joe was undefeated and THE TNA guy. Without saying anything, Angle headbutts Joe and nails an Olympic Slam. He picks up the belt but a bloody Joe is back on his feet to lay out Angle with an enziguri. In the melee, Jeff Jarrett comes in to take his belt back. Security has to come out and separate the guys from brawling.
Angle’s family talks about him growing up and how generous he is. Kurt cried whenever he lost at a sport as a kid. Being better than his brothers motivated him to become as good as he was.
Then his dad fell off a building he was working on and died. Angle talks about how hard his dad worked and how he (Kurt) modeled his life after that.
This immediately transitions back into the Joe vs. Angle feud as we head to Genesis 2006 for Angle’s (important) first match in TNA.
Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
Joe has been undefeated for eighteen months in TNA. Angle has a big bandage on his head after a match with Abyss. Kurt grabs a single leg to start but Joe is immediately in the ropes. Some kicks to the ribs set up Angle’s overhead belly to belly and a clothesline puts Joe on the floor. That’s fine with the Samoan as he grabs Angle by the legs and pulls him to the floor, swinging him into the barricade. Quite the counter.
Back in and Angle misses a charge into the post and falls back out to the floor. The suicide elbow drops Kurt again and Joe rams him face first into the steps for good measure. They’re actually nailing the big match feel so far. Kurt’s head is busted open as the bandage has come off. Joe of course kicks at the cut and digs away with his fingers. That’s quite the savage as he rubs Angle’s blood over his chest.
A powerslam puts Angle down for two and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets the same as Joe is in full control. He tries the MuscleBuster too early though and Angle counters with a tornado DDT for two. Joe misses a charge into the corner though and it’s time to roll some Germans. They both the release though and Joe is dropped (thankfully not on his head) for two.
The Angle Slam is countered into an armdrag and Joe nails a running knee in the corner. An enziguri sets up the MuscleBuster for a close two and both guys are down. Angle rolls out of the Koquina Clutch and grabs the Slam for two. The fans want someone to make the other tap and Angle takes down the straps.
Kurt hooks the ankle lock but Joe finally rolls over and pulls Kurt down into the Clutch. Angle counters that into the ankle lock and Joe is in trouble. He rolls through to send Angle into the corner but misses a charge, setting up the Slam. Angle does a favorite of mine by putting the straps back up so he can take them down agani, setting up the ankle lock with a grapevine to make Joe tap out.
Rating: B-. It’s good but this didn’t hit the levels they were shooting for. The fact that it was only thirteen and a half minutes hurt it a bit as they needed some extra time to make this a big better. It’s good, but having this match so soon in Angle’s run but it wasn’t the worst decision in the world.
The fans tell Joe that he tapped out and Joe says they’re absolutely right. Angle was the better man tonight but if Kurt is that much of a man, he’ll give Joe a rematch. Joe holds his hand out but Angle won’t shake it and walks away.
Kurt’s brothers talk about Angle hitting another level in athletics in about 9th grade. Losing drove him to work that much harder and he became unbeatable. He played an amazing game of football right after his dad died which made Kurt realize how important his father was to him.
That brings us to college where he focused on wrestling instead of any other sport. This goes into a long discussion of how awesome Angle was in college.
We transition back to his professional career as Angle talks about his sister dying before a match with Samoa Joe.
Christian talks about how awesome Angle vs. Joe was.
Angle talks about giving Joe a rematch because the man he beat for the Olympic gold medal was against a man that beat him before.
Joe talks about needing one more chance, which he got at Turning Point 2006.
Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle
Angle is mostly heel now. Kurt takes him into the corner to start before an armbar puts Joe on the mat. Off to the leg instead but Joe makes it into the ropes. Back up and Joe just LEVELS Kurt with a clothesline and hammers away in the corner. Kurt is sent to the floor but comes up with right hands before running inside and diving over the top to take out Joe.
They slug it out on the floor before heading back inside for even more brawling. Joe is in trouble on the mat but comes up with something like a Kimura. Angle reverses and they fight in the corner until Joe hits his throat on the ropes. The overhead belly to belly gets two for Kurt and we hit the body vice on the mat. Joe fights up and plants Angle with a release German suplex.
Some clotheslines have Angle in trouble but he counters the Clutch into Rolling Germans. Joe pops back up again with a suplex of his own but Angle rolls through the MuscleBuster into the ankle lock. That gets rolled through as well so it’s the Angle Slam for two. They hit the mat again with Angle getting caught in the Clutch. Angle slips out of that as well and puts on the ankle lock again but Joe counters THAT into the Clutch. AGAIN Angle counters into the ankle lock with the grapevine but Joe actually crawls over to the ropes. I think that’s one of about three time that hold has ever been escaped.
Angle takes him into the corner but Joe fights out of a belly to belly superplex. Kurt will have none of that though and runs the corner for the superplex and two. Joe blocks a charging Angle with an elbow but the referee gets bumped. Angle gets caught in the choke and taps but there’s no one to see it. Why Joe would release the hold is beyond me but it’s a common wrestling mistake. Angle hits the Samoan low and grabs a chair. The chair hits the rope though and winds up knocking Angle right back into the Clutch for the submission.
Rating: B+. I liked this much better than the previous one but the last segment hurt things. The low blow and chair didn’t need to be in there but it did tell a nice story of Angle not trusting his own abilities and losing as a result. Setting up a trilogy made the most sense for these two though so Joe had to get the win.
Back to the family to discuss Angle’s rise through the amateurs, including winning the World Championships and gearing up for the Olympics. Kurt was losing a lot at the time and actually quit for awhile. That didn’t even last two months and Angle came back with even more intensity. He would tire guys out and win his matches easily which was the strategy he used going into the Olympics. Angle knew he would retire if he won the gold medal.
We look at Angle’s training regimen and it’s INSANE, with Angle running up steep hills and jumping rope for long stretches of time day after day.
This brings us to the broken neck at the US Open. Angle could barely stand but found a doctor to clear him. They couldn’t use Cortisone because it’s a steroid so they pumped him full of Novocaine (the stuff used for dental work) before every match. A chiropractor tried cracking his neck but it kept taking away the feeling in Angle’s arms. He only had four shots per match at the Olympics but won anyway.
We get into a discussion of Dave Schultz, Angle’s coach and the king of amateur wrestling in America. Then Schultz got shot and killed, so Angle started coaching himself. Kurt won the gold medal and Bruno Sammartino of all people comments on it. We jump back for a LONG discussion of Angle’s gold medal match. Kurt won on a judges’ decision and it’s a cool story to hear about his rollercoaster of waiting to find out.
Discussions of Angle’s charity work and celebrity status after the gold medal. These are like 5-10 minutes long each.
Back to professional stuff for…..another Samoa Joe match. This time it’s a thirty minute iron man match at Final Resolution 2007.
Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
The winner gets a World Title match at Against All Odds. Feeling out process to start as the fans are totally split on who to cheer for. Kurt takes him down and cranks on a headlock but Joe nails a shoulder block to send Angle outside. Back in and another shoulder puts Angle out again as we’re three minutes into the match. Kurt gets in again and nails a running shoulder to put Joe down this time.
Things slow down a bit until Joe takes Kurt’s head off with a clothesline. The corner enziguri gets two and we hit a seated abdominal stretch by the Samoan. Angle quickly gets up and hits the overhead belly to belly to take over again. Off to the chinlock on Joe to kill some time. Joe finally rolls over into the ropes and comes back with a snap suplex as we’re ten minutes in.
Angle is sent outside but Joe mostly misses the suicide elbow to put both guys down on the floor. Back in and the powerslam gets two on Angle but he rolls through the MuscleBuster, only to get caught in the Clutch for the first fall with about seventeen minutes to go. We keep going after a quick rest period and Angle takes over with a big right hand. Back to the chinlock as we hit fifteen minutes left in the match.
Joe fights up and has to armdrag out of the Angle Slam attempt. A big running knee to the face takes Kurt down but he grabs the ankle lock with the grapevine to tie the match up with fourteen minutes left. Joe tapped out almost immediately to prevent further damage. A European uppercut gets two for Angle and we’re back in the chinlock. Back up and Joe can’t armdrag out of the Slam again and it’s back to the ankle lock with the grapevine. Joe has to tap again to make it 2-1 with eleven minutes to go.
Under ten minutes now with Angle stomping away at the bad leg in the corner. Joe fights back and hits a running knee to the face in the corner, setting up the MuscleBuster but AGAIN Angle rolls through for a two count. The Slam connects for two and there go the straps. Joe rolls him into the buckle though and nails the MuscleBuster to tie it up with seven and a half minutes left.
A Joe’s Gonna Kill You chant starts up but Angle takes out the bad leg. We hit the grapevined ankle lock again but Kurt switches back to a normal one, allowing Joe to roll through to escape. Kurt grabs a rollup out of nowhere though to make it 3-2 with five minutes to go. They head outside for some brawling as we have four minutes on the clock. Neither guy gets an advantage so they head back inside for the release Rock Bottom out of the corner from Joe.
Three minutes left. Angle slips down to the floor and wraps Joe’s bad leg around the post twice in a row. Back in and we hit two minutes. Joe nails another MuscleBuster but Angle gets his foot on the ropes at two. Joe kicks away from the ankle lock with a minute left. Angle blocks a Clutch attempt but Joe is right back on him. Thirty seconds to go. Joe puts on an ankle lock of his own with a grapevine but Angle holds on without tapping out for a three to two win.
Rating: B-. This wasn’t as good as the second match as the chinlocks get a bit tiring. They make perfect sense but they’re dull to sit through. The general problem with these matches is you have to wait until the very end for the real drama. It’s not a bad match or anything and it’s a good way to close out the series, but Turning Point was much better.
Angle talks about life after the Olympics and not knowing what he was supposed to do. This leads to a long discussion of Angle being a local celebrity in Pittsburgh and how much the city loves wrestling. Being a sportscaster didn’t work all that well and there’s a long story of how big a disaster his first night was.
Kurt was named Iron Man of the Year by a Pittsburgh beer company and met his wife through the promotional campaign. Another long discussion of his family life follows.
Angle lost at Against All Odds, won the title at Sacrifice, got stripped of it due to it being a double pin, and would got another shot in the King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary 2007.
TNA World Title: Chris Harris vs. Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Christian Cage
Title is vacant coming in. The rules here are a bit complicated. It’s a reverse ladder match as you have to hang the title above the ring to win. Before you can do that though, you have to become eligible by getting a pinfall or submission on someone else. If you get pinned or submit, you have to go to a penalty box at ringside for two minutes. Officially Angle has never won the title coming in, even though he won last month. Harris is a surprise entrant. After full entrances for everyone and Big Match Intros we’re finally ready to go.
It’s a huge brawl to start with Cage and goofy Styles (horrible time for him) double teaming Harris. AJ tries to lay down so Christian can be eligible but Angle makes the save. Instead it’s the great AJ dropkick to put Harris down as Angle and Joe fight on the floor. Styles tries a rollup on Christian for two and Christian is livid. Joe breaks up AJ’s moonsault attempt and sends him hard into the barricade.
Back in and Joe nails a running boot to Christian’s chest to put him down but Harris throws Joe through the ropes and onto Angle. Harris can’t hit the Catatonic on Christian but settles for a full nelson slam. AJ tries a tornado DDT but gets caught in the Catatonic to make Harris eligible and send Styles to the box. Joe throws a ladder over the top rope to take out Christian and Harris, giving us Angle vs. Joe. Again.
Joe tries the Facewash on Angle but gets caught in Rolling Germans for his efforts. Christian comes back in and gets caught in the ankle lock and the Clutch at the same time. AJ gets out of the box to make the save as Harris comes back in as well for a big brawl. Christian tries to suplex Harris onto the ladder but gets crotched instead, followed by AJ’s moonsault into a reverse DDT on Harris for two. Styles cleans house but the Clash to Angle is countered into the ankle lock. AJ nips up into a hurricanrana before sending Harris throws AJ over the top onto Chrisitian on the ladder in a big crash.
Harris tries to climb up and hang the belt but Angle brings him down with the Slam for the pin to be eligible. Joe catches Christian in the release Rock Bottom out of the corner and an Island Driver (modified White Noise) takes AJ down. The MuscleBuster gets two as Angle makes the save and there goes the referee. Angle taps out to the Clutch and thankfully Joe doesn’t break the hold. Christian breaks it up with the ladder and steals the pin. Harris is out of the box, Angle goes in and Christian is now eligible.
Joe and Christian go up the ladder with the Samoan taking him down with a huge Diamond Cutter onto the title. Harris goes up the ladder instead but he has to knock Joe down with a belt shot. The same thing happens to Christian but AJ springboard dropkicks the ladder over for the save. Angle is out of the box. Joe and AJ climb on top of the box (just above the top rope) with AJ low blowing out of the Clutch. Joe flips AJ over and through a table on the floor for a HUGE crash.
Now it’s Harris vs. Christian on the cage with Harris getting the better of it. He dives off the cage to take Angle down with a clothesline but has to beat people up before climbing the ladder. Ladder shots put Christian and Kurt down but Christian is up for the save. Christian goes up top but Angle puts on the ankle lock on the ladder. That doesn’t last long as they fight up top until Harris spears Christian down. Angle is all alone and hangs the belt for the win and the title.
Rating: B. It’s a total mess but it’s TNA’s total mess. I can’t imagine people would complain about Angle winning the title as he’s the biggest star in the company and had to really win the title eventually. The fact that Joe wasn’t even eligible for the title is kind of a downgrade for him but he’d have his day eventually.
Joe offers a handshake post match but gets kicked in the gut and Slammed.
We get into a discussion of Angle entering pro wrestling in 1998 after turning it down in 1996. Angle signed for the lowest deal the company offered, knowing he’d make a million dollars in a year. He would train for months, including with Dory Funk Jr. and fellow student Christian, and soon become a top star.
Jeff Jarrett talks about Angle training in Memphis.
Mick Foley talks about Angle’s early years in the WWF and seeing potential in him. After his first contract expired, Angle was given the same kind of contract that Undertaker, HHH and Austin had at the time. This leads to Angle praising Vince.
We completely skip over most of his WWF career and get to him jumping to TNA in roughly two minutes. Makes sense. Angle talks about having four broken necks in his career which messed him up for awhile.
This leads to a discussion of Angle getting addicted to the pain pills and his marriage falling apart as a result.
Now we talk about the neck injury in 2003 and Angle losing feeling in his arms. He kept coming back in a few months and it kept making things worse. This led to him thinking he needed to retire but moving into more marketing and appearance stuff. Then he went on a huge rant against Vince about wanting a release, nearly leading to a fight. Kurt started crying and left the room so Vince said they’d release him for six months to recharge before coming back on the same deal. Vince pointed out that Angle wouldn’t get far on just a gold medal, and that ticked Angle off. Angle is sorry for a lot of the bad stuff he did as he was leaving.
I kid you not, it’s time for another Angle vs. Joe match. From Hard Justice 2007.
TNA World Title/X-Division Title/Tag Team Titles/IWGP Title: Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
Yes it’s for EVERY TITLE IN THE COMPANY plus a Japanese title. Joe is X-Division and Tag Team Champions (by himself) coming in while Angle has the TNA and IWGP World Titles. Karen is scheduled to be at ringside despite having a lot of problems with Kurt around this time. There are empty chairs for her and a guest at the moment so the mystery is on. Joe gets a full island dance troupe to bring him to the ring. It takes three referees to hold up all of the belts but the IWGP Title isn’t even mentioned. Kurt is looking far skinnier here and clearly is distracted by the empty chairs.
Kurt cranks on a headlock to start but gets taken down by a hard shoulder, sending Angle to the floor to clear his head. Karen and some guy show up with champagne and the distraction is on in full. Back in and Joe easily shoves Kurt down so he lowers the straps to make things serious. We go back to silly though as Joe’s sunset flip results in the singlet being lowered for the Flair spot.
Angle goes back outside to argue with Karen and the guy, earning him a glass of champagne to the face. Back in and Joe takes over by sending Angle shoulder first into the post. There’s the Facewash for good measure but Angle grabs a German suplex out of nowhere to put both guys down. Another suplex gets two and we hit the reverse chinlock on the Samoan. Now Angle rolls the Germans but Joe reverses into a release German of his own to counter.
The snap powerslam and enziguri in the corner get two each for Joe. The release Rock Bottom gets the same but Angle snaps into the ankle lock. Joe rolls through but gets caught in a quick Angle Slam for two. The running belly to belly gets two more for Angle but he stops to yell at Karen.
The extra time lets Joe avoid the moonsault and it’s the MuscleBuster for two. Angle has to bite his way out of the Clutch and it’s off to the ankle lock, only to have Joe counter back into the Clutch. A rope is grabbed but the referee goes down. Angle taps to the Clutch but Joe lets him go. Karen gets up with a chair, it’s a swerve, Angle knocks Joe cold and wins all the titles.
Rating: B-. The swerve was about as obvious as you could ever imagine, but the decision is the stupid part. Angle is literally champion of EVERYTHING now which is overkill no matter what. Yeah it’s only going to last a little while, but man alive this got on my nerves back in the day and it’s still annoying today. The match itself was good but the first half was spent with Angle yelling at Karen.
We talk about Angle coming to TNA with various people saying how might lighter of a schedule it was for him. Basically everyone says Angle is amazing, the nicest guy you could ever meet and the best wrestler ever. This just keeps going until Angle starts talking about the fans being passionate. He says their fans care more because they chant TNA and he’s never heard a fan chant WWE. That could be because WWE is about the wrestlers and not the company which is how wrestling has worked for like, ever, and chanting for the company doesn’t usually do all that well but what do I know?
Everyone agrees that Angle made the right choice and they talk about the surprise at No Surrender. Even Sting didn’t know that Angle was coming in until right near the debut. People talk about how excited they were. Don West’s voice is very different than it is on air. This is a segment that could have been trimmed down as it’s been over fifteen minutes since the last match ended.
Angle calls the next match his favorite in TNA. They show the ending before they air the match though which is kind of annoying. I know the ending but how many people watching would have?
X-Division Title: Kurt Angle vs. Jay Lethal
From No Surrender 2007, one of Angle’s three matches that night. He and Sting lost the Tag Team Titles to R-Truth and Pacman Jones earlier in the night because TNA does some stupid things at times. This is nearly at the peak of Black Machismo so Lethal is way over. Angle goes to the ropes to escape a wristlock before easily sending Jay across the ring with a hiptoss. Back up and Jay hits a cartwheel into a dropkick followed by a middle rope ax handle for two.
Kurt gets tired of the goofy offense and nails a buckle bomb to take over. After a suplex we’re off to the chinlock followed by a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two on Jay. Frustration starts to set in so we’re back to the chinlock. Back up and Jay speeds things up, only to have a double clothesline drop both guys. Lethal grabs a headscissors for two and Angle is looking tired. He’s not tired enough to grab a release German though and Angle is on his second wind.
Lethal elbows him right back out of it but Kurt is able to run the ropes for the superplex and a very near fall. The ankle lock is quickly broken and a small package gets two on the champion, but he rolls the Germans to take over again. Jay armdrags out of an Angle Slam and hits the Lethal Combination and top rope elbow for a VERY close two. Lethal is frustrated now but gets two off a powerbomb counter. Angle destroys Jay with another German and there go the straps. The Slam is countered but Kurt grabs the ankle lock, only to have Jay counter into a rollup for the pin and the title in a HUGE upset.
Rating: B-. Good match here with a major shock to end things. I can even live with the World Champion getting pinned as it was Angle’s second match of the night so he wasn’t coming in fresh. This was a great rub for Lethal and the best thing that could have happened to him at this point.
We hear more about how brilliant Angle is. I’m not sure how much of a compliment that is coming from Dixie Carter. Bruno Sammartino says he only watches wrestling to see Kurt Angle. Now that means something.
Long discussion of Angle’s conditioning and intensity.
Discussion of how entertaining Angle is on the mic. Foley talks about being a Kurt Angle fan back in 2000 because of how entertaining he was.
Kurt is professional too. Trivia for you: his first match as a pro was against Christian.
Angle defended the title against Sting at Bound For Glory 2007.
TNA World Title: Sting vs. Kurt Angle
The match is in Atlanta so we get a video on both guys having history in Atlanta. Feeling out process to start with the fans almost entirely behind Sting. He cranks on the champion’s arm before taking Angle down to the mat with a nice headlock takeover. A hiptoss sends Kurt out to the floor before he heads back inside for a beating in the corner. All Sting in the first four minutes or so.
They head outside again where Sting sends him ribs first into the barricade and then the announce table. Back in again and Angle misses a charge, sending him shoulder first into the post. Not that it matters as Angle snaps off a release German and the Angle Slam for two. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Angle snaps off a release belly to belly. Back to the chinlockery but Sting quickly fights up and hammers away with right hands and clotheslines.
A spinebuster gets two on the champion and there’s the Stinger Splash. Another one sets up the bulldog but Sting takes too long going up top, allowing Angle to run the ropes for the belly to belly. Angle Slam is countered into a sunset flip for two but Kurt comes back with Rolling Germans. The ankle lock goes on but Sting rolls through into the Scorpion. Karen Angle comes in for the distraction, allowing Kevin Nash (Angle’s buddy) to lay Sting out, setting up the Angle Slam…..for two.
Sting shoves Angle off the top and tries a splash but only hits knees. Angle slams him down and goes up, for a 450 SPLASH, only to have his knee hit Sting in the chest. Sting is up at two but gets caught in the ankle lock but Sting rolls through. The referee gets taken out as Sting hits the Death Drop, but Nash takes out the replacement referee. Sting clotheslines both of them down (with Nash clearly going down before Sting’s arm connected) but Angle gets the baseball bat. It’s easily taken away though and both villains go down, followed by a Death Drop to Angle for the pin and the title.
Rating: B-. This was supposed to be a huge match for TNA but the same TNA formula stuff and some of the botches hold it down. It’s still good, but it felt like they were trying to have a good match instead of actually having a great match. Also it doesn’t come off like the main event of the biggest show of the year at all.
Then the rematch from eleven days later on Impact.
TNA World Title: Sting vs. Kurt Angle
Sting is defending and takes Angle into the corner to start. Kurt comes back with a shoulder and bounces around a bit. Now it’s Sting with some shoulders and a headlock to put Angle on the mat. After a few moments of that, Kurt takes the champion into the corner and kicks away before being caught in the same headlock again. Back up again and Angle nails an uppercut and Sting is suddenly in trouble, only to come back with a big spinebuster.
A suplex gets two for Sting and he rains down ten right hands in the corner. Cue Kevin Nash, who has been having issues with Angle. I’m SURE nothing will go screwy there at all. We come back from a break with Angle getting two off an overhead belly to belly. Sting scores with a DDT and some clotheslines, including one to send Angle to the floor. Angle goes into the steps and Sting nails Nash for no apparent reason.
Back in and Sting hits a Stinger Splash but misses the second one, allowing Angle to hit a quick German suplex. The ankle lock is quickly broken up and the Scorpion goes on but Nash comes in, forcing Sting to break it up. The Angle Slam connects but the referee is down. Another refree comes in and counts the pin to give Angle the title.
Rating: C-. Well that was one of the most worthless title changes ever. This was far less interesting than the Bound For Glory match and the whole thing didn’t work all that well. Angle as champion continues to be the same idea that TNA goes with and it was getting rather dull at this point.
Angle flips Nash off post match.
We hear about Angle’s wife being in the company and making things easier for him.
Joe talks about being a rival but respecting Angle. This leads to a discussion about their rivalry, because about an hour and a half of matches between them isn’t enough. Angle likes AJ Styles and Christian too. This leads to a discussion of Angle always having great matches and deserving to be the first TNA World Champion after the NWA left.
Then Angle went to Japan to defend the IWGP World Title against Yuji Nagata on January 4, 2008, which aired on the Global Impact special. Yes I know it’s a different IWGP World Title.
IWGP World Title: Yuji Nagata vs. Kurt Angle
Angle jumps him from the bell and the fight is quickly on. A release belly to belly sends Nagata flying but he comes back with an identical one of his own. They trade headlock takeovers as the announcers (Tenay and West again) talk about the history of sports events in the Tokyo Dome. Nagata tries a crossface but Angle is quickly on the floor before it can go on. Back in and they trade strikes with the far more popular Nagata taking over.
Angle will have none of this being on defense thing and suplexes Yuji down for another two but gets caught in a quick chinlock. That doesn’t last long either as Angle is quickly up and taking out Nagata’s leg to send him to the floor. Back in and Angle slaps on a figure four to make Yuji scream. Nagata finally crawls over to the ropes so Kurt bends the knee some more in the middle of the ring.
Another figure four attempt is countered and Nagata slaps on his signature armbar. We take a break and come back with Angle rolling Germans as Tenay and West swap out for the Japanese announcers. That lasts all of three seconds, making it more pointless than most stuff TNA does. Nagata rolls some vertical suplexes and puts Kurt in another crossface. Angle uses the old Benoit counter by grabbing the ankle lock while still in the hold to put Nagata in even more trouble.
That’s countered right back into the crossface but Angle fights up and hits the Angle Slam for two. The moonsault misses though and Nagata hits a running knee in the corner to fire up the crowd. A belly to belly superplex gets a very close two on Angle and it’s back to the crossface. With that not working, Nagata switches to a kind of Rings of Saturn rollup for two. They slug it out with Angle nailing a clothesline but going down as well. Nagata gets two off a release suplex but Kurt puts on the ankle lock and sits down like a Boston crab before putting on the grapevine to make Nagata tap.
Rating: B. I was digging that Boston crab ankle lock thing. Other than that the match was solid stuff and a good big match for a supershow like this. The crossfaces were getting repetitive in there but at least there was a story of both guys working on a body part and then following it up. That’s a rare thing to see anymore.
They shake hands post match.
We get a clip of the post match press conference with Angle saying he hurts people in the ring.
Kurt talks about considering MMA after leaving WWE. He met with Dana White and was offered a deal but was told he couldn’t wrestle anymore. Angle had already signed with TNA though so it wasn’t going to happen. Everyone knows he would have been awesome though. Another promotion gave him two and a half months’ notice to fight but that wasn’t enough time for him to be ready. Then a third wasn’t able to pay him enough. Angle talks about wanting to fight but needing the right money.
Jeff Jarrett goes into a long answer to “would Angle be a successful fighter?” before saying he doesn’t know. This was basically ten minutes of repeating the same lines over and over again: “Kurt would fight and be awesome because he was a gold medalist but the money wasn’t right. He might fight one day.” Repeat about seven times, including once by the voiceover guy.
We haven’t had this one in awhile.
TNA World Title: Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
In a cage at Lockdown 2008 with Angle defending and Joe’s career on the line. They haven’t had a PPV match in awhile so we get a recap of their whole history. This is treated more like an MMA fight with Angle in black shorts instead of his usual singlet and MMA fighter Frank Trigg on commentary. Before the match, Angle has Karen thrown out from her front row seat.
They even start by standing in MMA stances before trading leg kicks. Joe gets a leg bar but Angle is almost immediately in the ropes. Down to the mat with Angle hammering away at Joe’s guard as this is getting old fast. Joe gets the better of some mat grappling before it’s back to the stupid MMA stances. Angle finally snaps off a suplex and puts on a side choke until Joe makes the ropes.
Off to a front facelock from the champion before a quick German suplex gets two. A shot to the knee puts Joe down again and we hit the figure four. It’s about time we got to some wrestling. Joe finally turns it over but Angle is right next to the ropes. Angle cranks on the leg again but Joe chops his way out of it. That’s fine with Kurt as he slaps on a quickly broken headlock. Seriously a headlock in a cage match?
Back up and Joe nails a clothesline to put Kurt down but he has to shake his knee a bit. Kurt goes to the middle rope but gets caught by the enziguri. The MuscleBuster is countered and Angle hooks the ankle lock. Joe rolls out and gets two out of the release Rock Bottom out of the corner. The powerbomb into the Walls of Jericho into the STF into the crossface has Angle screaming.
Kurt grabs the ankle to finally escape but Joe pulls Angle back down into the crossface in the middle of the ring. Angle finally rolls over to get the ropes but Joe puts it right back on. Another rope is grabbed and the Angle Slam gets two. The champion puts on the ankle lock but he spins one too many times and gets pulled into the Clutch, only to use the referee’s shirt to make it to the ropes. Another Angle Slam attempt is countered and Joe sends him face first into the cage (first time it’s been used) and the MuscleBuster FINALLY gives Joe the title.
Rating: B. This got much better once they stopped the stupid MMA stuff and had a wrestling match. There was no need to have a cage here as it was only used once towards the end, which could have been replaced by a kick or something like that. It’s a good match and a good moment, but at the end of the day this was too overdone for what it needed to be.
Kurt says he has at least three years to go (this was about five years ago) and wants to have the best retirement year ever.
People see him on creative or coaching in ten years.
One last “Kurt is great” bit wraps us up.
Overall Rating: B+. There are some things that you have to allow here, but the majority of this was excellent. The documentary was really good stuff with pretty much everything you could ever want to know about Kurt Angle’s TNA run all in one place. They had a nice selection of people talking about him with Bruno being a great choice. The major issue with the documentary though is there’s no connection between what they’re talking about and the matches. They just show up with no real rhyme or reason and it gets a bit annoying at times.
The other problem is weighing in tonight at 280lbs and comes to us from the Isle of Samoa. That introduction takes place in six out of ten matches and five of the nine one on one matches. That’s WAY too much and I can’t imagine there’s nothing else they could have run. You didn’t need the third matches in their original series for instance.
The whole pairing just got way too repetitive and I’d love to see Angle vs. other people. The set came out in late 2008 so that has a lot to do with it, but with the selection they had at the time, there had to be something else to throw in there. They had some really good matches in 2008 to pick from so there really is no excuse.
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