Kurt Angle Reveals Scrapped Plans For WWE WrestleMania XIX
Brock Lesnar’s victory over Kurt Angle in the WrestleMania XIX main event ushered in Lesnar’s second WWE Championship reign. But, as Angle explained in a new episode of “The Kurt Angle Show,” the original plans for how things ended were much different than they turned out. In fact, the initial idea called for the Olympic gold medalist to retain his title as part of an extended run that he compared to The Bloodline’s current reign atop WWE.
The match between Lesnar and Angle was the culmination of a months-long story that kicked off in late 2002 with the creation of Team Angle. Bringing together his new manager, Paul Heyman, and amateur wrestling standouts Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, Team Angle was formed to help the WWE Champion hold onto his title. Haas and Benjamin won the WWE Tag Team Championships in early 2003, and the pieces were in place for a long run at the top, according to Angle.
“I was supposed to have a nice long title reign for over a year,” he said. “They were gonna keep that title on me and put the titles on Team Angle — the tag team titles — and have us doing what Roman Reigns and The Usos are doing right now. That’s what was planned.” But plans were scrapped once Angle suffered a broken neck in a match about one month before WrestleMania — one of four times Angle broke his neck while with WWE. Angle was still able to compete at WrestleMania though and drop the title to Lesnar.
He returned to the ring much sooner than expected, opting for a “clean-up” surgery that had him back in just three months, rather than a more significant operation that could have forced him into an early retirement. At that point, WWE reintroduced Angle as a babyface and disbanded Team Angle. The stable only lasted around six months, leaving a lot of potential on the table. “These factions, they become really popular,” Angle said. “NWO, DX, and Team Angle. Like I said, we don’t belong in that category because we weren’t around long enough to get that kind of respect. But I felt that if we did, we’d be one of the greatest factions of all time.”
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