The most interesting thing to happen at a WWE show in months took place this past week and coincidentally, was something that was never meant to happen. Kurt Angle, a former Olympic gold medalist in amateur wrestling, apparently nearly got tapped in front of a live audience by a member of the Tough Enough contestant squad, Daniel Puder.
After being tortured with calisthenics for part of the day, then, thinking they were done and eating a big meal, the contestants were told that they had to do squat thrusts until physically sick in a bizarre contest.
Well, it came down to Puder and Chris Nawrocki, with Puder totally getting the better of the physical routine. Angle, who had been berating all of them for the fact they were going to make a lot of money and never pay any dues, then told Nawrocki that he had "won" the contest and would get his "prize," -- his first ever WWE match, right there with Angle.
Angle took him down quickly, amateur style, then made him tap with a neck crank (illegal in amateur wrestling). Nawrocki, exhausted after all of his working out, was easy prey for Angle, who also broke Nawrocki's ribs. Angle then asked if anyone else wanted a shot, and Puder raised his hand. Puder, a former cagefighter, blocked Angle's first takedown attempt, and when Angle went for another go behind takedown near the ropes, Puder reached back, and hooked Angle in a Kimura arm-bar (which can totally tear out a shoulder). Angle, likely in unbelievable pain at this point, leaned back to pin Puder's shoulders to the mat for a three count (a win in amateur wrestling).
Despite the fact that Puder bridged up at two, the referee counted three anyway, likely saving Angle from having his shoulder torn up.
Angle was irate afterwards, got up and lectured Puder about the fact that the match was amateur wrestling and not UFC (funny because Angle used an illegal neck crank on Nawrocki and tried to guillotine Puder, which is also illegal in amateur. Puder left the ring with a big grin on his face, knowing he had schooled Angle on national television. WWE, of course, did not capitalize on this at all, and has actually downplayed it.
This is all strangely reminiscent of the WWE Brawl for All in 1998, which pitted superstars against each other in a combination of boxing and amateur wrestling. At the time, Steve 'Dr. Death' Williams was the one who everyone thought would destroy the competition, but was knocked out by Bart Gunn in a stunning defeat. WWE also failed to capitalize on that one although there was much less potential to do so than in this case.
There are two lessons here. One, don't let top talent shoot on national television, as anything can happen, and two, just because you didn't think of something, that doesn't make it any less of a great angle.
K-5 News: WWE Survivor Series is today, and will be on at Garbonzos, right after the Sunday Night Sports Show with Joe Aiello and myself ... Ten WWE superstars were released this past week. Many, were not that much of a surprise, but some, like Billy Gunn, were. In Gunn's case it is not that they were doing a lot with him, but that he was one of the longest serving employees. With others, like Test, it was surprising due to the fact that he was out recovering from neck surgery and was fired over the phone by Johnny Ace.
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