When Kurt Angle announced last week that he would wrestle his final match at WrestleMania 35, speculation ran wild on the internet with who Angle might face in his retirement match.
Shelton Benjamin, his old teammate on Team Angle, tweeted at Angle that he wanted to face the former Olympian. There are also plenty of wrestlers on the WWE roster that would make sense. Angle had great matches with AJ Styles in TNA, for example. Angle launched the career of John Cena, so he could have been a potential opponent. Angle and Lashley both have MMA and amateur backgrounds, and they wrestled in TNA. Angle vs. Samoa Joe was an important match for the careers of both men back in 2008.
There were plenty of natural choices.
But instead, WWE went with … Baron Corbin.
“Underwhelming,” is how Jim Ross responded to the announcement on Twitter.
Jim, you’re being too nice.
Kurt Angle ending his career against Baron Corbin just isn’t right.
Angle deserves better.
I’m sure Baron Corbin feels differently, but for much of the last year, WWE has barely portrayed Corbin as a wrestler. He’s been the “constable” for Stephanie McMahon and when he has wrestled, he’s done so in dress pants. From a storyline perspective it makes sense, with Corbin and Angle, the Raw GM, often clashing, but screw the storyline. Angle is on the level of retiring against someone who can give him a good match, and at this stage of his career, he needs someone who can give him a good match.
Angle is a broken-down 50-year-old wrestler who can’t go at the pace he did 15 years ago. Baron Corbin has never been known for his “work rate” in the ring. Angle needs an opponent that can create movement in the ring because Angle, at his age and in his condition, isn’t the guy who is going to be able to do that. Angle should have an opponent who can bump his tail off and make the Angle Slam and other moves look good. Corbin is bigger than Angle. It’s going to be clunky and not up to the standard of Angle’s previous in-ring work.
It’s a shame that he’s going to have to go out this way, against an opponent that isn’t big enough to make the match feel special, and against an opponent who isn’t a good matchup, stylistically, to make the match any good.