10 Underrated Kurt Angle WWE Classic Matches
There were a few to choose from, that's for sure...
It's March 7, 2021 and that means it's 22 years to the day since Kurt Angle made his WWE TV debut.
Oh it's true, it's true. I'm not getting my dates wrong and misremembering the 1999 Survivor Series (which is where Angle had his first televised WWE match, a victory over Shawn Stasiak). Because the Olympic gold medalist actually first showed up on our screens on the March 7, 1999 episode of Heat, which took place in Kurt's hometown of Pittsburgh.
The fresh-faced Angle - who was in the middle of his training in WWE's developmental system at the time - was called into the ring by Tiger Ali Singh and defended the honour of Americans nationwide with a couple of nifty throws.
USA! USA! USA! USA!
I'm from Newcastle Upon Tyne, alright, but it's still a fun thing to chant...
Anyway, that Angle fella did alright for himself after that, winning every title, tournament and match type over the course of a lengthy and legendary career before being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017 and retiring two years later.
To celebrate this milestone, I've went back and looked at Angle's WWE career and picked out some of the underrated classics that the wrestling machine put on over the years.
As you can imagine, considering the absurdly high standard of his work, I was spoiled for choice...
10. Vs. Ric Flair - Raw (June 27, 2005)
Two of the best of all-time squared off with one another on the June 27, 2005 episode of Raw, when Ric Flair met Kurt Angle in something of an intergenerational dream match.
The match was, naturally, built up with a 'Woo'-off and, while The Nature Boy was obviously not in his 1980s prime, the prospect of the two greats wrestling for the first time ever was an intriguing one to savour.
Flair could still put in a performance when needed and Angle was game to help carry his more experienced but less mobile opponent, the two putting on a long, entertaining and rather stiff bout.
Slic Ric tried every shortcut imaginable so as not to fall prey to Kurt's superior amateur skills, relying on eye rakes, fish hooking and low blows whenever he wasn't taking the skin off Angle's chest with those brutal chops of his.
It was a great story and proved that Flair could still hang at a top level, and fans even bought that he might get the job done with the Figure-Four Leglock at one point.
Alas, it was not to be, as the Olympic Hero rallied and trapped Flair in the Ankle Lock for the submission victory. Which was the right decision, of course, but credit to Angle for doing everything he could to make this as compelling as possible and building 'Naitch up before putting him away.
What a shame it didn't lead to more matches between the two, really.