Kurt Angle Reflects on his Rivalry With Shane McMahon and How he Turned Babyface

Published 07/12/2021, 2:39 AM EDT


Kurt Angle has faced a ton of legendary opponents, but one of his best matches came against an unlikely opponent. At King of the Ring 2001, Angle took on Shane McMahon in a street fight. This match brought the best out of Angle, but the feud with McMahon had an unlikely outcome as well.

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Kurt Angle details how his rivalry with Shane McMahon began

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In 2001, Kurt Angle rose to become a real workhorse in the company. His matches were above excellence, and he even became a Grand Slam Champion. Prior to his accolades, Angle became known as a real babyface after his feud with Shane McMahon. His rivalry with McMahon began on an episode of Raw in May 2001 where he staged an Olympic celebration.

During the celebration, Shane McMahon walked out and berated Angle. Although Angle was a heel, McMahon’s promo pushed him into babyface territory after he hit him with an Angle Slam from the top of the Olympic podium. On the Kurt Angle Show, the former Olympian explained how he turned face and McMahon became the heel in the storyline.

“I didn’t know the promo was that bad, but if you say so I guess it was. But I think that because Shane came out interrupted me, and at that point in my career, I was getting a lot of respect from the fans for my wrestling. I was getting over not as a babyface, but getting over as an individual, whether I was baby or heel.”

“The fans will like you as a baby, they can like you as a heel or both. But, you know, Shane was doing the WCW invasion angle, and he was part of WCW. I was part of WWE, representing WWE in that match, or you know, that built up that storyline. So I think that’s the reason why they might have turned on Shane. I didn’t know he had a horrible promo. I probably didn’t even listen to it.”

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Angle reflects on the Angle Slam spot

31 Jul 1996: Kurt Angle of the United States holds the American flag at the free-style wrestling competition during the Summer Olympics at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Angle Slam spot remains one of the most innovative spots in company. Although McMahon and Angle would top it during their King of the Ring classic, it remains the perfect response from Angle to Shane’s cocky promo.

“That was a cool moment. To do the Olympic celebration and Shane getting up there and me sneaking up behind him and hitting him with Angle slamming him off the top of that podium was a great moment. It’s embedded in everybody’s mind forever as well. So it’s one of those rare moments that you get in professional wrestling that people remember.”

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The rivalry with Shane remains one of the best Angle’s ever been a part of. They renewed hostilities in 2017 when Angle took over as General Manager of Raw with Shane as GM for SmackDown. They crossed paths at Survivor Series 2017, and in the run up to that where Angle invaded Raw with the Shield to deliver a message to Shane.

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Nathan Fulgado

1212 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.

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