Top Ten In-Ring Workers of All Time- Number Eight
As we continue our countdown of professional wrestling’s best in-ring workers of all-time, number eight not only found great success in the squared circle but also Olympic gold. After winning two National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Championships, Kurt Angle went on to win the gold medal the FILA Wrestling World Championships in 1995, and then won more gold at 1996 Summer Olympics in the Freestyle division.
After his golden success in the Olympics, Angle made an appearance at an Extreme Championship Wrestling event, but threatened to sue ECW owner Paul Heyman to not show him at the event after a segment where Raven “crucified” a bleeding Sandman in the ring. In October 1998, Angle signed with World Wrestling Federation and was assigned to the Power Pro Wrestling territory in Memphis, TN. He made his WWF debut in 1999 and quickly found success. In February 2000, Angle won both the Intercontinental and European Championships. Angle quickly showed an amazing in-ring style that wowed the fans. He showed both great technical skills and quite the in-ring flare.
Angle also surprised the fans with his skills with the mic. He played himself off as an “American hero” but was quite arrogant to ensure his status as a heel. By late 2000, he would win would his first WWF World Heavyweight title. Thanks to a feud with Edge– who would lead the crowd in chants of “You Suck” to the tune of Angle’s entrance music– Angle would enter the ring to “You Suck” chants for the remainder of his time in WWF/E.
Kurt Angle played both sides of the Invasion storyline (flipping between face and heel) before returning to his heel gimmick. While Angle has been a successful face, his arrogant heel is easily the among the most popular heel gimmicks in WWF/E history. His in-ring flair led to Angle becoming a six-time WWF/E World Champion (a four-time WWF/E champ, one-time World Heavyweight champ, and one-time WCW titleholder). He also held the WCW United States title, European title, Intercontinental championship, and the Tag Team titles once each making him WWF/E’s tenth Triple Crown Champion and only their fifth Grand Slam Champion.
During his years in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Angle has won TNA World Heavyweight Championship five times, TNA Tag Team titles two times, and the TNA X-Division Championsip once. Angle is TNA’s second Triple Crown winner in its history and the only star to hold all relevant titles at the same time. When’s it’s all said and done, Kurt Angle will go down as one of the best in-ring workers in professional wrestling history– “It’s True! It’s Damn True!”