Kurt Angle Talks Beating Brock Lesnar For IWGP Title
“We were good friends, and if he wanted me to come over and do that for him, I was willing to do it”
New Japan’s IWGP Heavyweight Title lineage has somewhat of a spotty past, especially when Brock Lesnar was champion in 2005.
Having reigned with the belt for over 280 days, Lesnar was stripped of the title after failing to appear for a defence, with NJPW founder Antonio Inoki quitting the promotion to set up the Inoki Genome Federation (IGF) and recognising Lesnar as champion.
Still in possession of the physical belt, Lesnar would drop the championship to TNA’s Kurt Angle in 2007, and Angle has detailed how the confusing title switch came about, saying on the Kurt Angle Show on Adfreeshows.com:
“He [Brock Lesnar] called me out of the blue. I guess he didn’t want to do a job for anybody over in Japan. He was IWGP Champion. It was the third belt that we wrestled for, the IWGP third belt. I heard Brock was stripped of that title, but he wasn’t stripped because I beat him for that title. Brock wanted me to come over to Japan to wrestle him so he could lose to me, and I would end up losing to somebody over in Japan. That was his idea. I told him I would do it. We were good friends, very close, and if he wanted me to come over and do that for him, I was willing to do it.
‘TNA gave me the approval. Obviously, TNA got paid for those events because they were paying me, so I didn’t see any money from the events in New Japan for the IWGP Title even when I continued to defend it. I think I did it three more times. TNA was getting that money, and that’s when I put a stop to it and said, ‘Ok, I can’t be going over to Japan and not making any money. This is ridiculous.’ That’s when I dropped the title because they wanted me to hold it for a while longer, and I said, ‘No. I’m going to drop it the next time I wrestle in Japan.’”
Angle eventually dropped the title to Shinsuke Nakamura, who unified the belt with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.