Kurt Angle

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Kurt Angle
Kurt Steven Angle is a 1996 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling and now a professional wrestler performing for World Wrestling Entertainment on its RAW brand. He was born on December 9 1968 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Among his trademarks is the audience--whether he is face or heel--chanting "You Suck!" (sometimes qualified with "What?") in time with his entrance music.

Amateur wrestling

Angle had a distinguished career in amateur wrestling even before winning in the 1996 Olympics. He was a 2-time NCAA Division I champion and a 3-time NCAA Division I All-American while attending Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He was also 1987 USA Junior Freestyle champion, 2-time USA Senior Freestyle champion, and 1988 USA FILA Junior World Freestyle champion. Angle reached the pinnacle of his amateur career at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, winning the 100 kg (220-pound) freestyle wrestling competition even while suffering from two fractured cervical vertebrae in his neck.

Not long after his high-profile Olympic success, he decided to enter the world of broadcasting. He was hired to do sports commentary during the 10 PM nightly newscast on Pittsburgh television WPGH channel 53. Promoted as "The Angle on Sports", Kurt was visibly nervous and had trouble speaking on camera. His news career lasted only a few short months before he turned to professional wrestling. The move brought sharp criticism from his peers in the freestyle wrestling community who regard professional wrestling as a mockery of their sport.

Extreme Championship Wrestling

On October 26, 1996 Angle was convinced to attend the taping of an ECW event named High Incident by Shane Douglas. Angle provided guest commentary during a match between Taz and Little Guido, but walked out of the building after the infamous "crucifixion angle" (where Raven attached The Sandman to a cross using barbed wire). Angle was shocked by the controversial imagery and feared that his career prospects would be damaged if he was associated with the incident, so threatened to sue ECW owner Paul Heyman if he was shown on television in the same broadcast as the stunt.

World Wrestling Entertainment

Less than four years after earning Olympic gold, and after many months spent in developmental territories and competing in untelevised "dark matches" for the WWE, Angle officially debuted for the then-WWF on November 14, 1999 at the annual Survivor Series pay-per-view event, held that year at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. He faced and defeated Shawn Stasiak in his debut match. He began life as a smiling, All-American good guy (or "face"), but the intention was for his forced morality and overconfidence to turn him heel.


Angle initially embarked on an undefeated streak, though he suffered a loss in a tag team match when his partner, Steve Blackman, was pinned. This led to a match between the two at Armageddon 1999, which Angle won. His streak continued into 2000, when he was scheduled to face an unknown opponent at the Royal Rumble. The opponent was revealed as the debuting Tazz, who rendered Angle unconscious using his Tazzmission hold. However, Angle claimed that the Tazzmission was an illegal choke hold, and his streak was therefore unbroken (he was finally beaten decisively by The Rock).

Angle won the European Championship on February 8, 2000, defeating Val Venis. On February 27 at No Way Out Angle defeated Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship after (illegally) using the title belt to block Jericho's Lionsault. He would then unofficially merge the two titles into the "Eurocontinental" Championship. Angle was the third Eurocontinental Champion, following D'Lo Brown who, as Angle humorously put it on TV, "doesn't count" and Jeff Jarrett.

Veteran wrestler Bob Backlund became Angle's mentor, but, unfortunately for Angle, Backlund agreed to a match on Angle's behalf that would see him defend both his titles in a triple threat match. As this meant that Angle could lose his titles without being beaten, he was understandably angry, and used Backlund's own Crossface Chickenwing hold on him. On April 2, 2000 at WrestleMania 2000, Angle faced Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho, and lost both belts without being pinned or made to submit.

Angle also won the 2000 King of the Ring tournament in June 2000, defeating Rikishi in the finals, and wrestled in the main event of SummerSlam in August. With his on-screen nerves totally gone, Angle's light-hearted holier-than-thou routines provided the perfect compliment to his intense and tough wrestling style and helped to get him 'over' to fans massively.

The perfect proof of this fast progress came with his crowning achievement: defeating The Rock at No Mercy in October 2000 to win the WWF Championship. He would hold the belt for four months, and then go on in 2001 to have memorable feuds with Chris Benoit amongst others.

(Later he would also win the Hardcore Championship, WCW World Heavyweight Championship, WCW US Championship, and one half of the first WWE (SmackDown! brand-specific) WWE Tag Team Championship, with Chris Benoit as his partner)

He is also noted for his comedic angles, such as his 2000/2001 stint with Team ECK, featuring Edge and Christian, and his goofy, stooge-like role during the rather botched 'Invasion' angle of 2001 alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. During that time he turned face by having Austin turn on him: Angle toppled Austin for his second WWE title in an emotional bout in September 2001, but lost it back to Austin just a few weeks later. Angle then turned heel again by rather nonsensically turning his back on the WWE and joining the WCW/ECW alliance he'd spent months fighting against. After the Alliance unceremoniously broke up almost straight after in November 2001, Angle 'returned' to the WWE fold and remained a sneering, patronising, yet humorous heel.


Later Kurt Angle and former partner Chris Benoit turned face by opposing Los Guerreros (Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Eddie Guerrero) This was Angle's second time as a face.

Missing image
Kurt Angle applying his signature move, the Ankle Lock to Hardcore Holly

After Angle won his third WWE championship against the Big Show in December 2002, he turned heel for the third time by hiring one of the most hated and concurrently revered managers of all time, former ECW owner, and ex-WCW talent, Paul Heyman.

On the December 26, 2002 edition of Smackdown!, as a Christmas 'gift' to his top client, Paul Heyman gave Kurt Angle his own back-up team, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin, who debuted that night under the name "Team Angle, and later dubbed themselves "The World's Greatest Tag Team".

Angle later lost his title to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XIX in March 2003. Angle subtly turned face for the third time by congratulating and befriending Lesnar immediately afterward.

Angle seriously considered trying to make a comeback to freestyle wrestling for the 2004 Summer Olympics, but he abandoned that plan late in 2002, when neck problems that dated back to his past amateur wrestling career recurred.

In 2003, after the aforementioned neck problems led to an almost career-ending injury, he opted for a new type of surgery that allowed him to return in two months rather than a year. However, in March 2004, his neck problems recurred yet again, and it was feared that he would have to undergo possibly career-ending surgery. For a time, he considered having an operation similar to the one he had in 2003, but has decided against it for the time being. He also injured his knee in late 2003.

Angle returned to the ring in July 2004 at a WWE house show in Japan. He has publicly stated that he will work a reduced in-ring schedule in the future, and is reportedly planning to change his wrestling style to reduce the risk of further damage to his neck.

In mid-February 2004, Angle turned heel again for the fourth time by turning his back on WWE champion Eddie Guerrero. In the storyline, the reason for this was because he thought that Eddie was nothing but an embarrassment to the championship due to Eddie's real-life past problems with drugs and alcohol. He then fought, and lost to, Eddie at WrestleMania XX for the championship in March 2004, but Eddie retained the title by employing one of his infamous cheating techniques in a creative finish involving a loose boot.

During late 2003 and the first half of 2004, Angle played the role of a disabled General Manager on SmackDown!, after he was thrown off a ledge by The Big Show. He was "fired" from that position when his career-ending injury was proven to be fake, and also by taking advantage of his status and interfering in title matches against Guerrero, but returned to the active roster during a SmackDown! taping on July 20 (aired on July 22).

He then formed a stable with Luther Reigns and Mark Jindrak, dubbed Kurt Angle and his Protégés, by SmackDown! commentators. They concentrated their power on taking down the Big Show, successfully tranquilizing him, and shaving his head in the middle of the ring. This formed a feud which continued throughout 2004 and early 2005.

As of November 16, 2004 in Dayton, Ohio, Kurt Angle has kicked off the "Kurt Angle Invitational." This means that, at every location where SmackDown! takes place, he will allow a "hometown hero", all of whom have been local professional wrestlers, to challenge him to a match. If that person defeats Angle, he will award them with his "authentic" 1996 Olympic gold medal. So far, no one has managed to claim victory over him.


On Royal Rumble 2005 (January 30, 2005 in Fresno, California), Kurt Angle lost in a triple threat match against Big Show and JBL. However, later in the event, Kurt Angle bullied Nunzio and took his Royal Rumble spot, only to be eliminated by Shawn Michaels, whom he later attacked after Michaels was eliminated, kicking a feud into high gear that started when Angle insulted Michaels during 2004's Survivor Series. Meanwhile, other attempts to capture the WWE Championship came when Kurt Angle and WWE US Champion John Cena were the finalists of a #1 contenders' match. Ultimately, Cena defeated Kurt Angle.

As a result of what happened at the Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels issued a challenge to Kurt Angle for a match at Wrestlemania 21, which Kurt Angle accepted when he appeared on RAW to attack Michaels. The two would continue to taunt and ambush each other until Wrestlemania in a Raw vs. Smackdown! Match.

This feud later saw Angle say he would accomplish everything Michaels has done in his 16 year career in 4 weeks. This saw Angle compete in his first ladder match during one of his "Hometown Hero" sections (for his Olympic Gold), which of course he won with ease. After the match, Angle announced that he will face Marty Jannetty, Michael's former tag team partner from the 1980s and early 1990s. Angle claimed that since Jannetty had taught Michaels "everything he knows" while part of the Rockers, he could teach Michaels "how to tap out" by forcing Jannetty to submit on SmackDown!.

The next week, on SmackDown!, Angle made good on his promise and forced Jannetty to submit to his ankle lock submission, but only after a nearly 20-minute match and a strong showing for Jannetty which saw him nearly pin the Olympic champion. Next, Angle would bring in another "blast from Shawn Michaels' past" in "Sensational" Sherri. Angle came to the ring with Michaels' former manager, copying Michaels' entrance almost exactly. The pair performed their own version of Michaels' theme music, before Angle turned on Sherri and made her tap out to the Angle Lock.

Finally, Kurt Angle beat Shawn Michaels by submission in the much-anticipated "interpromotional" match at WrestleMania 21 on April 3, 2005. Many fans considered the match the best of the four-hour show.

On the May 12, 2005 edition of WWE Smackdown, Angle cut a promo about Booker T's wife Sharmell Sullivan, saying he wanted to have "bestiality sex" with her and then "that kind of perverted sex." At Judgment Day on May 22, he lost the resultant match with Booker T. He then gave Booker T an Angle Slam, and went after Sharmell Sullivan with handcuffs. Unfortunately for Angle, Booker T stopped him and handcuffed him to the ropes, and let Sharmell slap Angle in the face. On June 9, he lost another match to Booker T on Smackdown.

On June 13, Angle became the second person to be drafted from Smackdown! to RAW in the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery. He is scheduled to face Shawn Michaels in a WrestleMania 21 rematch at Vengeance 2005.

Personal life

Angle is married, with has a wife, Karen, and one daughter, Kira. Angle has four older brothers, including Eric, also a wrestler, and one late sister, the latter of whom died due to heart complications, a problem for several Angle family members. His father was also killed in a construction accident. Angle dedicated his autobiography, "It's True, It's True" to him.


Finishing/Signature Moves

Championships and accomplishments

Amateur Wrestling

  • Pennsylvania State Wrestling Champion (1987)
  • Freshman of the Year (1988; Clarion University)
  • 2-time NCAA Champion
  • Espoir World Cup 2nd Place [1989]
  • Yasar Dogu Tournament 2nd Place [1989]
  • Canadian Cup Championship Winner [1990]
  • Olympic Games - Freestyle Wrestling Gold Medal (1996)
  • National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame (2001)


Kurt has won several Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) Awards over the years:

  • Feud of the Year, 2000 (Vs. Triple H)
  • Most Hated Wrestler of the Year, 2000
  • Rookie of the Year, 2000
  • Inspirational Wrestler of the Year, 2001
  • Comeback of the Year, 2003
  • Feud of the Year, 2003 (Vs. Brock Lesnar)
  • Match of the Year, 2003 (Vs. Brock Lesnar)
  • Most Popular Wrestler, 2003
  • Wrestler of the Year, 2003
WWE Championship
Preceded by:
The Rock
First reign Followed by:
The Rock
Preceded by:
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Second reign Followed by:
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Preceded by:
The Big Show
Third reign Followed by:
Brock Lesnar
Preceded by:
Brock Lesnar
Fourth reign Followed by:
Brock Lesnar
WCW Championship
Preceded by:
Booker T
First reign Followed by:
Booker T

Job Titles

  • SmackDown! General Manager


  • Angle, Kurt and Harper, John (2001) It's True! It's True!, ISBN: 0060393270

External links

Template:WWEchampions Template:WCWchampions Template:WWEUSchampions Template:WWEICchampions Template:WWEEurochampions Template:WWETagchampionsde:Kurt Angle sv:Kurt Angle


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