Now when it comes to discussions of the greatest wrestlers of all time, there’s a reason why a lot of people name Kurt Angle. Whether it was his speedy transition from Olympic gold medal winner (with a broken freakin neck) or his amazing charisma, Angle endeared himself quickly to the WWE Universe. Across his WWE career alone, he had an enormous amount of quality matches and great title reigns which may be touched on below. However, as good as Angle was in WWE he arguably had just as many great matches on the indies, especially with TNA and a few in ROH because he’s the absolute best. So, let’s look back on the best matches of Kurt Angle with intensity, intelligence and integrity…
Best Kurt Angle Matches – Top 10
10. Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit vs Edge and Rey Mysterio, No Mercy 2002 – WWE Tag Team Titles
Now anyone who knows me knows I love a good tag team match. And this is the definition of great tag team wrestling from 4 of Paul Heyman’s vaunted Smackdown Six. What makes this match so good is how everyone has a different style but how well they all mesh with each other. Whether it’s Mysterio’s high flying lucha offense, Angle’s suplexes, Benoit’s fantastic mat and submission wrestling and Edge’s use of Mysterio in big man, little man moves, there’s so much to love. In a particular barren time for good tag team wrestling in WWE, this is a shining light of how good the division could have been…
9. Kurt Angle vs AJ Styles, TNA Hard Justice 2008 – Last Man Standing
Get ready to fly… out of your seat watching this mad, mad match. Now I know technically it isn’t a last man standing match because it’s contested under Texas Death Match rules. Basically the difference is you have to submit or knockout your opponent for a count of ten. And considering the names involved you know chaos is involved. Examples include Styles countering an Angle Slam into a Styles Clash and a frankly terrifying spot of Angle being spiked neck first from the top rope. Now yes, the overbooking afterwards with Sting and Kevin Nash is a bit weird but ignore that and you’ve got a classic from TNA’s golden age. Also, an absolute criminal shame we never got Angle vs Styles when both were in WWE…
8. Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon, King of the Ring 2001 – Street Fight
From technically sublime wrestling to an all out bloody war. Now yes, this is the match where they forgot to put sugar glass panes in and instead put plexiglass. So, the match devolves into a snuff film by the end when Angle keeps trying to throw McMahon through plexiglass and he keeps landing on his head. Besides Shane’s brain probably resembling scrambled eggs, the rest of the match is pretty phenomenal. Mostly because it’s the definition of chaos with people flying through tables, chairs and an entire IKEA store’s worth of objects. So while it’s very difficult to watch Shane repeatedly falling on his head, there’s enough enjoyable chaos to see the match through.
7. Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio, SummerSlam 2002
Another one of my favourite matches with two of my favourite wrestlers so what more could I want? Simply put, this is a perfect clash with Angle making Mysterio look like a million bucks. Though Mysterio is no slouch with plenty of high flying moves which Angle evades. Also, the through line is Angle targeting Mysterio’s leg in order to stop his high flying moves. This is simple and effective as it keeps bringing the audience into Mysterio’s corner. Furthermore, the way both men start out slowish before storming into a freakish pace is remarkable. Mysterio could not have asked for a better debut match in WWE than this frenetic and fast paced opener.
6. Kurt Angle vs Samoa Joe, TNA Genesis 2006
Taking a break from Angle in WWE, we venture back to his near decade in TNA for a match with Samoan Joseph. And no not that one… Anyway, considering this was Joe at his near in-ring peak and Angle was still more than capable of great performances, there’s a reason this was billed as a dream match. But weirdly it’s quite a subdued match with some good technical wrestling. Ultimately Joe suffers his first loss in 18 months via an Ankle Lock. So the match itself is fine, but the aftermath and how it sets up future matches is fascinating.
5. Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar, WrestleMania 19 – WWE Championship
Honestly, I could probably do a whole list about Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar, such was their ability to produce magic in the ring. And yes, like the street fight with Shane McMahon this match is largely remembered for Brock no selling concussing himself and still winning the WWE Championship. Because you tell Brock Lesnar to stop wrestling, I dare you…. Anyway, the rest of the match is typically excellent with a combination of freakish athleticism and magnificent technical wrestling that we’d become accustomed to. So while the finishing spot is probably the most instantly memorable thing about this match, everything that preceded it was just as memorable.
4. Kurt Angle vs Eddie Guerrero, Wrestlemania 20 – WWE Championship
Viva La Raza and Viva La Angle because once again this is Kurt Angle knocking it out of the park in a world title match at Wrestlemania. And obviously the match is fantastic given the two men involved as they go back and forth with some wonderful chemistry. This is due to Guerrero’s high flying, flashy offence versus Angle’s more grounded suplex and submission based offence. Also, that latter part plays into the finish. So when Angle has Guerrero in an Ankle Lock, Eddie slips out of his boot and rolls up Angle. A great finish which allowed Kurt to show off his goofier side while still making complete sense within both men’s characters.
3. Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar, Smackdown 2003 – 60 Minute Iron Man Match for the WWE Championship
Just like Braun Strowman in 2017, I’m not finished talking about how good Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar matches are. Now I understand watching an hour long iron match can be a struggle and it’s not to everyone’s taste. But it’s such a good match if you give it a go. Especially the parts where both men keep hitting German Suplexes on each other for no reason. Also, it’s just subliminal in terms of technical wrestling as both men show off their amateur wrestling abilities. That’s not even touching on the fact that the falls for both men are just frequent enough to keep audience investment without being too back and forth. A great match which is arguably Brock and Kurt’s best match together which is really saying something…
2. Kurt Angle vs The Undertaker, No Way Out 2006 – World Heavyweight Championship Match
Fun fact, this match was nearly Undertaker’s Wrestlemania 22 match. And that would have been incredible even if it would have been at the cost of Rey Mysterio’s world title. Oh, and Kurt would have broken the Streak as well, according to sources. But Angle refused out of respect to Undertaker which is nice. Hence this match taking place at No Way Out. And my god it’s fantastic. As Undertaker is very much in his peak while Angle, f**ked up neck and all, is still turning in masterful work. So while in hindsight, this match was slightly predictable given the fact The Streak was bigger than the World Title it’s still terrific to see two legends in the industry giving it everything in a feud which should have had more matches….
1. Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania 21
One is a Sexy Boy and one is a Sexy Kurt, a Wrestlemania dream match if I’ve ever seen one. Anyway, was this the obvious choice? Yes but what else can top this match? Anyway, the simple story of I’m better than you works in the match’s favour. This is because both men try to one up people at every opportunity. Elbow Drop off the top rope through the announce table? How about an Avalanche Angle Slam from the top rope? I could go on listing spots but I’d be here for hours. While subsequent matches the pair had are just as good, the original will always be the best thanks to the sheer work ethic and simple story working in tandem. Now that is not only true, it’s damn true.