Both the WWE fans and Kurt Angle himself have both expressed their opinion about who he should have wrestled for his last ever match in wrestling.
His final match in wrestling was a disappointing bout with Baron Corbin on the biggest show of the year, at Wrestlemania 35. The match was one of his worst and the decision to have him face the Lone Wolf received a lot of criticism from fans. Corbin had very little to do with Angle’s career and was not an up-and-coming star that putting over on his way out would do a lot for.
On the build up the final bout, Kurt Angle had a number of matches on Raw. These were to help shake off the ring rust and give him the best possibly showing, while also helping some of the younger members on the roster to develop their skills by stepping into the ring with a veteran of pro-wrestling.
The Olympic Gold Medallist wrestled stars like Drew McIntyre, Chad Gable and Samoa Joe en route to Wrestlemania, winning the majority of the matches before wrestling Baron Corbin.
The match didn’t come out of nowhere. There had been a feud brewing for the past year with Corbin, with the pair feuding over a variety of reasons. Angle also defeated him on a number of occasions, leaving his final match as a disappointing one that people had already seen before (and were never really impressed with anyway). He lost the match after missing a moonsault and being hit by the End of Days, as Corbin pinned him for the three count. A sad end to a brilliant career and one that could have been so much better.
Kurt Angle vs John Cena At Wrestlemania
Kurt Angle and the fans have been vocal, about wanting John Cena to wrestle Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania. John Cena had made his debut against Kurt Angle in 2002, so it seemed like it would come full circle if he was the one to end the Olympic Gold Medallist’s legendary WWE career. In his last TNA match, he had put over a big star in Bobby Lashley, so losing to Cena on the way out wouldn’t be an issue for Angle.
Speaking on a recent episode of Instinct Culture by Denise Salcedo, Kurt Angle revealed that he asked Vince McMahon if he could wrestle John Cena at Wrestlemania 35. Sadly, McMahon (the former chairman of the WWE) informed him that he couldn’t wrestle Cena until the next year (Wrestlemania 36) – John Cena wasn’t able to wrestle that year, although he did feature in a segment with Elias where he brought back his “Doctor of Thuganomics” Gimmick.
He offered Angle the chance to fight John Cena at Wrestlemania 36, but Angle simply did not have another year left in him. He was intent to retire that year and did not want to wait another year. He admitted that Corbin was an up-and-coming talent and agreed to put him over in his final match at Wrestlemania.
Vince McMahon told me I had a program with Baron Corbin and I told him I wanted to retire at WrestleMania this past year and he said, ‘Well, you’re gonna wrestle Baron Corbin ‘cause you’ve had a program with him for the last several months.’ I said, ‘Vince, I want to retire. Baron’s a great talent but he’s an upcoming talent, how about John Cena?’
He said, ‘If you want John Cena you got it. But this year you got Baron.’ I said, ‘Vince, I’m not going next year. I’m done, this is it.’ And he said, ‘Well, you’re stuck with this.’
The match ended up being disappointing for Kurt, but not just because of the lacklustre opponent. It was 14th on the card of an endlessly long event. WWE have since expanded the event to two nights, leaving a lot more room for matches and for the crowd to breath. He talked about this on an episode of The Kurt Angle Show, revealing he was especially upset at being given so little time (less than 10 minutes) whilst Triple H vs Batista was given over half an hour for their no holds barred match.
“It does hurt, but, like I said before, you understand your role in the company at that time. You understand the position of your match, you know, they were a featured match, and if they wanted more time, they were going to get it; and obviously, they were going to cut my time. That’s just the way it is, and that’s the way it will continue to be.”
However, with recent reports that Kurt Angle could wrestle one more match, a la Ric Flair earlier this year, the stage could be set for one more showdown with John Cena or even putting over a young talent like Chad Gable or Bron Breakker. It is likely to be a tag match, so he could even team with Cena to take down two young talents to bookend his incredible career.