Title: Kurt Angle Champion
Synopsis: This 2008 DVD release by TNA is a two disc set featuring the very best of Kurt Angle. A documentary worthy of a WWE DVD is shown across both discs, covering Kurt Angle’s life and wrestling career. The documentary is punctuated by ten Kurt Angle matches held between November 2006 and April 2008.
Reasons to Buy this DVD:
This is one of the finest documentaries I have ever seen on a TNA DVD. Previous DVDs like the ones for Sting, Samoa Joe, Christian Cage and both DVDs for AJ Styles (Reviews for at least two of those DVDs are coming soon) only feature the wrestler alone talking in a sit down interview that lasts less than an hour. In addition to input from relevant TNA personalities like Dixie Carter, Jeff Jarrett, Mike Tenay and Christian Cage, among others, this sit down interview features talking head clips from important people outside of TNA! Included in the segments are Kurt’s mother M. Jacqueline Angle, brothers Mark, John and Eric Angle, manager Dave Hawk, Wrestling coach Robert Bubb, Clarion University Recruiter Jack Davis, Pittsburgh Steelers player James Farrior and to cap it all off: wrestling legend Bruno freaking Sammartino! So TNA gets a thumbs up from me for making the effort to include so many people to offer some insight into Kurt Angle’s life.
As to the actual content, the DVD covers Kurt’s childhood, his early wrestling training, his Olympic career, his health/injuries, meeting future (ex)wife Karen, signing with WWE, his pain pill addiction, his relationship with Vince McMahon and what led him to leave the WWE and join TNA and everything in between. TNA footage includes the announcement at No Surrender 2006 (It’s real. IT’S DAMN REAL!) and Kurt Angle’s legendary debut where he headbutted Samoa Joe. There are some fascinating anecdotes (A personal favorite of mine is Kurt Angle reminiscing about his brief, yet disastrous stint as a Sportscaster). There are moving stories about the deaths in Kurt’s life, such as the loss of his father, sister, grandmother and longtime friend Dave Schultz. Says Kurt “It seemed like I had my best competitive competitions after somebody in my family would die.” For the most part this DVD is just a truly engaging watch. And the best part about the documentary? It’s non-Kayfabe! Hooray!
Kurt Angle vs Samoa Joe (Genesis 2006, Turning Point 2006, Final Resolution 2007 and Lockdown 2008)
I’m just lumping four out of the five Angle vs Joe matches into one package as I’ve gone on long enough about the Documentary. The best of these four matches is their first encounter at Genesis 2006. Personally I think TNA made a mistake booking Angle vs Joe at three consecutive Pay Per Views. Yes their matches were stellar, but TNA proved here that you can indeed have too much of a good thing. Still nobody is forcing you to watch all four at once, so when viewed at your own leisure, you will find these matches well worth your time and money.
Kurt Angle vs AJ Styles vs Christian Cage vs Samoa Joe vs Chris Harris King of the Mountain match (Slammiversary 2007)
This is on here for obvious reasons. Kurt Angle became the first official TNA World Heavyweight Champion. AJ Styles puts on great displays with pretty much everyone. His exchanges with Angle, Joe, and Christian were first rate, and his bump through the announcers table was a highlight to be replayed for years to come. Chris Harris (AKA Braden Walker! [clap clap clap clap clap] Braden Walker!) handled himself well in the main event atmosphere. Indeed looking back, the man seemed destined for great things at the time. Joe and Angle obviously were firing on all cylinders and Christian Cage, as the most hated heel in the match, played his role perfectly. This match was excellent.
Kurt Angle vs Jay Lethal (No Surrender 2007)
What a riot this match was! It will always have a place in the hearts of many TNA fans. It is a true testament to the kind of man Kurt Ange is, that he not only put over Jay Lethal clean, but actually had a competitive match with him that went a decent length. I can’t believe that TNA dropped the ball on such a hot prospect in Lethal … oh wait a minute yes I can! The point is that this match as Kurt Angle himself puts it is just “fun” and Don West’s reaction to the finish is priceless.
Kurt Angle vs Yuji Nagata (Global Impact 2008)
This match is special not only because Angle puts on a hard hitting tour de force with the Japanese star Yuji Nagata, but also because TNA branched out and included a match from outside their own organisation. Say what you want about TNA, but I’ll always give them credit for their working relationships with other promotions and the fact that they allow their own roster to wrestle in other promotions while under contract, unlike another company (no prizes for guessing which one) who doesn’t even acknowledge their existence.
Kurt Angle vs Sting (Bound For Glory 2007)
This isn’t the best match on the DVD but it’s better than the other Sting vs Angle match from Impact which is also on here. This one is worthy of inclusion as two of the biggest names in wrestling and the future leaders of the Main Event Mafia (yeah yeah, I know) square off against each other at TNA’s biggest event of the year. It’s a good match but what I remember most is Kurt Angle’s attempt at a 450 Splash. This match is worth seeing just for that!
Reasons to Avoid this DVD:
Now I know I spent a long time endorsing this documentary (and with good reason) but what I didn’t like about it is that it’s divided into chapters with matches in between. It’s hard to keep up with Angles story as one minute he’s talking about his highschool football games, the next he’s wrestling Samoa Joe, then the next, he’s training for the Olympics. As good as the overall package is, I believe it could have been much better if the documentary was shown in it’s entirety on disc 1 and the ten matches were shown on disc 2. Also (and I almost hate to say this), fascinating though the documentary may be for the most part, there are times when less would have been more. It’s undeniably dull at times and that’s with the divided formula. It’s still great at the end of the day and when I say it’s dull I’m talking about a tenth of the material at most. But watching it a second time, I found myself wishing that they’d edited out certain segments just to make the DVD flow more nicely.
Kurt Angle vs Samoa Joe (Hard Justice 2007)
It’s hard to imagine these two having a bad match, but unfortunately they did on this night. Not that it was their fault. This match was lacklustre because it was the main event of TNA’s worst event of 2007 (and one of their worst ever). It also suffered from the nonsensical angle where (ahem) Angle won every title at the same time. For the month that Angle held every title in TNA, which was one of the longest months ever, every division suffered because the tag teams and X Division stars had no titles to feud over and so had no direction. Not to mention the involvement/heel turn of Karen Angle (Jarrett) at the end. It was another typical Russo swerve that a blindfolded, sleeping, stuck in the basement Stevie Wonder could have seen coming (Yeah I know I ripped off The Rock but would you rather I ripped off Cena? Um Joe is fat, Kurt smells like poo poo and they’re both homosexuals ha ha ha! That’s why I ripped off The Rock)!
Too much Joe
Now I haven’t got any problems with Samoa Joe (other than how TNA have booked him over the last … three and a half years?) and as I said earlier his matches with Angle have been mind blowing. But come on! Five of the ten matches are Angle vs Joe! Six if you count the KOTM match where Joe was one of Angles four opponents. Apart from Joe and the rest of the KOTM participants, the only other opponents Kurt faces on this DVD are the fairly random trio of Sting, Jay Lethal and Yuji Nagata. Hopefully a Volume 2 is in the works.
Seen it before
Hey I haven’t done this in a while. The Angle vs Joe match from Genesis 2006 is also on Best of the Bloodiest Brawls: Scars and Stitches and the King of the Mountain match and Angle vs Sting match from Bound for Glory are both on Best of TNA 2007. Fact: Repetition will always be a Reason to Avoid.
When all is said and done this really is one of TNA’s best DVD releases ever. The documentary remains today as the best the company has ever produced (including the Jeff Jarrett one!) and eight of the ten matches are topnotch. Is it perfect? No. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s one of the best wrestling DVDs you will ever see. As a fan I can’t recommend this one highly enough!