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411’s WWE Rivals Episode 4 Report: Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle

-Welcome back to the latest episode of WWE Rivals and this time it’s Brock/Kurt. Two men that were destined to face each other the minute Brock debuted on RAW. Let’s get to it!

-Previously: Bret/Shawn, Taker/Kane, Rock/Austin

-As a reminder Freddie Prinze Jr hosts a roundtable during this show and we cut back to them between the talking heads and videos from time to time. This week at the table with Freddie: Cody Rhodes, JBL, Kevin Nash, and Beth Phoenix.

-We start at the roundtable and go back to 2002 where the stars aligned and set up Brock/Angle. JBL says they all wanted to see the two of them go at it. He calls Brock the biggest freak he has ever seen in sports. Beth says she patterned herself after Brock. JBL says Kurt was the best in the world and Cody says he was there when Kurt won the Gold Medal since it was in Atlanta. He also puts over both Brock and Angle for how quickly they picked up pro-wrestling.

-We start with Kurt and he was told sink or swim by Vince and thankfully he was able to swim right away. He talks about how competitive it was when he arrived with Austin, Rock, HHH and Taker. Heyman calls Angle a prodigy and there was nothing he could not do inside the ring.

-Survivor Series 1999: Kurt makes his on-screen debut and is instantly awesome. Kurt had to be the best at everything he had and we see his meteoric rise from him as he wins the IC and Euro Title in a matter of months. Kurt says his rookie year was his favorite year because of how quickly he was learning.

-Less than a year into his career he pins The Rock to win the WWF Title for the first time. He wins his second title from Austin at Unforgiven 2001 (I was at that show. I need to review that one).

-Meanwhile Brock Lesnar was winning The NCAA Championship and we get footage of him winning the Title at Minnesota. He was immediately recruited by WWE and signed to the biggest developmental contract ever at the time. Heyman: “if you were to pray to the heavens to give you the perfect athlete and perfect WWE Superstar, you would get Brock Lesnar.” Edge says Brock would work in any era and damn, right. Hogan and Brock would have made so much money touring the country in the 80s.

-Kurt tells us that he first met Brock when Brooklyn Brawler asked Brock who would win and Brock said he would kill Kurt because he is too small. Well, Angle decided to test that out and confronted Brock. Edge was wondering who he was going to be able to break things up if it went sideways. They went to the ring and everyone is at ringside to watch it go down. Kurt tells us he won, but it was a tough battle and says Brock is the real deal. They got along better after that battle. Brock has huge respect for Angle as Kurt was winning the Gold Medal when Brock was in high school. He wanted to see if he could hang with Angle.

-Brock makes his WWE debut and destroys everyone as he is a killer from the first moment he steps on screen. Brock admits he had a rocket strapped to his ass and no kidding as he went through Hogan and then Rock only 4 months in his career to get the WWE Title. Heyman mentions Brock steamrolled everyone and they only place left to go was Kurt Angle.

-Edge feels Kurt finally found the guy that could hang with him and physically be a match. It took Kurt’s intensity to another level and it helped Brock gain more legitimacy as he learned what it was like to be a top guy.

-No Way Out 2003: They were involved in a 6 Man Tag and during a spot where Kurt had Brock in a choke, she ran Angle into the corner and it cracked two vertebrae in Kurt’s neck. Now that you see what happened, it does look nasty. The WrestleMania XIX Main Event is now in jeopardy.

-Commercials!

-We pick up where we left off and Kurt says he had headaches from the injury. He had pain from his neck down to his arms from him. It was a freak accident and Brock felt horrible, but Kurt told him it was okay. Heyman felt the Main Event at Mania had to be changed. Kurt was told by a doctor his neck was broken and he ca n’t wrestle. He told Vince and the plan was for Kurt to drop the WWE Title to Brock on SmackDown (I was at the show as well). Kurt: “Gosh, that sucks.”

-Back to the roundtable as Cody notes that if Kurt had no legs he wasn’t missing WrestleMania. Kurt asked the doctor if it would hurt if he wrestled one more match and the doctor told him no and he could wait until after Mania for the match.

-Brock says he was worried to even touch Kurt as he knew his neck could snap at any moment. Kurt’s mindset was that he just wanted to get it over. I should note Kurt provided material for this show while all of Brock’s is from past interviews which is what you would expect. Kurt wanted to know how fast he could get back to regain his top spot.

-WrestleMania XIX: The most stacked WrestleMania card off all time! Kurt talks about the adrenaline pumping. Brock knows now he was scared shitless, but he didn’t want anyone to know it. Kurt tells us his hamstring popped when they locked up, so he limited his running. He points out the pain he was in with every bump and that was something you couldn’t work around. “This is WrestleMania and it’s the Main Event.” Bret Hart shows up and he loved the match. It’s what he misses and he loves about wrestling. No surprise that match would pop Bret.

-Next we get to the infamous ending: Brock tries a Shoot Star Press and nearly kills himself and somehow avoids breaking his neck. At the roundtable we hear Nash: “when I saw Brock hit that I thought I just saw somebody die.” They replay it over and over here and it’s nasty every single time. Brock told the ref he was okay, but he thinks any normal personal may have stopped in two. Angle laughs as he told Brock to get his ass up as he wasn’t doing this anymore. Brock doesn’t remember much other than hitting an F5 on instinct and getting the win.

-After the match everyone is checking on Brock and he is pissed! We see the footage of him losing it on everyone and looking back he can only imagine how hard he was to deal with after the match. Brisco was the Brock whisper and talked him into getting in the ambulance to head to the hospital. All checked out and he walked out of the hospital that night. Still amazing!

-Angle tells us that Vince flew home on a jet that night and the next day Kurt had neck surgery. Kurt tells the camera before the surgery he just wants to wake up tomorrow pain free. He gets wheeled into the OR and we take a break.

-Commercials!

-We get gnarly footage of Kurt in the OR having surgery. He tells us the first two weeks he was relaxing and didn’t watch wrestling, but then he got restless and admits to going back sooner than he probably should have.

-Kurt returns in June, roughly 3 months after surgery, and he wants to be Champion. Heyman notes that Kurt could have taken a year off, but he wanted to be back in front of the fans. He returns and forms an on-screen friendship with Brock. Kurt admits that they were best friends off screen and traveled together. We get the story of them trying to one up each other and it lets Brock show his comedic size of him. Edge: “you wouldn’t think he could work as a babyface, but he makes it work.”

-Vengeance 2003: Angle vs. Brock vs. Big Show: Angle gets the win and regains The WWE Championship. They couldn’t keep the face vs face thing going so a decision was made.

-SmackDown: Brock is in a cage match with Vince McMahon with Kurt as the special ref and he beats the crap out of Kurt to make the official turn. This sets up Brock/Angle II at SummerSlam!

-Commercials!

-We see training footage of Brock carrying logs on his back up a set of steps to train for SummerSlam. My man is a legit Viking! Prichard notes there is a lot of testosterone and there was natural competitiveness between the two.

-SummerSlam 2003: Angle remembers they added in a lot of college wrestling to the match. Shelton Benjamin says the match showed him the difference between an NCAA Champion and Olympic Champion. Heyman thinks Kurt wanted Brock to see how good he was and Brock was curious to how good he really was and nobody pushed him like Kurt Angle. Kurt admits that he and Brock are the two stiffest guys in the business and laughs as Brock would yell, “what did I do to you?”

-They were at 1-1 so we need Brock/Angle III and it ends up on SmackDown in an Iron Man Match. Kurt felt it was the chance to show how good of a wrestler he was. Nash says there is no way he was missing that match and says it is a true prizefight.

-Before the show, Kurt gets a call from his brother and is told that his sister had passed away due to a drug overdose. Vince met with Kurt and asked him what he wanted to do. Kurt is a wreck telling this story and it’s crushing to watch. Heyman didn’t think there was any way they were getting to the match.

-Commercials!

-Kurt told Vince he wanted to wrestle and he wanted to do it for his sister. He made the decision to wrestle that night. That was his way of showing his love from him for his sister from him. The match was for his sister of him! Brisco mentions that Brock was a gentle giant that day because he knew what Kurt was going through.

-JBL says that is what you do. Prinze credits all wrestlers for the idea of ​​the show must go on and how it is just something they do. He feels they don’t get enough credit for that mentality. Takers says that it can be cathartic to get out there and do something you love.

-Iron Man Match: Heyman says that it would insult Angle if Brock took it easy on him or felt sorry for him. Angle calls it an intense match and his favorite match that he had with Brock. He is proud of what they did in that hour. Prichard puts over what it takes to do what they did for one hour. Freddy doesn’t understand how they were able to pull it off and talks about the story of the match being Kurt getting way behind and doing everything he can to catch up. It was a great story as Brock up was 5-2 and then the comeback started. Bret credits Angle for looking like a real champion in there. Angle says he has always been the best as he was NCAA and Olympic Champion and he feels for a period he was the best pro-wrestler in the world. Angle hooks Brock on the anklelock down 5-4 with the final seconds running off and we head to another break.

-Commercials! Next week it’s WWE vs WCW. AWESOME!

-Back with Brock hooking the anklelock with 25 seconds left, but Brock holds on and regains the WWE Championship. Kurt says Vince gave him a hug, told him he was proud of him, and said he would get him home for his sister. Brock thanked Kurt for what he did for him that night when he didn’t have to.

-Brock is glad he was put through the situations he was put through with Kurt. JBL calls them the greatest combat athletes this business has ever seen. They were in the prime of their lives to do it. Cody feels the Iron Man Match encapsulated their story and helped create the monster that is Brock Lesnar.

-We jump ahead to Brock giving, GM Kurt Angle the F5 on RAW. Kurt talks about all Brock did in the UFC and again in his second run in the WWE. Heyman says nobody else was capable of hanging with either man and they needed each other to get to the heights they did. Kurt puts over the bond they have as amateur athletes. He feels amateur wrestlers are the hardest working athletes in the world. Edge credits the Brock feud as what turned Kurt into The Wrestling Machine and now at 45 Brock is still the most dangerous man in the game.

-Prichard asks which is one better and it’s a question that will be asked for ever as he doesn’t think we ever got an answer. Kurt jokes that he wishes he would have won the third match and that is his final thought of him.

-This was great and I loved every second of it. Kurt carried most of this obviously since you aren’t getting Brock to sit down for stuff like this. With that said it was cool to hear what makes these alpha athletes tick and how they looked at each other. As Heyman noted there aren’t many people that can really push either man, so they needed each other and that’s what makes for the best rivalries. Thanks for reading!

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