I never actually liked Kurt Angle. He annoyed me. His entire routine as a character was comprised around the age-old “American Hero” ideal, and I really have no time at all for American Heroes. I’m not American, I’m British, and what the WWF tended to do was set up foreign wrestlers as baddies to fight against American goodies. It grates a little, but from a business perspective I guess you can see why they do it. Americans are, if nothing else, insanely patriotic, and they like to see their guy win. Kurt Angle, when he first came in, seemed to be yet another example of this.
Then he turned evil, and I got interested. The fact that Kurt had in real life represented the United States in the Olympic Wrestling event and won them gold medals was turned to make him look like a conceited jackass, and Angle played the role, it has to be said, really really well. It’s easy to get wrestling fans to hate you, yet Angle got them to dislike him, which is slightly different, but far more impressive. They’ll boo other wrestlers for hitting their favourites, or being nasty to women (feminism!), but the crowd had no idea how to react to Kurt Angle, and it was great. It helps, I suppose, that he is tremendously talented himself. As a man brought up in professional, real, wrestling, Angle brings to the table a sensible, realistic approach to the sport, and I appreciate that. I don’t like seeing silly over-exaggerations, so Angle doesn’t give us them. His signature moves looked painful; and I liked that. He also had the best part of the whole “WWF-WCW-ECW” Invasion storyline, which was perhaps the best storyline I got to see during my time as a wrestling fan. So well done, Kurt Angle. You got me to change my mind.
Now go grow your hair back, please.