|Kurt Steven Angle|
|Born||December 9, 1968|
|From||Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania|
Professional wrestling career
|Ring Name||Kurt Angle|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight||240 lbs (109 kg)|
Kurt Steven Angle (December 9, 1968) is an American professional wrestler, actor and 1996 Olympic gold medalist.
Angle was involved in amateur wrestling during both 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 the 1995 World Championship tournament. Angle then competed in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where he won a gold medal in heavyweight freestyle wrestling.
Initially turning down an offer to join the World Wrestling Federation, Angle signed a multi-year contract with the company in 1998. His first big push in the company was in February 2000, when he held both the WWF European Championship and the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Not long after, Angle began pursuing the WWF Championship. He continued to be a part of main event matches until August 2006, when Angle was granted a release from his contract. Throughout his tenure in the company, he was a 6-time world champion (four-time WWF/E Champion, World Heavyweight Champion and WCW Champion), WCW United States Champion, WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWF European Champion, WWF Hardcore Champion and WWE Tag Team Champion (with Chris Benoit). In addition, he was the winner of the King of the Ring tournament in 2000, the tenth Triple Crown Champion, and the fifth Grand Slam Champion.
Professional wrestling career
Extreme Championship Wrestling (1996)
On October 26, 1996, Angle was convinced by Shane Douglas to attend the taping of an Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) event named High Incident. He provided guest commentary during a match between Taz and Little Guido, but left the building after Raven "crucified" The Sandman by attaching him to a cross using barbed wire. Loverro, Thom. The Rise & Fall of ECW: Extreme Championship Wrestling (p. 172) Angle, shocked by the controversial imagery and afraid that his career prospects would be damaged if he was associated with the incident, threatened to sue ECW owner Paul Heyman if he was shown on television in the same broadcast as the stunt.
In 1997, following the incident, Angle worked for a year as a sportscaster on Pittsburgh's local Fox affiliate WPGH-TV.
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (1998–2006)
Debut; WWF Champion (1998–2000)
In October 1998, Angle signed an eight-year contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). He was assigned to the Power Pro Wrestling developmental territory in Memphis, Tennessee, where he began training. Angle's first appearance on WWF television was on the March 7, 1999 episode of Sunday Night Heat, where he took part in an angle with Tiger Ali Singh. This angle involved Singh paying him money to blow his nose on the American flag. Angle instead blew his nose on Singh's flag and fought him off. His first official WWF match was a dark match victory over Brian Christopher on April 11, 1999. In the following months, he wrestled in house shows and other dark matches in preparation for his televised debut.
After several weeks of vignettes, Angle made his in-ring debut on November 14, 1999 at the Survivor Series, defeating Shawn Stasiak. In his initial push, he remained undefeated for several weeks, eventually losing to the debuting Tazz at the Royal Rumble. Angle's television character was an "American hero" gimmick based on his gold medal win at the 1996 Summer Olympics. In his promos, Angle presented himself as a role model and stressed the need to work hard to realize one's dreams, stressing the 3 Is, "Intensity, Integrity, and Intelligence". In his promos and ring entrances, Angle would always wear replicas of his gold medals around his neck. Despite standing for many principles that are associated with fan favorites, Angle's character was arrogant, talked down to the audience, and behaved as if he thought he was better than the fans, leading to him quickly becoming a villain. Angle won both the WWF European Championship and the WWF Intercontinental Championship in February 2000, billing himself as the "Eurocontinental Champion". He dropped both of his titles without ever conceding a fall in a two falls Triple Threat match with Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 2000. The match had been agreed on to Angle's behalf by his mentor, Bob Backlund.
Throughout mid-2000, Angle and Edge and Christian ("Team ECK") feuded with Too Cool and Rikishi, with Angle defeating Rikishi in the finals of the King of the Ring tournament. He went on to feud with Triple H after a love triangle between Angle, Triple H, and Triple H's wife Stephanie McMahon developed. As a change to the intended storyline of Stephanie turning on her husband and going with Angle, he lost to Triple H at Unforgiven. Following his feud with Triple H, Angle received another push and began pursuing the WWF Championship, defeating The Rock at No Mercy, after interference from Rikishi. With his victory over the Rock, Angle became the first wrestler to have won both an Olympic Gold medal and the World title. Angle retained the WWF Championship for the rest of the year in matches with The Undertaker at Survivor Series and in a six way Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon.
After beating Triple H at the Royal Rumble, Angle eventually lost the title to The Rock at No Way Out, he held the WWF Championship for four months. He then feuded with Chris Benoit, whom he defeated at WrestleMania X-Seven but lost to him at Backlash in an Ultimate Submission match; Benoit defeated Angle four falls to three in sudden-death overtime. Continuing the feud, Angle again defeated Benoit in a two out of three falls match at Judgment Day. Benoit pinned Angle after an Angle Slam in a "Pinfalls Only" fall, and then Angle made Benoit submit with the ankle lock in the "Submissions Only" fall. Angle won the third fall, a Ladder match, with the help of Edge and Christian.
The Invasion; Team Angle (2001–2002)
When World Championship Wrestling and ECW formed The Alliance and invaded the WWF in mid-2001 (dubbed as "The Invasion"), Angle became a fan favorite and began a storyline where he joined forces with WWF Champion Steve Austin to repel them. At Invasion, Angle and Austin captained a team of five WWF superstars against five handpicked members of the Alliance. As part of the angle, Team WWF lost to Team Alliance when Austin turned on his team to join The Alliance. At the close of the match, Austin nailed Angle with a Stone Cold Stunner, causing him to get pinned by the other team. After winning and losing the WCW Championship, WCW United States Championship, and the WWF Hardcore Championship in matches with Alliance members, Angle was booked to defeat Austin in a SummerSlam rematch for his second WWF Championship at Unforgiven. He dropped the title back to Austin on the October 8, 2001 episode of Raw when WWF Commissioner William Regal joined The Alliance and cost Angle the match. As part of the storyline, Angle subsequently turned into a villain again and joined the Alliance himself; during a WrestleMania X-Seven rematch between Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon, he interfered seemingly to aid Vince but instead struck the members of team WWF with a steel chair. Angle, however, ultimately returned to the WWF side by enabling The Rock to defeat Austin in a "Winner Takes All" match between the WWF and The Alliance at Survivor Series. He remained a villain by claiming sole responsibility for the destruction of The Alliance.
After dropping the WWE United States Championship to Edge, the duo were booked into a lengthy feud. During this feud, Edge started the "you suck" chants every time Angle entered a WWE ring, usually in tune with Angle's entrance music. The chants followed Angle throughout the rest of his WWE career. In the course of the feud, Angle lost a "hair versus hair" match to Edge at Judgment Day, and his head was shaved bald. Following the loss of his hair, Angle's storyline called for him to wear a wig and insult bald people, leading to a feud with Hollywood Hogan, who stripped Angle of his wig. Angle later scored a submission victory over Hogan at King of the Ring.
In October 2002, Angle became the fifth WWE Grand Slam Championship winner when he won the WWE Tag Team Championship with Chris Benoit at No Mercy 2002. Their team was successful but problematic, as the two bickered constantly, with Benoit often fed up with Angle's over-the-top antics. After dropping the title to Edge and Rey Mysterio on an edition of SmackDown!, Angle won his third WWE Championship at Armageddon, defeating The Big Show, with the help of Brock Lesnar. While still in his third reign, Angle began a new storyline when he gained the services of manager Paul Heyman and "Team Angle".
Feuding with Lesnar and Guerrero (2003–2004)
He then began feuding with Brock Lesnar, who had won the 2003 Royal Rumble match, after Lesnar claimed to be the new top superstar on SmackDown!. Angle dropped the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania XIX to Lesnar.
On April 11, 2003, Angle underwent neck surgery performed by Dr. Hae-Dong Jho to repair nerve and spinal damage, calcium buildup, bone spurs, and intervertebral disc problems. Rather than have Dr. Jho remove the afflicted discs and fuse his vertebrae together, Angle opted for a less conventional surgery where Jho removed only the spurs and selected portions of the discs. The alternative surgery reduced Angle's rehabilitation time from one year to three months. He returned as a fan favorite in June. Shortly after returning, Angle defeated Lesnar and Big Show in a Triple Threat match at Vengeance to regain the WWE Championship. During this time, Lesnar seemed to become an ally to Angle. Lesnar, however, secretly worked with Vince McMahon on a plot against Angle and stated that he never tolerated losing the belt to him at Vengeance. After retaining the title in a singles bout with Lesnar at SummerSlam, he dropped the title to Lesnar in an Iron Man match on an episode of SmackDown!. Angle then formed a five-man team to rival Lesnar's team at the Survivor Series, with Angle's team coming out victorious.
Angle then got involved in a feud with Eddie Guerrero. Initially being a firm friend and ally to Eddie during the latter's feud with his nephew Chavo, Angle turned on him when it was announced that Guerrero, not Angle, was the number one contender for the WWE Championship. At No Way Out, Guerrero defeated Lesnar to win the WWE Championship, and Angle won a match to become new number one contender. After losing to Guerrero at WrestleMania XX, Angle began to once again suffer from legitimate neck problems. As a response, he was made the on-screen General Manager of SmackDown!, with his absence from the ring attributed to injuries suffered after Big Show chokeslammed him off a ledge. Angle continued his feud with Guerrero throughout 2004. He cost Guerrero the WWE championship against John "Bradshaw" Layfield in a Texas Bull Rope match at The Great American Bash by participating in the worked finish; Angle came down to the ring and showed a replay where JBL's shoulder hit the corner pad before Guerrero's hand. Angle was later fired by Vince McMahon as General Manager in July 2004, after discovering that he was faking his handicapped status.
In November 2004, Angle initiated the Kurt Angle Invitational, a worked weekly segment where "hometown heroes" (plants), challenged him to a match, with Angle promising to give his Olympic gold medal to the first person to last more than three minutes in the ring with him. The Invitational was won by Eugene in July 2005 starting a new angle for both men. As a result, Angle faced Eugene at SummerSlam, defeating him by making him tap out to the ankle lock.
On November 4, 2004, episode of SmackDown!, during an unscripted segment of Tough Enough, Angle challenged the finalists through a squat thrust competition. The winner was Chris Nawrocki, and the prize Nawrocki won was a match against Angle. After Angle defeated Nawrocki, Daniel Puder, an American professional mixed martial artist, challenged Angle. During the match, Angle and Puder wrestled for position before Angle took Puder down; in the process, Puder locked Angle in a real submission hold, a kimura lock. With Puder on his back, one of two referees in the ring, Jim Korderas, quickly counted three to end the bout, but some observed that during the pin, Puder's shoulders were not on the mat. Puder later claimed he would have snapped Angle's arm, thus making Angle tap out on national television, if Korderas had not ended the match. Following the incident, Dave Meltzer and Dave Scherer gave these comments;
""It was real. If you don't follow fighting, Puder had Angle locked in the Kimura, or keylock as Tazz called it, although Tazz didn't let on the move was fully executed. Not only was Angle not getting out of the move, but most MMA fighters would have tapped already. Angle couldn't tap for obvious reasons. The ref counted a three even though Puder's shoulders weren't fully down, trying to end the thing, because the reality was Angle would have been in surgery had it gone a few seconds longer or had Puder not given up the hold." ― Dave Meltzer"
""As you would expect, Kurt Angle was less than happy backstage at Smackdown after almost being forced to tap out to Tough Enough contestant Daniel Puder. Downright ticked off would probably be the best way to describe his mood. The unscripted nature of the contest was the main reason that Angle was made to look so bad since Puder just reacted to the situation and could have forced Angle to submit had the referees not thought quickly and counted a pin that wasn't there on Puder." ― Dave Scherer"
"The Wrestling Machine" And Departure (2005–2006)
In January 2005, Angle took part in the Royal Rumble, but was eliminated by Shawn Michaels, who had returned to the ring to eliminate in retaliation. After mocking Michaels by defeating his former tag team partner, Marty Jannetty, and attacking former manager, Sherri Martel, Angle defeated Michaels in an interpromotional match at restleMania 21, which won Pro Wrestling Illustrated Match of the Year Award. He continued to feud with Michaels upon being drafted from SmackDown! to Raw in the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery, losing to Michaels at Vengeance. Angle later challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship at Unforgiven, where Angle won the match by disqualification, thus not winning the title. Angle also challenged Cena again in a Triple Threat match along with Michaels at Taboo Tuesday, in a losing effort.
Angle returned to the SmackDown! brand in January 2006, where he was pushed to gain the vacant World Heavyweight Championship in a twenty man battle royal, turning face in the process. He retained the title against Mark Henry at the Royal Rumble. Shortly after the match, The Undertaker made his return and challenged Angle for the title. Angle retained the title in a match with Undertaker at No Way Out before dropping it to Rey Mysterio in a Triple Threat match, which also included Randy Orton, at WrestleMania 22.
At Judgment Day, he defeated Mark Henry. On May 29, 2006, Angle was drafted to the newly created ECW brand. It was during this time that he acquired the nickname "The Wrestling Machine" (Bestowed upon him by ECW commentator Joey Styles.) Upon coming to ECW, he issued an open challenge for One Night Stand, which was accepted by Orton. Angle defeated Orton at One Night Stand, later losing to him in a rematch at Vengeance. Angle appeared sporadically on WWE television throughout mid-2006. On August 25, 2006, he was granted an early release from his WWE contract due to "personal issues." Kurt Angle stated in the "Kurt Angle: Champion" documentary DVD that he asked for his release from WWE because he couldn't get time off and he was working beat up, severely on some occasions. He also states that when he quit, WWE lost their very top talent, as he was at the very top of the payroll.
- Finishing moves
- Angle Slam / Olympic slam, sometimes from the top rope elevated position – innovated
- Ankle lock, sometimes followed by grapevining the opponent's leg
- Crossface chickenwing – 2000; adopted from Bob Backlund
- Signature moves
- Double leg takedown, often transitioned into a pin or a suplex
- European uppercut
- Frog splash
- Multiple suplex variations
- Bridging / Release belly to back
- Bridging / Release / Rolling German
- Overhead belly to belly, sometimes from the top rope
- Rear naked choke
- Triangle choke
- "The American Hero" (WWE) / NJPW)
- "The Most Celebrated Real Athlete in WWF History" (WWF)
- "Real Athlete" (WWF)
- "The Olympic Gold Medalist" (WWF/E)
- "The Olympic Hero" (WWF)
- "The Only Olympic Gold Medalist in Professional Wrestling History" (WWF/E)
- "The Wrestling Machine" (WWE)
- Entrance themes
- "Medal" by Jim Johnston (WWF/E) 1999–2005
- "I Don't Suck" by Jim Johnston (WWE)
- "Medal (Remix)" by Jim Johnston (WWE) 2005–2006
Championships and accomplishments
- WCW United States Championship (1 time)2
- WCW Championship (1 time)2
- World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- WWF/E Championship (4 times)
- WWF European Championship (1 time)
- WWF Hardcore Championship (1 time)
- WWF Intercontinental Championship (1 time)
- WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Chris Benoit
- King of the Ring (2000)