|Not shown: A good wrestler|
Photo Credit: Impact Wrestling.com
Like, I don't know, keeping Kurt Angle around.
I catch a lot of flak for criticizing Angle, as if he's a golden god of the modern, mainstream in-ring game. Once upon a time, he was a great wrestler. Then again, once upon a time, Lindsay Lohan didn't mainline tequila and OxyContin cocktails, and there were two major wrestling companies. Things change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Angle has changed for the worst.
He's become a parody of himself, taking all the red meat for the people who think wrestling matches are all about MOVEZ and cranking them up like a thermostat to levels of unbearable suffocation. Even in inconsequential Impact TV matches, you can be damn sure there will be at least two finisher kickouts from either competitor. He uses the rolling German suplexes (or the Murder-Suicide as my Camel Clutch Blog associate and Impact recapper Dustin Nichols calls them) as a setup move for the ankle lock. I'm pretty sure if you hit five German suplexes on a dude in real life, he'd be in a hospital bed before long with tingling in his toes, but hey, Angle definitely dropped Doc on his head five times en route to a disqualification victory. He also has been pinned clean maybe twice since coming to Impact/TNA.
That last one isn't his fault, mind you. The thing is though, people ignore that while jizzing all over what Angle does in the ring. Then they ignore everything Cena does that's good and hold his Superman booking against him like it's his fault kids like him and WWE writers are asinine enough to think that should mean he should be invincible. It's an insane double standard, and it makes me think that people don't actually watch wrestling matches with a critical eye, but make uninformed decisions based on bias. Yeah, I know, that's not exactly a revelation on the level of discovering that String Theory is real (and it's spectacular), but work with me here, people.
Kurt Angle has been hilariously overrated for the last eight years. He's exactly the kind of wrestler that some fans hate. Actually, I'd argue that he's the amalgamation of two kinds of wrestlers some of those fans hate. He's not only a Superman on a level that makes John Cena look like the Brooklyn Brawler, but he's a "spot monkey" that makes Jeff Hardy look like Jumbo Tsuruta. I don't think being the latter there is all that bad, but I also hate dishonesty, and I hate when people try to defend a bad choice with bad logic.
It's also not to say that you aren't allowed to like Angle. Not in the least. You're allowed to like anyone you want, or think that any wrestler is good and any other wrestler is bad according to your tastes. But don't say he's this great technical wrestler because he won some gold medals and Taz and Mike Tenay say he's one (or Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler used to say he was one). Fuck, he doesn't even do mat grappling or put an amateur flair on his matches anymore. Dolph Ziggler and yes, Cena did more mat wrestling in their RAW match two weeks ago than Angle has done in the last year of Impacts.
So yeah, if you slag on Cena and praise Angle, please, find a different way to explain yourselves, because they're more similar than you might think. In fact, I'd say that Cena knows how to work a main event style better than Angle ever could right now. Sure they work for different companies, but there's no doubt in my mind that Hardy, Austin Aries, Bully Ray, Robert Roode, or James Storm could segue into WWE's main event and have great results. I can't say the same for Angle at all.