I might be a comic book nerd through and through, but did you know I’m also a wrestling geek? As such, I can tell you the year 2000 was a magical one in wrestling, or at least the WWF. The Rock and Triple H hit just the right notes atop the card, and a strong bevy of undercard characters kept things fresh and interesting in between main-event segments. One of the strongest undercard acts was Kurt Angle, former legitimate 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist. When he debuted in 1999, Kurt Angle played a flabbergasted heel who think’s he’s a face, unaware how anyone couldn’t help but cheer the best real athlete in the WWF. After a brief feud with Steve Blackman, Kurt Angle struck gold, winning the coveted European Championship from Val Venis and celebrating this tertiary title win from a low card character going nowhere like he had just won a second Olympic gold medal. The Intercontinental Championship followed, and suddenly Kurt Angle was decorated with gold like it was 1996 again. During this time, Kurt Angle may have become my favorite wrestler, with sharp in-ring offense to complement a character whose cheap heat was always hilarious, it’s true, it’s true. He went on to win the coveted King of the Ring tournament that year, a situation tailor made for an Olympic based character, and in October of 2000 cemented the year of Angle by defeating the Rock for the WWF championship. He’d go on to have some more amazing matches, become my hands down favorite wrestler for a while, then slowly implode as neck injuries, weird character turns, and drug/alcohol issues relegated him to TNA. Still, in 2000, Kurt Angle was the definition of “the man”.
Here’s some 2000 goodness: