(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31370751?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=smackdown_replays&contentId=68037212)
How can two people wrestle for one hour straight? We’ve seen five one hour Iron Man matches in the history of the WWE. The only other one included on the Best 100…List is the inaugural 60 Minute Iron Man match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. That one, I’d say, is vastly overrated (if memory serves me correctly). We’ve seen the perfect template for a 30 Minute Iron Man match at #85, between Rick Rude and Ricky Steamboat. Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle take that template and stretch it out to an hour. For my money, they also give us the best Iron Man match in WWE history (closely followed by the 60 Minute Iron Man match between Triple H and The Rock at Judgment Day 2000). Lesnar and Angle batter, pummel and suplex each other silly for a whole hour!
This match was the ultimate match in Lesnar and Angle’s blistering feud. They had both played heel and face, and had already had some amazing matches. Angle and Lesnar were a perfect match for each other, sharing a similar background. You knew you were in for a treat when they wrestled each other. And they put their heart and soul into this classic TV bout. Of course, as with all TV bouts, the adverts are an irritant. They break up the flow of the bout, and shorten 60 Minutes into 45/50. The replays from the action during the advert only hint at what we’ve missed. But that’s probably the only negative aspect of this bout.
Lesnar plays the heel, Angle plays the face. Following the template of Rude and Steamboat, Lesnar using illegal tactics to gain the upper hand. In an Iron Man match, the heel should always be one or two up on the babyface. It makes sense! It increases the tension and makes the crowd rally for the babyface. Angle played any role flawlessly, and here he plays the face desperately trying to overcome Lesnar’s ultra-heel tactics. It’s a masterclass of pacing and wrestling. Except for the opening few mintues, when Lesnar heelishly plays for time, Lesnar and Angle barely stop for breath. They exchange belly-to-belly suplexes, German suplexes, finishers, submission holds, and everything in between for an exhausting but thrilling match.
Lesnar and Angle even manage to ramp up the thrills and spill in the final fifteen minutes. Angle’s a few pinfalls down, and his rallying attempt to equalise depicts Angle at his finest. The final bell ring at 60 Minutes is almost heart-breaking. This is one match to watch if you don’t think there is more to Lesnar than ‘Suplex City.’ He actually cared about crafting a great match and executing different moves! And you can’t go wrong with an Angle match. The two together are magic, but for me, this is their best bout. They can’t rely on anything else apart from their talent for a whole hour, and they more than prove that back in 2003, they were contenders for the best wrestlers in the world.
VERDICT: 9/10. The best 60 Minute Iron Man match in WWE history. Forget about HBK vs The Hitman. That’s like watching paint dry compared to this masterpiece. Lesnar and Angle put on a match that’s exhausting but exhilarating to watch.
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Click here for my review of #53 Mick Foley vs. Edge (Hardcore Match, WWE Wrestlemania 22)