Yeah, I Remember, But I Don't Care
June 7, 2006 by Matt Okarmus
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On last Monday's edition of RAW, something happened that, as a wrestling fan, hasn't happened to me in a long time. I was surprised. With today's world of internet rumors and predictable storylines, it's almost easy to see what is coming, or at least if you don't, it's not that surprising when you do see it (either that, or you flat out hate whatever happened - i.e. Booker T losing to the Boogeyman at WM23). However, when Paul Heyman and Mick Foley had their "face-off", I was left to wonder "What are they going to do further the storyline this week besides talking"" So when Heyman announced that there would be a new draft pick from SmackDown, I immediately began to speculate. I figured for sure it would be Matt Hardy due to their little vignette last weekend where they walked past each other, but when the anthem started of the familiar music of Kurt Angle, not only was I shocked, but excited right away.
However, after first getting excited, the mark in me came out. Wait a minute, isn't Kurt Angle the same guy that has had all these altercations with ECW in the past, and now he is just going to be a part of their company, no problem" Before I state why none of that matters, let me first talk about the "altercations" I mentioned.
In 1996, Kurt Angle was on top of the world. He had just won Olympic gold for the USA in freestyle wrestling (with a broken neck I might add). As he participated in the "real" sport of wrestling, sports-entertainment was something he never thought he would see himself in. However, as time passed he decided he would give it a try.
However, the first major promotion that Kurt Angle showed up in was not WWF. It was in fact, ECW. He showed up as part of a promotional deal and I believe something was possibly started with Taz. However, this was the show that contained the infamous Sandman crucifixion. Angle, being religious man, was deeply offended. He stated on the "Rise and Fall of ECW" DVD that if his face "was seen associated with that trash that he would sue them for everything", or something along those lines.
In the summer of 2001, both ECW and WCW ended up being purchased by WWF, creating the Invasion angle of that summer. The stars that were in ECW and WCW before they both folded teamed up with one another to take on the WWF. One of those fighting for the WWF was Kurt Angle. He even went so far as to align himself with the Alliance (ECW/WCW) and make him think that he was with them, only to cost them their "winner takes control" match at Survivor Series. So storyline wise, you can say Kurt Angle was the guy who "killed" ECW a second time around.
The final confrontation Kurt Angle would have with ECW came last year at ECW's One Night Stand. The weeks leading up to the pay-per-view, WWE wanted to have some mixed storylines so that the ppv would appeal to a broader audience. The most played out storyline was that WWE brands RAW and SmackDown would try to ambush ECW's reunion ppv. One of the SmackDown stars that was part of this attack was Kurt Angle. He even went so far as to verbally and physically attack Tazz, leading to a confrontation between the two at the climax of the ppv itself.
With all this in mind, the "smart wrestling fan" that I am was wondering how a guy that didn't want his name associated with the company, "defeated" the company, and then vowed to tarnish it at their reunion show, would be one of their first two draft picks. Alas, I quickly began to realize what I was in store for, and I could care less about their past history.
Let's face it, ECW picking up Kurt Angle was one of the best things that company could do right now. One of the biggest issues going into ECW coming back full time is that whether or not will be successful and how are they going to be successful when they are known for being a small, gritty organization and are now being promoted by the largest promotion in the history of wrestling. I am no expert, but I believe they are on the right track with the direction that they are going. Paul Heyman said it himself when he said something along the lines of "ECW was all about barb wire, blood, and piledriving women. Well, we will have that too, but this will be a new ECW". Kurt Angle is the perfect fit for the "new vision" he was describing.
If you would have told me in 1999 or in 2000 that Kurt Angle was going to be in ECW, I would have laughed at you and went on with my day. If you tell me now that Kurt Angle is in ECW, I get excited. The reason why is simple. Angle has changed over the years. Well, let's say he has evolved. The goofy, nerdy persona we say when he first entered the WWF is nothing compared to what he is now, but it worked to get him over as a heel. He was annoying and you wanted to see him get his ass kicked. But as time evolved, so did Kurt Angle. Over the years, he has switched numerous times back and forth between heel and face, most of the time with them being successful. However, his last heel run was not, and it was for a couple of reasons. One reason was that people wanted John Cena to lose, so they would have cheered Mark Henry if you put him against Cena. But the second reason is people liked the new Kurt Angle, myself included. My girlfriend started watching wrestling with me around SummerSlam 2005. This was right around the time when he said he was through playing games and whooped the hell out of Eugene as a demonstration. When asked who her favorite wrestler was, she quickly responded with Kurt Angle. Why" "Because he kicks ass".
We all now that Kurt Angle is a phenomenal wrestler. He has went on record to state that when he retires, he wants to be considered not just one of the best, but the best. And he is proving that he wants that title. His match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 21 is one of the best that I have ever seen. His wrestling feuds and angles have helped establish some young talent such as Edge and Shelton Benjamin. It has only been within the last couple of years, that we have seen a new intensity in Angle. He can make you stand in awe after suplexing any guy from anywhere and when he applies that ankle lock numerous times, you sometimes get lost in this sport of make-believe and feel sorry for whoever is on the receiving end.
Kurt Angle seems more motivated now than he has ever been. Even with nagging injuries, he seems motivated on proving himself to be the best wrestler ever. And with the new ECW needing to be just that, new, Kurt Angle and his new intensity fit right in. Just imagine the feud that you are most likely going to see between Angle and Sabu. So even though I know the history of Angle and ECW, for the first time, I don't care. I am just ready to see the "wrestling machine" become the EXTREME machine.
by Matt Okarmus..
ECW is a very touchy subject with me. Why" Because I grew up on it. But I am starting to hate this new ECW. In my honest opinion, ECW was better as a memory. It was better to hope that ECW would come back than actually seeing ECW come back. I know that sounds very confusing, but that's what I think.
If WWE wants to add a touch of hardcore to wrestling, they should bring back the Hardcore Division. By the way, have any of you seen the commercials about a WWE Championship Street Fight between Cena and Edge" Notice the event is scheduled to happen on June 28. ONS is happening on June 11, so Cena will probably retain at ONS, which SUCKS.
SxC sHaNe!! wrote:
Kurt Angle is my favourite wrestler by far and i am aware he could put on amazing hardcore matches with tommy dreamer, sabu or even the funker. But im more concerned about his health, we all know his health is bad NOW but in ECW if he does what he would be expected to do.. practically kill himself, then he could end up seriously injured and do just that.
Michael Minchington wrote:
Hi Mr Okarmus, excellent column.Watching Kurt Angle's development in the years he has been in the WWE has been fantastic-he is one wrestler who seems to be improving with age, and he really wipes the floor with 99% of the other (so-called) "talent" in the WWE (Mark Henry, anyone").Hopefully Chris Benoit will return and jump to ECW so we can see some more classic matches between him and Kurt.
Yeah, you would not care would you" You claim you and your girlfriend are such Kurt Angle fans. Well I am a true Kurt Angle fan and the biggest mistake for his career is going to ECW. If he is expected to do the maniacal things in the ring that ECW does, well his career in ECW will be very short. So if you truly don't care, then prey that Kurt Angle stays in ECW for the long haul. But personally, I do care and I want Kurt Angle out of ECW because ECW has nothing to offer Kurt Angle but a broken body.
Kyle Gurrent wrote:
Every time I see a comment on stereotypes in wrestling column or a column on Muhammad Hassan I just have to comment. First of all, I have to state that a portion of your column is wrong. Not only was I a fan of Muhammad hassan but I knew many other people who were fans of Muhammad hassan on ign.com wwe chat rooms. So you are wrong, he had many of fans and followers mostly from the internet generation. Who like myself and fellow writer Cam Brehaut realized that America is no longer a great country, and I don't mean cosmetic features like money, military power, or political influence, I mean the extreme racism, the close minded, self caring, self serving, self devouring decay that the ''average'' American has become.
And just so I am clear, I'm not some American flag burning European soccer fan that despises America and all associated with them. I am from the Maritimes and have spent a good portion of my young life in the U.S having met some good people in the u.s, but unfortunately I've met a lot more bad. I don't know exactly how you felt about the character Muhammad hassen and I really don't care. Whoever in wwe creative thought him up could have helped changed this country, but they simply exploited him and made him a simple dot on the 20 year documentary in the making that will be known only as... ''America's war on the Arab world''.
To the few wrestling fans that realize the idea behind the man known as Muhammad Hassen still rings true(even if thousands of people boo him). And To the few people in the country of American who see the many problems this country and this country alone has. It is up to the few kids at home (like myself) who can see the message that the politicians, ex presidents, Muhammad Hassan and members of the generation currently in control of the world are telling us. It is up to my generation (the internet generation) and your generation rather it be the 70's generation(33 year olds to 60 year olds) the internet generation (1 year olds to 22 year olds) or the 80's generation(23 year olds to 32 year olds) to change this racist, abusive, and religiously close minded world we live in now and to educate those in my generation on moving out of the racist period and getting us ready to lead the world in the 15 years to come....
Thank you for this rant matthue, and I hope you go deeper into this very important issue the next time you right a column like this.
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