Recently on Talk Is Jericho, professional wrestling great Chris Jericho spoke with WWE Hall Of Famer and WWE Monday Night RAW General Manager Kurt Angle. Among other things, Angle discussed some of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Shawn Michaels. Among other things, Angle shared his thoughts on Benoit's matches going unseen, getting into a shoot fight with Guerrero, and his favorite WrestleMania bout.
According to Angle, he would actually have to raise his intensity level to compete with Benoit and said wrestling 'The Rabid Wolverine' was like looking at a mirror. The man who 'Y2J' used to call Kirk Angel claimed that he learned a lot from his Royal Rumble match with Benoit and that it is a shame that their matches will never been seen again.
"He was, he was. I never had anyone match my intensity the way he did. He was always there, blow for blow, it was just like a mirror. I was wrestling me. Actually, I picked up my intensity when I was working with Chris. But it does kind of suck that a lot of those matches are kind of forgotten, especially Royal Rumble (2003)." Angle continued, "it just had everything. It had submission trade-offs and this was, I mean, I would see Dean Malenko and [Jericho] do it, trade-off, here and there, in WCW, but this was really the first time and the whole match was based on it."
Angle included Benoit on his personal list of top three professional wrestlers of all time, saying Benoit "could do it all" and that "he was incredible."
"I'm sorry, but he has got to be in the top three of all time. I mean, you can't deny that. I mean, even Bret Hart will tell you that." Angle added, "I'm not going to excuse any of the things Chris did outside of wrestling, but when he was in that ring, he was possibly the greatest of all time."
With respect to Guerrero, Angle said 'Latino Heat' may have been the best pro wrestler when he was healthy and that he was in his prime in WCW before being in a car accident.
"When Eddie was healthy, he could have been #1. I think Eddie was in his prime in WCW and the reason I say that is because he got in a car accident. That car accident did two things for him. It really inhibited what he could do after that. In other words, he had limits. He could still do a lot, but not like he used to. I used to watch him in WCW and be like, 'wow, this kid's incredible.' But he almost couldn't walk again after that accident, so yeah, yeah. Eddie was banged up when I wrestled him." Angle recalled, "as good as he was in 2004, 2005, he had to be 10-times better back then. That's mind-blowing. I mean, he could have been the absolute greatest of all time because when I wrestled him, he was still in that top three we were talking about, so Eddie had it all. He was so entertaining, but he also had all the technique. He was such a great wrestler and he got it. He got finishes. He knew how to structure them."
Angle described an altercation he had backstage with Guerrero. Guerrero attempted a double-leg takedown on Angle, and 'The Olympic Hero' proceeded to choke out Guerrero.
"We had to jump Eddie out in the ring and I didn't touch him, but we had these two big goon guys, Mark Jindrak and Luther Reigns! Horshu. They're beating the hell out of Eddie, so we get heat on him at the end of the show. I'm in the back. I'm waiting for Eddie because I wanted to thank him, but I didn't touch him. He comes straight up to me and blames me for it." Angle said, "so this is like the fifth time he confronted me about it in about a month, so I shoved him. I just wanted to see what he would do. And he didn't do anything, so I shoved him again and he double-legs me. I mean, you could've sucker punched me, but he double-legs me. And I'm like, 'he did not just try to double-leg an Olympic gold medalist, so I laid the hips into him and then I started choking him out nice and slow."
Angle said Guerrero was not ready to accept Angle's apology right away and that the two were like brothers.
"Now, Eddie and I got in a fight and I wanted to make amends with him and you know Eddie has a temper, so five minutes after that fight, I walk in, I said, 'I'm sorry, Eddie.' I say, 'I'm sorry about what happened.' He goes, 'I'm not ready yet.' Oh, God! So I go, 'you what?' He goes, 'I'm not ready to be sorry,' so I push him again! I want to fight this poor kid. He doesn't want to double-leg me again, so he's just standing there and JBL got in between us. So I tried to call him that night and he wasn't ready again, but the next week, he came to me and apologized and we both made up. And Eddie and I were brothers. My brother Eric and I, we fought all the time, so I didn't mind. I mean, I knew Eddie was very much like my brother, Eric, had a temper, and was going to let it fly ever once in a while and we would get over it and we did. Eddie got mad at me a million times, but knowing he was exactly like my brother, Eric, okay, we can forgive each other the next day and move on. But the whole, 'I'm not ready yet,' I wanted to kick his butt."
Angle shared that his WrestleMania 21 match with Michaels was his favorite WrestleMania match he had been in.
"I always wanted to wrestle him after I saw the match [Jericho] and Shawn Michaels had at WrestleMania. Like, I literally, I was pissed off because I didn't watch [Jericho's] match against Shawn at WrestleMania 19 and I was like, 'me and Brock stole the show' and then, the next day I'm watching it, I'm like, 'son of a b---h, those guys had a better match than us. Damn it!' I was like, 'son of a b---h!' I said, 'well, it was Jericho and Shawn.' I was like, 'I already wrestled Jericho. I got to wrestle Shawn' and I did at WrestleMania 21."
The man who professed to being 'just a sexy Kurt', stated that he and 'Mr. WrestleMania' did not touch before their match.
"Usually you wrestle guys several times to get to know each other and the thing is, Shawn didn't want to do anything that week. He just wanted to sit down to get to know me. We went over one spot where I had to lift him up over my head. He had an armbar on me and I had to, yeah, sunset flip. Other than that, we didn't do anything and it was like, 'does he really think he's that good?' Well, yeah, he is that good. We talked about the comeback and finish, which we always do, but other than that, the thing is, I never locked up with him. Like, you don't get a feel. You want to get a feel for him, maybe do a couple of spots. He didn't want to do anything. So it was like I got to know his family really well, he got to know mine, but Pat [Patterson] was there and he just let us B.S. and we did come up with some good false finishes like everybody does at WrestleMania. I just didn't think I'd have that type of chemistry with someone that quickly."
Angle had high praise for Michaels, calling 'The Heartbreak Kid' the best pro wrestler he has ever worked, though he wished he had the opportunity to wrestle WWE Hall Of Famer Ric Flair and Bret Hart in their primes.
"When you talk about that top three, yeah, it's close. [Michaels is number one] for me too, me too. Well, I'm not going to lie to you, I wish I would have wrestled Ric Flair in his prime and Bret Hart in his prime. I did, so I have to say Shawn Michaels is the best."
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Source: Talk Is Jericho