PRE-RELEASE REVIEW: WWE ‘Kurt Angle: Essential Collection’ DVD – It’s Good, It’s Damn Good!

July 26, 2017 by Mark Armstrong

WWE 'Kurt Angle: The Essential Collection' DVD - Reviewed!

As soon as this DVD was announced, I was excited. Within record time, Kurt Angle became one of the greatest in-ring performers that professional wrestling has ever seen, and his WWF/WWE tenure from 1999 to 2006 was filled with classic matches, hilarious moments and memorable angles aplenty.

It almost feels like a lifetime since Angle departed WWE in August 2006, but the fans never forgot about Kurt while he competed in TNA and other companies. Therefore, his WWE comeback being confirmed via his Hall of Fame induction in January of this year was met with the delight of many, none more so than Angle himself. Once his return became a reality, it was inevitable that WWE would release a DVD on the Olympic gold medallist (who won the medal with a broken freakin’ neck, remember), and so it has proven with this new collection celebrating all things Angle.

“Kurt Angle: The Essential Collection” is a straight-forward look back at many of the pivotal and great matches in his career, dating from November 1999 to June 2006. Each bout is preceded by comments from Angle, which discuss the match itself and/or his career at that particular point in time. There’s plenty of action and tons of entertainment to check out here, so let’s get to it!


OH, IT’S TRUE!! You can pre-order Kurt’s DVD now via (USA); (UK)


Survivor Series 1999 – November 14, 1999
Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Stasiak

Angle’s debut bout with Shawn Stasiak was designed to be a no-frills wrestling match by design. Of course, the crowd hated that in 1999, but Angle responding to those fans (“You do not boo an Olympic gold medalist!”) ensures that the boos get even louder, giving Angle a copious amount of heat in his first televised match.

WWE - Kurt Angle Interviewed for 'The Essential Collection' DVD
WWE 'Kurt Angle: Essential Collection' DVD - Kurt vs. Val Venis

SmackDown! – February 10, 2000
European Championship Match
Val Venis (C) vs. Kurt Angle

If you think that storylines are rushed nowadays, consider that prior to this bout, Angle had never expressed an interest in the European Title, and would move onto a new feud immediately afterwards. But this still serves an important purpose of providing Angle with his first piece of WWF gold, with Val Venis proving to be far more over with the crowd than Stasiak had in the previous match.

No Way Out 2000 – February 27, 2000
Intercontinental Championship Match
Chris Jericho (C) vs. Kurt Angle

Kurt wouldn’t be satisfied with the European/Sky Box Office Championship, though; he wanted more, and got more when he challenged Chris Jericho for the IC crown in this bout. It’s strange to think in hindsight that after the original Brand Extension, Jericho and Angle would never really cross paths again, but they definitely had chemistry with one another as demonstrated in this clash, early on in both men’s WWF tenures.

King of the Ring 2000 – June 24, 2000
Kingof the Ring Final Match
Kurt Angle vs. Rikishi

Angle would quite literally lift another crown on his way up the ladder in the WWF, in the form of the King of the Ring trophy. His KOTR final match with Rikishi culminates a tournament which is often considered a big disappointment in hindsight, but the final itself is not a bad match, and has a pretty spectacular finish, considering that Rikishi was involved.

RAW – August 7, 2000
Kurt Angle vs. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho

This match was previously released on the “Best of Madison Square Garden” and is just okay, so I’m not sure why it features again here. Granted, it occurred at a time when the Angle-HHH-Stephanie McMahon love triangle storyline was on fire, but if that was the reason, then I’d have preferred to see Rock-Angle-HHH from SummerSlam 2000 instead, especially since that marked Kurt’s first PPV main event.

WWE 'Kurt Angle: Essential Collection' DVD - Kurt vs. The Rock
WWE - Kurt Angle Cries Winning WWF Championship For The First Time

No Mercy 2000 – October 22, 2000
WWF Championship Match
The Rock (C) vs. Kurt Angle

Kurt’s amazingly successful first year in the WWF culminates with his first WWF Title win, defeating The Rock in this match from No Mercy. Although their No Way Out 2001 match was better (which incidentally is not included on this DVD), this is still a lot of fun, even if some of the outside interference reaches Vince Russo levels of overkill at times.

Survivor Series 2000 – November 19, 2000
WWF Championship Match
Kurt Angle (C) vs. The Undertaker

Angle’s first defense of his World crown on PPV against The Undertaker is mostly remembered for a brilliantly unpredictable finish. Sadly, the pre-match clips reveal the ending, which will be frustrating to those who’ve never seen the match before. So, if you haven’t seen it, I advise you to skip the preceding chapter and head straight to the match, where you’ll get a pretty cool surprise.

Royal Rumble 2001 – January 21, 2001
WWF Championship Match
Kurt Angle (C) vs. Triple H

Although Angle has had great matches with just about everybody, Triple H was one opponent whereby their styles didn’t quite mesh, at least not in 2000/2001. This Royal Rumble bout is well-executed but, partly because it pits a heel against a heel, it feels underwhelming, and is one of the more forgettable bouts on this DVD.

WWE 'Kurt Angle: Essential Collection' DVD - Kurt vs. Triple H, Royal Rumble 2001
WWE 'Kurt Angle: Essential Collection' DVD - Kurt vs. Shane McMahon, Street Fight

King of the Ring 2001 – June 24, 2001
Street Fight
Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon

The last match of disc one sees Angle and Shane McMahon deliver a thoroughly brutal and bloody Street Fight. If my memory serves me correctly, the feud itself wasn’t that heated to the point where the match needed to be so violent, but it’s compelling nonetheless, particularly when a few spots involving glass go dangerously awry.


Unforgiven 2001 – September 23, 2001
WWF Championship Match
Stone Cold Steve Austin (C) vs. Kurt Angle

Angle’s feud with Steve Austin featured many memorable matches, along with some unforgettable backstage shenanigans to initiate the tension between the two. From Kurt’s standpoint, this match from Unforgiven 2001 is the biggest as it delivers a feel-good hometown title win after a strong match to boot.

WWE - Kurt Angle Championship Celebration with Family in Pittsburgh, Unforgiven 2001

Backlash 2002 – April 21, 2002
Kurt Angle vs. Edge

Though Angle was a true main event player, he was also very useful in helping others climb the ladder. Take this match with Edge, which is the quintessential example of a match whereby the loser is elevated in defeat via his performance. This is a true thriller, and one of the best singles matches on PPV in 2002.

SmackDown! – May 30, 2002
Steel Cage Match
Kurt Angle vs. Edge

The Edge saga would roll on, and include a Hair vs. Hair match at Judgment Day for which Angle tells an amusing story. But the next match featured here would be the one that ended their rivalry, a great Steel Cage match from SmackDown that features a hefty amount of blood loss from Edge.

WWE 'Kurt Angle: Essential Collection' DVD - Kurt vs. Edge, Cage Match
WWE 'Kurt Angle: Essential Collection' DVD - Kurt vs. Hulk Hogan

King of the 2002 – June 23, 2002
Kurt Angle vs. Hulk Hogan

Angle’s next match comes against Hulk Hogan. For obvious reasons, the athleticism on display is inferior to most of the other matches here, but the entertainment level remains high, which includes a hilarious pre-match promo from Kurt.

SmackDown! – June 27, 2002
Kurt Angle vs. John Cena

From a legend of the past to a legend of the future, John Cena makes his televised debut against Angle. Cena catches an arrogant Angle off-guard by coming close to taking a shock win on several occasions, but Angle does enough to put Cena in his place and claim the victory. By the way, Angle brushing off Cena request for a post-match handshake with his bewildered smirk is priceless.

WWE 'Kurt Angle: Essential Collection' DVD - Kurt vs. Undertaker vs. The Rock, Triple Threat

Vengeance 2002 – July 21, 2002
WWE Undisputed Championship Triple Threat Match
The Undertaker (C) vs. The Rock vs. Kurt Angle

To me, this is the best Triple Threat match in WWF/WWE history. Sure, there are several examples which come to mind that many believe are better, but there are so many inventive and innovative spots here, along with real crowd heat, drama and the notion of three massive stars putting on world-class performances, few three-ways have ever touched this one. By the way, an Angle chairshot to Undertaker in the final third is removed, which is becoming a trend of current WWE historical DVDs.

SummerSlam 2002 – August 25, 2002
Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio

Further cementing Angle’s status as a perfect opponent for a new talent, this contest from SummerSlam 2002 marks Rey’s WWE PPV debut, and he and Kurt tear it up in an incredible match. It doesn’t last that long, but the two men pack a ton of action into their allotted time, and even in defeat, Mysterio leaves a lasting impression on fans.

WWE 'Kurt Angle: Essential Collection' DVD - Kurt vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam

SummerSlam 2003 – August 24, 2003
WWE Championship Match
Kurt Angle (C) vs. Brock Lesnar

Strangely, Angle’s show-closing WrestleMania XIX battle with Brock Lesnar is not here. There are clips shown of the bout, but that’s it. At least we get their subsequent clash at SummerSlam which is still top-drawer, and features a nifty one-legged F5 by Lesnar.


No Mercy 2003 – October 19, 2003
Kurt Angle vs. John Cena

John Cena pops up again, but by this point he had developed a hugely-popular rapping heel persona which allowed him to surge up the card. His match here with Angle is arguably his best prior to Cena winning his first WWE Championship, and features the rare sight of Mr. Never Give Up tapping out!

WWE - Kurt Angle Locks on the Ankle Lock to John Cena!

SummerSlam 2004 – August 15, 2004
Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero

It’s bizarre that Angle’s match with Eddie Guerrero from WrestleMania XX has never been released on a DVD compilation, and it’s absent here too. We do get their SummerSlam rematch, though; it’s very good and plays off their previous ‘Mania battle, but it feels a little rushed too.

SmackDown! In Iraq – December 23, 2004
Kurt Angle & Luther Reigns vs. Rey Mysterio & Eddie Guerrero

This match is mostly here to pay tribute to the American armed forces stationed in Iraq at the time, with Angle of course being a real patriot himself. It’s still a decent tag match, but nothing special from an in-ring standpoint.

WrestleMania 21 – April 3, 2005
Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels

Next up is my favorite Angle match of all-time, as he and Shawn Michaels put on a virtually perfect WrestleMania match. An absolute classic, this sees two of the greatest of all-time at their absolute peak in one of the best WWE matches of all-time.

WWE - Kurt Angle Face-to-Face with Shawn Michaels
WWE 'Kurt Angle: Essential Collection' DVD - Kurt vs. Shawn Michaels, Iron Man Match

RAW Homecoming – October 3, 2005
30-Minute Iron Man Match
Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels

Clips of their Vengeance rematch are shown, before we are treated to their Iron Man scrap from RAW Homecoming. This match doesn’t get the credit that it deserves; for a TV match, especially at that time, this is outstanding, with a familiar yet superbly-executed finish.

Taboo Tuesday 2005 – November 1, 2005
WWE Championship Triple Threat Match
John Cena (C) vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle

The last Shawn-related match on the DVD is this three-way alongside John Cena. It isn’t quite as good as the Vengeance 2002 three-way, but it’s still an impressive match, held at a time when the anti-Cena fan movement was beginning to really accelerate.

WWE - Kurt Angle with ECW Mouthguard, The Wrestling Machine Character!

ECW – June 27, 2006
Kurt Angle vs. Rob Van Dam

After discussing his issues with working on the ECW brand, we get the final match of the collection. It’s something of a hidden gem as Angle and Rob Van Dam put on a great show. Angle would wrestle just twice more in televised bouts before leaving WWE in August 2006; the DVD ends by covering this, along with Angle’s return earlier this year via his Hall of Fame induction and earning his current role as RAW General Manager. There are no extras, which is disappointing.


The Verdict

This promised to be an epic match compilation, and so it has proven. As with many DVDs of this nature, there are a few notable omissions when it comes to the bouts, such as Angle vs. Lesnar from WM XIX and Kurt vs. The Undertaker from No Way Out 2006. However, the majority of Angle’s greatest matches in a WWF/WWE ring are here, along with many of his most crucial victories, at least from the 2000-2001 period. There’s also a logical representation of eras and rivalries, ensuring that almost the entire spectrum of Angle’s 1999-2006 tenure in the company is covered.

Even so, I am expecting a second Angle DVD to be released in 2018 or 2019 featuring a proper documentary (even if it’s an extended version of the excellent Homecoming doc from WWE Network), where some of the major matches not seen here should be included.

In the meantime, though, “Kurt Angle: The Essential Collection” is outstanding. It serves as a great tribute of Angle’s first WWF/WWE run, as well as a fine education to newer fans as to why he was so good and why his name holds such weight with fans to this day. In summary, this DVD is definitely of a gold medal standard, and one that I’d recommend to all fans. Oh it’s true, it’s damn true!

WWE - Kurt Angle Holding Up 'It Feels Great When You Wait' Sign to College Kids
WWE - Kurt Angle & Shane McMahon Laughing Together Backstage

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15 Comments left on this article...

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  1. Ryan says:

    Even though I have the WWE Network and I watch all the PPV’s I’ll still probably get this just because I (like every wrestling fan) love Kurt Angle. The match vs HBK at WrestleMania 21 is one of my all-time favorites and probably one of the Top 5 matches of All-Time.

  2. Jeff Copeland says:

    this is not bad dvd for a intro into new fans of kurt angle but ehh it could of been better.

    i am glad no mercy 00 match is on dvd but sorta shocked they did not put his wcw title win from smackdown over booker t or even his armageddon 02 wwe title win.

    again like most said sorta shocked eddie wm 20 match has not been on a dvd ? weird.

    the biggest absence of this dvd is well mumbles benoit but as jericho said on podcast those matches are just lost and gone forever.

    anyway hum sorta like the sting dvd from 2014 where it was just matches its not bad just a intro into kurt angle so i expect a bio with more matches coming, but its not bad so its true IT’S DAMN TRUE!! xD

  3. Steven Jackson says:

    This was a great review of a set I will pick up one day. A lot of these matches I already have on other sets, but because they’re all compiled on this set together, it makes for some great viewing.

    I’m still baffled though why Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle from Wrestlemania XX has never been released on a home video collection. It would have been a nice fit on this set I think.

    Nevertheless, the match quality on here is superb and that’s true…damn true!

    • Derby says:

      The WrestleMania XX match really should’ve been on Eddie Guerrero’s “Viva La Rana” dvd back in 2008.

  4. Brad Attitude says:

    I’m surprised there’s more king of the ring and summerslam matches than WrestleMania matches. And I feel his vengeance 2003 triple threat match with big show and brock should’ve been added instead of the one with the rock and the undertaker.

  5. RabidHeat says:

    Although you’re right that the Mania Brock and Eddie matches are better, it doesn’t surprise me as WWE tend to include the match where the subject of the WWE actually wins, rather than the actual best match from their feud if it features a win for their opponent.

    • Corey C. says:

      (Stands on chair in front center of room and deeply inhales breath, then exhales, proceeds in monotone gravelly voice)

      It’s like match pickers want tough men to be tough and losers to be underdogs to make the tough men look tougher.

      • RabidHeat says:

        I know, they act like its a legitimate, competitive sport, basically. And therefore a loss for Angle can’t be included on his DVD.

  6. Corey C. says:

    Despite Angle’s issues with WWE in the mid 2000s, he managed to help springboard Randy Orton after their feuds with the Undertaker.

    Supposedly, he and HHH talked about which wrestler would have a larger impact in the business and Trips said “Batista.” Kurt replied back saying “Orton” (paraphrased).

    • RabidHeat says:

      I don’t think it really matters either way as both Batista and Orton reached similar levels of stardom and both were bland and boring in the ring.

      • Corey C. says:

        Okay, now I must admit your honest response got me laughing!

        As much as I’m inclined to disagree and suggest otherwise, your statement isn’t far from the truth deeper beneath the surface.

        Me, I’m chill about most wrestlers… MOST.


      • whutwhut says:

        I’d argue that Batista at his peak was a significantly bigger star than Orton during his.

  7. Nicolas Hébert says:

    Why does the 2004 Kurt Angle DVD never release? I have a list of the DVD from 2003 and 2004 inside my No Mercy 2003 DVD set and a Kurt Angle DVD was supposed to goes out on March 2nd 2004. I will put the picture on your Facebook page.

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