(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31348385/?contentId=31348385&contextType=wwe-show&contextId=survivor_series)
Would you expect anything less than a classic from Brock Lesnar (in his first WWE run) and Kurt Angle? At that point in Lesnar’s career, he was starting to have great matches. He finally began to understand how to work a match. And what else can you say about Kurt Angle, the man who could fight a blow up doll and have a great match? Angle vs Lesnar was a dream match that had to happen at some point. However, Angle had a serious neck injury heading into the bout. His presence at ‘Mania XIX was in doubt for weeks before the show. Watch the documentary ‘The Mania of WrestleMania’ for a deeper look into his troubles. For the entire match, I cringed and closed my eyes as Angle was suplexed hard and dropped on his neck a few times. It was a tough watch, knowing that Angle could be paralysed with one wrong move. But afterwards, I knew I had watched one of the great (and underappreciated) WrestleMania main events.
Their main event at WrestleMania XIX is surely unique: two virgin ‘Mania main eventers main eventing ‘Mania? I cannot think of the last time that happened. You may have had a virgin ‘Mania main eventer in there with a veteran, but having two go one-on-one? It hasn’t happened since ‘Mania XIX, and it’s only happened a few times before that (obviously at the first ‘Mania and ‘Mania XI, where Lawrence Taylor fought Bam Bam Bigelow). The Best 100…List has already had two matches from ‘Mania XIX on here (click here for my review of Austin vs The Rock and click here for my review of HBK vs Y2J), but the VHS release highlighted Vince McMahon vs Hulk Hogan as the real main event (20 Years In The Making!). However, Angle and Lesnar had the best match on the show, even better than Michaels vs Jericho…
For a man who had a serious neck injury, Angle fights like a man possessed. Being in the ‘Mania main event in any wrestler’s dream, and he wanted to prove that he belonged in it. For Lesnar, this was the match to solidify him as a true main eventer. His first title run was good, but not great (and ended when he lost to The Big Show…yeah, The Big Show!). His charisma had increased dramatically since his babyface turn. The two wrestlers suplexed the stuffing out of each other for nearly half an hour. They exchanged German suplexes, belly-to-back suplexes and submissions without surcease. It was hard to watch Angle being repeatedly slammed on his back, especially after he took a Standing Military Press Slam. But Lesnar absorbed a lot of punishment as well, even suffering a German Suplex into the turnbuckle (something I had never seen at the time!).
In a display of true exhaustion and pain, Angle can barely stand up or lift his arms above his shoudlers towards the end. Just think about the extreme pain he must have endured. However, Lesnar almost suffered a serious neck injury himself after botching a Shooting Star Press. That’s probably the most famous part of the match, but it shouldn’t be. Lesnar, still a rookie of sorts, proved that he could be a main eventer. Angle proved that he would endure intolerable amounts of pain to achieve his dream. Together, they put on a hard-hitting wrestling match that should be much higher up in the list.
VERDICT: 9/10. Aside from a botched Shooting Star Press, this is an almost perfect match from two great amateur wrestlers. Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar put on a wrestling match that is one of the all-time great WrestleMania main events.
Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die? Leave your comments below!
Click here for my review of #43 Inaugural Elimination Chamber Match: Triple H vs Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho vs Kane vs Booker T vs Rob Van Dam (WWE World Heavyweight Title, WWE Survivor Series 2002)
Click here to view my list of reviews of the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die