Weight: 233 lbs
Real Name: Kurt Angle
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Other Names: "Your Olympic Hero" Kurt Angle(WWF/WWE/TNA)
Wrestler Since: 1998
Finishing Maneuver: Olympic/Angle Slam, Ankle Lock
Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #18(2011), #9(2010), #12(2009), #1(2008), #4(2007), #2(2006), #6(2005), #36(2004), #3(2003), #6(2002), #1(2001), #13(2000)
Other Related Websites:
History: (Updated 1/27/2007)
The Main Event Mafia - Rollercoaster Bio
Immortal - Rollercoaster Bio
Kurt Angle - Cagematch Bio
Kurt Angle - Online World of Wrestling Bio
Kurt Angle - Wikipedia Bio
Weight: 233 lbs
Real Name: Kurt Angle
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Other Names: "Your Olympic Hero" Kurt Angle(WWF/WWE/TNA)
Wrestler Since: 1998
Finishing Maneuver: Olympic/Angle Slam, Ankle Lock
Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #18(2011), #9(2010), #12(2009), #1(2008), #4(2007), #2(2006), #6(2005), #36(2004), #3(2003), #6(2002), #1(2001), #13(2000)
Other Related Websites:
History: (Updated 1/27/2007)
Kurt Angle is well-known as "the most celebrated real athlete in WWE history". He is one of the very few superstars to be a success in both amateur and professional wrestling. It's amazing to think about how much more he can do in the sport, since he's already been to the top numerous times.
Angle grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he attended Mt. Lebanon High School as a linebacker on the football team. While Angle had some skills on the football field, however, his talents seemed to lay elsewhere. Angle competed for the Mt. Lebanon wrestling team, where he won the 1987 Pennsylvania State Wrestling Champion in his weight class. Angle also competed in the Junior Nationals that year, where he once again was successful. Afterwards, Angle was approached by various colleges, but he opted to stay in state, attending Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania. In 1990 and 1992, Angle went all the way, winning 2 NCAA National Championships. Angle also won the Canadian Cup Championship in 1990, among his various endeavors in other countries.
After graduating from college, Angle signed to train with 1984 Olympic Champion Dave Schultz, as Angle began to look towards the Olympics. There were still other possibilities for Angle's career, however. In 1995, Angle was approached by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, who, despite Angle not having the experience usually expected, offered him a try-out. Intrigued, Angle showed up, to see if there was another course available to him. But, in Angle's own words (posted on NFL.com), "I had a very good tryout, but I never played college ball. Everything I did went exceptionally well, but my 40 time was really slow. I ran a 4.8 that day. It was February and it was snowing so it was very hard to get my traction on the turf out there." Angle was not given a spot on the team, and, thus, concentrated again on his passion, amateur wrestling. It was soon to be shown that he made the right choice.
Angle competed and won at the 1995 World Championships, giving him a clear road as a favorite for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games. Angle was shaken, however, in January 1996, when Dave Schultz, his trainer, was killed at the Dupont estate. Angle contined working, though, and showed up at the Olympics more ready than ever before. Things weren't going to be easy for him, as he pulled a leg muscle early in the Games. Despite this, Angle made it to the 220-lb finals, wrestling against Iran's Abbas Jadidi. It was possibly the best match of the year, going to an 8-minute overtime that required a referee's ruling. In the end, Angle's hand was raised, earning Angle the gold medal. Angle collapsed to his knees, crying for joy, and later ran around the arena, carrying an American flag.
For the next few years after the Olympic victory, Angle spent his time in Pittsburgh, doing motivational speeches and trying his hand at sportscasting. But Angle was looking to still compete, and Vince McMahon was looking for a competitor. In October 1998, McMahon signed Angle to a five-year deal, and sent him to Dory Funk Jr's Funkin' Dojo in Connecticut. It didn't take long for Angle to learn the ropes of professional wrestling, and Angle next competed in Power Pro Wrestling in Memphis, Tennessee, where he tried out being both a face and a heel. Angle had success there, as he won the PPW Heavyweight Title in July '99, beating J.R. Smooth (later known as Rikishi). Angle only held the championship for a few weeks before losing to Steve Bradley, but it gave him a taste of professional gold, and showed that he worked as a champion.
Angle debuted as "your Olympic Hero" in the WWF on Monday Night Raw in November '99. Preaching his three "I"s (Intelligence, Integrity & Intensity), Angle immediately came across as egotistical, and was quickly booed by the fans. At the '99 Survivor Series, Angle competed in his first pay-per-view match, taking on Shawn Stasiak. During the match, fans began a "Boring" chant, which was quickly answered by Angle on the mic, claiming that the fans shouldn't be booing an Olympic champion. Angle then later beat Stasiak with his new finisher, the Olympic (Angle) Slam. Angle later finished out the year with a feud against Steve Blackman. Angle defeated Blackman at Armaggedon '99 with a belly-to-back suplex, but was attacked afterwards by Blackman and his numbchucks.
Angle had a strong winning streak, if not the fan's love, going into the new year. It was announced that Angle would face an unknown challenger at the '00 Royal Rumble. Angle was annoyed, having to face someone that he couldn't train for, but he had tremendous confidence in himself. His opponent was soon revealed as Tazz, making his own WWF debut. The two had a battle of suplexes, with both getting some close pin counts. At the end, though, it wasn't a suplex, but the Tazmission that decided things, as Angle was forced out by the chokehold. After the match, Angle was carried out on a stretcher, and later claimed that he was still undefeated, since Tazz's chokehold submission maneuver was illegal.
February '00 turned out to be a great month for the Olympic champion. Near the beginning of the month, Angle made good on his first title match, defeating Val Venis for the European Heavyweight strap. Angle, though, wasn't satisfied, and began targeting the Intercontinental Champion, Chris Jericho. Angle claimed that he would soon be the "Euro-Continental" champion. At No Way Out '00, the two met, with Chyna on the outside for Jericho. When Jericho kicked out after the Angle Slam late in the match, Angle lost it, and tried to use his title on Jericho. The ref stopped him, allowing Jericho to get his Walls of Jericho submission hold locked on. Angle managed to get to the ropes, forcing the break, then ended up on the outside, where Jericho and Angle brawled (knocking down Chyna in the process). Back in the ring, Jericho tried a moonsault, but Angle brought the belt up (which was still inside the ring) and knocked Jericho out. Angle then made the pin, gaining Jericho's Intercontinental Title to go with the European gold.
Angle continued to feud with Jericho over the next few weeks, with another top contender, Chris Benoit, becoming involved as well. The three men met at Wrestlemania 2000, in a "Two Falls Triple Threat" Match. The first person to make a pin would win the Intercontinental Title. The second person with a win gained the European Title. It was a match weighed against Angle, since he had to get two wins to stay the double champion. Before the match even started, Angle was under assault, as Benoit attacked him before he could get to the ring. The three men put on a clinic of maneuvers, from technical to brutal (such as Jericho being shoved from the top rope onto the announce table). Benoit earned the first fall (and the IC Title) by hitting his Flying Headbutt on Jericho. Angle, now one title down, became more desperate, going for (and missing) a moonsault, a new maneuver to his repetoire. During a flurry of shots, the referee was knocked down. Benoit forced Jericho to tap to his Crippler Crossface, but with no ref, the match continued. Jericho then turned things around and got the Walls of Jericho on Benoit, but Angle broke it up with a shot from the European Title. Benoit then took out Angle, then went for another Flying Headbutt, but missed, allowing Jericho to capitalize with the Lionsault to get the victory. Angle wasn't beaten in the match, yet he lost both of his titles.
Stung by his loss, Angle began to lash out, focusing his energy on the Big Show. At this point, the Big Show was dressing up in all sorts of clothing, from a Scottish kilt to wearing a towel ala Val Venis. During this time, Angle was preaching for "Abstinence", saying that it was his job as an American hero to teach kids. When the Big Show handed out condoms to kids, Angle blew up, starting to feud with the giant. Angle called the Big Show a disappointment, saying that he could be great if he actually took things seriously. At Backlash '00, Angle came out to face the Big Show, only to hear Hulk Hogan's old music. The Big Show then came out dressed in yellow & red, doing all of Hogan's old motions. Angle, annoyed, attacked the Big Show, only to have him shake off the hits (again ala Hogan), take Angle down with the big boot and nearly win with a legdrop. Angle came back soon after, getting in some hits, but this only seemed to drive the fun out of the Big Show, who destroyed Angle and used the Chokeslam to win the match.
Angle finally started to regain some momentum in the WWF in May '00, as he began to hang around with Edge & Christian. The three had like minds, and frequently interfered for each other in matches. Angle also got a victory at Insurrextion '00, beating Chris Benoit in London, England. A few weeks later, Angle teamed up with Edge & Christian to take on Too Cool & Rikishi at Judgment Day '00. Before the match, Angle joined with his teammates in insulting the Kentucky crowd, wearing straw hats and dancing around with banjos. Angle's team didn't fare as well during the match, though, with Angle taking a Stinkface from Rikishi during the bout. Although Angle's team nearly got the win with Edge hitting Scotty Too Hotty with the ring bell (the ref was down, so there was no count), Grandmaster Sexay took out Edge with the Hip Hop Drop, then rolled Scotty on top, getting his team the victory.
Going into the summer of 2000, Angle began to show his love for a special person: Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. This, of course, didn't sit well with her husband, Hunter Hearst Helmsley (otherwise known as Triple H). But when problems began to brew between the couple (as well as with Linda and Vince McMahon), Angle took advantage, helping Stephanie defend the Women's Title against Lita on Raw. In the meantime, Angle entered into the '00 King of the Ring Tournament, beating Bradshaw and Bubba Ray Dudley in the qualifying rounds. At the pay-per-view, Angle faced off against Chris Jericho in the quarter-finals. Stephanie, who came out to the ring, helped out some, as she kept the referee distracted while Angle was trapped in the Walls of Jericho. She then accidentally hit Angle with the Women's Title, seemingly blowing it. But when Jericho went to kiss her, Angle took advantage, hitting the Angle Slam to win the match and move on in the tournament.
In the semi-finals, Angle faced off against surprise competitor Crash Holly. Angle underestimated him at first, almost allowing Crash to win with a big powerslam. But Angle came back, and finished Crash off with the Angle Slam, taking himself into the finals against a true heavyweight, Rikishi. Angle tried to take advantage by attacking Rikishi on the outside, but he soon lost the momentum. The fighting went back and forth, with Rikishi getting the edge long enough to hit his Stinkface on Angle. A disgusted Angle came back and got a huge Angle Slam, but only got a 2 count. Angle then tried a sunset flip on the big man, but Rikishi sat down on him, nearly winning the match. In the end, Angle caught Rikishi on the turnbuckle, then got a Belly-To-Back Superplex from the top, allowing him to get the 1-2-3 and win the King of the Ring, allowing him to call himself King Kurt.
On the next Raw, King Kurt's "coronation" was interrupted by Shawn Michaels, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and the new commissioner, Mick Foley. Triple H & Foley argued over who the #1 Contender to the Rock's World Title. When Angle came out to protest, saying that he deserved the shot due to winning the King of the Ring, Foley set up a Contenders match between Angle, Triple H, & the Rock, with the winner getting a title shot the next Smackdown (or, in the Rock's case, no match at all). At first, Angle and Helmsley worked together to try and double-team the champion. Eventually, though, the two turned against each other, as each wanted to make the pinfall for the title shot. During the brawl, Angle hit the Angle Slam on the Rock, but Helmsley made the save, then Pedigree'd Angle. Helmsley then would have gotten the win, but Stephanie unknowingly was distracting the referee at the time. Chris Jericho then ran down and took down Helmsley, allowing the Rock to get the Rock Bottom on Triple H and win the match. Thus, the Rock didn't have to defend his title the next week.
On Smackdown, an angry Angle wrestled against Hardcore Holly. During the match, Angle accidentally broke Holly's arm, putting Holly out of wrestling for a time. Although it was an accident, Angle used it, claiming that Holly disrespected him. On the next Raw, Edge & Christian were put into a non-title match against two monsters, Kane & the Undertaker. When the Undertaker was about to finish Christian, Angle ran in, hitting the Undertaker with his royal sceptor and causing the DQ. Angle then tried to apologize to the Undertaker later on, saying that he was just trying to help his friends. Angle later spilled milk all over the Undertaker's motorcycle, and again tried to apologize, but the Undertaker obviously didn't buy it, instead wanting a fight. Angle then tried to make amends by giving the Undertaker a scooter, but the Dead Man ended up throwing it off the stage. Angle later got some abuse in, hitting the Undertaker in the head with a sledgehammer. This, though, just led to a match being signed for Fully Loaded '00.
At the pay-per-view, the situation between Angle, Stephanie & Triple H continued to grow, as Angle sent flowers to Stephanie's dressing room, causing Helmsley to question his wife. Meanwhile, the Undertaker arrived at the arena on his motorcycle, and spotted Angle hanging out. The Undertaker immediately began to chase Angle across the arena, trying to get his hands on him. Later on, Angle backtracked and tried to steal the motorcycle, but the Undertaker again found him. The two came out fighting from the back, heading towards the ring, where the bell finally sounded. The Undertaker dominated the majority of the match, although Angle did get in some offense after hitting the Undertaker with a wrench. It just wasn't enough to put the Dead Man down, though, as the Undertaker finished Angle off with a chokeslam, followed by the Last Ride powerbomb.
Twenty-four hours later on Raw, Angle asked for a rematch against the Undertaker, apparently wanting a chance to redeem himself. However, it all turned out to be a set-up, as Angle, Shane McMahon & the Big Show triple-teamed the Undertaker, trying to injure his knee. Angle would team with McMahon's faction (including the Big Show, Chris Benoit, Edge & Christian) for the next few weeks. Meanwhile, problems grew worse between Stephanie & Triple H, as Helmsley was caught bending over Trish Stratus (as he was trying to show her a wrestling maneuver) that drove Stephanie away for a time. On the first Smackdown of August '00, Angle was placed in a six-man tag match with Stephanie & Helmsley against Lita & the Dudley Boyz. During the match, Stephanie was about to be Bubba-Bombed by Bubba Ray Dudley, but Angle made the save, taking Bubba out of the ring and allowing Stephanie to pin an unconscious Lita for the victory. Stephanie & Angle hugged after the match, as a furious Helmsley looked on from outside the ring.
A few days later, both Angle and Helmsley demanded a World Title shot against the Rock. Once again, they were put in a #1 Contenders Match, this time with Chris Jericho also involved. Despite the animosity between the two wrestlers, Angle and Helmsley worked together at a crucial moment, hitting a double superplex on Jerico. Both wrestlers then pinned Jericho, with the ref making the count, then raising both men's hands, naming them BOTH #1 Contender. After the match, the Rock attacked both men, hitting Rock Bottoms on both of them, as well as Stephanie. The problems continued to grow between Angle and Triple H over the next few weeks, although Stephanie & Shane McMahon tried to keep them as a team. On the Smackdown before the PPV, Angle teamed with Stephanie against Lita & the Rock. During the match, Angle accidentally knocked down Stephanie, leading Triple H to take her to the EMTs in the back. Helmsley then came back out to help Angle, only to be triple-teamed by the Hardy Boys & the Rock, while Angle headed to the back to check on Stephanie. Angle then kissed Stephanie, a long kiss, to end the show.
At Summerslam '00, Helmsley confronted Stephanie about the kiss, but she said that it meant nothing, and that Angle took advantage of her. Helmsley told her to stay away from Angle, and she agreed. Before the main event match, Angle came out to the ring, and apologized for the kiss. He apologized for not kissing her sooner. A furious Helmsley then charged the ring, and the two men brawled all around the outside, not even waiting for the third participant, the World Champion, the Rock, to make it to the ring. Helmsley drove Angle through the announce table, then brawled with the Rock for a while. Medics put Angle on a stretcher and took him out (after a few more shots from Triple H). Later on in the match, Stephanie tried to use the World Title on the Rock, but hit Helmsley instead. Shortly thereafter, Triple H told Stephanie to go to the back. Stephanie did, where she found Angle still on the stretcher, and begged him to go back out and help Helmsley. Angle said he'd do it for her, and returned to the match, where he stopped Triple H from winning. Near the end of the match, Stephanie slid the sledgehammer into the ring, which was picked up by Angle. Helmsley tried to take Angle down before he could use the weapon, but he hit Stephanie instead, knocking her out. Angle then ko'ed Helmsley, but was taken out of the ring by the Rock, who then hit the People's Elbow on Triple H for the victory, retaining his title. After the match, Angle carried Stephanie to the back, leaving Helmsley behind.
On the next Raw, Helmsley showed up alone, demanding to know where his wife, Stephanie, was. Angle appeared in the ring, and told everyone that he didn't remember what happened the night before after the match, since he had a concussion. A furious Helmsley was later comforted by Chyna, which angered Chyna's boyfriend, Eddie Guerrero. Helmsley & Guerrero got into a match, which Angle interfered during, hitting Helmsley with a chair. Angle added a shot to Guerrero for good measure. It was found out shortly thereafter that Stephanie actually spent the night with her brother, Shane, who was brutally beaten in a Hardcore match with Steve Blackman. Angle tried to use footage of Helmsley hugging Chyna to break the couple up, but Helmsley managed to explain his actions. Problems continued to grow between the two men, as Angle stayed interested in Stephanie. On the Smackdown prior to the pay-per-view, Helmsley, after winning his match, mocked Angle, by 'crying' after the victory. Angle took advantage, hitting the Olympic Slam on Triple H. When Stephanie came in to help Helmsley up, Angle slipped in and hit Helmsley in the ribs with the sledgehammer. Stephanie tried to slap Angle, but Angle moved in, getting himself a forced kiss.
Angle & Helmsley finally got their one-on-one match at Unforgiven '00, with Commissioner Mick Foley as the special referee. During the night, Angle ran into Steve Austin, who was making his return after months of absence due to being hit by a car. Angle tried to make friends, giving Austin an honorary gold medal, but Austin just ended up beating Angle to the ground. Angle later complained to Foley, but Foley was unsymphathetic, making Angle's match with Helmsley a No Disqualification bout. Before the match, Angle sang "Happy Birthday" to Stephanie, since it was her birthday that night. The match was brutal, going inside and outside the ring. Angle went after Helmsley's injured ribs, while Triple H went for whatever he could hit. At one point, Helmsley tried to Pedigree Angle through the announcer's table. But Angle got in a low blow, then suplexed Helmsley into the other table instead. The end of the match, though, was decided by Stephanie. When Triple H told her to choose, Stephanie hit a low blow on Angle, allowing Helmsley to get the Pedigree and win the match. Afterwards, Helmsley roughly kissed Stephanie (who was hovering over the downed Angle), leaving some blood on her lips, then left the ring with her.
Angle flirted briefly with Trish Stratus after his loss at Unforgiven '00, but obviously still had feelings for Stephanie, forgiving her for her actions due to Helmsley's violent behavior. On the first October '00 Raw, Angle and Helmsley faced off again, in a #1 Contenders Match. During the match, when the referee went down, Chris Benoit came out to interfere for Angle. As Benoit messed with Stephanie, Helmsley was distracted, allowing Angle to hit the Olympic Slam and win the match, getting a World Title shot against the Rock at the pay-per-view. Angle's hopes heading towards the PPV were bettered the next week, as Stephanie, upset that Helmsley wouldn't let her come with him to the ring anymore, decided to be Angle's "business manager". Thanks to Stephanie, Angle started getting some impressive victories. Angle also put together a hiliarious segment right before the PPV, where he asked questions, then had segments from other Rock interviews give the answers.
At No Mercy '00, Angle and the Rock faced off in Angle's second "No Disqualification" pay-per-view match in a row. Before the match, Hunter Hearst Helmsley warned that, if Stephanie was hurt, Angle would pay the price. The match started out brutal and continued from there, as the two men fought heavily on the outside, with any weapons they could find. Stephanie also became a factor, getting physically involved early on. She also was a distraction, keeping the referee busy while Angle tapped out to the Rock's Sharpshooter, keeping the match going. Angle got a 2 count after clocking the Rock with the World Title, but the Rock came back, getting a spinebuster, then setting Angle up for the People's Elbow. When Stephanie got in the Rock's face, the Rock gave her the Rock Bottom, then set HER up for the People's Elbow, only to have Angle block it. Helmsley then ran out to the ring and attacked Angle, fulfilling his promise. Helmsley didn't stop there, though, Pedigree'ing the Rock for touching his wife. Triple H then carried Stephanie out, taking her away. The match was later decided by more interference, this by Rikishi, the Rock's relative. Rikishi (already a bloody mess due to Steve Austin's assault) accidentally hit a superkick on the Rock. Angle then got the Olympic Slam on Rikishi, then added one for the Rock, covering him and getting the 1-2-3. Angle was now the WWF World Heavyweight Champion.
On the next Raw, Angle came out with Stephanie McMahon in a celebration for his victory. He even read a poem, but was interrupted by Commissioner Foley. Foley congratulated Angle, and gave him a hug, before telling him that Angle would have to defend the belt that night in a Triple Threat Match against Hunter Hearst Helmsley and the Rock. The match had a surprising twist early on, as Stephanie decided to be in the corner of her "business partner" rather than her husband. During the match, Angle took out Triple H with the ring bell, causing EMTs to try to take Helmsley out, with Stephanie following. Helmsley rose up off the stretcher, though, and returned. At the end of the match, Angle knocked out both Helmsley & the Rock with the title belt, then was attacked by Rikishi, who forced the DQ. Angle then tried to leave, having saved the belt, only to be attacked on the ramp by Steve Austin.
Angle survived another title defense on Smackdown against Chris Jericho, when Kane attacked Jericho to cause another DQ. Angle then continued to feud with Helmsley, fighting with him in a non-title match on Raw. For the third match in a row, Angle won by DQ, due to Triple H not heeding the commands of the referee. Helmsley Pedigree'd Angle through a table, then hammered him with a chair, while also taking out Edge & Christian, who tried to make the save. Angle's 4th DQ in a row took place on Smackdown, where he defended the World Title against the Rock. Rikishi attacked the Rock during the match, giving the referee no choice but to throw the match out. Angle & Rikishi then double-teamed the Rock, until Steve Austin made the save. Angle & Rikishi were scheduled to take on Austin & the Rock in a tag-team match on the next Raw, but when the Rock was taken out before the match, Austin had to fight them 2-on-1. Helmsley seemed to come out to help, but he turned on Austin, beating him up with a sledgehammer and sending the match to a No-Contest.
When Angle came out a few days later and talked about he should be America's hero (since he had been complaining about Helmsley for a long time), he was interrupted by the Undertaker, who challenged Angle to a title match at the Survivor Series. Angle accepted the challenge, then said that he'd defend the title on Raw against a true competitor, who said he could beat Angle with one hand tied behind his back. This turned out to be Crash Holly, who actually had to wrestle with only one hand. Angle, not surprisingly, forced him to submit, then continued to attack Crash, until Hardcore Holly (returning to action) made the save. Edge, Christian, and the Undertaker all also became involved, leading to a 6-man match at the end of the night, with the Undertaker pinning Angle to win the match.
At the Survivor Series '00, Angle assured Edge, Christian, and later Trish Stratus that he did not need help from anyone in beating the Undertaker, despite the fact that Stephanie McMahon wasn't in the building. Angle then came out confident, talking about all the greatest moments in his career in 2000. The Undertaker interrupted, though, starting the match. Angle was able to get a chair shot early on behind the ref's back, but it barely fazed the Undertaker, who came back strong, as the two fought in and out of the ring. At one point, the Undertaker made Angle tap to a submission maneuver, but Edge & Christian distracted the referee. The Undertaker then attacked Edge & Christian, then went back to work on Angle, even as the ref made the tag-team leave. At the end of the match, Angle crawled under the apron, apparently trying to escape. The Undertaker followed, pulling the man out and carrying him into the ring, where he hit the Last Ride and made the pin. But the ref refused to count, pointing out that the man was NOT Kurt Angle! A confused Undertaker was then rolled up and pinned by the real champion, who had come out from under the ring. Angle then celebrated with his brother, Eric, who had been the imposter, even as the two left the ring quickly.
The Undertaker got revenge on the Angle brothers 24 hours later, when he chokeslammed Eric, then threw Kurt off the ramp and through a table. Angle complained about the violence, with Commissioner Foley promising to put an end to it. Angle later had to defend against Steve Austin, but was helped out by a brutal attack on Austin by Helmsley. On Smackdown, Commissioner Foley made his announcement, saying that all the violence would end at Armageddon '00, where Angle would defend the World Title against Steve Austin, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Rikishi, the Undertaker & the Rock in a Hell In A Cell Match. Although Vince McMahon tried to get the match cancelled (due to the risk of one of his stars being badly injured), and although Angle protested mightily about it, the match stayed signed. Beforehand, though, Angle also defended the title at Rebellion '00, against Steve Austin, Rikishi & the Rock. Angle got the win while Austin & the Rock fought on the outside, hitting the Olympic Slam on Rikishi (whom Angle had broken an alliance with).
Angle was interviewed early on at Armageddon '00 by Lillian Garcia, where his nervousness was obvious. Angle, though, swore that he'd find a way to retain his title. Before the Hell In A Cell match, Angle seemed reluctant to enter the cage, where so many were waiting for their crack at him. Steve Austin helped him out, though, attacking him and throwing him inside. The match was as brutal as expected, with most of the wrestlers involved bleeding heavily during the fight. Angle nearly won at one point with the Olympic Slam, nailing the Rock, but Austin made the save, then hit the Stone Cold Stunner on Angle. The Undertaker broke up the pin. Vince McMahon later came down with a truck and tried to tear down the cage, but only succeeded in destroying the door before Foley (and police officers) threw him out of the building. The fighting poured out of the cage, with Angle taking some brutal shots from the Undertaker. To escape, Angle climbed the cage, with the Undertaker following. After some harrowing moments on the cage roof, Angle climbed back down, while Rikishi was thrown off into the truck by the Undertaker. At the end, Austin hit the Stunner on the Rock, then was attacked by Triple H, allowing a bloody Angle to slip in and cover the Rock for the victory, staying the champion. Afterwards, as Angle started to celebrate, Austin Stunned him to end the night.
Angle finished out the year with a mini-feud with Commissioner Foley, who placed Angle in a title defense against another former champion: Vince McMahon. McMahon and Angle turned it on Foley, though, beating him down with the help of Edge & Christian. Stephanie McMahon then announced that, since her mother Linda was "incapacitated" (due to them giving her drugs), Vince was the sole CEO, giving him the power to fire Foley as Commissioner. Angle later celebrated the Christmas Raw with all of his brothers, who helped him beat down Chris Jericho, until the Dudley Boyz made the save. During this time, problems began to build between Stephanie McMahon and Trish Stratus, who was "seeing" her father, Vince. Since Stephanie was sticking with Helmlsey, Angle began to partner up with Trish, since he was buddying up with Vince at the time.
A tournament was put together by Stephanie McMahon at the beginning of the year, to choose a #1 Contender to Angle's World Title. Through a strange set of matches, Steve Austin won the shot, taking on Angle on Raw. The match was furious, and included attempted interference from William Regal on Austin (which failed). At the end, Austin hit the Stunner on Angle, but the count was broken up by a returning Triple H, who pulled out the referee and knocked him unconscious, sending the match to a No-Contest. Afterwards, Helmlsey put Austin through the announcer's table, laying him out. Vince McMahon later announced Helmsley (his son-in-law) as the new #1 Contender, setting up a match between Angle and Triple H at the next pay-per-view. Helmsley claimed that the only reason Angle had held the title so long was because Triple H's attention was on other things. Now Helmsley was ready to collect. Angle answered, in a way, by choosing Trish Stratus to be in her corner opposite Stephanie.
The match-up between Angle & Helmsley at the '01 Royal Rumble was another wild affair, made mostly because of the women at ringside. The fighting was furious, both inside and outside the ropes. When Triple H put on a Figure Four leglock on Angle, Trish tried to help him escape, but Stephanie attacked her, leading to a catfight between the women. Surprisingly, Vince McMahon came down to break them up, carrying Trish to the back, with Stephanie following, still trying to attack her. The fight distracted Helmsley, allowing Angle to get back in the match. During the action, the referee was knocked out, allowing Angle to try to hit Triple H with the title. But Angle missed, and Helmsley got the Pedigree. With the ref down, though, there was no count. Steve Austin then came out to get revenge on Triple H, hitting him with the title, then landing the Stone Cold Stunner. Afterwards, a hurting Angle made the pinfall, getting another title defense to go with his gold medals.
Angle fought in a mixed-tag match the next night with Trish Stratus against Triple H & Stephanie. The match was decided when Helmsley Pedigree'd Trish, allowing Stephanie to pin her. A few days later, an angry Vince McMahon complained about how Trish was treated, and although Angle tried to suck up to him and apologize, Vince put him in a title defense against Kane. Angle was dominated by the Big Red Machine for a while, but got some help from Rikishi & Haku, who were feuding with Kane. Haku's superkick knocked Kane out, allowing Angle to get the pin and win the match. Angle next had to contend with the Rock, who had won a 4-Corners Contenders Match. Triple H also got into the match, thanks to a distracted Vince (who was rushing off to see Trish). Angle still won the match, when he hit a low blow on Helmsley when the ref was down. Steve Austin, who was at ringside, made the ref's hand count to 3, giving Angle the win. Angle still continued to have problems with the Rock, though, and a match was signed between the two for the February pay-per-view.
Angle tried to get things started quickly at No Mercy '01, by taking a swing at the Rock with the World Title. The Rock ducked, though, then took Angle down with a clothesline. The two great athletes switched momentum frequently, with Angle getting on the Ankle Lock early on only to have the Rock escape to the ropes. The Rock similarly nearly won with the Sharpshooter, but Angle managed to get out. The match was later interrupted by the Big Show, who chokeslammed the ref, Angle, and the Rock before leaving. More referees came out and decided to let the match continue. The Rock scored with his People's Elbow, but Angle kicked out. Angle then came back once more, using an exposed turnbuckle to stun the Rock and land the Olympic Slam. The Rock somehow got a shoulder up, though, then returned the favor by slamming Angle's head into the metal 'buckle. Two Rock Bottoms later, the Rock finally got the World Title away from Angle, getting the 1-2-3.
Angle tried to get revenge on the Rock the next Raw, when they fought in a Triple Threat Match, with the Hardcore Champion, the Big Show, as the third man. While the Big Show was fighting off various hardcore challengers, Angle got the Rock in the Ankle Lock, threatening to break his ankle, until Steve Austin made the save, hitting the Stunner on Angle. Angle continued to show his rage in the coming weeks, taking out his anger at losing the title on guys like Scotty Too Hotty, breaking his ankle. Angle later gained a rematch for the World Title against the Rock on Raw, but his anger got the best of him, as he wouldn't release the Ankle Lock even though the Rock had reached the ropes. Angle was DQ'ed, but still wouldn't let go. When Debra (the Rock's assigned manager at the time) came in, Angle attacked her as well, locking on the Ankle Lock on her. Steve Austin, Debra's husband, rushed the ring and took out Angle, then nailed the Rock as well for letting Debra get hurt.
Angle's problems with the Rock and Austin led him to start teaming up with another "crippler", Chris Benoit. At one point during a tag match, Angle put his Ankle Lock on the Rock, while Benoit locked on his Crippler Crossface. Still, problems existed between the two, each of whom believed they were the best technical wrestlers in the WWF. A week before Wrestlemania, Angle came out and complained about not having a match, despite main-eventing the last PPV. Benoit then came out and said that he was tired of Angle's whining, and that since he didn't have a match either, he would challenge Angle, who accepted. The two then fought it out, with Benoit making Angle tap to the Crossface until Edge & Christian made the save. Angle continued to claim afterwards that he didn't actually tap out, and got some revenge on Benoit with the Ankle Lock on Smackdown.
At Wrestlemania X-7, Angle was shown in the back with Edge & Christian, obsessively watching the video from Raw of Benoit's Crossface. Angle still said that he didn't tap, that he never taps. In the match, Angle and Benoit started off with some mat wrestling, going back and forth to the cheers of the crowd. When Benoit started to get the edge, though, Angle turned to brawling, slugging Benoit and knocking him out of the ring. The two fought outside for a while, then came back in, where Benoit used both the Ankle Lock and the Crossface on Angle, who escaped both times. Angle then came back with a Crossface of his own on Benoit, who managed to get a foot on the ropes. The referee was later taken out accidentally by Angle, who was then put back in the Crossface by Benoit. Angle tapped, but there was no referee. Angle later got the Olympic Slam for a 2 count, then opted to try his top-rope moonsault, but landed on Benoit's knees. Benoit nearly won with the Swandive Headbutt, with Angle barely kicking out. Angle then pulled a fast one, kicking Benoit and rolling him up with a handful of tights to end the match, winning at Wrestlemania for the first time. Angle celebrated in the back later on, only to be ambushed by Benoit and locked up in the Crossface again.
Angle continued to have problems with Chris Benoit over the next few weeks, while also contending for some gold by fighting Kane in a Hardcore Title Match (which Kane won). Angle also helped out Commissioner William Regal in fighting Chris Jericho, trying to break Jericho's ankle at times, with Benoit making the save. A week before the pay-per-view, Angle & Regal teamed up in a "Tag Submissions" Match against Benoit & Jericho. Many submissions were used, including Angle putting the Ankle Lock on Jericho. But when Angle was busy outside fighting Jericho, Benoit was able to put Regal in the Crippler Crossface and win the match. However, Angle & Regal got revenge on Smackdown, winning a tag-team match under "Dutchess of Queensbury" Rules (a DQ was reversed by Regal).
At Backlash '01, Angle and Benoit fought in an "Ultimate Submission" Match. Whoever got the most submissions in 30 minutes would be the winner, and prove who was the better technical wrestler. Not surprisingly, both men started out trying for their finishers. Benoit put Angle in the Crossface outside the ring, making Angle tap, but it didn't count in the totals. Angle then tried to use a chair, but was stopped by the referee. Angle later got the first submission, using a knee lock to force Benoit to tap. But Benoit came back, and used a cross-armbreaker to tie things up. However, Benoit lost all the momentum when the referee got knocked down. Angle used a chair on Benoit, then applied the Ankle Lock for a submission. Angle followed almost immediately with the Crippler Crossface, putting him up 3-1 in the contest. For a while, Angle dominated Benoit, both in and out of the ring. But Benoit wasn't through, getting a series of submission maneuvers and finishing Angle off with a half-crab. Angle stalled for time afterwards, trying to run out the clock and hang onto his lead. But with only a few minutes left, Benoit got the Ankle Lock, tying it all up at 3. With time running out, Angle recovered and got his own Ankle Lock applied, with Benoit tapping out after the clock ended. The referee ruled that the score was still 3-3, and that the match must continue until there was a winner. A frustrated Angle was left open, and Benoit used the Crippler Crossface to win the match.
An angry Angle showed up at Raw saying that Benoit had cheated the night before, since, according to IOC rules, Benoit's tapping to the Ankle Lock should have counted (since overtime starts as soon as the match ends). Angle accepted the loss, though, saying that at least he was still a gold medalist, something that Benoit could never achieve. Benoit interrupted Angle, saying that Angle would never live down his loss to the Rabid Wolverine. The two then brawled, with Benoit putting Angle in the Crossface, then taking Angle's gold medals for himself. Angle would chase Benoit for his medals over the next few shows, including facing Benoit in a "3 Falls" Match at Insurrextion '01. Benoit told Angle that the medals were in a very safe place before the match. The fighting, as expected from these two, was furious, with Benoit scoring the first fall after his Swandive headbutt. Later on, after Angle escaped the Crossface, Benoit rolled him up for the win, surprisingly beating Angle twice in a row. After the match, a gloating Benoit showed Angle where the "safe" place was, pulling the gold medals out of his pants.
Angle, with the help of Commissioner Regal, chose to fight Benoit at Judgment Day '01 in a "Three Falls/Styles" Match. The first match was scheduled as "pinfalls only". The match was decided after Angle missed a top-rope maneuver, allowing Benoit to hit the Angle Slam for the victory. The second portion was a "Submissions" Match, with both men trying for each other's submission hold. Benoit dominated for a while with a series of leg submission holds, but Angle fought back with the Angle Slam, followed by the Ankle Lock, evening the series at one all. Finally, the two men squared off in a "Ladder" Match, with the gold medals hanging from above. Multiple ladders came into play, and many violent maneuvers were performed. Benoit managed to get the upper hand by putting Angle in the Crossface, but Edge & Christian then came to the ring and attacked, beating on Benoit until Angle could climb the ladder and reclaim his gold medals, winning the match.
Angle had a medal ceremony on Raw, complete with an Olympic stand for him to stand on. The ceremony was interrupted, though, by Shane McMahon, who wanted to talk about his company, WCW. Angle, annoyed at someone disturbing his time, put Shane-o-Mac in the Ankle Lock, then left the ring. Later on, Vince McMahon rewarded Angle by giving him an IC Title shot against Kane, only to have Shane interfere and help Kane win. Angle next had a mini-feud with Spike Dudley, slamming him into a locker with the Olympic Slam at one point. Angle soon, though, became interested in other things, as the '01 King of the Ring Tournament was on the horizon. As the last year's champion, Angle wanted to repeat, keeping the crown. Angle beat Hardcore Holly in the preliminaries, then took down Jeff Hardy in a grueling match to reach the semi-finals at the pay-per-view. However, Angle was also interested in Shane McMahon, signing to fight him in a "Street Fight", making it a possibility of Angle fighting in three matches at the pay-per-view.
The tension was high in Angle's locker room at the '01 King of the Ring, since his buddies Edge, Christian, and Rhyno were the other three semi-finalists. Angle faced Christian in the semi-finals, with the two putting aside their friendship in the quest for the crown. The two had a hard-fought match, with Shane McMahon coming to ringside to distract Angle. However, when Christian hit his finisher and made the cover, Shane-o-Mac pulled Christian off, allowing Angle to get the Olympic Slam for the victory. This moved him into the finals against Edge. Before the final match, Angle apologized to Edge for some comments that were made, then shook his hand. Angle then asked Edge to forfeit, allowing Angle to stay fresh for his match against Shane. Edge disagreed, punching him and kicking him down in the corner. The two fought back and forth, with Christian distracting the referee at one point when it seemed Edge had the win. Later on, Angle got the Ankle Lock on Edge, but the referee had been knocked down. Shane McMahon then ran in and speared Angle, allowing Edge to get the Edge-o-Matic for the victory, costing Angle the crown.
Later on that night, Angle faced off against Shane in the Street Fight match. Angle's fatigue from fighting two other matches showed early on, with Shane opening a cut above Angle's eye, bringing some blood into the mix. Shane later took advantage with his kendo stick, wearing Angle down. But when Shane missed a shooting star press onto a trash can, Angle came back, fighting with Shane up the aisleway and suplexing him twice into a window, finally sending Shane through the glass. Both men were now bloody, suffering from a myriad of cuts and scrapes. Shane later almost won with the Olympic Slam, but Angle fought back, and delivered some massive punishment, before putting up a piece of wood in the corner for some balance. He then lifted Shane-o-Mac onto the 'platform' and did a huge Olympic Slam off of it for the victory, his second win of the night in three matches. Afterwards, Angle headed to the back, while the crowd gave Shane McMahon a standing ovation for the abuse he took.
On the next night, Shane-o-Mac announced that WCW was invading the WWF, and that Booker T would be leading the charge. Angle, who was hanging out with Steve Austin and Vince McMahon at the time, went with Austin to the New York restaurant where the two men appeared to be, but Shane & Booker T actually came back to the arena, where they attacked Vince. Throughout the month of July, Angle joined (reluctantly) with Austin and other members of the WWF roster to fight against the WCW invasion, which was made even more dangerous when many former ECW wrestlers reformed and allied themselves with the WCW wrestlers, creating the Alliance. At one point, Angle nearly won the WCW World Title from Booker T, only to have the WCW referee, Nick Patrick, screw him over and allow Booker T to cheat out a victory, saving his title.
At WWF Invasion, Angle allied himself with Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Kane & the Undertaker, facing off against Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, Rhyno & the Dudley Boyz. The match started off with a brawl between all participants, which worked right into Austin's favor. Austin dominated the early going, but most of the wrestlers were tagged in at one point or another. Angle was tagged in by a hurting Jericho during the match, and cleaned house for a while, suplexing both Dudleys. But Angle later took a beating by many of the Alliance members, including the Dudley Boy headdrop and DDP's Diamond Cutter. Angle managed to tag in Austin, but the referee didn't see it and didn't let it happen. A brawl soon broke out again, with all groups splitting to various parts of the arena. The Undertaker and DDP even fought to the back. Many people went through tables on the outside, as Angle was double-teamed by Booker T & Bubba Ray Dudley. Angle fought back, though, hitting the Angle Slam on Bubba Ray, then putting the Ankle Lock on Booker T. Austin then threw a referee into the ring, apparently to count Booker T's submission. But Austin attacked Angle, hitting the Stone Cold Stunner and helping Booker T get the win. Austin had betrayed the WWF and joined the Alliance, taking the WWF World Title with him.
On the next Raw, Austin justified his actions by saying that Vince McMahon didn't respect him enough. Austin believed that Vince cared more for the returning Rock, as well as Angle, who had "stolen" Vince. A furious Angle came down to the ring and brawled with Austin, kicking him out of the ring. Angle then told Vince that he would be the leader of the WWF now that Austin had left. On Smackdown, Angle proved that he could be the leader, in a fight against the WCW World Champ, Booker T. When Angle had Booker T on the ropes, Alliance members ran out to interfere, with Kanyon hitting Angle with a chair. WWF wrestlers cleared out the Alliance members, settling things back down, but only for a while, as Steve Austin ran in when Angle got Booker T in the Ankle Lock. Austin hit the Stunner on Angle, then left the ring, as Booker T did his Spinaroony. But Angle surprised Booker T with another Ankle Lock, forcing him to tap out. Angle, thus, had taken out some of the Alliance's momentum by winning the WCW World Heavyweight Title.
Unfortunately, Angle's title reign only lasted a few days, as Booker T regained the belt the next Raw thanks to a Stone Cold Stunner from Austin, who then ran from the arena. Angle took out part of his anger on Austin's wife, Debra, telling her to her face that her cookies sucked. Angle then went after Booker T, who was celebrating in the Alliance locker room.As the heart of the WWF at this time, Angle also associated a lot with the Rock, who had come back and rejoined the WWF. In a hiliarious scene, Angle gave the Rock a glass of milk, which the Rock promptly took the glass, turned it sideways, and drank it down, showing that the two were together on the war against the Alliance. Still, things seemed more serious in the few shows leading up to the pay-per-view, as Angle dearly wanted to get his hands on Austin. Angle had to deal with a sore ankle, though, after Austin jammed it between a chair at one show, then jumped off the turnbuckle onto it.
At Summerslam '01, Angle & Austin couldn't wait to fight, immediately starting to brawl in the aisle. Austin worked over Angle's ankle at first, focusing on the injury, but Angle had his own focus, hitting 7 German Suplexes in a row. Still, Austin dominated the early going, including hitting a superplex, followed by the Stone Cold Stunner. The pin attempt only got two, though, and when Austin followed up with a 2nd Stunner, Angle rolled out of the ring. Austin brutally attacked Angle on the outside, ramming him repeatedly into the ringpost, bloodying him. Soon, Angle was wearing a crimson mask, bleeding heavily from his forehead. Angle still had some of his instincts, though, grabbing Austin on the outside barricade and applying the Ankle Lock. When the ref told him that he couldn't win from there, Angle threw Austin back into the ring, then applied the Ankle Lock again, only to have Austin make it to the ropes. Austin later got a 3rd Stunner, but Angle kicked out again, then came back with the Angle Slam. This is where Austin got desperate, attacking 3 WWF referees in a row when they came down. Angle then got the Angle Slam again, with Nick Patrick running to the ring. But Patrick ended the match rather than count the pinfall, saying that Austin was DQ'ed for hitting the refs. This gave Angle the win, but kept him from getting the title. A nearly insane Angle attacked Patrick, putting him in the Ankle Lock, before walking away from the ring in disbelief.
The Alliance celebrated Austin's "victory" on the next Raw, calling it "Austin Appreciation Night". All of the Alliance came to the ring at the end of the show, showering Austin with gifts (including an awful song from Stephanie McMahon). Angle broke up the party, though, driving down to ring in a milk truck. Angle threw some milk cartons at the Alliance members, then grabbed a hose and sprayed all of them with milk, especially Austin. Angle then chugged a couple of milks (just like Austin does with beers), before departing. On the next Raw, Angle & Chris Jericho were scheduled to take on Austin & Rob Van Dam. But Austin, claiming a shoulder injury, placed Raven as RVD's partner. Angle, not accepting the decision, attacked Raven before the match, badly injuring his ankle. But Austin still refused to wrestle, putting Tazz in instead. Angle & Jericho won the match, with Angle nailing Tazz with the Angle Slam. But Austin attacked Angle after the match, beating him down and stealing Angle's gold medals.
Angle tried to track down Austin on the next Smackdown, but Austin continually ran away, leaving the arena. After Angle won a match over Booker T at the end of the night, Austin appeared on the Titon Tron, telling Angle that he needed to beg to get a title shot, and to get his medals back. When Angle refused, Austin tied the medals to a cinderblock and threw them into the river. On the first Raw of September '01, Austin bragged about what he had done, with the Alliance getting Austin a present for his actions: a new truck. But as Austin was admiring the truck, Angle attacked him with a steel pipe, then threw Austin into the truck, as well as a cinderblock, and drove away. Angle took Austin to a bridge and tied him to the cinderblock, threatening to throw Austin off just like Austin did with Angle's medals. Austin yelled that Angle didn't want to do this, and Angle agreed, saying that he needed to find a higher bridge. Eventually, Angle & Austin were shown again, with Austin apologizing like crazy. Angle eventually got him to beg, then cry, then finally give Angle a WWF Title shot at the next pay-per-view. Angle then pushed Austin over into the kiddie pool that was set up behind him, fulfilling his promise to toss Austin in the water.
Unforgiven '01 was held in Pittsburgh, Angle's hometown, so his entire family came out to see him. The match between Angle & Austin started out the same as the previous one, as they fought on the ramp before even making it to the ring. Angle controlled the match early on, hitting Austin so many times that Austin tried to take his title and walk away. Angle naturally chased him down and threw him off the stage, before carrying him back to the ring. The two fought on the outside for a long while, with Austin continually suplexing Angle onto the Spanish announce table. The two eventually fought back into the ring, where Angle delivered a Stunner on Austin, and Austin later got the Angle Slam on Angle. At the end, Austin seemed to have things wrapped up after a piledriver, but he wanted to hit the Stunner to end it. Angle countered the Stunner, though, and applied the Ankle Lock, forcing Austin to tap out in front of Angle's family. For the 2nd time, Angle was the WWF World Heavyweight Champion.
Over the next few weeks, Angle successfully defended his title against guys like Booker T and Shane McMahon, while Steve Austin continuously failed to turn up. Austin claimed that, since he had managed to grab the ropes while he was tapping out, the match should not have ended, and he should still be the World Champion. Austin sent in faxes at one point, demanding that the title be returned to him. Shane McMahon then set up a match between Angle and Rob Van Dam, with the stipulation that, if Angle won, he'd get a shot at unifying the WCW/WWF Titles, but if RVD won, Angle would have to defend against Austin on Raw. Thanks to Shane hitting Angle with a chair, RVD got the win. On the next Raw, Angle went against Austin, with the title on the line. Commissioner William Regal also made a rule that no Alliance members could be at ringside, and he stayed there to make sure they stayed away. However, when the referee was down, Regal pulled the WWF Title away from Austin, then hit Angle with it! Austin used this advantage to hit the Stunner on Angle and steal away the WWF World Title, taking it back to the Alliance.
Angle demanded a rematch for the title at the next pay-per-view, with Austin reluctant to give it to him. But when Regal was fired from the Commissionership due to leaving the WWF, a new Commissioner was appointed: Mick Foley. Foley quickly had an impact, making a Triple Threat Match for the PPV, between Austin, Angle, and Rob Van Dam. RVD had been having problems with Austin in the Alliance, as Van Dam had been more of an influence as a leader in the locker room. On one show, he had the chance to drop his Five Star Frog Splash on either Angle or Austin, and chose to hit Angle, helping Austin win the match. But in another match, after Austin had berated him for talking with Vince McMahon, RVD got the Frog Splash on Austin, showing that the pay-per-view was wide open, with no major double-teaming.
At first at No Mercy '01, Angle was double-teamed by Austin & RVD. But Austin broke that up by flipping Van Dam the bird, making it a true Triple Threat Match. Van Dam put a new element into the Angle/Austin feud, bringing his high-flying antics to the match-up. At one point, RVD somersaulted over the ropes and hit both men, then later put a leg drop on Austin on the announce table. In one series, Austin got the Stunner on Angle, but RVD was there, hitting a split-legged moonsault on Austin, followed by Angle getting his Angle Slam on Van Dam, with Austin breaking up the cover. Vince McMahon was also part of the match, smacking Austin in the back with a chair and nearly helping RVD win, with Angle breaking it up. Angle then nearly got the win on RVD with another Angle Slam, but Shane McMahon broke it up, taking Angle to the outside. Austin then got the Stunner on RVD and pinned him for the victory, retaining his title.
It was announced on the next Raw by Vince McMahon that the WWF/Alliance war would end at Survivor Series, with two teams going at it. During the night, Angle was shown talking with Edge about what had happened at No Mercy. But the talk ended when Rhyno appeared out of nowhere and Gored Edge into a garage door! Angle was held back by officials, then went to help Edge. Due to the attack, WWF Commissioner Mick Foley placed Angle in a match against Rhyno, with Rhyno's US Title on the line. The two fought a tough match, with Rhyno even Goring Angle out of the ring at one point. But Angle managed to reverse a move into the Ankle Lock, forcing Rhyno to tap out. Angle, thus, earned some revenge on the Alliance, taking away their WCW United States Championship.
WCW/ECW Alliance: 2001
A week later, Angle was brought out as part of the WWF's Survivor Series team, along with Chris Jericho, the Rock, the Undertaker & Kane. However, Shane McMahon came out and bragged that one of the men in the ring would be turning on the WWF that night. Angle was seen later in Steve Austin's dressing room, trying to find out from him who the traitor was (leading Angle to a confrontation with the Rock). Angle also defended the US Title against WCW Commissioner William Regal, winning out with the Ankle Lock. At the end of the night, the WWF team rushed the ring to battle with the Alliance members. Angle was last out, with a steel chair, but he surprisingly used it on Jericho, then attacked the rest of the WWF members, showing that Angle was the turncoat. Angle then helped Shane-o-Mac win his "Street Fight" Match with his father, Vince, and celebrated with the Alliance, joining the faction that he had feuded with for months. Later on, it was announced that Austin had actually NOT thrown Angle's gold medals off the bridge a few months back, and that, as a reward for joining the Alliance, Austin gave them back to Angle.
At the Rebellion '01 pay-per-view, Angle tried to win the WCW World Title from Chris Jericho, but lost when Jericho got a quick roll-up for the win. Afterwards, an angry Angle hit two Angle Slams on Jericho, then left him in the ring. At the end of the night, Angle interfered during Austin's WWF World Title defense against the Rock, tripping the Rock and helping Austin retain the belt. Austin later repaid the favor by helping Angle keep the WCW US Title on Raw in a match-up against the Undertaker, as Austin caused the DQ. However, problems began to develop between Austin and the rest of the Alliance, as Vince McMahon insinuated that Austin would be betraying the Alliance team at the pay-per-view. The problem grew when Austin hit the Stone Cold Stunner on Angle after a tag-team match, apparently because of Angle's lack of trust in him. When Angle came out on the next Raw to demand an apology, Edge came out instead, insulting his former friend and asking for a US Title shot, which Angle granted him. Angle had the advantage late in the match, as he went for the Ankle Lock, but Kane's music hit, distracting him. Edge then Speared Angle and pinned him for the victory, taking away the US Title. After the match, Kane came to the ring and brutally attacked Angle, trying to break his ankle, before Alliance members came to his aid.
Angle teamed up with Austin, Rob Van Dam, Booker T & Shane McMahon for the Alliance side of the '01 Survivor Series "Winner Takes All" Match. They took on the Rock, the Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho & the Big Show. The first elimination took out the giant, as the Big Show was hit by RVD's Five Star Frog Splash, followed by Shane McMahon's elbow drop, then pinned. Shane was the next to fall, though, taken out by Jericho's Lionsault. A brawl then broke out, with RVD taking advantage of the situation, eliminating Kane with a Missile Dropkick. Later on, Angle was in trouble against the Undertaker, but Austin interfered, hitting the Stunner on the Undertaker, with Angle making the pin, giving the Alliance a 4-on-2 advantage. The Rock worked to bring things back to the WWF, rolling up Booker T for the quick elimination. Jericho then took out RVD with a massive face-slam, making things even again. Things got worse for the Alliance when Angle quickly tapped out to the Rock's Sharpshooter. But Austin still had something left, catching Jericho with the Stunner and making it Austin vs. the Rock, 1-on-1. With both referees in the match knocked down, Austin countered the Rock Bottom into another Stunner. But when Austin went to revive a ref, Angle suddenly returned to the ring, hitting Austin with his WWF World Title! The Rock then got the Rock Bottom for the victory, thus eliminating the Alliance! Angle celebrated outside the ring, as the night ended.
Angle continued to brag about being the 'savior' of the WWF on the next Raw, even going to the Rock's dressing room to get a "thank you". The Rock refused, however, still remembering Angle hitting him with a chair. This led to a match between the two, with the Rock's World Championship (formerly the WCW strap) on the line. Angle again had a great match with a bad ending, as the Rock rolled him up for the pinfall. Angle attacked the Rock after the match, but was Rock Bottomed. Chris Jericho then rushed the ring and ambushed the Rock, allowing Angle to get in some shots as well. Later in the night, a sulking Angle talked to Vince McMahon about how no one appreciated him for what he did. McMahon told Angle to come to the ring with him, bringing along Steve Austin's WWF Heavyweight Title. McMahon announced that, since Austin was not there, he was going to strip him of the title, apparently giving it to Angle. But before McMahon could finish, Ric Flair came out, announcing that McMahon's children had sold their stocks to him, making Flair and McMahon business partners. Flair then brought out Austin, who attacked Angle and took back his title, as Angle & McMahon fled the ring.
Angle continued to feud with both Austin and the Rock over the next few weeks, as well as a few confrontations with Chris Jericho. The four men were named the top contenders for the unification of the two World Titles, in a two-match tournament at Vengeance '01. Angle fought against Austin in the first match, with Austin's title on the line. Although Angle came close multiple times, he couldn't put the Rattlesnake away, allowing Austin to surprise him with a Stunner and get the victory. Austin moved on in the tournament to face Chris Jericho, who had beaten the Rock earlier in the night. Angle tried to help Jericho, hitting Austin with a steel chair before the match. Angle then was chased away by the Rock. Austin came back from Angle's interference, but couldn't survive additional problems from Booker T, as Chris Jericho won the Unified World Titles.
On the next Raw, Angle put his title loss behind him and came out with a challenge for Rikishi. Angle wanted to get revenge for Rikishi's actions the week before, when Rikishi gave the Stinkface to Vince McMahon. Angle's plans backfired, though, when Rikishi tried for the Stinkface on him as well. Angle rolled out of the ring and stayed away, getting counted out. Afterwards, Angle attacked Rikishi during the big man's dance celebration, but Rikishi took him down, then applied the Stinkface, embarrassing Angle. But shortly thereafter, a furious Angle brought a chair back to the ring and viciously struck Rikishi again and again, knocking him cold. On Smackdown, Angle continued to fight against Rikishi, as he teamed up with William Regal to face Rikishi & Edge. Angle's team lost, though, when Regal was speared by Edge and pinned. After the match, Regal tried to use his brass knuckles on Rikishi, but missed, hitting Angle instead. Regal was then knocked down and Stinkfaced.
Angle's small war with Rikishi continued on Raw, with Angle & Yest winning a tag-team match over Rikishi & Edge, due to Angle taking out Edge with the Angle Slam. This earned Angle an Intercontinental Title shot against Edge on Smackdown, but Angle was disqualified after pulling the ref in front of him to block a Spear attempt. Angle couldn't believe it, and took out his frustration on Edge, putting him in the Ankle Lock and trying to break Edge's ankle. During the Christmas edition of Raw, Angle got another title shot, fighting in a Triple Threat Match with the Undisputed Champion, Chris Jericho, and the Rock. In the end, Angle nailed the Rock with a DDT off of a steel chair, but Jericho took full advantage, quickly covering the Rock for the 3 count, stealing the win from Angle. The Olympic Hero finished out 2001 by teaming with Lance Storm against the Rock & Rob Van Dam. The match was very balanced, with Angle's teammate being the weak point, as the Rock scored the People's Elbow on Storm and got the victory.
The first Raw of 2002 was hyped highly, because of the return of Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Angle was upset by this, complaining to anyone he could find that Triple H's return wasn't a big deal. Angle even made a hilarious comment about Helmsley's torn quad: "I tear my quad all the time, I tore it this morning, and I'm still here!" At the end of the night, when Helmsley came out to the cheers of the fans and officially entered his name in the Royal Rumble match, Angle came out as well, and proclaimed his own entry in the Rumble. Angle also talked about how, for the last Rumble, he was pinning Helmlsey's shoulders to the mat. When asked what he thought about that, Helmsley attacked Angle, and the two fought back and forth, before Helmsley knocked Angle out with the Pedigree. Helmsley then posed over Angle's unconscious body before leaving the ring, to the cheers of the crowd.
A few days later, on Smackdown, Angle challenged Steve Austin to a match, out of anger about Austin's "What" catchphrase that kept interrupting Angle's speeches. During the brawl of a match they had, however, Kane came out to the ring and attacked Austin, chokeslamming him and officially ending their match as a "No-Contest". Angle attacked Austin after the match, figuring that Kane was on his side, but he was mistaken, as Kane chokeslammed Angle as well. The Big Show then came down and attacked Kane, landing a chokeslam on him as well. But the Big Show was then taken out by Triple H, who Pedigreed the giant. Helmsley then celebrated in the ring over the bodies of all the wrestlers, as the Undertaker watched from the stage, taking in all of the top contenders in the big match.
At the '02 Royal Rumble, Angle drew a very favorable number, coming out as #26. Angle immediately went to work on both Steve Austin and Hunter Hearst Helmsley, doing his best to eliminate them. The final four came down to Angle, Austin, Helmsley and Mr. Perfect. The Olympic Hero got the Angle Slam on Helmsley, putting him down for a time, then aided Mr. Perfect against Austin. When Austin tried to toss Mr. Perfect over the top rope, Angle came up from behind and tossed Austin instead, eliminating one of the major players in the Rumble. Austin tried to get revenge by taking Mr. Perfect outside, but Angle followed, and the two beat on Austin again before reentering the ring to double-team Helmsley. But Austin wasn't done, entering the ring and nailing all 3 finalists with chair shots before departing. Afterwards, Angle and Mr. Perfect broke their partnership, with Mr. Perfect getting his Perfect-Plex on Angle. Helmsley, though, then eliminated Perfect with a clothesline, leaving only 2. Angle nearly won by tossing Helmsley, but Triple H grabbed the ropes and hung on, coming back into the ring, where Angle was celebrating. Helmsley took him down, then tossed Angle to win the Rumble, giving Angle the dubious honor of being runner-up.
Angle, still angry about the way he had lost the Rumble, joined with Chris Jericho in attacking Triple H on the next Raw. The Rock made the save, leading to Angle & Jericho facing Triple H & the Rock in a tag-team match later on. Problems with teamwork cost Angle and Jericho, though, as Jericho accidentally hit Angle with a ring bell. The Rock then caught Jericho with the Rock Bottom, winning the match. On Smackdown, Angle faced the Rock in the semi-finals of the #1 Contenders Tournament. Thanks in part to interference from both Jericho and the Undertaker, Angle got the win. This sent him to Raw to face Steve Austin, with the winner getting the title shot against Jericho at the next pay-per-view. Angle was so interested in the shot, he even begged Austin to hit him with a chair at one point, so Angle would win via DQ. Austin refused, but Angle himself used the chair later on when the ref was down, nearly getting the win. Later on, after another big move, Angle seemed to get the 3 count, but the ref waved it off, since Austin's foot was on the ropes. As Angle complained, Austin caught him with the Stunner, winning the match and keeping Angle from the title shot.
A frustrated Angle went into a tag-team match with the Undertaker against Triple H & the Rock on the next Smackdown. After a rough match, Angle got caught by Triple H's Pedigree. But the Undertaker then entered the ring and nailed Triple H with a chair, causing the DQ. While the Dead Man and the Rock brawled outside the ring, Angle took advantage of the situation, seizing Triple H in the Ankle Lock and refusing to let go, even applying it again on the ramp. Angle continued his assault the next week, attacking Triple H during his match with Booker T on Raw and giving him the Angle Slam. When Triple H tried to get to Angle afterwards, he found Angle standing behind a group of security guards, with Angle bragging about he and Triple H wrestling at the next pay-per-view, with co-owner Vince McMahon having put Triple H's Wrestlemania Title shot on the line!
In the meantime, Triple H was also having marital issues with his wife, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. When it was announced by Stephanie that she was pregant, Angle took it upon himself to become involved again, wheeling a baby carriage out to the ring. He mocked the Game, bringing out a monkey 'baby' doll with a false nose attached. Triple H soon responded by attacking Angle, then throwing the carriage at him. Due to Triple H angering Vince McMahon later on, Angle teamed with Jericho in a "Handicap" Match against Triple H. The odds helped immensely, with Angle catching Triple H from behind with an Angle Slam onto a chair for the victory. After the match, Stephanie came out to check on her husband, putting her in harm's way, as Triple H, Angle, and Jericho continued to fight. When Triple H hugged his wife, Angle shoved him from behind, making him fall on top of Stephanie, injuring her. On the next Raw, though, it was revealed that Stephanie actually wasn't pregnant; she was using it to keep Triple H happy. This ended the marriage, leading to Vince & Stephanie basically allying with Kurt against Triple H.
At No Way Out '02, Angle had the edge, as Vince named Stephanie the special guest referee. Obviously, Stephanie was biased against her ex-husband, giving Angle all the breaks. However, when Angle went for a clothesline at one point, Triple H ducked, leading to Stephanie being knocked out of the ring! Stephanie was carried out, as a regular referee took over. This put Angle on the defensive, with him later taking out a second referee. He then got a low blow on Triple H, followed by the Angle Slam. Stephanie then ran down, returning to the match to count the pin, but Triple H kicked out at 2. Angle went for the Ankle Lock, but Triple H spun him into Stephanie, knocking her down again. Later on, Angle tasted the Pedigree, but Stephanie stopped the other ref from completing the count. When Triple H went for his ex-wife, Angle attacked with several chair shots, followed by the Angle Slam, with Stephanie making the 3 count to give Angle the Wrestlemania main event slot!
The joy for Angle was short-lived, however, as co-owner Ric Flair made a rematch between Angle and Triple H, with Stephanie barred from ringside. It was another tough fight between the two rivals, with Angle almost winning again with the Ankle Lock. But Triple H came back to catch Angle with the Pedigree, getting the pin and winning back the Wrestlemania Title Match. Angle was furious on Smackdown, as he called out anyone from the back to take him on. Kane answered the challenge, leading to a brawl that ended with Angle getting a chair and beating Kane with it, causing the DQ. The two battled to the outside, with Angle German-Suplexing Kane through the announce table! He then applied the Ankle Lock, holding it until the refs broke it up. Angle had an Undisputed World Title match against Jericho on the next Raw, but Kane interfered, helping Jericho to win. Kane chased Angle after the match with a steel chair, continuing the bad blood between them.
Angle teamed with Jericho against Kane & Triple H on the next Smackdown, with Kane using a chair again to knock Angle silly, which allowed Triple H to get the Pedigree and the pin. Angle, upset at the outcome, demanded a "Steel Cage" Match against Triple H on the next Raw, which was granted by Mr. McMahon. During the night, Triple H played a joke on Stephanie, getting her to use a doctored lotion that gave her a rash. This helped Angle, in a way, as Stephanie came down during the match and interfered, helping Angle escape the cage and get the victory. Angle then went back to concentrating on Kane, attacking him during Kane's match with Jericho on the following Smackdown. The two brawled to the back, with Kane chasing Angle to the parking lot. But it turned out to be an ambush, as Angle brutally beat down Kane, getting him underneath a metal door and dropping it on his ribs! Angle got in another chair shot for good measure, then left the bloody monster laying on the asphalt.
The feud continued to build for the next few shows, leading up to Wrestlemania X-8, with Angle going up against Kane in one of the major matches of the event. Before the match, Angle bashed the Toronto crowd, talking about how their recent Olympian had won a gold medal by complaining, instead of earning it. Kane soon interrupted this, and the match was started. The match was pretty even, with Angle standing toe-to-toe with the Big Red Machine, using varying attacks, from repeated German suplexes to cross body shots off the top rope. Kane fought back, though, nearly winning with a Chokeslam, only to have Angle get a hand on the nearby ropes. Angle came back to get the Angle Slam, followed by the Ankle Lock, but Kane refused to tap. Near the end, Kane went for the Chokeslam again on Angle, but Angle reversed it, getting a suplex, then using the ropes for leverage to get the pinfall victory, his second Wrestlemania win in a row.
Twenty-four hours later on Raw, Angle teamed with Booker T against Kane & Edge. The match fell apart for Angle & Booker T due to miscommunication, as Booker T accidentally kicked Angle. This allowed Edge to get the Edgecution and pin Angle. Angle, angry about the loss, joined the Smackdown commentators during a Booker T/Edge match a few days later, and was quick to shove Edge when he came close. But Edge responded with a few shots of his own, knocking Angle down. Later in the match, Booker T accidentally took down the referee, leaving him vulnerable to the Spear. But Angle quickly came in and got Edge with the Angle Slam, enabling Booker T to get the win. Angle watched in triumph as Booker T celebrated with a Spineroonie, while Edge was trying to recover from the attack.
WWF Smackdown: 2002
On the next Raw, a Draft Lottery took place, with Ric Flair being put in charge of Raw, while Vince McMahon took charge of Smackdown. Angle was quick to get into Vince's ear, wanting to be drafted to his side. Mr. McMahon didn't conform at first, drafting the Rock as his 1st pick. But Angle soon was able to convince McMahon, getting himself drafted as the 2nd pick for Smackdown. Angle helped McMahon with his picks as the night went on, giving his opinions of who they should get. Angle also volunteered to face Rob Van Dam that night (after RVD was drafted to Raw), since Van Dam was the Intercontinental Champion. Late in the match, though, Angle was in trouble, with RVD climbing the turnbuckle to try a high-flying kick. Angle pulled the referee in the way, allowing him to take the punishment, then got RVD in the Ankle Lock. However, the referee, having been grabbed and put in harm's way, DQ'ed Angle, keeping him from winning the IC Title. After the match, a furious Angle kept attacking RVD, until Edge came down and made the save, Spearing Angle and beating on him until the refs pulled him off.
Angle and Edge continued to feud over the next few weeks. On one Smackdown, Edge got with Angle, apparently wanting to talk about old times. He showed Angle a series of photographs between the two men, while having writing on the back of each picture, saying things like "Yes, I do suck" and "p.s. I have no testicles". Angle seemed to enjoy looking at the old memories, but it didn't last. When Angle found out about the writing, he fought Edge later in the night, using a steel chair to block an Edge Spear, causing the DQ. Angle soon teamed up with Chris Jericho again in several battles against Edge and his new partner, "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan.
At Backlash '02, Angle and Edge had another tremendous match, with neither wrestler truly dominating at any point. Angle hit several suplexes early on, taking it to Edge, who answered back with his own suplex-variations. Edge took control by throwing Angle out of the ring, then getting a cross-body on him on the outside. Edge brought Angle back into the ring and went for the Edgecution, but, after a couple of reversals, Angle landed the Angle Slam for a close 2 count. Angle then locked in the Ankle Lock, causing Edge to yell out in pain. But Edge managed to turn the submission hold into a quick roll-up, nearly stealing the match. Angle snapped, going for a steel chair. But when he swung, Edge dodged, which made the chair bounce off the ropes and hit Angle in the face instead. Edge then caught Angle with the Edge-o-matic, but Angle surprisingly kicked out at the last second. Edge, somewhat frustrated, tried for a Spear, but Angle booted him in the face, then got the Angle Slam, pinning Edge and getting another big victory.
WWE Smackdown: 2002
In May '02, it was announced that the company would be "getting the F out", becoming World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). This was due to legal problems with the World Wildlife Fund. On the next Smackdown, Angle bragged about his win, and said that he would be displaying a new t-shirt with all of his accomplishments listed on it. Edge, though, switched the shirts, causing Angle to show off a shirt saying "You Suck!" Later in the night, Angle & Albert went up against Edge & Rikishi, with Albert getting the victory by taking out Rikishi with the Baldo Bomb. Edge and Angle continued to feud for the next few weeks, with the two men signing to face each other at the next pay-per-view in a "Hair vs. Hair" Match. At one point, Angle & Jericho ambushed Edge & Hunter Hearst Helmsley, with Angle cutting off a lock of Edge's hair. Angle would brag about the lock of hair for a while, saying that it was only the beginning.
At Judgment Day '02, the two men faced off in the "Hair vs. Hair" Match, with a barber chair set up on the stage for the loser's 'trim'. The two wrestlers fought both in the ring and on the outside, with neither wanting to lose their hair that night. Angle was interested in putting Edge out, using a sleeper hold early in the match. Edge came back, catching Angle on the outside with a flying plancha, then later getting a missile dropkick for the 2 count. But Angle was still fighting, catching Edge later on the turnbuckle and tossing him across the ring. As the match wound down, Edge accidentally took out the referee with the Spear. Angle tried to take advantage, going to the outside and getting a chair, but Edge stopped the attempted cheating with a Spear. He tried for the cover, but the ref was still down. Later on, with the ref somewhat recovered, Edge got a second Spear for a close pinfall. But Angle came back with a Spear of his own, followed by the Angle Slam, with Edge barely kicking out. Angle went beserk, thinking that should have been it. He got on the Ankle Lock, only to have Edge escape with an Enziguiri. Angle came right back, locking on the Ankle Lock again, but Edge rolled him up for the pinfall, winning the match!
Afterwards, Angle tried to get away, attacking Edge, but Edge took him down with the Edgecution. Edge then tried to bring Angle over to the barber chair, where the equipment was waiting. But Angle broke free before they could begin, kicking away Edge and running to the back. Edge chased Angle throughout the night, with Angle hiding once in a make-up chair with a hair cap on. Angle eventually went on the offensive, hitting Edge with a garbage can lid and dragging Edge to the barber chair, yelling for the barber to come out. Angle then tried to take Edge out so that he could trim him, but Edge reversed the Angle Slam into a sleeperhold, knocking Angle out! This allowed the barber to go to work, taking off all of Angle's hair, making him bald! Afterwards, when Angle woke up to what had happened, Edge said that the fans would no longer chant "You Suck!" They would chant "You're Bald!" instead.
On the next Smackdown, Angle came out wearing a wig and bragging that his hair had grown back in less than a week. Edge (along with Maven) tried to disprove this by removing the wig, but Christian intervened, helping to save Angle. The two teamed up to face Edge & Maven later in the night, with Maven getting the win by rolling up Christian. Angle and Edge faced off the next week in a "Steel Cage" Match, which quickly turned violent, as Edge was busted open. During the melee, the referee was knocked out (a common danger in Angle/Edge matches). Angle had complete control after getting the Angle Slam off the top rope. He then climbed the cage and escaped, only to have Hulk Hogan come down and attack him, throwing Angle back into the cage to continue the match! Later on, after the men traded Ankle Locks, Angle again tried to escape, only to again be countered by Hogan, who opened the door as Angle went down, crotching him on the cage door! Edge pulled him back in, keeping the match going, then later got the victory by getting a huge Spear from the top rope! Afterwards, Hogan tried to de-wig Angle, with no success.
Going into June '02, it was announced by Mr. McMahon that the Smackdown superstars would compete in a Battle Royal to decide who would become the #1 Contender to the Undertaker's Undisputed Title. Angle was strong in the match, eliminating Randy Orton, the Hurricane, and Albert, but was surprisingly tossed out by Hardcore Holly. Triple H & Hulk Hogan simultaneously eliminated each other to end the Battle Royal. Angle complained afterwards, saying he had again been screwed, but Holly interrupted, leading to a match between the two later in the night. Angle got the victory, but Holly wasn't done, as he attacked Angle afterwards. The two brawled, with Angle trying to use a ring bell as a weapon, only to have Hardcore take it from him and nail Angle with it instead! At the end of the night, Triple H defeated Hogan in the final #1 Contenders Match. Afterwards, though, the Undertaker attacked Triple H, while Angle ran down and took out Hogan, with the heels both decimating the faces to end the night.
The feud continued the next week, with Hogan challenging Angle to a match at the next PPV. Angle joined with the Undertaker in ambushing Hogan in the back, with Angle accepting the challenge afterwards. The two then went and fought in a "Handicap" Match against Triple H, which ended in DQ when Triple H used his sledgehammer on the Undertaker. Meanwhile, Hogan ran down and attacked Angle, stripping off his wig to show his bald head, then throwing him into a Triple H Pedigree. A week later, Angle & the Undertaker went after Triple H again, only to have Angle accidentally hit the Dead Man with a chair. The Undertaker then demanded a Non-Title Match against Angle, which Mr. McMahon decided to give him. Angle pumped himself up before the match, saying that he'd just look at the Dead Man as Hogan. He got so pumped up that, later on, when Mr. McMahon tried to get both to shake hands, Angle went after the Undertaker, knocking Vince down in the process. The two fought hard, with Angle torturing the champion with the Ankle Lock at one point. The match fell apart, though, when Triple H came down to go after the Undertaker, distracting him long enough for Angle to get the quick roll-up for the victory! Afterwards, though, Hogan again attacked Angle, putting him in another version of the Ankle Lock. The Undertaker took out Hogan, then got Pedigree'd by Triple H, who was the last man standing.
Angle and Hogan finally faced off at King of the Ring '02, with both feeling the emotion of the moment. They fought both inside and outside the ring, looking to get the victory. At one point, Angle landed the Angle Slam on Hogan, but the legend kicked out, keeping the match going. Hogan then Hulked up, giving Angle the Big Boot, then once again taking off his wig. Angle, furious, grabbed a steel chair, but missed with his swing, bouncing it off the ropes and into his face instead! Just when it looked its worst, though, Angle managed to counter into the Ankle Lock, applying as much pressure as possible. Finally, Hogan was forced to tap out, giving Angle a huge victory over a wrestling legend.
On the next Smackdown, Angle came out to brag about being "the only man to make Hogan tap out". He was so happy, he called out a challenge to anyone in the back that he hadn't faced before. This was answered by newcomer John Cena, who had an exciting match with Angle, actually pushing Angle for a while, until Angle got the win with a reversal. Cena tried to shake Angle's hand after the match, but Angle just walked away (Angle later claimed to have had the flu that night, which is why it took him so long to beat Cena). After getting the win, Angle threw out a challenge to the Undertaker (the Undisputed Champion), wanting to face him for the title the next week. The two wrestlers met in another strong affair, with Angle catching the Undertaker in a Triangle Choke out of the Last Ride. The two fell to the mat, with the Undertaker tapping out to the hold just as the referee counted Angle's shoulders on the mat. After a brief discussion, separate referees wanted to name Angle and the Undertaker the winner. It was finally ruled a Draw, which infuriated Angle, since he didn't get the belt. Angle attacked the Undertaker again, putting on the Ankle Lock while yelling "I made you tap!".
With the victory, Angle was inserted into the next PPV main event, facing off against the Undertaker and the Rock in a "Triple Threat" Match. Angle joined with Jericho in bragging about how Angle had made the Dead Man tap out on the next Smackdown, only to get into a brawl with the Undertaker in the parking lot. Angle later had a confrontation with the Rock, who pretended not to recognize the now-bald Angle, then compared him to Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies. Angle & the Rock soon brawled, with the Undertaker coming down to attack both men. Later on, Angle teamed with Jericho against the Undertaker & John Cena, in a competitive match that surprisingly ended with the rookie Cena rolling up Jericho for the pin. After the match, Jericho took out Cena, but then was taken out himself by the Undertaker. Angle and the Undertaker then exchanged several moves, with the Dead Man catching Angle in a Dragon Sleeper to make Angle tap out. The Rock then came down and attacked both men, eventually being the last man standing in the ring.
On the final Smackdown before the PPV, Angle took on the Rock in singles competition. The Undertaker came down to watch from the announcers' area, which distracted Angle enough to allow the Rock to get the opening advantage. It soon was a back-and-forth battle between the two wrestlers, leaving the ring to continue the battle. At one point, Angle was knocked into the Undertaker, then ducked a charging Rock, who flattened the Undertaker instead. The fight continued in the ring, with Angle getting the Rock in the Ankle Lock. But the Rock escaped, then took Angle down with a Spinebuster, getting him in position for the People's Elbow. The match suddenly ended, though, when a fighting-mad Undertaker entered and attacked the Rock, causing the DQ. As the two fought, Angle got a steel chair and clocked the Undertaker with it, then put the Rock in the Ankle Lock, torturing him as the show came to an end.
At Vengeance '02, Angle had his shot at gaining the Undisputed Heavyweight Title. He was confident before the match, even after a confrontation with the King of the Ring winner, Brock Lesnar. The two former amateur athletes sized each other up, with Angle promising to meet Lesnar at Summerslam, when he wins the championship. The match itself was wild, as Angle, the Rock, and the Undertaker all wanted the gold. Almost every finishing maneuver appeared during the bout, as the wrestlers pulled out all the stops. Near the end, Angle almost got the Undertaker to tap out, then managed to reverse the Rock into the Ankle Lock. But the submission holds kept getting broken up, putting Angle at a disadvantage. Angle later caught the Undertaker with the Angle Slam, but this left him open for a Rock Bottom, which allowed the Rock to pin him, winning the Undisputed Title while Angle was once again kept from regaining the gold.
On the next Smackdown, Angle wrestled against Mark Henry, looking to get himself a win to rebound off of Vengeance '02. However, Brock Lesnar came down during the match and attacked Henry, getting Angle disqualified. Angle confronted Lesnar & Paul Heyman in the back, with Lesnar telling Angle that he's no longer the top guy on Smackdown. At the time, there was a "contracts" war going on between Smackdown's GM, Stephanie McMahon, and Raw's GM, Eric Bischoff. Stephanie had received word that someone was jumping from SD to Raw that night, so she had everyone on high alert. When Kurt was heard speaking to "Eric" on a cell phone, all fingers pointed towards him being the one departing. However, at the end of the night, when Bischoff drove away with someone, Angle showed up next to Stephanie, having been talking to his brother Eric, not Bischoff.
Going into August '02, Angle talked on Smackdown about how the show wouldn't be the same without him. He called out Lesnar, but got Hulk Hogan instead, who also wanted a piece of Lesnar. Stephanie then interrupted, telling them to fight it out in the ring, with the winner getting Lesnar the next week. During the match, the referee got knocked down after an attempted Ankle Lock, which allowed Angle to go for a chair. However, Hogan knocked it into Angle with a Big Boot, then got the Legdrop. With no referee, though, there was no count. Lesnar then came to the ring and distracted Hogan, while Angle got the chair and nailed him with it. Unfortunately for Angle, the ref had recovered by this time, and called for the DQ, costing Angle the match. Afterwards, Angle was thrown out of the ring by Hogan, but then got to watch as Lesnar F5'ed the legend.
Angle took on John Cena the next week, with the match being a pretty even affair. But when Cena threw Angle out of the ring, Chris Benoit (who recently came over to SD from Raw with Eddie Guerrero) came down and attacked Cena, causing the DQ. Rey Mysterio, Guerrero, and Edge all became involved as well, leading to Stephanie making a 6-Man Tag-Team Match, with Angle teaming with Benoit & Guerrero against the faces. Angle's team seemed to have a disadvantage, though, as both Angle and Benoit considered themselves "the master of submissions". The match was all over the place, with some of the best wrestlers on Smackdown going at it. In the wild finish, Angle was surprisingly taken down and pinned by Mysterio, causing Angle to later exclaim "I can't believe I got pinned by a 12-year old!" Angle later claimed that, since Mysterio wasn't the legal man, he was a cheater, so the pin didn't count. In a funny moment, when Mysterio confronted Angle to ask for a PPV match against him, Angle replied "You have to be at least this high to talk to Kurt Angle".
The feud continued to grow between the two, as Mysterio nailed Angle with a Hurricanrana after Angle refused to release the Ankle Lock while wrestling Mark Henry. Angle landed badly, cutting himself open. Angle came back to attack Mysterio later in the night, putting him in the Ankle Lock. The next week, Angle went to prove he could crush cruiserweights, facing Billy Kidman (Mysterio's former tag partner) in a match. Mysterio was a constant factor, though, distracting Angle. When the ref went down, Angle got the Angle Slam on Kidman, but Mysterio then got the West Coast Pop on him. Angle chased Mysterio to the back, with the ref getting up to count Angle out! A furious Angle came back to the ring, then beat down Kidman, finishing him with a brutal Angle Slam over the top rope, showing what he had in store for Mysterio at the PPV.
At Summerslam '02,Angle set out to destroy Mysterio, but Mysterio's quickness kept Angle from doing any damage early on. Eventually, the match settled down to a great competition. Near the end, Mysterio had Angle in trouble, catching him with the 619 and the West Coast Pop. But when Mysterio went for a Hurricanrana, Angle caught him and applied the Ankle Lock, forcing Mysterio to tap out. On the next Smackdown, a #1 Contenders Elimination Tournament was set up to decide who would be facing Lesnar for the Smackdown World Title. Angle was set to face Chris Benoit in the final match, having gotten a great draw. But things got more complicated when Stephanie McMahon added a third contender to the match: the recent Raw defector, the Undertaker! Angle and Benoit fought both against each other, and together against the Undertaker, even having Angle apply the Ankle Lock while Benoit put on the Crippler Crossface. But the Undertaker proved too strong, coming back to pin Benoit and win the #1 Contender's spot.
Angle and Benoit continued to have problems over the next few weeks, with Eddie Guerrero working as the buffer between them. It didn't work out too well for Eddie, as, during one 6-Man Match, Angle and Benoit (after Angle was put in Rikishi's Stinkface and laughed at by Benoit) fought and left the ring, leaving Eddie alone against Edge, Rikishi, & the Undertaker. Needless to say, Guerrero was squashed and pinned. The next week, Angle came down during Benoit's match with Rikishi, causing the DQ. Angle then also held Benoit's arms in the corner, helping Rikishi apply the Stinkface! A laughing Angle left the arena, as Benoit angrily glared at him. Benoit would later demand a match against Angle at the next pay-per-view, which Stephanie McMahon granted him.
At Unforgiven '02, Angle and Benoit had another scientific masterpiece, as to be expected from the two great technical wrestlers. At one point, Angle applied the Ankle Lock, but Benoit was able to free himself. In a surprising ending, Benoit rolled Angle up, then used the ropes to get the leverage for the 1-2-3. On the next Smackdown, Angle demanded a rematch against Benoit, but instead McMahon made a "Triple Threat" Match between Benoit, Angle, and the hometown star of the show, Rey Mysterio. During the match, Angle landed the Angle Slam on Benoit, only to be taken out by Mysterio. Mysterio then tried the pin on Benoit, but only got a 2 count. Mysterio later landed a double 619 on both competitors, showing his speed. Benoit did manage to get the Crippler Crossface on Angle, only to be taken out by Mysterio, who later got Benoit with the West Coast Pop for the victory.
The feud between Angle and Benoit continued the next week, as Benoit caused Angle to lose to Edge, while Angle cost Benoit his rematch with Rey Mysterio. A frustrated Stephanie McMahon then put them in the new Smackdown Tag-Team Title Tournament together, with the threat that, if they didn't work together, they'd both be suspended for a year. Although Angle & Benoit had some problems, they did manage to work together, beating John Cena & Billy Kidman in the first round. However, problems arose when Benoit's former friend, Eddie Guerrero (along with Chavo) told Benoit that Angle was looking to betray him. Later in the night, Chavo told Benoit that Angle was attacking Eddie. When Benoit ran into a room to make the save, though, Chavo locked the door behind him, as loud noises could be heard. Eddie Guerrero then appeared from the room, carrying a bent steel chair.
On the next Smackdown, Los Guerreros were scheduled to face Angle & Benoit in the semi-finals of the tournament. Eddie continued to blame Angle for the assault on Benoit the last week, while Angle accused the Guerreros. While there was obvious tension between Benoit & Angle during the match, Benoit knew the truth, and later nailed both Guerreros with steel chair shots while the referee was down, allowing Angle to catch Eddie with the Angle Slam for the victory. This put Angle & Benoit in the finals of the tag tournament at No Mercy '02, against Rey Mysterio & Edge. The match was amazing, mostly thanks to the high-flying antics of Mysterio. In the end, though, Angle & Benoit shocked all the odds-makers once more, as Angle forced Edge to tap out to the Ankle Lock, winning his team the first Smackdown Tag-Team Titles.
Also at the pay-per-view, Angle & Benoit got some revenge on Los Guerreros. Benoit told Eddie that Angle was attacking Chavo in a back room. Eddie, assuming that Benoit was tricking him, didn't fall for it. Unfortunately for Chavo, he WAS being taken out by Angle, without Eddie coming to his aid. Angle & Benoit's good humor only lasted a few days, though, as Stephanie McMahon presented them a trophy for winning the tournament on the next Smackdown. Both wrestlers wanted the trophy, and went to blows over it, accidentally knocking over Stephanie in the process. Stephanie immediately slapped the taste out of both men's mouths, then said that the two would wrestle later that night to see who gets the trophy. Surprisingly, Los Guerreros came out during the match, with Chavo hitting Angle with one of the tag titles to help Benoit win. Benoit appeared shocked at the Guerreros helping him, but before he could do anything, Angle attacked him, then destroyed the trophy, ensuring that neither man got it.
On the Halloween edition of Smackdown, Benoit faced off against Edge in the opening match. Benoit got the Crossface on Edge, only to be pulled out of the ring by Angle. Edge later came back to win the match with his spear, another big loss for Benoit. Benoit ran to the back to find Angle, but Angle hid under a Scream mask, allowing him to escape. Benoit did get revenge later on, however, hitting Angle with the title belt and making him lose to Eddie Guerrero. Angle ran to the back after Benoit, and attacked a man in a "Scream" outfit, but it turned out to be Brother Love. Benoit then appeared and went after Angle, with the two brawling all over the backstage area. It was becoming hard to believe that the two men were the tag-team champions.
A week later, Stephanie McMahon put Angle & Benoit in a tag-team title defense against Rey Mysterio & Edge, in a "Three Falls" Match. The first fall was decided by Edge, who got a Double Spear on both men, then helped Mysterio get his Bombs Away splash for the pinfall on Benoit. Angle took over for a while, as Benoit recuperated, but Benoit proved to be the major factor in the second fall, clocking Edge with one of the tag-team titles. Angle then got the Ankle Lock applied, forcing Edge to tap. The third and final fall went back and forth, but was nearly decided via controversy, as Mysterio rolled up Angle for a pinfall. Since Angle was grabbing the ropes, the match was restarted, giving Angle & Benoit another chance to win. But the team couldn't get it together, as Benoit accidentally hit Angle with the Flying Headbutt while trying to make the pinfall save. Edge then pinned Angle for the victory, taking away the tag-team titles.
Angle & Benoit each blamed the other for losing the tag titles the next week, and fought in the main event, with both Los Guerreros and Rey Mysterio & Edge watching, since the three teams would face off at the next pay-per-view, the Survivor Series. The match went back and forth as expected, and ended in a DQ, when the other teams rushed the ring. A massive brawl broke out, with Angle & Benoit working together to clear the ring. Angle then hugged Benoit, leaving a shocked Wolverine standing in the ring. The good will continued until the '02 Survivor Series, when Angle & Benoit tried to regain the tag-team titles. Unfortunately, the two men couldn't get along, making them the first team eliminated. Los Guerreros went on to win the tag-team titles from Mysterio & Edge.
Angle and Benoit each faced a Guerrero on the next Smackdown, with the partners banned from ringside. Benoit forced Chavo to tap to the Crossface, while Angle took out Eddie with the Angle Slam. This led to Angle & Benoit getting another tag-team title shot against Los Guerreros during the Thanksgiving edition of Smackdown. Near the end, Angle hit his Angle Slam on Eddie, which allowed Benoit to slap on the Crossface. However, Angle wanted to get the win, knocking Benoit away and going for the Ankle Lock. After a quick dispute, Benoit & Angle BOTH applied their finishing maneuvers, only to have Chavo break it up. The two lost the match when Chavo cheated, smacking Benoit with a title belt. Eddie then made the pin, keeping the gold away from Angle & Benoit.
On the first Smackdown of December '02, Angle was placed into a #1 Contenders Match for the Smackdown World Title, against Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Edge. Edge's knee was taken out by Albert before the match (with a steel chair), but Edge competed anyway. After some fierce action, Benoit got the first elimination, forcing Guerrero to tap to the Crossface. However, Guerrero later got revenge, hitting Benoit with a title belt while the referee was down. This left Benoit easy pickings for Edge's spear, leaving only Angle and Edge going at it. The two men fought furiously, with Angle repeatedly going for the Ankle Lock on Edge's hurt leg. In the end, though, it was Angle's other move that won it for him, as he caught Edge on the turnbuckle and delivered a Super Angle Slam for the pinfall victory. After the match, an exhausted Angle was attacked by the reigning champion, the Big Show.
Angle feuded with the Big Show for the next few weeks, but Angle had to find some way to deal with Paul Heyman at ringside. So Angle approached the suspended Brock Lesnar, telling him that, if Lesnar watched his back and helped him win, Angle would get Lesnar's suspension lifted and give Lesnar the first shot at Angle's title. Angle fulfilled the first part of his bargain, getting Stephanie McMahon to lift the suspension, allowing Lesnar to appear at Armageddon '02. However, during the night, Lesnar was not around, causing Angle to go to the ring to face the Big Show (with Paul Heyman) alone. The match was a tough one for Angle, as he had to worry about Heyman while trying to concentrate on the 500-pound champion. It got worse for Angle when the ref was knocked down, allowing A-Train, the Big Show's partner, to charge the ring and attack Angle. However, Lesnar then appeared, giving the Big Show an enormous F-5! Angle made the pin, winning the match and, for the third time, becoming the WWE Heavyweight Champion.
On the next Smackdown, Angle came out, celebrating his winning of the World Title as a fan favorite. He brought Lesnar out and personally thanked him for helping him win. When Lesnar said that he wanted his title shot that night, though, Angle declined, saying that he was already signed to face Chris Benoit that night in a "Non-Title" Match. Angle claimed that Lesnar would get his title shot the next week. However, in the back, Stephanie McMahon confronted Angle, telling him that he had to set the record straight, or else she would do it herself. Angle came out to the ring soon after and revealed the truth: that Paul Heyman was now his manager! Angle's entire plea to Lesnar turned out to have been a swerve, as he and Heyman both promised that Lesnar would never get a title shot! The Big Show then came to the ring, obviously upset about the betrayal, but Heyman managed to convince him that they were stronger as a team, even giving the Big Show a title rematch the next week. That night, Angle faced Benoit, with the Big Show attacking Benoit late in the match to cause the DQ. The two beat down Benoit until Lesnar tried to make the save, even going for an F-5 on Heyman. But Angle & the Big Show were too much for Lesnar, beating down Lesnar as the night ended.
It was revealed on the next week's Smackdown, though, that Lesnar had fought back after the cameras went off the air, taking out the Big Show with chair shots, then slamming Angle into the ring post with an F-5! This was actually a set-up to allow Angle to have some knee surgery. Angle came out that night on crutches, with Paul Heyman giving Angle something to help him against Lesnar: Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin, known collectively as Team Angle! Later that night, Chris Benoit defeated the Big Show in a #1 Contenders Match, earning the right to face Angle at the next PPV. Angle sent Team Angle down to join the Big Show after the match to beat down Benoit, leaving him a bloody mess as the night ended.
WWE Smackdown: 2003
Angle watched as Team Angle took on Benoit & Edge on the first Smackdown of 2003. He didn't like what he saw, as Benoit put Benjamin in the Crossface, while Edge speared Haas. This caused Angle to enter the ring and hit Benoit with his title, causing the DQ. After the match, Angle went after the referee as well, forcing him to announce Team Angle as the winners. Angle later attacked Benoit again during a match with Benjamin, again causing a DQ. The week before the PPV, Angle reentered the ring, joining with Team Angle to face Benoit & Edge in a "Handicap" Match. Benoit was fighting mad, though, catching Angle in the Crippler Crossface. Angle wasn't the legal man, though, and when Benoit refused to release the hold, the ref again called the DQ, this time giving Angle's team the win. It was small comfort, as Benoit beat on Angle with his own crutch, ensuring that Angle wouldn't be 100% at the PPV.
The '03 Royal Rumble match started off quickly, as Team Angle attacked Benoit before the bell. The referee didn't waste any time ejecting Benjamin & Haas from ringside, leaving Angle alone against Benoit. The two veterans, having faced each other so many times as of late, countered many of the other's moves, forcing new maneuvers to be put together. Early on, Benoit nearly got the win by reversing the Angle Slam into a Sharpshooter submission hold. Angle, meanwhile blocked the flying headbutt by running up the ropes and getting an overhead suplex, getting a very long 2 count. Later on, Angle and Benoit reversed into different submission holds, with Angle shockingly picking up Benoit while in the Crossface and hitting the Angle Slam, with another close count. Finally, after almost 20 minutes of action, Angle forced Benoit to tap out to the Ankle Lock, ending a tremendous match. Afterwards, Team Angle helped the champion to the back, while Benoit was given a huge ovation from the fans in attendance.
Angle watched from the back during the next Smackdown as both Haas & Benjamin lost their respective singles matches. An embarrassed Angle told both to stay in the locker room and watch as he showed them how it's done, then went out and wrestled Rey Mysterio. Angle got the victory, then refused to release the Ankle Lock, trying to make a point. Edge came out for the save, as Angle left the ring. But Angle was ambushed by Benoit on the way back up the ramp, then sent back to the ring, where Benoit, Edge, & Mysterio all beat him down. Team Angle didn't make the save, as Angle had told them to stay in the back. Angle got some revenge the next week, as he coached Team Angle to victory in a "#1 Contenders" Match for the Tag Titles over Benoit & Edge. Angle, of course, helped them cheat to win, continuing his rivalry with Benoit, while also continuing a war of words with Brock Lesnar (who had won the Royal Rumble match, earning a title shot).
Angle faced Benoit again on the next Smackdown, in a "Non-Title" Match. It was a brutal affair, with Benoit getting busted open during the action. Angle got the victory after an Angle Slam, then surprisingly offered to shake Benoit's hand after the match. It was a trick, though, as Team Angle attacked Benoit from behind, allowing the three men to beat him down, until Lesnar & Edge made the save. It was later announced by Stephanie McMahon that a six-man tag-team match would take place at the next pay-per-view, between Angle & Team Angle and Benoit/Edge/Lesnar.
The first assault occurred before the match at No Way Out '03. Early on in the night, Edge was attacked in the back and laid out, taking him out of the match. While it was unknown who took him out, it didn't take Benoit & Lesnar long to blame Team Angle. Rather than replace him, Benoit & Brock Lesnar fought Angle, Benjamin & Haas in a "Handicap" Match. The odds seemed to be heavily in Team Angle's favor, but that didn't stop Benoit & Lesnar fighting back. Near the end, Benoit got Angle in the Crossface, with Benjamin making the save. Lesnar took out Benjmain, though, then F-5'ed Angle, while Benoit locked Haas in the Crossface, forcing him to tap out and cost Angle's team the victory.
Going into March '03, Angle was in trouble, suffering from a painful neck injury that was making it hard to keep wrestling. However, Angle put aside his pain, letting WWE know that he would be wrestling at Wrestlemania. Angle had competition before the big event, though, as Lesnar, after winning a "Steel Cage" Match over Paul Heyman, earned a title shot against Angle on the next Smackdown. Angle pulled an old trick out of his book, though, as he had his brother, Eric, pull the switcheroo and cause Lesnar to be thrown off. Angle then snuck in and rolled up Lesnar, getting a big victory over the challenger. However, Angle had to watch afterwards, as Lesnar took out his rage on Angle's brother, throwing him into the post with the F-5. Eric came out with Kurt on the next show, with Kurt complaining about Lesnar's attack on his family. Stephanie McMahon then came out and announced that if someone interfered on Angle's behalf at the PPV, Angle would forfeit the title. Lesnar then came out and went after both men, with Kurt actually pushing his brother into the way of Lesnar, then using his crutch to beat Lesnar down, before holding the challenger in a Camel Clutch, doing as much damage as possible to Lesnar's ribs.
Angle had a face-to-face with Lesnar in Lesnar's locker room on the final Smackdown before the PPV, telling Lesnar that his first Wrestlemania might be his last. Angle also mentioned that he and Lesnar were a lot alike, but that Lesnar was just a kid. Lesnar responded by saying that he was a 295-pound 'kid' who was coming for Angle's championship. Later in the night, though, Angle did more damage, slamming Lesnar's ribs with a 2x4. At Wrestlemania X-9, Angle and Lesnar finally met for the Smackdown Heavyweight Title (now usually called the WWE Championship). Angle did everything he could to ensure he would get the win, but Lesnar was willing to risk everything for the gold, even trying a Shooting Star Press that nearly killed him when he fell short. Angle tried covering Lesnar afterwards, but Lesnar kicked out at 2, then came back and got an F-5 for the victory, taking away Angle's World Title. The two shook hands after the match, with Angle leaving Lesnar in the ring.
It was announced after Wrestlemania that Angle would be undergoing neck surgery and would be out for 6-8 weeks. This was actually a good thing, since many previous neck fusion procedures (such as with Benoit and Steve Austin) had put the wrestlers out for a year or more. Angle had already had an MRI exam, which revealed bone spurs touching his spinal cord, problems with four vertebrae and two discs, and a badly bruised spinal cord, all of which caused Dr. Youngblood, a well-known specialist, to give Angle second-place behind Austin for the worst condition he's ever seen. Angle went with Dr. Jho out of Pittsburgh, who performed the neck surgery. Angle then rested for the next few months, letting his injuries heal.
On the first June '03 edition of Smackdown, Angle made his return, showing his happiness in being back by asking the crowd to continue the "You Suck" chants that normally go with his music. Angle prepared to thank someone who had supported him, but got interrupted by the Big Show, who wanted to let Angle know that he had to wait in line for a title shot. Angle and the Big Show fought, until the World Champion, Brock Lesnar, came down, sending the Big Show away. Angle and Lesnar then talked, with Angle thanking Lesnar for supporting him during his time on the injured list. Angle next confronted Team Angle the next week, saying that neither Haas nor Benjamin had gone to see him in the hospital, nor were they there when Angle came back. The two replied that they were sick of being in Angle's shadow, and that they wanted to be co-captains of Team Angle. Instead, Angle fired them, disbanding Team Angle! Later on, backstage, Haas & Benjamin attacked Angle, fully breaking up the group.
Angle challenged either of the duo to a match the next Smackdown, and defeated Haas in a singles bout. Afterwards, though, Benjamin came down and attacked Angle, leading to a double-team, with Lesnar making the save. Angle returned the favor by charging in when Lesnar was being attacked by the Big Show, Haas, & Benjamin. However, although Angle got the Angle Slam on the Big Show, the monster came back to Chokeslam Angle. Mr. America (Hulk Hogan) tried to make the save as well, only to be taken out. Angle, Lesnar, & Mr. America fought against Haas, Benjamin, & the Big Show in a "6-Man" Match the next week, but they were hampered by Mr. America's problems with Vince McMahon, as he held Zack Gowen to keep Mr. America distracted, leading to a Chokeslam and pin from the Big Show. A week later, Angle & Lesnar, who had been hanging out together throughout the show, intervened during the "No DQ Handicap" Match between the Big Show and Stephanie McMahon & Zack Gowen (arranged by Mr. McMahon), helping Gowen pin the Big Show and win a wrestling contract.
It was soon announced that Angle would be involved in a "Triple Threat" Match for the Smackdown Championship at the next PPV, against the Big Show and the champ, Lesnar. Angle had a confrontation with both John Cena and the Big Show on the next Smackdown, with Angle falling to the double-team and getting Chokeslammed. Lesnar showed up later, checking on Angle in the back and saying that he had just arrived. As part of their punishment for helping Zack Gowen, Mr. McMahon placed Lesnar into a 3-on-1 Handicap Match that night, against Haas, Benjamin, & the Big Show. Angle planned to help out Lesnar, but Mr. McMahon called him to his office, and Angle never came out. It was revealed later that Angle had been told that he would be severely punished if he interfered. Lesnar was Chokeslammed through the announce table and defeated. A week later, Angle was placed in the very same match, with Lesnar told he would vacate the title if he interfered. This put Angle in the same position, but Angle came out better, as Gowen helped Angle out, enabling Angle to force Benjamin to tap out to the Ankle Lock.
Things began to fall apart for Angle and Lesnar on the next Smackdown, as they teamed with Gowen against Haas, Benjamin, & the Big Show. Gowen was taken out by Vince McMahon's chair shots, making it 2-on-3. But Angle & Lesnar did well for a while, until Lesnar accidentally hit Angle while doing an F-5. A stunned Angle got Chokeslammed and pinned, losing the match. Angle and Lesnar argued after the match, leaving them open to a Double Chokeslam from the Big Show. At Vengeance '03, Angle took on Lesnar and the Big Show for the Smackdown WWE Title, with Angle & Lesnar working together against the giant at first, but then breaking it down into everyone for himself. In the end, Angle proved to be the strongest, giving Angle Slams to both the Big Show and Lesnar, then pinning Lesnar to become the Smackdown Heavyweight Champion for the fourth time.
On the next Smackdown, Angle came out to celebrate his victory, only to be interrupted by Lesnar, who wanted his rematch. Angle agreed, but Vince McMahon then came out and said that Angle had actually been begging him in the back not to allow the match, so he was going to make Lesnar earn it. Angle told Lesnar that Vince was lying, then convinced Lesnar to challenge Vince to a match for next week. Meanwhile, that night, Angle & Lesnar teamed up to go against A-Train & the Big Show. Near the end, Lesnar showed his tremendous strength, by getting the F-5 on the Big Show. Angle then tagged himself in and made the cover, getting the win. An upset Lesnar F-5'ed Angle after the match, only to have Vince announce that Angle would be the special referee for their "Steel Cage" Match. The next week, all eyes were on Angle to turn heel, especially after Lesnar was taken out in the back, with Angle spotted nearby. In the match, Lesnar, though apparently woozy, hoisted Vince up for an F-5, only to seemingly pass out. Angle refused to make the count, instead calling for help. When Vince struck at him, telling him to count, Angle put his boss in the Ankle Lock. But this left Angle open to a 'recovered' Lesnar, who F-5'ed Angle, then brutally beat him down, joining with Mr. McMahon.
After taking a week off to heal, Angle returned to immediately challenge Lesnar and/or Mr. McMahon to a match. Vince refused, though, threatening to fire Angle if he came near either man. Instead, Angle was put in a "tune-up" match against the Big Show. It was later made a "Falls Count Anywhere Street Fight", which seemed to favor the 500-pound giant. But Angle showed his own skills, eventually winning by putting the Big Show through a table. Angle and Lesnar then had a staredown to end the show. At Summerslam '03, Angle defended the Smackdown Heavyweight Title against Lesnar, with Vince McMahon there to interfere on Lesnar's behalf. Lesnar seemed to have the title wrapped up at one point, when he landed the F-5. But when he went for a second one, Angle reversed into the Ankle Lock, managing to pull Lesnar to the center of the ring and force him to tap out, retaining the title. A furious Mr. McMahon entered the ring afterwards, only to be Angle Slammed onto a steel chair, allowing Angle to walk out in complete triumph.
Angle watched from the announce table on the next Smackdown as the Undertaker won a "#1 Contender Triple Threat" Match over Lesnar and the Big Show. This set up Angle vs. the Dead Man a week later, for Angle's World Title. However, the match ended in a No-Contest, as Lesnar attacked both men, brutally taking them out. As part of the plan, Mr. McMahon then announced that it would be Angle vs. Lesnar in a "60-Minute Iron Man" Match in two weeks. On the next show, Mr. McMahon continued to throw his power around, putting his daughter, GM Stephanie McMahon, into a match with Lesnar. Just as Lesnar was preparing to F-5 Stephanie into the post, Angle made the save, ending the match and beating on Lesnar.
In the middle of September '03, Angle and Lesnar had their "60-Minute Iron Man" Match for Angle's Smackdown Championship. It soon turned into a brutal affair, as Lesnar intentionally got himself DQ'ed by hitting Angle with a steel chair! Lesnar then rested for 15 seconds (the mandatory period between falls), before picking up Angle, F-5'ing him, and getting an easy pin to tie the series at 1-1. Lesnar continued to dominate for the next few minutes, getting another fall by making Angle tap out to the Ankle Lock, then later F-5'ing Angle on the outside and reentering the ring, causing Angle to be counted out. This put the champ down 1-3, but Angle started fighting back, getting an Angle Slam at the 26-minute mark to close the gap. But when the ref went down a few minutes later, Lesnar grabbed the title and nailed Angle with it, getting another cheap win to go up 4-2. With 15 minutes left, things seemed impossible for Angle, as Lesnar got another pin after a Superplex, making it 5-2. Angle went into desperation mode, beating Lesnar with a Belly-to-Belly Superplex, then later got the Ankle Lock, bringing it to 5-4. Ankle waited the time limit, then went back to the Ankle Lock, but despite numerous tries, he couldn't get Brock to tap again, as the time ran out with Lesnar in the hold. Angle lost the title, 5-4.
A week later, Angle came out to demand a piece of Lesnar, but Mr. McMahon announced that Angle would have to start out at the bottom of the pile. John Cena then did a negative rap about Angle, causing Angle to throw Cena from the ring. Cena later brawled with Angle in the back, then ran, driving off, with Angle stealing Mr. McMahon's limo to chase after him. Angle kept feuding with both Lesnar and Cena the next week, teaming with the Undertaker to take them on. But Cena cheated, hitting Angle with his chain before pinning him to get the cheap victory. The two had a "Battle Rap" on the next Smackdown, with Angle first rapping, then attacking Cena. Angle continued to get creative as the feud went on, coming out dressed as Cena and having a mini-Angle come down and insult him, then apply the Ankle Lock! Cena finally broke it up, but the mini-Angle was able to position himself and give Cena a low blow, which left Cena open to an Angle Slam from the larger Angle. The two wrestlers met up at No Mercy '03, with Cena looking for the upset. But Angle was too strong, as he forced Cena to tap out to the Ankle Lock.
Angle teamed with Chris Benoit on the next Smackdown, taking on Cena & A-Train. But the old heat between the two surfaced again, when Benoit accidentally hit Angle with a chair, leading to a brawl between the two men. A rematch took place a week later, with Angle & Benoit managing to put things behind them long enough to get the win. Instead, it was Cena and A-Train who fought afterwards. Meanwhile, in the back, Angle chose Benoit as the first member of Team Angle, which would be facing Team Lesnar at the next PPV. Angle later added Hardcore Holly and the APA (Bradshaw & Faarooq), to take on Lesnar, the Big Show, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones, and apparently John Cena. But Angle's team was changed after Lesnar injured Faarooq's knee with a chair, leaving them one short. Soon after, though, Cena refused the position on Team Lesnar, and got beat down by the A-Train, who took his spot. Cena then joined up with Team Angle, coming to Angle & Benoit's aid after they had had to fight a 4-on-2 Handicap Match. Angle's team was now complete.
At the '03 Survivor Series, Angle's team and Lesnar's team went at it very quickly. Just as the match started, the first elimination occurred, as Hardcore Holly attacked Brock Lesnar, shoving a referee out of the way and being DQ'ed. Bradshaw evened things up by eliminating A-Train with the Clothesline From Hell, but he was then taken down by the Big Show's Chokeslam. After a long series of wrestling, Benoit managed to tag in Angle, who was able to eliminate Matt Morgan with the Angle Slam, then forced Nathan Jones to tap to the Ankle Lock. Lesnar took advantage of Angle's distraction, though, and caught him with the F-5, eliminating the team captain. However, Benoit got his team back the advantage, blocking an F-5 and locking Lesnar in the Crossface! Lesnar was forced to tap out, giving Benoit the win over the current champion. The Big Show then came in and tried to take out Benoit, but Benoit was able to make the tag to Cena, who hit the Big Show with a steel chain, then hit the FU, getting Team Angle the victory. After the Survivor Series, though, Angle took off again for more surgery, continuing to have problems with his neck and back.
WWE Smackdown: 2004
Smackdown went to Iraq at the end of '03, for a special show for the troops. Angle went along with the group, then returned to the ring on the first episode of '04, announcing that he was back and ready to win the Royal Rumble for the American soldiers. Angle also became involved in the Eddie/Chavo Guerrero feud, trying to bring the two family members back together. Angle berated the fan favorite, Eddie, for opting to enter the Rumble instead of teaming with Chavo to regain the Smackdown Tag Titles. Angle worked to reunite the team to face the Tag Champs, the Bashams. But after the match, Chavo left his uncle to get beaten by the Bashams, then entered himself and dished out more punishment, breaking up the team. Angle apologized afterwards to Eddie, saying that he felt responsible for Eddie's pain. A week later, when Chavo Guerrero Sr also turned on Eddie, joining Chavo Jr in beating Eddie down, Angle came out for the save. Angle & Eddie took on the Chavos a week later, but after Eddie accidentally blinded Angle with a thumb to the eye, Angle grabbed Eddie by mistake and Angle Slammed him, allowing the Chavos to get the win.
At the '04 Royal Rumble, Angle continued to guarantee the win for the US Troops. He got a great draw, entering as #19, and soon had a major impact, taking advantage of Brock Lesnar's distraction to toss out Bill Goldberg. Soon, Angle was in the ring against the final competitors, organizing an assault against the biggest threat, the Big Show. But the Big Show wouldn't go down, tossing out most of the competitors, until it was down to Angle, the Big Show, and Chris Benoit. The three Smackdown wrestlers went at it, with Angle trying to toss out the giant. He even got the Ankle Lock on the Big Show, forcing him to tap out (which doesn't matter in Rumble matches). But the Big Show soon fought back, managing to eliminate Angle! Benoit was finally able to toss out the Big Show, winning the Rumble and the title shot.
When Benoit jumped to Raw to challenge the Raw World Champion, GM Paul Heyman put together another 15-man Rumble Match, with the winner facing the Smackdown Champion, Lesnar. Angle once again dedicated the match to the troops, pumping himself up. Angle didn't do as well on the draw, though, as he entered at #1. Angle continued to survive, though, throwing out Ernest "The Cat" Miller, the Big Show (with help of the rest of the ring), Shelton Benjamin, and Hardcore Holly. In the end, it was Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero as the final two. The two both had some close calls, struggling to survive. In the end, Eddie reversed a suplex and eliminated Angle, once again keeping Angle from making his promise to the troops come true.
Going into February '04, Angle defeated Hardcore Holly, then threw his name into the pot for the #1 Contendership at Wrestlemania. GM Paul Heyman soon announced that Angle, John Cena, and the Big Show would face off in a "#1 Contender Triple Threat" Match at the next PPV to decide the challenger. Angle was set to team with Eddie against the Big Show & Lesnar on the next Smackdown, but Angle was mysteriously attacked in the back, leading Cena to take Angle's place. Angle still played a major role in the match, though, as he came down and hit both the Big Show and Cena with a chair, taking them out of the match, even as Eddie was able to roll up Lesnar for the win. At No Way Out '04, the match took place between the three top contenders. It was a tough match for all three, as several close pinfalls took place. In the end, though, Angle showed his spirit, Angle Slamming the Big Show out of the ring, then putting the Ankle Lock on Cena's injured leg to get the victory, becoming the #1 Contender at Wrestlemania.
Angle soon learned his opponent, as Eddie Guerrero upset Lesnar to win the Smackdown World Title at the same PPV. Angle got the crowd to cheer for Eddie before he & Cena defeated the Bashams in a tag match. But later that night, when Angle was the special referee for a match between Eddie & Chavo Jr, Angle turned on Eddie, refusing to count the pin, bloodying him and landing the Angle Slam. Angle also took out Rey Mysterio, when he tried to make the save. Angle promised to explain himself the next week, although Eddie didn't seem to want to allow it, chasing Angle at one point and accidentally injuring Dawn Marie (Paul Heyman's secretary at the time). Angle later came to the ring and explained that he didn't think Guerrero, a former drug addict, should be the WWE Smackdown Champion, and that he believed he'd make a better role model. Guerrero then came out and again attacked Angle, until Heyman, with security, came out and arrested Guerrero, taking him to jail for assault as Angle taunted him.
Angle continued to talk down to Eddie the next week, still believing that he was doing the right thing. When Eddie was forced into a match against Heyman with his hands cuffed behind his back, Angle came out, attacking the helpless Guerrero and beating him down. The feud continued to build between the two, with Angle watching as Guerrero defeated Shelton Benjamin the next week. Angle and Guerrero stared each other down, before Angle walked away. The two met at Wrestlemania 20, with Angle fully expecting to once again be the heavyweight champion. He went after Guerrero with a passion, with the two putting on an excellent match. Late in the bout, Angle caught Guerrero with the Ankle Lock, putting on as much pressure as possible. But Guerrero was able to reverse it to send Angle from the ring. Guerrero then clutched at his ankle, unlacing his boot to apparently relieve pressure. When Angle saw this, he quickly dived in and reapplied the Ankle Lock. But this was all a ruse from Eddie, as the boot came off, leaving an off-balance Angle to be rolled up and pinned by the champion.
After Wrestlemania, Angle again began to have health concerns, feeling numbness in his hands. A short time later, a draft lottery was held on Raw between the two brands, and Paul Heyman, the GM of Smackdown, was surprisingly drafted to Smackdown (he quit instead of working for Eric Bischoff). On the next Smackdown, people lined up to see one of the major draft picks, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Instead, Angle came out, announcing that he was the new GM of Smackdown! Angle also announced that he had traded Triple H back to Raw, in exchange for Booker T & the Dudley Boyz. Angle obviously was put in the GM position to give him a chance to recover, after years of damage to his body inside the squared circle.
Angle's feud didn't end with Eddie Guerrero once he became the General Manager. On the night he became GM, Angle placed Guerrero in a Smackdown Title Match against newcomer Booker T. Angle also inspired John Bradshaw Layfield to attack Guerrero, leading to the DQ. Angle later created what he called the Great American Award, which would be given to the #1 Contender for Guerrero's Heavyweight Title. JBL won the award by showing a video of him 'chasing' Mexican illegal aliens at the border. Angle continued to support JBL against Guerrero, but he was also open to other offers, including the Big Show putting his career on the line if he didn't beat Guerrero. However. Guerrero managed to get the win, sending the Big Show off in a horrible mood. When the Big Show snapped on Torrie Wilson, grabbing her and taking her to a balcony, Angle followed, convincing the Big Show not to toss Torrie. Instead, the Big Show grabbed Angle and Chokeslammed him off the balcony, leaving him lying on the floor below in a pool of blood!
After a week off, Angle reappeared at the end of April '04 in a wheelchair. He was helped by his new assistant, Luther Reigns, to the ring, where he talked about his career being over. Angle blamed Wilson for the injury, then put her in a "No Disqualification" Match with Rene Dupree. John Cena made the save for Wilson, though, leading an angry Angle to put Cena's US Title on the line against Dupree at the next PPV. In the meantime, Angle continued to appear in a wheelchair, even as it was announced that he once again was having neck surgery in real life, which would keep him out of competition for a few months. Angle worked hard as the evil GM, giving wrestlers like Guerrero, Cena, and Rob Van Dam every difficulty he could throw at them. In June '04, when both Cena and Booker T accidentally hit Angle (who was at ringside), Angle came to the next show and demanded an apology. He got 5 from Booker T (which he accepted), but nothing from Cena, leading Angle to announce that, if Cena ever laid a hand on him again, Cena would be stripped of the US Title.
Angle also continued his issues with Guerrero, forcing Guerrero into matches after Guerrero had passed out during a tag match due to problems with blood loss. At the Great American Bash '04, Angle watched as Guerrero put his Smackdown Title on the line against JBL in a "Bullrope" Match. At the end, Guerrero dived over JBL to tag the corner, with the ref awarding Guerrero the win. But Angle interrupted the celebration, pointing out that Guerrero had knocked JBL into the turnbuckle first, which gave JBL the win and the championship! Going into July '04, Angle continued to work on his rivals. When Cena again accidentally hit Angle (while going for other wrestlers), Angle stripped Cena of the US Title, getting his revenge. A week later, Guerrero took on JBL for the Heavyweight Title in a "Steel Cage" Match. A masked wrestler, known as El Gran Luchadore, ran out and helped JBL retain the title, holding Guerrero back. The masked man then successfully escaped out of the cage, but not before Guerrero unmasked him, showing him to be a non-wheelchair-bound Kurt Angle!
Angle came out again in his wheelchair the next week, saying that he had hated Guerrero so much, he summoned the strength to get out of the chair for a brief period. Angle also went on a powertrip, firing announcer Tonny Chimmel, Funaki, and several Divas, before going to the ring and calling out Guerrero. Instead, Vince McMahon came out, saying how mad he was that Angle had made a fool out of him (apparently Mr. McMahon was going to get an award for having a handicapped person as a GM). Mr. McMahon fired Angle from his position as GM, then grabbed his crutch, causing Angle, obviously ok, to run away. Mr. McMahon reinstated Angle as a wrestler, then put him against Guerrero at the next PPV, despite Angle's unhappiness. Angle feuded with Guerrero for the next few weeks, with Guerrero auctioning off a lot of Angle's personal items (which Guerrero got from Angle's former GM office). An upset Angle later tried to get revenge by stealing Guerrero's lowrider, but a special alarm sprayed powder all over Angle, stopping the theft.
Angle met Guerrero at Summerslam '04, bringing back the memories of Wrestlemania. It was another strong performance, with a major difference from their previous encounter being Luther Reigns' presence at ringside. Another difference was that Angle remembered the finish from the first one. He managed to remove Guerrero's boot, then reapplied the Ankle Lock, doing as much damage as possible. Guerrero had no choice but to tap out, giving Angle a victory over his long-time rival. Guerrero came out looking for a rematch on the next Smackdown, saying that they needed to have a tie-breaker bout. But Angle disagreed, saying that he had nothing to prove after making Eddie tap out. Eddie then asked Angle to come into the ring and shake his hand, but this was another trick from Latino Heat, as he attacked Angle when he got in. Angle then brought out Luther Reigns for the double-team, but Rey Mysterio made the save, leading to a tag-team match between the two teams. When Angle was chased to the back during the match, Guerrero & Mysterio double-teamed Reigns, getting the win. But Angle came back for some revenge, pouring paint onto Eddie's stylish low rider, ruining it, much to Guerrero's frustration.
Angle teamed with Reigns against Guerrero & Rey Mysterio on the next Smackdown, with Reigns getting pinned after Angle was chased to the back. But Angle returned, pouring paint over Guerrero's prized lowrider. A week later, Angle & Reigns convinced Guerrero to chase them to a car, which Eddie destroyed, thinking that it was Angle's. It turned out to be new GM Teddy Long's car, leading Guerrero to get ejected from the building. However. Long also knew Angle had something to do with it, putting Angle in a match against Mysterio that night. Angle still came through, getting the victory as he prepared for another match with Guerrero.
On the next Smackdown, Angle faced Guerrero in the deciding match of their feud, facing off in a "Three Falls" bout. Guerrero's Latino Heat got the best of him at one point, as, after taking a low blow from Angle earlier, Guerrero returned the low blow. Unfortunately, the ref saw it, calling for the DQ. Later on, though, when Angle went for an Angle Slam, Guerrero reversed, getting a pin to even the score at 1 all. During the final fall, the referee got knocked down, giving Eddie a chance to cheat by getting Angle a chair, then laying down like he'd been hit. But while the ref was confronting Angle, Luther Reigns hit Eddie's leg from the outside with another chair, injuring it and allowing Angle to grab the Ankle Lock Grapevine on Eddie, causing him to once again have to tap out. Not satisfied, Angle had Reigns attack Eddie after the match.
The two wrestlers faced off again the next week, this time in a "Lumberjack" Match. The heel wrestlers on the outside continued to try and take out Eddie, with the face wrestlers trying to help him out and take down Angle. It eventually erupted into an all-out brawl, which featured the return of the Big Show, who Chokeslammed almost everyone, including a terrified Angle (who remembered who had injured him a few months before). Angle tried to convince the Big Show to go after Guerrero, but the Big Show instead signed to face Angle at the next PPV, renewing their feud. Angle & Reigns faced off against Guerrero & the Big Show on the next Smackdown, The match ended surprisingly, as Mark Jindrak appeared and attacked Guerrero, causing the DQ. It turned out that Jindrak had joined Angle & Reigns, with the three beating down both wrestlers. Angle used a tranquilizer gun to take down the Big Show, then shaved him bald, getting some revenge for his injuries. Of course, this also fully focused the Big Show on decimating Angle and his allies.
At No Mercy '04, Angle went against the enraged Big Show, but obviously didn't really want the match. After some time, Angle tried to leave, willing to be counted out. But GM Teddy Long stopped him, ordering him back to the ring. Angle then tried to use the tranquilizer gun, but the Big Show destroyed it, then got Angle with a Chokeslam, getting the victory. Angle's feud with the Big Show continued after the PPV, with Angle trying to get Jindrak or Reigns to take him down (with little success). Angle also renewed his conflict with Guerrero, trying to trim Guerrero's hair as well (with the Big Show making the save). For the next few weeks, Angle, Reigns, & Jindrak fought against Guerrero, the Big Show, Mysterio, & Rob Van Dam, leading up to an "Elimination" Match at the next PPV. Angle signed Carlito Carribean Cool to his team, but this turned out to be a problem, as, after Mysterio was signed away to a Cruiserweight Title match, he was replaced by Carlito's foe, John Cena.
The two teams clashed at the '04 Survivor Series, with Angle leading his team against Guerrero's group. Carlito was the first eliminated, as he ran away from a fighting-mad Cena and drove away from the arena. Cena came back, though, making it 3-on-4 early on. Later, after Guerrero managed to make a tag, Van Dam scored his Five Star Frog Splash on Jindrak, but was then rolled up by the legal man, Angle, bringing it to 3-on-3. This didn't last long, as Guerrero rolled up Jindrak to eliminate him as well. The Big Show took care of Reigns with a Chokeslam, leaving Angle against 3 men. Angle tried to leave, but was stopped by RVD, who sent him back to the ring, where the Big Show caught him and tossed him in. Cena then got the FU on Angle, followed by a Guerrero Frog Splash. The Big Show then made the cover, finally ending the match.
Starting on the next Smackdown, Angle began his "Kurt Angle Invitational", putting his gold medal on the line against local talent (usually developmental wrestlers who claimed to be hometown heroes). Over the next few weeks, Angle continued to easily beat the local wrestlers, while also watching as his ally, Luther Reigns, tried to flirt with Joy Giovanni. But when Reigns smashed a pie into Giovanni's face during a Thanksgiving Smackdown food fight, Angle, after a quick Kurt Angle Invitational victory, brought Giovanni out and had Reigns apologize to her. Reigns then asked Giovanni out that night, but Joy announced that she had plans with the Big Show instead. When Angle, Reigns, & Jindrak tried to get her to change her mind, the Big Show came out, clearing the ring. A week later, Angle had another Invitational, but unfortunately, Smackdown was in the Big Show's hometown area, causing Angle to refuse to fight the giant. Instead, Jindrak was thrown in by Reigns. But the match didn't go too long, as Angle & Reigns soon attacked the Big Show from behind, causing the DQ. The 3 men beat down the Big Show, with Angle nailing him across the back with the steel steps.
At Armageddon '04, Angle, Reigns, & Jindrak faced off against the angry Big Show in a "3-on-1 Handicap" Match. The odds seemed to be in favor of Angle's squad, but the Big Show continually fought off the triple-team, and shockingly got the victory after using the F-5 on Jindrak. Despite this, Angle and his team came out on the next Smackdown and challenged John Bradshaw Layfield to a Smackdown World Title Match, with GM Teddy Long making it happen. Despite Long ejecting all of Angle and JBL's allies from ringside, the match soon broke down to a war between the two factions, with Angle nearly winning the title by putting JBL in the Ankle Lock, only to have Orlando Jordan attack him and cause the DQ. After the match, though, both factions were taken out by the Big Show, who also wanted JBL's Smackdown Championship.
Angle finished out the year by travelling with the Smackdown crew to Iraq, where they once again celebrated Christmas with the American troops there. Angle & Reigns teamed up to face Eddie Guerrero & Rey Mysterio, but lost the match (pleasing the troops in attendance). On the final Smackdown, Angle won another Invitation Match, taking down Matt Stryker. He then campaigned for a title shot that night, but instead watched as JBL rigged a drawing to allow him to face and beat Shannon Moore instead. Angle criticized JBL's treatment of the fans, trying to make himself out as a more worthy challenger. GM Teddy Long agreed, putting Angle in a World Title match against JBL at the next PPV. However, Long also added the Big Show to the mix, making it a "Triple Threat" Match and giving both Angle and JBL something to think about during the holidays.
WWE Smackdown: 2005
On the first Smackdown of '05, Angle was approached by JBL's assistant, Amy Webber, who said she wanted to keep her options open. Amy invited Angle to her locker room after his match (an Invitational battle that Angle easily won). When Angle went into the locker room, he thought Amy was in the shower, so he stripped and waited for her. However, it turned out to be Joy Giovanni's locker room instead, causing Angle to 'flash' Joy. Joy ran to her boyfriend, the Big Show, with Angle trying to explain the mistake, only to be chased by the Big Show to the ring. Although Reigns & Jindrak tried to make the save, the Big Show took out all three men, while JBL laughed with Amy in the back. A week later, Angle got some revenge, tricking the Big Show into believing that JBL had abducted Joy, locking her in JBL's limo trunk. The Big Show took out JBL and his Cabinet, even as Angle talked about a plan coming together in the back with Reigns & Jindrak.
GM Teddy Long made Angle come out to the ring a week later to apologize to Joy, which he did. Right after the apology, the Big Show came to the ring, wanting a piece of Angle. When Angle tried to escape, JBL and his Cabinet (who had talked to the Big Show about aligning earlier) came out, apparently to stop Angle from escaping. But it was all a plan by Angle & JBL, as both factions surrounded the ring and attacked the giant, bloodying him with several shots. The union lasted only a week, as Angle's group again began fighting with JBL's stable, leading to a "Last Man Standing" Match getting booked by GM Long between Angle and JBL. Neither wrestler wanted the match, since it would put them at a disadvantage for the coming PPV, but Long refused to change it. Both Angle and JBL used every move they could think of to win, even as their factions fought it out at ringside, getting themselves ejected. Finally, in the end, the two men knocked each other out, causing the Draw. Meanwhile, the Big Show stood in GM Long's office, getting in his own gloating for playing the two against each other.
At the '05 Royal Rumble, Angle got another crack at JBL, while also facing the Big Show in the "Triple Threat" Match. It was a very competitive bout, with Angle also having his allies, Reigns & Jindrak, at ringside to help him out. But JBL also had his own help, including Orlando Jordan, who helped JBL get the Clothesline From Hell on Angle. JBL retained the title, infuriating Angle, who still wanted another shot. In the back, Angle attacked Nunzio, stealing his number in the Rumble Match. Angle came out as #20. Angle immediately went after Raw's Shawn Michaels, but Angle was surprisingly eliminated by Michaels' Sweet Chin Music. Angle couldn't believe it, as he furiously pulled Michaels out of the ring, eliminating him as well, then beating down HBK with the ring steps, even putting him in the Ankle Lock.
Going into February '05, Angle bragged about his assault on Michaels, then faced Nunzio in the Kurt Angle Invitational. Nunzio wanted another shot at Angle, after losing his Rumble number, but Angle still beat Nunzio, keeping his gold medal. During the same show, it was announced that a Smackdown Heavyweight Title #1 Contender Tournament would be taking place to decide who would face the Smackdown champion at Wrestlemania. Although Angle didn't have a match the first night, he and his allies still had a major impact, as they worked together to get the Undertaker counted out in his tournament match with Rene Dupree (Dupree was counted out as well). This meant that the winner of Angle's tournament match with Rey Mysterio the next week would get a bye into the finals of the tournament. Angle and Mysterio had yet another classic match, but Angle won out in the end with the Ankle Lock, moving on to the finals.
Angle defeated Danny Germundo in the Kurt Angle Invitational the next week, then watched as John Cena defeated Booker T to become the other finalist in the tournament. Angle and Cena had a confrontation that night, with Angle pointing out how he had beaten Cena down in Cena's first match, and that Cena didn't deserve the title shot. Cena replied that he was hungrier than Angle, which would be the difference. At No Way Out '05, Angle and Cena got their chance to prove themselves right. Angle showed his experience throughout the match, repeatedly going for the Ankle Lock. But Cena fought back, and eventually caught Angle with the FU, pinning him and winning away Angle's main event shot at Wrestlemania.
On the next Raw, Shawn Michaels, who had no match scheduled for the big event either, reminisced about Angle's assault on HBK at the Rumble, then challenged Angle to a match at Wrestlemania. A few days later on Smackdown, Angle furiously beat down another Invitational victim (Matt Mantel, who had already competed as Matt Stryker against Angle in an Invitational), then ignored questions from Tazz about the challenge. Angle made his true feelings known, though, on the next Raw, when he viciously attacked Michaels after a match, cutting HBK open and wearing Michaels' blood on his chest. Angle then accepted the challenge. On the first Smackdown of March '05, Angle gloated about the beatdown, then brought out a hooded challenger to face him in an Invitational match. Angle thought it might be Michaels, but while he was distracted by the hooded wrestler, the cameraman behind him put down his camera and pulled off his wig, showing that he instead was Michaels! HBK attacked Angle, causing a brawl which security had to break up.
Angle soon announced that he would do everything that HBK had done in his career in the four weeks before Wrestlemania. He started by facing Mike Heywood (another Invitational wrestler) in a Ladder match, winning easily. Angle then announced that he would be taking on Michaels' former partner, Marty Jannetty, the next week. Jannetty appeared on Raw first, teaming with Michaels again, then came to Smackdown to have a very competitive match with Angle. Angle was able to counter Jannetty into the Ankle Lock, getting the victory and continuing his momentum heading into the big event. A week later, Angle had another surprise, as he came out dressed as Michaels, and brought along Michaels' first manager, Sensational Sherri! The two sung a version of HBK's song, calling it "Sexy Kurt". But the party died down when Michaels appeared on the big screen, talking about Angle, then displaying a tribute video of HBK. Enraged afterwards, Angle attacked Sherri, putting her in the Ankle Lock!
Angle went after Michaels on the next Raw, even hitting Muhammad Hassan as well when he got in the way. But Angle eventually was chased off by Michaels, worsening his attitude. He was in no mood to talk on the next Smackdown, as he attacked interviewer Josh Matthews after Matthews asked about his 'failure' from the week before. He even brought Matthews to the ring, giving him the Angle Slam. Angle then ran another video montage, trying to show himself as greater than Michaels. At Wrestlemania 21, Angle and Michaels met in what many proclaimed the best match of '05. The match was fluid, with many nearfalls throughout. In the end, though, Angle was able to put on the Ankle Lock, eventually forcing Michaels to tap out and getting a major win at the biggest wrestling event of the year.
On Smackdown the next week, Angle joined JBL, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Booker T, and the Big Show in wanting the first shot at new Smackdown Champion John Cena. Angle correctly pointed out that most of the wrestlers had actually LOST at Wrestlemania, which should make him one of the top picks. GM Teddy Long had other ideas, though, starting up another #1 Contenders Tournament between the six wrestlers. That night, though, Angle only had an Invitational match, beating down another hometown hero, while still bragging about what he had done to Michaels. A week later, Angle had a confrontation with Booker T and his wife, Sharmell, with Sharmell actually getting in Angle's face about her man winning the tournament. That night, Angle competed against Guerrero, which featured everything from pure wrestling to both men trying to get the other man DQ'ed with a chair. Late in the match, with the ref down, Angle got the chair again, only to have Rey Mysterio come down and intercept it. However, due to problems happening between Mysterio and Guerrero, Guerrero assumed that Mysterio was going to swing the chair at him. This allowed Angle to shove Mysterio (and the chair) into Guerrero. Angle then covered Guerrero to win, moving on in the tournament.
A week later, Angle and JBL (who had beaten Mysterio) both came down to commentate on the third semi-final tournament match between Booker T and the Big Show. Angle and JBL bickered at first, but then both entered the ring and attacked both men, causing the double DQ. Angle and JBL then thought that it would just be them fighting to decide the next #1 Contender, but Teddy Long instead made it a Four-Way Contenders Match for the next week. Long also made a tag match between Angle & JBL and Booker T & the Big Show, with teamwork being an issue for Angle's team. Late in the match, Angle left JBL alone, allowing him to get double-teamed and pinned. Obviously, Angle was just concerned with the title shot. Angle appeared on Carlito's Cabana on the next show, which was held in England. A British wrestler, Steve Lewington, came out to interrupt Angle and challenge for the gold medals. Angle declined at first, then attacked Lewington from behind, beating him down and eventually forcing him to tap out to the Ankle Lock.
Later on, Angle faced off against JBL, Booker T, and the Big Show for the #1 Contendership. The biggest threat was quickly singled out, as everyone went after the Big Show. Each wrestler hit their finisher on him, then Angle took the Big Show to the outside, Angle Slamming him through the announce table! The Big Show was counted out, leaving three. Angle and JBL again seemed to team up after this, with both attacking the face wrestler left, Booker T. They were helped out by JBL's ally, Orlando Jordan. With the ref ejecting OJ from ringside, Angle used his chance, getting a chair that was thrown into the ring and hitting Booker T with it, allowing him to pin him and eliminate him. This left Angle and JBL, with the two men beating each other senseless to try and win. Late in the match, the ref went down, allowing JBL's other allies, the Basham Brothers, to run to the ring. Angle took care of them, but then got caught by a returning Booker T, who nailed Angle with a chair shot of his own! JBL got the pin, winning the match. Once again, Angle had come close to a title shot, but fell short.
Angle challenged Booker T the next week to a match at the next PPV, threatening Sharmell and calling her a 'gutterslut'. Booker T, of course, took offense, causing a brawl between the two. At one point, Booker T held Angle's arms to allow Sharmell to slap him. However, Angle came back with the Angle Slam, then chased Sharmell, who fell and hurt her ankle. Security kept Angle from attacking her, and he eventually went to the back. The storyline took a strange turn soon enough, as Angle talked about how he wanted to be with Sharmell. Angle and Booker T faced off in the main event that night, but Angle had other things on his mind. With Booker T down, Angle opted to head to the back, finding Sharmell and entering her dressing room. The door shut to Sharmell's screaming, with Booker T coming to the rescue soon enough, only to be ambushed by Angle. The match was ruled a No-Contest, as Angle left both husband and wife down in the locker room.
Due to the assault on Booker T's wife, Angle was suspended by GM Long, then forced to give an apology via satellite. But Angle's apology was mixed, as he talked about how Sharmell had enjoyed it and wanted more. At Judgment Day '05, Angle was set to face Booker T, with Angle believing that Sharmell was going to be on the line. He sent Sharmell a package containing lingerie and handcuffs, which infuriated Booker T. But as Booker T searched the arena for Angle, Angle himself snuck into Sharmell's locker room and laid on her, before eventually heading to the ring for his match. But this just made Booker T even madder, as he beat and bloodied Angle. Angle fought back later on and went for the Angle Slam, but Booker T reversed it into a pinfall, winning the match. Afterwards, Angle kept fighting, beating down Booker T, then trying to handcuff Sharmell. But Booker T recovered and handcuffed Angle to the ropes instead, allowing Sharmell to kick Angle inbetween his legs to end Angle's night in a bad way.
On Smackdown, a "Winner's Choice Battle Royal" was signed, with the winner being able to face anyone they wanted the next week. Angle was a part of the Battle Royal, even getting in a warm-up before the match with an Invitational victory. Angle then was a major force of the Battle Royal, eliminating Funaki, Heidenreich, and Charlie Haas to reach the final 6. Angle then watched as Booker T eliminated Orlando Jordan and both Bashams, then tossed Booker T out as well, making it Angle vs. Rey Mysterio at the end. Both wrestlers nearly went out on several occassions, but Angle proved to have more perseverance, catching Mysterio in mid-air with a low blow, then Angle Slammed Mysterio out of the ring, winning the match. Everyone expected Angle to challenge John Cena for the Smackdown Heavyweight Title. Instead, though, Angle announced he would be facing Sharmell! The night ended with a sick grin on Angle's face.
Booker T managed to convince GM Teddy Long to make it a "Handicap" Match the next week, with he & Sharmell vs. Angle. Before the match, Angle talked to Tazz, asking him to join the WWE squad and stay away from the ECW Reunion that was going to take place. Angle then fought against Booker T in the match, with Sharmell running whenever confronted. In the end, though, with Sharmell knocked down along with the ref, Angle attacked a distracted Booker T with a chair, then rolled up Sharmell (pushing up her legs) and getting the 1-2-3. Angle didn't want to get off of Sharmell afterwards, but Booker T returned with a chair of his own, chasing Angle out. Angle and Booker T faced off again the next week, with Angle wanting to "win" Sharmell. But, after Angle accidentally hit himself with a chair after bouncing it off the ropes, Booker T got the win with a Scissors Kick, ending the feud. After the match, Angle again approached Tazz about his ECW affiliation. When Tazz refused to choose, Angle attacked him, bloodying him with a chair shot. Later that night, though, during a brawl between WWE and ECW wrestlers, Tazz returned to go after Angle, who escaped. Angle appeared in the crowd with other Smackdown wrestlers at ECW One Night Stand, and got involved in the final brawl of the night, where Tazz finally got a piece of him, locking Angle in the Tazzmission.
WWE Raw: 2005
In the middle of June '05, on the next Raw, Angle walked out as the newest draft pick for the show. Angle immediately had a conflict with Triple H & Ric Flair, as Angle believed that he was the new #1 man on Raw. Angle challenged the Raw World Champion, Batista, to a match after the next PPV, but Triple H (who was facing Batista at the PPV) changed it to the next week. Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels came out and challenged Angle to a rematch at the PPV, which was accepted. All five wrestlers then brawled to end the show. Angle was set to face Batista in a "Non-Title" Match the next week, but after only a minute or so of action, Triple H & Ric Flair ran down and attacked Batista, causing the DQ. The three beat on Batista until Michaels ran down, causing GM Eric Bischoff to call for a tag match. Angle & Triple H took on Batista & Michaels. While Angle was fighting with Michaels outside, Batista set Triple H up, but then had to dispatch Flair. This allowed Triple H to Pedigree Batista for the victory, getting Angle his first Raw win in years.
At Vengeance '05, the much-anticipated rematch between Angle and Michaels took place, with Angle looking to once again put Michaels in his Ankle Lock. Late in the match, Angle got his wish, but Michaels was able to finally escape, grabbing the ropes. Angle, frustrated, later changed his usual gameplan and climbed the turnbuckle. But when he came off, Michaels caught him with some Sweet Chin Music, then made the pin, winning the match. A night later on Raw, Angle came out to start the show, talking about how he was still ahead on Michaels, since he gets "2" points for making Michaels tap out at Wrestlemania. Angle then challenged Batista again, only to have Ric Flair interrupt. The two had a confrontation, even exchanging some "Wooo's", then agreed to wrestle that night. It was a great match, with two veterans of the business. In the end, though, the Ankle Lock got the Olympic Hero the win, making him look stronger than ever.
On the 1st Raw of July '05, Angle came out during Carlito's Cabana, where Carlito had been interviewing (and getting hit by) Hulk Hogan. Angle insulted Hogan, then joined Carlito in beating down Hogan, with Shawn Michaels making the save. Angle & Carlito teamed up against Hogan & Michaels that night, but Angle's partner let him down, as Carlito was hit with Hogan's Legdrop and pinned. Angle did get some satisfaction in watching as Michaels took out Hogan after the match with some Sweet Chin Music, but he still was angry about not getting the win. A week later, Angle held another Kurt Angle Invitational, the first on Raw, with Matt Mantel (aka Matt Striker) again coming out. Angle was quick to point out that he'd beaten Striker before, and that Striker had lied about where he was from. But Angle gave him another chance, with the two having an incredibly competitive match. Angle barely beat Striker with one second left in the 3-minute period, retaining his gold medals. A week later, Striker came out again, lying about being from Philadelphia, but Angle beat him again with the Ankle Lock, continuing his streak.
A week later, Angle came out for another Kurt Angle Invitational, saying that he wouldn't be facing Striker again. Instead, Christy Hemme came out! But Hemme wasn't there to challenge Angle. Instead, Eugene came out. Angle again had to point out that his opponent wasn't a Hometown Hero, but Eugene thought that, by wearing a Cleveland Browns jersey, he was from there. The two fought, with Angle having a surprisingly difficult time with the mentally retarted wrestler. In the end, Angle got the Ankle Lock on Eugene, but Eugene reversed it, tossing Angle from the ring! This allowed Eugene to survive for the 3-minutes, winning away Angle's gold medals! Eugene had his own Invitational the next week, with Angle trying to fight Eugene, only to have Eugene refuse, since Angle wasn't the Hometown Hero! Instead, Eugene fought an old WWE legend, Tatanka. Angle broke up the match, causing the DQ, but Eugene & Tatanka double-teamed him, sending him from the ring.
The next week's Raw was held in Pittsburgh, getting Angle his last best chance to win back his gold medals. He fought hard against Eugene, but got himself DQ'ed by being too savage, costing him his medals again. Angle couldn't believe it, as he beat down Eugene after the match, until Hulk Hogan made the save. Later, though, Angle was all smiles, as he had gotten GM Eric Bischoff to give him a match at the next PPV with Eugene for the medals. Angle made sure the gold didn't change hands the week before his match, as he attacked Rene Dupree, then Eugene, during another Eugene Invitational. Later that night, Angle faced off against Hogan, but the match ended in a DQ, thanks to Michaels again going after Hogan.
At Summerslam '05, Angle got possibly his last chance to reclaim his gold medals from Eugene. Angle didn't want to wait, as he attacked Eugene before the bell, getting things started. Angle dominated much of the early match, surprisingly to the cheers of the crowd (who seemed to be against Eugene). Eugene came back, though, "hulking" up and nearly beating Angle with a Rock Bottom. Eugene also used Angle's Ankle Lock against him, but Angle knew how to escape, slamming Eugene into the turnbuckle, then following it up with an Angle Slam and the Ankle Lock to get the win and get his gold medals back. Angle brought a chair into the ring after the match, with Christy Hemme trying to protect Eugene. But Angle didn't use the chair on him. Instead, Angle set up the chair in the middle of the ring, then had the ref "award" him the gold medals.
Angle had another great match on the next Raw, defeating his old protege, Shelton Benjamin, then once again having the ref give him his medals. Later that night, after Raw Champion John Cena finished Chris Jericho's career (winning a "You're Fired" Match), Angle attacked Cena, getting named the #1 Contender by GM Eric Bischoff! Angle and Cena's feud grew the next week, when Cena came to Eugene's aid after Angle refused to release the Ankle Lock, and Angle attacked Cena after his match with Tyson Tomko, Angle-Slamming Cena on the stage! A week later, Bischoff put Angle & Tomko in a "Handicap" Match with Cena. Surprisingly, Cena got the win, FU-ing Tomko. But Angle got in the last laugh, beating down Cena after the match, with Bischoff's blessing. Angle viciously slammed Cena's ankle into the turnbuckle, doing as much damage as possible.
The match between the two took place at Unforgiven '05, with Angle quickly targeting Cena's ankle. Late in the match, the ref went down, allowing Angle to use his gold medals as a weapon. But when Cena returned the favor, hitting Angle with the Raw Title, the ref saw it, calling for the DQ. Bischoff then said that, since Cena had lost, he didn't get the belt back, leading to Cena FU'ing Bischoff. Cena also caught Angle after another brawl, FU'ing him through the Spanish announce table! A night later on Raw, Bischoff was ready to hand the Raw Title to Angle, but Vince McMahon interceded, proclaiming that Cena was still the champion, while also naming Bischoff to face Cena in two weeks. Meanwhile, that night, Angle teamed with Edge, Chris Masters, & Gene Snitsky, but his team lost to Cena, Shawn Michaels, Matt Hardy, & the Big Show.
Angle complained to Vince about not getting a Raw Title shot the next week, but Shawn Michaels then came out, causing Vince to make a 30-Minute Iron Man Match between the two on the next week's show. That night, Angle helped Chris Masters & Carlito win a "Tag Tables" Match over Cena & Michaels, continuing the feuds with both men. The next week was WWE Homecoming, which was the first back on the USA Network for Raw. Angle and Michaels went at it in their Iron Man Match, with Angle striking first by catching Michaels with an Angle Slam from the top rope for the first fall. Michaels came back, though, with a roll-up pin to tie things up. Angle again took the lead more than halfway through the match, forcing HBK to tap out to the Ankle Lock. With only 5 minutes left, though, Michaels landed some Sweet Chin Music, making the score 2-2. With little time left on the clock, both men went for their best, with Angle cinching in the Ankle Lock again. Michaels managed to escape, though, and again hit his superkick, but time ran out before he could make the pin. Michaels wanted "Sudden Death" afterwards, but Angle simply left.
Later that night, Angle tried to help Bischoff win a "No DQ" Match against Cena, but Cena still came out on top. Afterwards, while Angle and Cena were going at it, the Smackdown wrestlers (who had been embarrassed by Bischoff earlier in the night) charged the ring, setting off a brawl between the two brands. A week later, Angle gained some momentum, as he won a Tag Match pitting himself, Carlito, & Edge against Cena, Michaels, & the Big Show by pinning Cena. It was a big moment, which allowed Angle to approach Vince McMahon the next Raw and ask to be #1 Contender. Mr. McMahon had another mission in store for Angle, though, as he told him to attack the Hurricane, who had called McMahon out for firing Jim Ross. Angle did as he was told, beating the Hurricane badly and putting on the Ankle Lock (it was bad enough that Gregory Helms quit being the Hurricane right afterwards). Soon, Bischoff convinced McMahon for a "Triple Threat" Match to be set up for the next PPV: Angle vs. Cena vs. a fan-nominated wrestler.
A week later, Angle took on Cena in a "Non-Title" Match, with Mick Foley as the special referee. However, when Foley became occupied with Carlito, Eric Bischoff ran down to take over the duties, helping Angle win by grabbing Cena's arm and forcing him to tap to the Ankle Lock. Meanwhile, voting was commencing by the fans on who the other opponent would be: Shawn Michaels, Kane, or the Big Show. It soon became apparent that Michaels was the front-runner, especially after Michaels Superkicked Cena at one point, when Cena was attempting to FU Angle. At Taboo Tuesday '05, Michaels was officially announced as the winner of the voting, meaning that it would be Angle vs. Cena vs. Michaels for the WWE Raw Heavyweight Title. It was a wild, back-and-forth match, with each wrestler nearly getting the win at different points. Late in the bout, Angle got Cena in the Ankle Lock, only to get nailed from a flying elbow by Michaels. HBK later knocked out Angle with some Sweet Chin Music, but this left him open to Cena's FU. Cena made the pin, retaining the title, with Angle angrily watching from outside the ring.
On the next Raw, Angle was scheduled to team with Chris Masters against Cena & Michaels. However, when Angle first came out, he rebelled against the chants of "You Suck" from the crowd, eventually telling them that they didn't deserve to see him. GM Bischoff had to quickly convince Angle that he would fix the problem, as well as allowing Angle to choose the referee for that night, keeping Angle from leaving the building. The "You Suck" chants to Angle's music were bleeped out when he returned. Angle then announced his chosen referee: Khosrov Daivari! Not surprisingly, Daivari was biased, working for Angle's team. At the end, after Michaels intercepted a chair from Chris Masters, Daivari turned, saw the chair, and DQ'ed Michaels, giving the win to Angle & Masters. When Cena protested, Daivari hit him with a chair shot, then left with Angle, celebrating.
The next week's Raw was a shocking one, as Angle's feud with Cena was put on hold in wake of the news of Eddie Guerrero passing away before the show. Both Raw and Smackdown held tribute shows, with Angle visibly distraught about the loss of his friend. Angle's history with Eddie was briefly mentioned on the show, as Guerrero's auctioning off of Angle's General Manager momentos was shown on Raw. Later on, Angle wrestled against Shelton Benjamin, putting on a great match, considering the circumstances. Angle got the win, making Benjamin tap out to the Ankle Lock, then held up a black armband with Guerrero's initials on it, saying goodbye to his long-time friend and adversary.
Things returned to normal a week later, with Angle once again taking on Benjamin. This time, Daivari came out as the referee once again, helping Angle get the win by reversing a roll-up, then making a quick count. After the match, Angle announced that Daivari was now his full-time referee, which meant that Daivari would be working for him in his rematch against Cena at the next PPV! Cena replied in a funny segment, 'interviewing' several wrestlers in the back before coming out and getting the fans to tell Angle he sucks. The three wrestlers brawled, with Cena coming out on top, sending Angle & Daivari from the ring. At the '05 Survivor Series, Angle and Cena met up again. Daivari did everything in his power to help Angle get the win. However, Daivari was accidentally knocked out, making things even again. When two more Raw refs ran to the ring, Angle made sure to 'accidentally' take them out, only wanting Daivari as the ref. However, when Cena got Angle with the FU, a Smackdown referee ran out, making the count and keeping the title from Angle!
Angle complained bitterly on the next Raw about the "screwjob" he had suffered. Bischoff used Angle's unhappiness to his advantage, sending Angle to the ring at one point to face Maria Kanellis in a match (Maria had asked Bischoff about his possibly getting fired). Daivari was also the referee, even though he had to take out Raw referee Chad Patton beforehand. At first, Angle acted as if he didn't want to wrestle Maria, and just wanted a hug. But when Maria fell for it, Angle grabbed her and gave her an Angle Slam, taking her out! Cena came down to make the save, but Chris Masters followed, leading to Angle, Daivari, & Masters beating down the champ. Bischoff then made another announcement, saying that it would be Angle vs. Cena vs. Masters that night in a "Submission" Match, seemingly putting Cena in a deep hole. But Angle and Masters proved that they couldn't co-exist, as Masters made sure that Daivari wouldn't be the referee for the match. It became a true Triple Threat Match, with Angle once again on the outside when the end occurred, watching as Cena made Masters tap out to the STFU.
Things only got worse for Angle the next week, as GM Bischoff was fired from Raw. Angle & Carlito teamed up that night, though, to get a victory over Shawn Michaels & Shelton Benjamin, thanks to miscommunication from the face wrestlers. A week later, Angle faced off against Ric Flair, with the winner getting into the Elimination Chamber Match at the next PPV. Angle won via cheating tactics, knocking out Flair with his gold medals. After the match, Angle talked about how he was not going to the Christmas in Iraq show, since the troops hadn't managed to catch Osama Bin Laden. Daivari was then shown in the back, about to spit on statues of various Boston sports heroes. But Cena broke it up, sending Daivari out of there, then defended the troops, while telling Angle, once again, that he sucks. On the final Raw of the year, Angle again bashed the troops, then competed in a "Beat The Clock" Match, where he had to win in a certain amount of time to earn the last entry in the Elimination Chamber. By sheer luck, Angle had to face Daivari, making it seem that he would win easily. But referee Mike Chioda refused to count the easy pin, then counted Angle out after Angle chased him outside the ring. Shockingly, Angle had lost to Daivari via Countout, losing his chance to come in last in the Chamber.
WWE Raw: 2006
On the first show of '06, Angle complained to Vince McMahon for Mike Chioda's biased officiating, but got little sympathy. Later that night, Angle faced Cena in a "First Blood Non-Title" Match. Thanks to Daivari's interference, Angle got the win, but not in the way he wanted. Although Cena was bleeding, he also had Angle in the STFU, making Angle tap out. However, the ref correctly ruled that Angle was the winner, since Cena was bleeding. After the match, Chris Masters & Carlito attacked Cena, apparently working with Angle to take him out. However, Masters & Carlito then also attacked Angle & Daivari, wanting only to take out opponents in the Elimination Chamber. Kane ran out to attack Masters, but then got Superkicked by Michaels. A bloody Cena then gave Michaels the FU, leaving everyone laying around the ring.
The Elimination Chamber match took place at New Year's Revolutions '06. Angle came in as the 4th entrant, and immediately had a major impact, German Suplexing Cena, Michaels, and Carlito. But Angle's momentum soon died down, and he was surprisingly the first one eliminated, after taking some Sweet Chin Music from Michaels. Cena won the match, then lost the belt shortly thereafter when Edge cashed in his "Money In The Bank" Contract. The next night on Raw, Mr. McMahon teamed up Angle and Michaels and put them against Masters & Carlito. Although both teams had problems, Angle & Michaels were worse, with Angle getting 'distracted' by Daivari at times and failing to be there for Michaels to be tagged in. A furious Michaels soon attacked Angle, tagging him in and giving him some Sweet Chin Music before leaving, causing Angle to be double-teamed and beat by Masters & Carlito. A mad Vince McMahon (who was having his own problems with Michaels) told Michaels in the back that it would be Angle vs. Michaels the next week on Raw.
WWE Smackdown: 2006
A few days later on WWE Smackdown, it was announced that Batista, due to injury, had to forfeit the Smackdown Heavyweight Title. A Battle Royal was set up that night to decide the new champion, with several major favorites involved in the bout. There was one surprise entrant, however: Kurt Angle! Angle came down with Daivari and immediately had an impact, tossing out John Bradshaw Layfield and Big Vito. He then threw out Orlando Jordan, William Regal, and Paul Birchall in succession, proving to be a major force. This attracted the attention of Mark Henry, who fought with Angle to the outside, then put Angle through the announce table! Henry then reentered the ring, where it came down to him vs. Rey Mysterio. Henry was able to toss Mysterio, but Angle then rose from the table, ready again to fight! Angle and Henry fought for the next few minutes, until Angle was able to use a headscissors to pull Henry out over the top rope, winning the match and becoming the (WWE) World Heavyweight Champion!
Angle still made his scheduled appearance on Raw against Shawn Michaels, but Vince McMahon made sure that the Smackdown Title was not on the line. During the match, Daivari tried to get involved, going after Michaels when Angle seemed to be in control. The ref had to restrain Daivari, causing Angle to come over and get involved. Michaels was able to use the distraction to roll up Angle, getting the victory. Angle got in Daivari's face afterwards, but Daivari surprisingly yelled back, saying that Angle was only the champion because of him. Daivari then slapped Angle, a very bad move, as Angle attacked Daivari and Angle Slammed him over the top rope, ending Daivari's time as his manager. On Smackdown, Angle was placed in a match by GM Teddy Long to face off against Daivari, much to Angle's happiness. However, Angle had to also deal with the distraction of Mark Henry & Melina at ringside. When Angle got Daivari in the Ankle Lock, Melina jumped on his back, causing the DQ. Angle then put the Ankle Lock on Melina as well, only to get beaten down by Henry, with Daivari announcing that Henry (who was named #1 Contender earlier in the night) was now managed by him!
A week later, Angle fought in a "Handicap" Match against Melina's team of M-N-M. Despite the odds, Angle fought through, winning with the Ankle Lock. Henry then again tried to attack Angle after the match. Angle got the Ankle Lock on Henry as well, but Henry surprisingly shook him off, sending Angle out of the ring and making the Ankle Lock look useless against the massive wrestler. Angle defended the Smackdown World Title against Henry at the '06 Royal Rumble. Angle still attempted the Ankle Lock on Henry, but kept being thrown off. When the ref went down, though, Angle intercepted a chair from Daivari, cracked Daivari with it, then, after a few exchanged with Henry, got a low blow on him, followed by two serious chair shots, then made the pin for a close 2. Angle then removed the middle turnbuckle pad and dropped Henry's head into it, before rolling him up for the victory. As Angle was celebrating afterwards, though, the Undertaker came out on stage in a chariot, signalling that he wanted Angle's title! Lightning struck the ring, collapsing it, as the Dead Man stared Angle down.
Angle talked about not being afraid of the Undertaker on the next Smackdown, then teamed with the Rumble winner, Rey Mysterio, against Henry & Randy Orton. At one point during the match, Daivari became involved, causing Angle to chase his former manager through the crowd! Henry gave chase as well, leaving Mysterio and Orton to finish the match, with Orton rolling Mysterio up for the pin. Angle continued to have problems with Henry the next week, as he helped save the Undertaker when Henry & M-N-M were triple-teaming him. This led GM Teddy Long to make a "Handicap" Match for the next week, pitting Angle & the Undertaker against the three men. During the match, Angle and the Dead Man seemed to be trying to one-up the other. In the end, Angle blind-tagged himself in, Angle Slamming Johnny Nitro and then putting Joey Mercury in the Ankle Lock, winning the match, even as the Undertaker gave Henry the Big Boot. Afterwards, the Undertaker did his own showing off, Chokeslamming and Tombstoning the massive Henry. The two wrestlers stared down as the show came to an end.
At No Way Out '06, Angle put his Smackdown Title on the line against the Undertaker, in what was a great match between the two veterans of the sport. It went from inside the ring to the outside, with Angle putting the Undertaker through the announce table with an Angle Slam at one point. The Undertaker kept coming back, though, with Angle using more and more varied holds to try and keep the Dead Man down. But the Ankle Lock seemed to be ineffective, as the Undertaker refused to tap out, repeatedly escaping. Late in the match, the Undertaker applied his Triangle Choke, taking away the champ's energy. But before Angle could pass out, he rolled the Undertaker over on the mat, causing the ref to count to 3. The ref then awarded the win to Angle, saying that the Dead Man's shoulders were on the mat. A ticked-off Undertaker told Angle after the match that he had his number, and that things weren't through between the two men. Neither Angle nor the Undertaker appeared on the next Smackdown, but it was announced by GM Teddy Long that the rematch between the two would take place the next week, due to the controversial ending. He also announced that Wrestlemania would be a "Triple Threat" Match, with Angle (or the Undertaker) taking on Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton.
Angle and the Undertaker had their much-heralded rematch on the next Smackdown, in a wild struggle that saw Angle repeatedly try the Ankle Lock, with about the same effect as it had in the first struggle. Angle worked hard to wear the Dead Man down. At the end, however, the Undertaker managed to catch Angle with the Tombstone Piledriver. Before he could make the pin, though, Mark Henry & Daivari suddenly showed up, attacking the Undertaker and causing Angle to lose via DQ! Henry beat on the Undertaker, eventually splashing him through the announce table, while Angle, having no part in the attack, recovered in the ring.
A week later, Henry bragged about his injuring the Undertaker, then said that Angle was still champion only because of him. He called out Angle for a title shot, and Angle was quick to oblige, charging the ring. As Angle fought with Henry, though, Randy Orton appeared, causing the Double-Team. Rey Mysterio came down for the save, but got taken out himself, with Angle coming back in with a chair to send off the heels. GM Long then made a Tag match that night between Angle & Mysterio and Henry & Orton. It was a hard-fought match, with each wrestler getting in some great offense. Near the end, though, Henry lost it, beating down Mysterio, then taking out the ref, causing the DQ. Henry then went to squash Mysterio through a table like he did the Undertaker, but Angle made the save, then prepared to try to bodyslam Henry off the top turnbuckle and through the table. Orton then got involved, though, giving Angle the RKO, which allowed Henry to then splash Angle through the table instead!!
Angle, Mysterio, & Orton had a "Wrestling Summit" on the next Smackdown, each talking in separate rooms about how they felt about Wrestlemania, with Angle bashing Orton for stealing his way into the main event, while Orton called Angle a "paper champion" for winning the belt in a Battle Royal. The three men were forced to team up later on that night, facing off against Henry & MNM. Despite problems between Orton and the faces, they still managed to pull off the win, with Angle giving the Angle Slam to Henry, followed by Mysterio getting the 619 on Joey Mercury. Orton then, for the first time, tagged himself into the match, getting the pin for the victory.
At Saturday Night's Main Event #32, Angle, Mysterio, & Orton went into the "Handicap" Match with Cena & Triple H, with everyone wondering how they would work together. Triple H showed what he thought, as, after Cena caught Orton with the FU, Triple H ran in and gave Cena the Pedigree! He then tried to get Orton to make the cover, with Mysterio making the save (not wanting to win that way), leading to Triple H Pedigree'ing Mysterio as well! Angle then took out Triple H, only to be RKO'ed. With everyone else down, though, Cena rolled up Orton and got the quick win, celebrating by taunting his Wrestlemania foe, Triple H. Meanwhile, tensions only seemed worse between Angle & Mysterio and Orton. On the next Smackdown, Orton cost Mysterio a match against Finlay, then tried to do the same to Angle when he took on Mark Henry. Mysterio came down to intervene, but accidentally hit Angle with a Seated Senton, costing Angle the match. Afterwards, an angry Angle shoved Mysterio down, then turned to threaten Orton (on the outside), only to have Mysterio knock Angle down with a dropkick and deliver the 619, taking out the champion!
Both Angle and Mysterio wanted a piece of Orton on the final Smackdown before the PPV. But their animosity between each other allowed Orton to arrange for the two to fight each other instead. It was a competitive match, with the champion showing his strength by blocking the 619 and forcing Mysterio to tap out to the Ankle Lock. After the match, as Angle left, Mysterio was given the RKO from Orton. Orton then trash-talked Angle, causing the champ to come back in the right, fight Orton, and lock him in the Grapevine Ankle Lock! At Wrestlemania 22, Angle, Mysterio, and Orton met in a "Triple Threat" Match for Angle's World Title. It was a very competitive match, with Angle nearly winning with the Ankle Lock twice, applying it to both men (with the other distracting the referee to keep him from seeing the tap out). In the end, Angle got the Ankle Slam on Orton, but Mysterio then was able to counter another Angle Slam, sending Angle out of the ring. Mysterio then got the 619 on Orton, followed by the West Coast Pop to get the victory, taking away Angle's championship.
A furious Angle appeared on the next Smackdown, approaching Randy Orton (who was facing Mysterio that night for the championship). When Orton smugly mentioned that he would soon be wearing the belt, Angle slapped him across the face, then let out a few roars, showing how pumped up he was. Angle watched from the back as Orton fell to Mysterio. Angle then joined several other Smackdown superstars in a meeting with GM Teddy Long, who announced that he was bringing back an old tradition by starting the '06 King of the Ring Tournament! Long also announced that Angle would be facing Orton in the first round the next week.
Angle was fired up to take on Orton in the first round, blaming Orton for the loss of 'his' World Title. The two had an aggressive fight on the next Smackdown, with Angle's intensity causing him to go for the Ankle Lock early. This backfired, though, as Orton was able to reverse Angle into the ringpost, injuring his shoulder. Angle later fought back, though, with the action going in and out of the ring. Near the end, Orton escaped the Angle Slam and got a Backbreaker for a near-fall. Orton then set Angle up for the RKO, but Angle reversed into the Ankle Lock, forcing Orton to tap out and sending Angle on into the tournament. Angle wasn't through, though, as he repeatedly locked in his submission hold again and again, doing his best to break Orton's ankle (this was done since Orton was going to be on a 60-day suspension).
It was announced on the next Smackdown that Angle would be getting his rematch against Mysterio for the World Title the next week. When John Bradshaw Layfield, during his Great American celebration, challenged the winner to a match (and basically guaranteed he would win), Angle came out, soon followed by Mysterio. While both Angle and Mysterio showed respect for one another, both also wanted to win the next week. JBL soon made himself the focus again, though, bashing both men. This was a mistake, as Mysterio attacked JBL, with Angle moving in to get the Angle Slam on the US Champ! Mysterio then scored the 619 on JBL, putting him down. Angle and Mysterio then stared each other down as the night ended.
On the next Smackdown, the rematch took place, as Angle took on Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Title. During the night, various clips ran, showing Angle's previous title wins. The match itself was an exciting affair, with Angle trying to use all his intensity and intelligence to win out over the "underdog" champion. Near the end, Angle took a 619 from Mysterio, but then blocked the champ's high-flying maneuver, turning it into the Ankle Lock! But before Mysterio could either escape or tap out, Angle was surprisingly attacked by Mark Henry, ending the match via DQ! Henry knocked Mysterio out of the ring, then concentrated his attack on Angle, eventually putting him on a table and splashing through it on the outside, injuring Angle's ribs! It was later announced by WWE that Angle was going to be out indefinitely, due to both Henry's assault that night and an earlier, untelevised assault from Henry on Angle during the European Tour. Due to the injury, Angle was forced to remove himself from the King of the Ring tournament, losing, via forfeit, to Booker T.
Angle returned to Smackdown a few weeks later, on the May 12th edition, despite not being medically cleared yet. He tried to threaten GM Theodore Long into giving him Henry that night, but Long managed to talk him down, telling him that threatening him wouldn't help. Long then promised to set up a match between Henry and Angle at the next PPV, assuming Angle was medically cleared. Angle, frustrated, left the building (with a security escort). He also had some insult added to his injury, as Booker T set up a fake "10 count" for Angle to come to the ring, then officially proclaimed himself having moved on to the finals of the KOTR Tournament. Angle did appear on a brief clip the next week, promising Henry that he'd fail at beating him at the PPV just like Henry had failed at the '96 Olympics (while Angle had succeeded).
At Judgment Day '06, Henry came out with a purpose, immediately clearing off the announce table (where he planned to break Angle). He got on the mic and told Angle that he's known for hurting people, pointing how how he'd injured Batista. Angle then came out and immediately went after Henry, starting the match before the bell had even rung! The brawling between the two men continued for a good amount of time, as Angle was intent on taking out the man who had hurt him. Late in the match, Angle landed the Angle Slam, but Henry somehow managed to kick out. Angle later got the Ankle Lock, but Henry kicked out of it, sending Angle to the outside. Henry then tried to Splash Angle on the Announce Table, but Angle moved, causing Henry to smash him into the steel post instead, then roll inside the ring, winning the match via Countout! Henry wasn't done, as he came out to finish Angle. But Angle came alive, knocking Henry back, then grabbing a steel chair and smashing Henry's leg repeatedly with it, actually bending the chair! Angle added the Ankle Lock to do more damage, then, with refs trying to break things up, picked Henry up and Angle Slammed him onto the table! Angle then added another chair shot before finally leaving, having left Henry in a pile of debris.
During this time, Extreme Championship Wrestling (under the banner of WWE) was making a comeback, with Paul Heyman appearing on both Raw and Smackdown to talk about the return of the organization to tv. On the next Raw, Heyman appeared to debate with a former ECW wrestler (and now staunch supporter of WWE), Mick Foley. As the two debated, Heyman announced that he had been given two draft picks from Vince McMahon, to take two wrestlers, one from Raw and one from Smackdown. Heyman chose Rob Van Dam from Raw, not a surprise to Foley, who expected him to take another "broken-down hardcore" wrestler from Smackdown. Instead, Heyman announced that Kurt Angle was his pick! Angle came out with a vengeance, beating down Foley and sending him from the ring. Shockingly, Angle, who the year before had been a top WWE supporter, was now one of the new members of ECW!
Angle had his Smackdown Farewell match a few days later, taking on Mysterio in a "Non-Title" Match. It was an impressive bout, with both wrestlers getting some close calls. At one point, Angle managed to get the Angle Slam, but Mysterio got a foot on the ropes, keeping the match going. Later on, when Mysterio went for the 619 on Angle, the Olympic Hero caught Mysterio's legs, possibly preparing for the Ankle Lock. But Mysterio reversed into a roll-up, nearly stealing the win. At the end of the match, Mysterio went to take out Angle, but Angle caught him and gave him a Belly-to-Belly to the outside, injuring Mysterio's knee long enough to get him counted out! Angle won his final Smackdown match, adding some respect afterwards by handing the World Title to Mysterio and shaking his hand, before leaving the roster of Smackdown behind.
Angle appeared again on the next Raw, making sure to come out due to the show being in his hometown of Pittsburgh. However, Angle's mention of his roots brought out Mick Foley, who blasted Angle for 'stealing' his cheap pop routine. Angle and Foley exchanged insults, eventually leading to Lita and Edge coming out as well. When they all met in the ring, Angle went toe-to-toe with the two men, sending them out of the ring (including nearly putting Edge in the Ankle Lock, with Lita pulling him to safety). But as Angle called on the two men to come back in, Randy Orton surprisingly entered from the other side, giving Angle the RKO! Angle was left laid out, as Orton, who was getting a little payback after Angle injured his ankle 2 months before, told Todd Grisham in the back that he was accepting Angle's Open Challenge for the ECW PPV!
A few days later, at the WWE vs. ECW special, Angle talked about how he wasn't mad at Orton, but he would break Orton's ankle again, since he was now the ECW Kurt Angle. But Orton interrupted with his own surprise, stating that he was now the Monday Night Raw Randy Orton, leaving Smackdown as well! Later that night, Angle and Orton were two of the representatives during the WWE/ECW Team Battle Royal, where both factions worked against each other. Angle was a machine during the match, eliminating several WWE wrestlers. Near the end, though, Angle was left all alone for ECW, with Orton, Finlay, Edge, Shelton Benjamin, & the Big Show going against him. Angle fought hard, though, tossing Benjamin, Finlay, and Edge, before Orton was able to grab Angle from behind and toss him out, apparently winning the match for WWE. However, the Big Show then removed his WWE Raw shirt to show an ECW one underneath, as he quickly eliminated Orton to take the win for ECW! Angle & the Big Show celebrated afterwards, with Angle jumping high into the giant's arms. At the end of the night, Angle joined in a wild brawl between ECW and WWE, focusing once again on getting his hands on Randy Orton.
Angle and Orton met a week later at ECW One Night Stand '06, with Angle truly the crowd favorite, as Orton was given many different obscenity-laced chants. The match went back and forth for a time, with neither man backing down (although Orton was obviously distracted by the crowd, yelling at them more than once). Late in the match, Angle got a 2 count on an Angle Slam, then applied the Ankle Lock. Orton managed to escape, though, and came back with his own series of moves, even catching Angle off the top rope. But when Orton went for the RKO, Angle blocked it, then managed to escape a roll-up and get the Ankle Lock on again, this time cinching it in with the Grapevine. Orton had no choice but to tap out, ending the match with a victory for the ECW wrestler.
A few days later on ECW television, Angle took on former ECW Champion Justin Credible. It was a short match, with Angle quickly dominating Credible and forcing him to tap out. In the meantime, Angle continued to feud with Orton, with Angle & Rob Van Dam taking on Orton & Edge on the next ECW show. After a back-and-forth contest, Angle & Van Dam got the win, continuing Angle's run of excellence for the show. Angle and Orton met again at Vengeance '06, with Angle no longer having the ECW crowd advantage. The crowd still wasn't behind Orton, though. Angle was again dominant in the match, getting the Angle Slam and the Ankle Lock near the end. But Orton was able to reverse the Ankle Lock, sending Angle's head crashing into an exposed turnbuckle! Orton then got the RKO and earned the pin, surprisingly evening the series between the two men.
On the next ECW show a few days later, Angle was given his big chance, as he went against Rob Van Dam for the ECW World Heavyweight Title. With Edge & Lita watching from ringside seats (which they apparently stole from two fans), Angle and Van Dam went at it, with many fans in the audience expecting Angle to become the champion. Near the end, Angle went for his Angle Slam, but Van Dam countered into a sharp DDT, knocking Angle out. Van Dam then quickly capitalized, going up to the top rope and delivering the Five Star Frog Splash, pinning Angle to end Angle's title hopes. Edge applauded Van Dam after the match, but then attacked RVD when he wasn't looking, Spearing him to continue their feud. In the meantime, Angle's run in ECW was on hold, as Angle had some health concerns that needed to be dealt with before he could return to the ring.
At the beginning of August '06, the Brooklyn Brawler surprisingly came to the ring during an ECW on Sci-Fi show, saying that he should be on the Extreme show. The Brawler was interrupted by Kurt Angle, making his return in ferocious fashion by applying the Ankle Lock to the 'legendary' wrestler. A week later, Angle was put into the #1 Contenders Match with Sabu, with the winner to get a shot at the Big Show (the current ECW World Champion). After the two wrestlers pounded on each other for a time, the match ended in surprising fashion, as Rob Van Dam ran down and attacked both men, giving Angle a Van Daminator with a steel chair! The match was labeled a No-Contest, with all three men expected to go at it the next week to finally decide the #1 Contender. However, the next week, ECW Commissioner Paul Heyman announced that he had medically suspended Angle, who, he said, had tried to hide injuries. Thus, Angle was out of the #1 Contenders Match (which was won by Van Dam).
It was soon shown that there was some truth behind the announcement, as word leaked out that Angle had had a House Show match with Van Dam where he had reportedly torn his hamstring, pulled his groin, and suffered other injuries. Angle had reportedly worked through it, and, according to some sources, had tried to hide the injuries to keep wrestling. Near the end of August '06, it was announced that Angle and the WWE had parted ways, with Angle forfeiting his guaranteed contract. It was one of the biggest surprises of '06, as no one could believe that Angle was leaving WWE. Things grew worse between the two later on, with WWE.com reporting that the meeting between Angle and the WWE executives had been "heated and confrontational", labeling Angle as an "emotional wreck". It was strange to have WWE attacking Angle, but many still felt that, once Angle was in better shape, he would once again return to WWE. Shockingly, this was not to be.
At Total Nonstop Action's No Surrender '06 PPV in late September '06, a surprise was said to be in store from TNA Commissioner Jim Cornette. The surprise didn't disappoint, as Cornette announced the signing of "Olympic Hero" Kurt Angle! A quick segment on the view screen showed Angle, telling everyone that it was real. "It's damn real!" Angle was soon named by Cornette as the special guest enforcer for the match between Sting and NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett at the next PPV, a major blow to Jarrett, who was known for trying any way possible to cheat and keep the title. Angle also did an interview on TNA Impact, talking about his trials in WWE, his addiction to Vitodine, and his happiness in being in TNA with so many great wrestlers.
One such wrestler soon became involved with Angle. On the October 19th Impact, Samoa Joe had been ordered to return the NWA World Title (which he had taken from Jarrett weeks before) by Jim Cornette, or face being fired. When Samoa Joe still acted like he would keep the belt, Angle's new music hit, with Angle coming out of the floor with an American flag covering him! Angle's appearance and subsequent nose-to-nose with Samoa Joe brought the crowd to its feet! Angle struck first, getting a headbutt on Joe and delivering his Angle Slam! But as Angle celebrated by hoisting up the title, a bloody Joe rose behind him, nailing Angle with an Enziguiri and continuing the brawl! As the two men fought, Jarrett appeared, sneaking into the ring and taking the title back. Neither Angle nor Joe seemed to care, as they continued to go at it, with security having to intervene.
At Bound For Glory '06, Angle and Joe had another confrontation outside the arena, with security quickly separating the two men. Cornette, though, was more concerned about the World Title Match, and thus announced that if Joe interfered with Angle's duties, Joe would be out of TNA. This announcement didn't quite stop things, though, as, after Angle came out to talk to Cornette, Joe again rushed the ring, with the two going at it. Once again, security became involved, and soon Joe was thrown out of the building, allowing Angle to concentrate on the main event match. At first, Angle stayed on the outside, keeping an eye on both men. At one point, when Sting & Jarrett fought to the outside, Angle prevented Jarrett from using a chair. When Sting later grabbed the chair himself, Angle again stopped it, keeping the fight clean. However, Jarrett then rushed at Sting, missing him but clotheslining Angle, sending the chair into Angle's face! Angle was down for a while, but got back up in time to stop the referee from counting out both men, giving the referee an Angle Slam! The match continued, with Angle as the referee! Angle kept Sting from using his bat later on, but missed Jarrett's guitar swing, which nailed Sting. But Sting no-sold the hit, then took down Jarrett with the Scorpion Deathlock! Angle watched as Jarrett tapped out, giving the signal to ring the bell and giving the NWA World Title to Sting!
With his duties at Guest Enforcer/Referee taken care of, Angle began to focus his full energy on Samoa Joe. For a few weeks, Angle and Joe continued to meet up in brawls, with security/wrestlers/et cetera having their hands full at keeping them separated. Angle also had his first official match in TNA in November '06, taking on Abyss and making him tap out to the Ankle Lock. Afterwards, though, Angle was attacked by Joe, and after a series of moves, Joe got the upper hand by KO'ing Angle with a chair shot! While Abyss fought with Sting, Joe put Angle in his Choke Submission hold, tightening his grip on the bloody Angle. The two wrestlers met up at Genesis '06 a few days later, in an absolute dream match to the fans in attendance. It was an incredible battle between the two all-star wrestlers, with several near-falls and false finishes. In the end, though, Angle managed to dodge a charge from Joe, who hit the ringpost. Angle then got the Grapevine Ankle Lock, ripping at it until Joe tapped out, ending Samoa Joe's undefeated streak in TNA! After the match, Joe congratulated Angle, while also wanting a rematch. But when Joe put out his hand, Angle simply walked away.
A few days later on Impact, Joe again talked about the match, wanting to know Angle's answer to his challenge for a rematch. Angle then came down and accepted the challenge, under one condition: he wanted both men to watch each other's backs, to make sure that there were no excuses for when Angle beat Joe again. A week later, Angle was set to team up with Petey Williams to take on LAX in a NWA World Tag-Team Titles Match. However, LAX struck first, taking out Williams in the back to make it a "Handicap" Match. Although Angle held his own, he was still out-numbered, taking on Hernandez & Homicide (along with Konnan outside the ring). But Angle soon was joined by none other than Samoa Joe, who went to Angle's corner and got the hot tag! Angle & Joe soon made both members of LAX tap out, apparently winning the titles! But Jim Cornette soon made an appearance, regretfully announcing that, since Joe was not the official participant, the belts would not change hands.
Going into December '06, Angle and Samoa Joe joined Christian Cage, Rhino, and Sting in an "All-Star War" Match on the Impact before the PPV. Rhino was taken out of the match early, as he brawled with AJ Styles out of the arena. The rest of the fighters went at it, with Angle seemingly protecting Joe near the end. But Angle then turned on Joe, giving him the Angle Slam and getting the pinfall on him, winning the match! This just led more fuel to the fire as the two men prepared to meet in their rematch. At Turning Point '06, a confident Angle told interviewer Jeremy Borash that this would be the final meeting between the two men, as it would prove who the better man was. The two wrestlers then met in another epic match, with several near falls. Towards the end, the referee was knocked down, keeping him from making the call when Angle tapped out to the Choke Submission. This allowed Angle to come back with a low blow on Joe. However, when Angle tried to use a chair, it backfired dramatically, bouncing off the ropes and into Angle's face! With Angle stunned, Joe reapplied the Choke, and, with the referee watching this time, Angle submitted, losing the match.
On the next Impact, Angle came to the ring and demanded a rematch against Samoa Joe. However, Joe appeared on the big screen and repeated Angle's words from the night before, stating that there wasn't going to be a rematch! Angle snapped afterwards, taking out announcer Don West with the Ankle Lock! Angle's wave of destruction continued throughout the night, with attacks on Eric Young, referee Slick Johnson, and finally So Cal Val. Jim Cornette finally ended the attacks by announcing that, while he couldn't go against Samoa Joe's contract regarding rematches, he could put Samoa Joe against Angle in a tag match the next week. For the match, Angle partnered with Rhino, while Samoa Joe was teamed with AJ Styles (interestingly, Rhino was a face at the time, while Styles was a heel). After another exciting match, Angle's team got the win, with Angle trying to break Samoa Joe's ankle after the match.
Despite the injury to Samoa Joe's leg, Joe continued to say that he was going after the NWA World Title, rather than facing Angle again. Samoa Joe came out later in the evening to accept the award for Mr. TNA 2007, using crutches to make his way out. As Joe accepted the award, Angle appeared in the entryway, dragging out Samoa Joe's girlfriend! Angle put the girlfriend in the Ankle Lock, refusing to let go until Samoa Joe finally accepted the rematch. Afterwards, Angle released the hold and told the girl that it wasn't personal, but changed his mind and made it personal by breaking the girl's ankle! Angle then walked off, as Samoa Joe hobbled to his girlfriend's aid.
The feud between the two technicial brawlers continued into the new year, as Samoa Joe attacked Angle before his match with Christian Cage on the first Impact of '07. After a long brawl throughout the arena, things were finally broken up, with Jim Cornette announcing that the match at the next PPV would be a 30-minute Iron Man Match! Afterwards, Cage tried to attack Angle from behind, but Sting came down to break things up, aiding Angle against Cage & his partner, Tyson Tomko. A week later, with Cornette promising Angle that Samoa Joe wouldn't attack him during his match, Angle took on Maverick Matt Bentley, easily beating him despite the rest of Serotonin interfering. Later on, Angle was the special guard for a Non-Title match between Tomko and the NWA World Champion, Abyss, as Angle kept Christian Cage locked in a cage. Samoa Joe came down, though (since his promise not to interfere only pertained to Angle's match) and started another brawl with Angle, even as Cage escaped to double-team Abyss (with Sting again making the save).
The 30-Minute Iron Man Match at Final Resolution '07 took on extra meaning when it was announced that the winner would become #1 Contender to the NWA World Heavyweight Title. Angle and Samoa Joe went at it immediately, each looking for a submission or a pinfall to take the lead. Both competitors soon proved their worth, though, as 10 minutes went by without a single win by either man. Finally, 13 minutes in, Angle was caught by Joe's Choke Submission, forcing him to tap out to save his strength. A few minutes later, Angle got things tied up again, getting Joe to submit to the Ankle Lock. Angle continued to work on Joe's leg for the next few minutes, dodging a Joe maneuver to get the Grapevine Ankle Lock, getting Joe to tap for the second time. But Joe came back later on with his MuscleBuster, knocking Angle out to tie things at 2-2 with only 8 minutes left. A few minutes later, Angle was able to reverse a German suplex into a Victory Roll, keeping Joe down long enough to again take the lead, 3-2. Angle then spent the rest of the time trying to stay away from Joe's biggest maneuvers. With less than a minute left, though, Joe pulled out one of Angle's tricks, the Grapevine Ankle Lock! Angle held on, though, only tapping after the bell rang to preserve his win, taking the series and the #1 Contendership.
Angle seemed set on the next Impact to focus on the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Christian Cage. Cage called Angle out on the show, talking about how he was going to get into Angle's head. Cage then announced that he had hired a special trainer who knew Angle well, and said that he would give a hint during the show as to who the wrestler was. Later on, after Angle had defeated AJ Styles (thanks to an Angle Slam onto a chair), Cage & Tomko attacked him, with Samoa Joe surprisingly making the save! Cage & Tomko bailed out of the ring, with Cage stating that the hint had been given. It suddenly seemed that Samoa Joe might be the one training Cage to fight Angle! Security quickly separated Angle and Joe, keeping them from another brawl.
Samoa Joe explained himself a week later, stating that he wanted Angle to win the NWA World Title, so that Samoa Joe could face him for the belt. Joe also named himself the 'unofficial' enforcer for the PPV match between Angle and Cage. Angle then came out to challenge Joe, still thinking that Joe was the trainer that Cage had mentioned. When Cage reappeared with Tomko at his side, saying that a second hint had been shown, Angle and Joe began to brawl, leading to another call for security. Joe later played enforcer that night for the match between Cage and Christopher Daniels, trying to keep Tomko from interfering. But Joe's own entry into the ring (to stop an apparent Tomko assault) allowed Cage to get a low blow and the Unprettier for the win. Cage gave Joe a Thumbs Up after the match, leading to Angle coming out again to go nose-to-nose with Joe.
(Last Updated: 1/27/2007)
Pay-Per-View/Show Summary: (89 - 75)
- NWA 50th Anniversary Show (October '98) = Angle competed in the "WWF Dojo" Battle Royal, which was won by Steve Williams.
- WWF Survivor Series '99 = Angle defeated Shawn Stasiak.
- WWF Armageddon '99 = Angle took out Steve Blackman.
- WWF Royal Rumble '00 = Angle was beaten by Tazz.
- WWF No Way Out '00 = Angle won the Intercontinental Title from Chris Jericho.
- WWF Wrestlemania 2000 = Angle lost both the IC and European Titles to Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho, respectively, in a "Two Falls Two Titles" match.
- WWF Backlash '00 = Angle was beaten by the Big Show.
- WWF Insurrextion '00 (May) = Angle defeated Chris Benoit.
- WWF Judgement Day '00 = Angle, Edge & Christian fell to Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay.
- WWF King of the Ring '00 = Angle defeated Chris Jericho, Crash Holly & Rikishi Phatu to win the KOTR tournament.
- WWF Fully Loaded '00 = Angle was beaten by the Undertaker.
- WWF Summerslam '00 = Angle lost a "Triple Threat" match to the World Champ, the Rock. Hunter Hearst Helmsley was the other participant.
- WWF Unforgiven '00 = Angle was defeated in a "No DQ" match by Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Mick Foley was the special referee.
- WWF No Mercy '00 = Angle beat the Rock to win the World Heavyweight Title.
- WWF Survivor Series '00 = Angle stayed the Heavyweight Champion, taking down the Undertaker.
- WWF Rebellion '00 (December) = Angle retained the World Title, winning a "Fatal Fourway" match over the Rock, Steve Austin & Rikishi.
- WWF Armageddon '00 = Angle won a "Hell in a Cell" match to keep the World Title. The other participants were the Rock, Steve Austin, the Undertaker, Hunter Hearst Helmsley & Rikishi.
- WWF Royal Rumble '01 = Angle retained the World Title, defeating Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
- WWF No Way Out '01 = Angle lost the Heavyweight Title to the Rock.
- WWF Wrestlemania X-7 ('01) = Angle pinned Chris Benoit.
- WWF Backlash '01 = Angle lost an "Ironman Submission" Match to Chris Benoit.
- WWF Insurrextion '01 (May) = Angle was pinned two straight times in a "Three Falls" match by Chris Benoit.
- WWF Judgement Day '01 = Angle won a "Three Falls" match over Chris Benoit.
- WWF King of the Ring '01 = Angle defeated Christian, but lost to Edge in the Finals of the KOTR tournament. Later in the night, Angle won a "Street Fight" Match over Shane McMahon.
- OVW Rockin' Rumble (June 23, '01) = Angle forced the Collector to submit.
- WWF Invasion (July '01) = Angle, Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Kane & the Undertaker were beaten by the WCW/ECW team of Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, Rhyno, Buh Buh Ray & D'Von Dudley.
- WWF Summerslam '01 = Angle won, via DQ, over the WWF World Champion Steve Austin.
- WWF Unforgiven '01 = Angle beat Steve Austin to earn the WWF World Heavyweight Title.
- WWF No Mercy '01 = Angle lost a "Triangle" match to the WWF World Champ, Steve Austin. Rob Van Dam was the other participant.
- WWF Rebellion (November 3, '01) = Angle was defeated by the WCW Heavyweight Champion, Chris Jericho.
- WWF Survivor Series '01 = Angle, Steve Austin, Rob Van Dam, Booker T & Shane McMahon fought in an "Elimination" match against the Rock, Chris Jericho, Kane, the Undertaker & the Big Show. Angle was forced to submit to the Rock, who was the sole 'survivor'.
- WWF Vengeance (December '01) = Angle was beaten by the WWF Champion, Steve Austin.
- WWF Royal Rumble '02 = Angle competed in the Royal Rumble, which was won by Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
- WWF No Way Out '02 = Angle defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Stephanie McMahon was the special guest referee.
- WWF Wrestlemania X-8 ('02) = Angle won over Kane.
- WWE Backlash '02 = Angle took down Edge.
- WWE Judgment Day '02 = Angle lost a "Hair-vs-Hair" Match to Edge.
- WWE King of the Ring '02 = Angle won, via submission, over Hulk Hogan.
- WWE Vengeance '02 (July) = Angle lost a "Triple Threat" Match to the Rock, who gained the WWE World Title. The Undertaker was the other participant.
- WWE Global Warning (August 10, '02) = Angle pinned Test.
- WWE Summerslam '02 = Angle forced Rey Misterio Jr to submit.
- WWE Unforgiven '02 = Angle fell to Chris Benoit.
- WWE Smackdown Tag-Team Title Tournament (October '02) = Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit defeated John Cena & Billy Kidman and Chavo & Eddie Guerrero to reach the finals at No Mercy.
- WWE No Mercy '02 = Angle & Chris Benoit won in the finals of the WWE Tag-Team Title Tournament, beating Rey Mysterio Jr & Edge.
- WWE Rebellion '02 (October 26) = Angle & Chris Benoit defended the Tag Titles, winning over Eddie & Chavo Guerrero Jr.
- WWE Survivor Series '02 = Angle & Chris Benoit fell to Chavo & Eddie Guerrero, who won the WWE Smackdown Tag Titles. The other participants were Rey Mysterio Jr & Edge.
- WWE Armageddon '02 = Angle won the WWE Smackdown World Heavyweight Title, beating the Big Show.
- WWE Royal Rumble '03 = Angle retained the "Smackdown" World Title, beating Chris Benoit.
- WWE No Way Out '03 = Angle, Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas lost a "Handicap" Match to Brock Lesnar & Chris Benoit.
- WWE Wrestlemania X-9 (March 30, '03) = Angle lost the WWE Smackdown Heavyweight Title to Brock Lesnar.
- WWE Vengeance '03 = Angle won the WWE Smackdown Heavyweight Championship, winning a "Three Way" Match over Brock Lesnar and the Big Show.
- WWE Summerslam '03 = Angle stayed the WWE Smackdown World Champ, forcing Brock Lesnar to submit.
- WWE No Mercy '03 = Angle took down John Cena.
- WWE Survivor Series '03 = Angle, Chris Benoit, John Cena, Hardcore Holly & Bradshaw fought in an "Elimination" Match against Brock Lesnar, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones, A-Train & the Big Show. Angle was eliminated by Lesnar. Benoit & Cena were the 'survivors'.
- WWE Royal Rumble '04 (January 25) = Angle competed in the Royal Rumble, which was won by Chris Benoit.
- WWE No Way Out '04 (February 15) = Angle won a "#1 Contenders Triple Threat" Match, beating John Cena and the Big Show.
- WWE Wrestlemania XX (March 14, '04) = Angle lost to the WWE Smackdown Heavyweight Champ, Eddie Guerrero.
- WWE Summerslam '04 (August 15) = Angle forced Eddie Guerrero to submit.
- WWE No Mercy '04 (October 3) = Angle was pinned by the Big Show.
- WWE Survivor Series '04 (November 14, '04) = Angle, Luther Reigns, Mark Jindrak, & Carlito Caribbean Cool fought in an "Elimination" Match with Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, Rob Van Dam, & the Big Show. Angle was eliminated by the Big Show, who 'survived' along with Guerrero & Cena.
- WWE Armageddon '04 (December 12, '04) = Angle, Luther Reigns, & Mark Jindrak lost a "Handicap" Match to the Big Show.
- WWE Royal Rumble '05 (January 30) = Angle lost a "Triple Threat" Match to the WWE Smackdown World Champ, John Bradshaw Layfield. The Big Show was the other participant. Later on, Angle competed in the Royal Rumble, which was won by Batista.
- WWE Smackdown Title Contenders Tournament (February '05) = Angle defeated Rey Mysterio, then received a bye into the finals.
- WWE No Way Out '05 (February 20) = Angle lost to John Cena in the finals of the Smackdown #1 Contenders Tournament.
- WWE Wrestlemania 21 (April 3, '05) = Angle forced Shawn Michaels to submit.
- WWE Judgment Day '05 (May 22, '05) = Angle fell to Booker T.
- WWE Vengeance '05 (June 26) = Angle was pinned by Shawn Michaels.
- WWE Summerslam '05 (August 21, '05) = Angle won a "No Time Limit Gold Medal" Match over Eugene.
- WWE Unforgiven '05 (September 18) = Angle won, via DQ, over the WWE Raw Champion, John Cena.
- WWE Taboo Tuesday '05 (November 1) = Angle lost a "Triple Threat" Match to the WWE Raw Champ, John Cena. Shawn Michaels was the other participant.
- WWE Survivor Series '05 (November 27) = Angle lost to the WWE Raw Champion, John Cena. Daivari was the special referee.
- WWE New Year's Revolution '06 (January 8) = Angle lost an "Elimination Chamber" Match to the Raw Heavyweight Champion, John Cena. Shawn Michaels, Chris Masters, Carlito, and Kane were the other participants.
- WWE Royal Rumble '06 (January 29) = Angle retained the WWE Smackdown Heavyweight Title, beating Mark Henry.
- WWE No Way Out '06 (February 19) = Angle stayed the WWE Smackdown Heavyweight Champion, pinning the Undertaker.
- WWE Saturday Night's Main Event #32 (March 18, '06) = Angle, Rey Mysterio, & Randy Orton lost a "Handicap" Match to John Cena & Triple H.
- WWE Wrestlemania 22 (April 2, '06) = Angle lost the WWE Smackdown Heavyweight Title in a "Triple Threat" Match to Rey Mysterio. Randy Orton was the other participant.
- WWE King of the Ring '06 Tournament (April/May) = Angle defeated Randy Orton. Soon after, due to injuries sustained from Mark Henry, Angle was forced to forfeit his semi-finals match to Booker T, who went on to win the tournament.
- WWE Judgment Day '06 (May 21) = Angle lost, via Countout, to Mark Henry.
- WWE vs. ECW (June 7, '06) = Angle(ECW) competed in a "20-Man ECW/WWE Team Battle Royal", with ECW getting the win due to the Big Show(ECW) being the sole 'survivor'.
- ECW One Night Stand II (June 11, '06) = Angle defeated Randy Orton.
- WWE Vengeance '06 (June 25) = Angle fell to Randy Orton.
- TNA Bound For Glory '06 (October 22) = Angle was the special referee for the "Title Vs. Carrer" match between the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Jarrett, and Sting. Sting won the match and the title.
- TNA Genesis '06 (November 19) = Angle defeated Samoa Joe.
- TNA Turning Point '06 (December 10) = Angle was forced to submit to Samoa Joe.
- TNA Final Resolution '07 (January 14) = Angle won a "30-Minute Iron Man #1 Contenders" Match over Samoa Joe.
- TNA Against All Odds '07 (February 11) = Angle lost to the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Christian Cage.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (February 18, '07) = Angle & Yuji Nagata defeated Tyson Tomko & Giant Bernard.
- TNA Destination X '07 (March 11) = Angle beat Scott Steiner.
- TNA Lockdown '07 (April 15) = Team Angle (Angle, Jeff Jarrett, Samoa Joe, Rhino, & Sting) won a "Lethal Lockdown" Match over Team Cage (Christian Cage, Scott Steiner, AJ Styles, Tyson Tomko, & Abyss). Since Sting got the pinfall, he became #1 Contender to Cage's NWA World Title.
- TNA Sacrifice '07 (May 13) = Angle won the NWA World Heavyweight Title, winning a "Triple Threat" Match over Christian Cage and Sting.
- TNA Slammiversary '07 (June 17) = Angle won the new TNA World Heavyweight Title, winning a "King of the Mountain" Match over Christian Cage, Chris Harris, AJ Styles, and Samoa Joe.
- IGF Fighting Now Bom-Ba-Ye (June 29, '07) = Angle defeated Brock Lesnar to win the "IWGP" Heavyweight Title. (Title is officially owned by NJPW, but since Lesnar never lost the belt before leaving, IGF claimed that he was still the champion; legal issues may change this)
- TNA Victory Road '07 (July 15) = Angle, as the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, & TNA X Division Champion Samoa Joe won the "Match of Champions" over the TNA World Tag-Team Champions, Team 3-D. Due to Samoa Joe getting the pin, he won the TNA World Tag-Team Titles.
- TNA Hard Justice '07 (August 12) = Angle, as the TNA World Heavyweight Champion & IWGP Heavyweight Champion, won the TNA Tag-Team Titles & the TNA X Division Title, winning a "Winner Takes All" Match over Samoa Joe.
- TNA No Surrender '07 (September 9) = Angle & Sting lost the TNA World Tag-Team Titles to Team Pacman. Later on, Angle lost the TNA X Division Title to "Black Machismo" Jay Lethal. Finally, Angle retained the TNA World Heavyweight Title, defeating Abyss.
- TNA Bound For Glory '07 (October 14) = Angle lost the TNA World Heavyweight Title to Sting.
- TNA Genesis '07 (November 11) = Angle, as the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, & Kevin Nash won over Booker T & Sting. Angle's title was on the line in the match.
- TNA Turning Point '07 (December 2) = The Angle Alliance (Angle, AJ Styles, & Tomko) fell to Samoa Joe, Kevin Nash, & Eric Young.
- NJPW Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome II (January 4, '08) = Angle held onto the IGF "IWGP" Title, forcing Yuji Nagata to submit.
- TNA Final Resolution '08 (January 6) = Angle retained the TNA World Heavyweight Title, beating Christian Cage.
- TNA Against All Odds '08 (February 10) = Angle stayed the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, winning again over Christian Cage. Samoa Joe was the special enforcer.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (February 17, '08) = Angle lost the IGF "IWGP" Heavyweight Title to the NJPW IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura.
- TNA Destination X '08 (March 9) = The Angle Alliance (Angle, AJ Styles, & Tomko) fell to Christian Cage, Kevin Nash, & Samoa Joe.
- TNA Lockdown '08 (April 13) = Angle lost the TNA World Heavyweight Title, losing a "Steel Cage" Match to Samoa Joe. Joe's career was also on the line.
- TNA Slammiversary '08 (June 8) = Angle was pinned by AJ Styles.
- TNA Victory Road '08 (July 13) = Angle & Team 3-D won a "Full Metal Mayhem" Match over AJ Styles, Christian Cage, & Rhino.
- TNA Hard Justice '08 (August 10) = Angle lost a "Last Man Standing" Match to AJ Styles.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 16, '08) = Angle & Shinsuke Nakamura defeated AJ Styles & Hiroshi Tanahashi.
- TNA No Surrender '08 (September 14) = Angle lost a "Three Ways To Glory" Match to the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Samoa Joe. Christian Cage was the other participant.
- TNA Bound For Glory '08 (October 12) = Angle was beaten by Jeff Jarrett. Mick Foley was the special referee.
- TNA Turning Point '08 (November 9) = Angle won a "Falls Count Anywhere" Match over Abyss.
- TNA Final Resolution '08 (#2) (December 7, '08) = Angle defeated Rhino. Mick Foley was the special enforcer. Due to the win, Angle won a rematch against Jeff Jarrett. Angle's TNA career was also on the line.
- NJPW Wrestle Kingdom III (January 4, '09) = Angle, Masahiro Chono, Riki Choshu, & Kevin Nash won over Karl Anderson, Giant Bernard, Takashi Iizuka, & Tomohiro Ishii.
- TNA Genesis '09 (January 11) = Angle pinned Jeff Jarrett.
- TNA Against All Odds '09 (February 8) = Angle lost a "Fatal Fourway" Match to the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Sting. Brother Ray and Brother Devon were the other participants.
- TNA Destination X '09 (March 15) = Angle lost to the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Sting. Mick Foley and Jeff Jarrett were the co-referees.
- TNA Lockdown '09 (April 19) = Team Angle (Angle, Booker T, Kevin Nash, & Scott Steiner) lost a "Lethal Lockdown" Match to Team Jarrett (Jeff Jarrett, Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, & Samoa Joe).
- TNA Sacrifice '09 (May 24) = Angle lost a "Four Way Ultimate Sacrifice" Match to Sting. Mick Foley and Jeff Jarrett were the other participants. Since Angle was pinned by Sting, he lost the leadership of the Main Event Mafia. Also on the line were Sting's career, Foley's TNA World Title, and Jarrett's TNA stocks.
- TNA Slammiversary '09 (June 21) = Angle won the TNA World Heavyweight Title, winning a "King of the Mountain" Match over Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett, Samoa Joe, and AJ Styles.
- TNA Victory Road '09 (July 19) = Angle retained the TNA World Heavyweight Title, beating Mick Foley.
- TNA Hard Justice '09 (August 16) = Angle stayed the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, winning a "Three Way" Match over Matt Morgan and Sting.
- TNA No Surrender '09 (September 20) = Angle lost the TNA World Heavyweight Title, losing a "Five Way" Match to AJ Styles. Hernandez, Matt Morgan, and Sting were the other participants.
- TNA Bound For Glory '09 (October 18) = Angle took down Matt Morgan.
- TNA Turning Point '09 (November 15) = Angle defeated Desmond Wolfe.
- TNA Championship Series Tournament (November 17, '09) = Angle beat Pope D'Angelo Dinero, then lost, via countout, to Robert Roode. Bobby Lashley won the tournament.
- TNA Final Resolution '09 (December 20) = Angle won a "Three Degrees of Pain" Match over Desmond Wolfe.
- TNA Genesis '10 (January 17) = Angle lost to the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, AJ Styles.
- TNA Eight Card Stud Tournament (January-February '10) = Angle beat Tomko in the "Qualifying" Round, which moved him to the next round at the PPV.
- TNA Against All Odds '10 (February 14) = Angle lost in the quarter-finals of the Eight Card Stud Tournament to Mr. Anderson. Pope D'Angelo Dinero won the tournament.
- TNA Destination-X '10 (March 21) = Angle took down Mr. Anderson.
- TNA Lockdown '10 (April 19) = Angle won an "Escape" Match over Mr. Anderson.
- TNA Slammiversary VIII (June 13, '10) = Angle defeated Kazarian.
- TNA Victory Road '10 (July 11) = Angle beat Pope D'Angelo Dinero.
- TNA No Surrender '10 (September 5) = Angle fought to a No-Contest with Jeff Hardy.
- TNA Bound For Glory '10 (October 10) = Angle lost a "Three-Way" Match to Jeff Hardy, who won the vacated TNA World Title. Mr. Anderson was the other participant.
- TNA Genesis ’11 (January 9) = Angle won an "MMA Exhibition" Match, via DQ, over Jeff Jarrett.
- TNA Against All Odds ’11 (February 13) = Angle fell to Jeff Jarrett.
- TNA Lockdown ’11 (April 17) = Angle lost a "Three Falls Steel Cage" Match to Jeff Jarrett.
- TNA Sacrifice ’11 (May 15) = Angle & Chyna defeated Jeff Jarrett & Karen Jarrett.
- TNA Slammiversary IX (June 12, ’11) = Angle took down Jeff Jarrett.
- TNA Hardcore Justice ’11 (August 7) = Angle won the TNA World Heavyweight Title, beating Sting.
- TNA No Surrender ’11 (September 11) = Angle retained the TNA World Heavyweight Title, winning a "Three-Way" Match over Mr. Anderson and Sting.
- TNA Bound For Glory ’11 (October 16) = Angle stayed the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, taking down Bobby Roode.
- TNA Final Resolution ’11 (December 11) = Angle fell to James Storm.
- TNA Genesis '12 (January 8, '12) = Angle defeated James Storm.
- TNA Victory Road '12 (March 18) = Angle took down Jeff Hardy.
- TNA Lockdown '12 (April 15) = Angle lost a "Steel Cage" Match to Jeff Hardy.
- TNA Sacrifice '12 (May 13) = Angle forced AJ Styles to submit.
- TNA Slammiversary '12 (June 10) = Angle & AJ Styles won the TNA World Tag-Team Titles, defeating Christopher Daniels & Kazarian.
- TNA Destination X '12 (July 8) = Angle fell to Samoa Joe.
- TNA Hardcore Justice '12 (August 12) = Angle lost a "Ladder" Match to AJ Styles. Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe were the other participants.
- TNA No Surrender '12 (September 9) = Angle & AJ Styles lost to the TNA World Tag-Team Champions, Christopher Daniels & Kazarian.
- TNA Bound For Glory '12 (October 14) = Angle & AJ Styles lost a "Three Way" Match to Chavo Guerrero Jr & Hernandez, who won the TNA World Tag-Team Titles. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian were the other participants.
- TNA Turning Point '12 (November 11) = Angle defeated Brother Devon.
- TNA Final Resolution '12 (December 9) = Angle, Wes Brisco, Garett Bischoff, & Samoa Joe took down Aces & Eights (Brother Devon, DOC, Mike Knox, & CJ O'Doyle).
- TNA Lockdown '13 (March 10) = Angle lost a "Steel Cage" Match to Wes Brisco.
- PPW Heavyweight Champion (7/24/1999 - 8/07/1999)
- WWF European Heavyweight Champion (2/08/2000 - 4/02/2000)
- WWF Intercontinental Champion (2/27/2000 - 4/02/2000)
- WWF World Heavyweight Champion (10/22/2000 - 2/25/2001)
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion (7/24/2001 - 7/30/2001)
- WWF Hardcore Champion (9/10/2001)
- WWF World Heavyweight Champion(2) (9/23/2001 - 10/08/2001)
- WCW United States Heavyweight Champion (10/22/2001 - 11/12/2001)
- WWE Smackdown World Tag-Team Champion w/ Chris Benoit (10/20/2002 - 11/05/2002)
- WWE Smackdown World Heavyweight Champion(3) (12/15/2002 - 3/30/2003)
- WWE Smackdown World Heavyweight Champion(4) (7/27/2003 - 9/16/2003)
- WWE Smackdown(formerly Raw) World Heavyweight Champion (1/10/2006 - 4/02/2006)
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion (5/13/2007 - 5/2007)
- TNA World Heavyweight Champion (6/17/2007 - 10/14/2007)
- IGF "IWGP" Champion (6/29/2007 - 2/17/2008)
- TNA World Tag-Team Champion w/ Sting (8/12/2007 - 9/09/2007)
- TNA X Division Champion (8/12/2007 - 9/09/2007)
- TNA World Heavyweight Champion(2) (10/16/2007 - 4/13/2008)
- TNA World Heavyweight Champion(3) (6/21/2009 - 9/20/2009)
- TNA World Heavyweight Champion(4) (8/07/2011 - 10/18/2011)
- TNA World Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ AJ Styles (6/10/2012 - 6/28/2012)
PWI Achievement Awards: (11 wins, 12 1st RUs, 11 2nd RUs, 8 3rd RUs)
- 2000 Rookie of the Year
- 2000 Most Hated Wrestler
- 2000 Feud of the Year (Angle vs. Helmsley)
- 2000 Wrestler of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up
- 2001 Most Inspirational Wrestler
- 2001 Most Improved Wrestler, 3rd Runner-Up
- 2001 Most Popular Wrestler, 3rd Runner-Up
- 2001 Most Hated Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up
- 2001 Feud of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Angle vs. Benoit)
- 2001 Wrestler of the Year, 1st Runner-Up
- 2002 Tag-Team of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up (Angle & Chris Benoit)
- 2002 Match of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Angle/Chris Benoit vs. Rey Mysterio Jr/Edge)
- 2002 Most Hated Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up
- 2002 Feud of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Angle vs. Edge)
- 2003 Wrestler of the Year
- 2003 Most Popular Wrestler
- 2003 Match of the Year (Angle vs. Brock Lesnar)
- 2003 Match of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Angle vs. Chris Benoit)
- 2003 Match of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Angle vs. Brock Lesnar)
- 2003 Feud of the Year (Angle vs. Brock Lesnar)
- 2003 Comeback of the Year
- 2003 Most Inspirational Wrestler, 1st Runner-Up
- 2004 Match of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up (Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero)
- 2004 Most Hated Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up
- 2005 Match of the Year (Angle vs. Shawn Michaels)
- 2006 Match of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Angle vs. the Undertaker)
- 2006 Match of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Angle vs. Samoa Joe)
- 2007 Wrestler of the Year, 1st Runner-Up
- 2007 Match of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Angle vs. Samoa Joe)
- 2007 Feud of the Year (Angle vs. Samoa Joe)
- 2007 Most Hated Wrestler, 1st Runner-Up
- 2008 Wrestler of the Year, 1st Runner-Up
- 2008 Match of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Angle vs. Samoa Joe)
- 2008 Feud of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Angle vs. AJ Styles)
- 2008 Most Hated Wrestler, 3rd Runner-Up
- 2009 Wrestler of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up
- 2009 Feud of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (The Main Event Mafia vs. The Front Line)
- 2009 Feud of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up (Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett)
- 2009 Most Hated Wrestler, 3rd Runner-Up
- 2010 Match of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Angle vs. Mr. Anderson)
- 2010 Feud of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Angle vs. Mr. Anderson)
- 2010 Most Inspirational Wrestler, 1st Runner-Up
- 2011 Feud of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett)
- 2011 Most Hated Wrestler, 3rd Runner-Up