By: J. Johnson
Once in a while the WWE has its moments of being memorable and unforgettable. You say to yourselves “This is awesome!” We’ve seen it with the likes of ‘Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart’, ‘Stone Cold vs. The Rock’, ‘Triple H vs. John Cena’, ‘Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels’, and many more. Although Shawn Michaels has been mentioned throughout that minor list of great matchups two WWE wrestlers have been able to capture many hearts by them being ring generals for many years.
Kurt Angle & The Undertaker
One is an Olympic gold medalist and the other is legendary in professional wrestling that the meeting of the two has classic written all over it.
Angle competed in amateur wrestling in high school and college. In college at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, he won numerous accolades, including being a two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I champion. After graduating, he won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1995 World Wrestling Championships. Angle then competed in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where he won a gold medal in heavyweight freestyle wrestling. He is one of only four people to complete a Grand Slam in amateur wrestling (junior nationals, NCAAs, World Championships and the Olympics). In 2006, he was named the single greatest shoot wrestler and one of the top 15 college wrestlers of all time by USA Wrestling.
Angle made his first appearance at a professional wrestling event in 1996, with his in-ring debut following in 1998. He had previously turned down an offer to join the WWF, but signed a multi-year contract with the company that year, and participated in his first televised storyline in March 1999. After months of unaired matches, Angle made his official debut that November and received his first major push in the company in February 2000, when he held the European Championship and the Intercontinental Championship simultaneously. Four months later he won the King of the Ring tournament, and not long after, began pursuing the WWF Championship, which he won in October; this capped off a rookie year which is considered by many as the greatest in professional wrestling history. From there Kurt Angle has been able to capture multiple WWE championship virtually available in his tenure with the company.
Even with Kurt Angle’s hall of famed career in the WWE, there’s one man who has a little more to bring to the discussion as one of the best.
The Undertaker began his wrestling career with World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) in 1984. After wrestling for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as “Mean” Mark Callous from 1989 to 1990, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 1990.
As The Undertaker, his gimmick is a horror-themed, dynamically dark, macabre entity who employs scare tactics and has links to thesupernatural. He is the storyline half-brother of fellow WWE wrestler Kane, with whom he has alternately feuded and teamed with asThe Brothers of Destruction. Since unseating Hulk Hogan as WWF Champion in 1991, The Undertaker has been the focal point of numerous illustrious and legendary storylines and matches within WWE history.
The Undertaker’s most renowned and celebrated achievement is The Streak, an unprecedented run of 21 straight victories at WWE’s annual WrestleMania pay-per-view (including main event bouts at WrestleMania 13, WrestleMania XXIV, and WrestleMania XXVI); he sustained his first loss at WrestleMania XXX to Brock Lesnar. He was also winner of the 2007 Royal Rumble. Among other championship accolades, Calaway is a four-time WWF/E Champion, three-time World Heavyweight Champion, and one-time USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion.
It’s safe to say that these two are among a long list of WWE wrestlers that have a storied legacy and will go down in the history of pro-wrestling as great in-ring competitors. At No Way Out 2006 they proved why that an olympic athlete and a professional wrestler can put on a classic that will never be forgotten.
In early January 2006, Angle returned to the SmackDown! brand as a surprise entrant in a twenty-man battle royal for the World Heavyweight Championship. Angle won by last eliminating Mark Henry, turning face in the process for the first time since 2004. At the Royal Rumble, the Undertaker returned during Kurt Angle’s celebration of his World Title defense against Mark Henry on a horse-drawn cart, signaling for a title shot. As part of their storyline feud, the Undertaker lost his match with Angle at No Way Out after a thirty-minute bout. Undertaker cornered Angle after the match and told him he was not finished with him; however during a rematch on SmackDown! Henry attacked the Undertaker from behind, costing him the title, assuring Angle would go on to WrestleMania 22. This led to the Undertaker challenging Henry to a Casket match at WrestleMania 22 and Angle then began a three way feud with 2006 Royal Rumble winner Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton (whom defeated Mysterio at No Way Out to gain entrance to the SmackDown main event at WrestleMania). At WrestleMania, Angle indirectly dropped the title to Mysterio in the Triple Threat match after Mysterio pinned Orton.
Simply put ‘The Phenom’ and ‘The Olympic Gold Medalist’ made history for going 30-Minutes to put on a classic that is right up there with another one of The Undertaker’s ’bout with Shawn Michaels circa WrestleMania 25. It was claimed by Kurt Angle himself that he was the one to break The Undertaker’s streak. Only a few can truly answer that seeing how Brock Lesnar was chosen by Vince McMahon and The Undertaker himself. When you watch and hear what The Undertaker says at the end of the match “I got your number… I’m not through with you yet.” It could have been a set-up for a future match at a big event or maybe just that other match that was held on SmackDown! Although a lot can speculate about these two’s rivalry, one thing is for certain The Undertaker and Kurt Angle are two great wrestlers from that prove not only can experience evolve, but that both will go down in history of the WWE as legends.
You can watch the full match of ‘The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle; World Heavyweight Championship’ along with the No Way Out 2006 in its entirety, exclusively on the WWE Network for $9.99, but free for the month of July if you sign-up now!