During the latest episode of The Kurt Angle Show Podcast, Kurt Angle covered WrestleMania 21 where he wrestled Shawn Michaels in a match regarded by many as the best match of the night. Angle said the decision on who would win the match was left up to himself and Michaels by Vince McMahon.
“Vince left it up to us,” Angle said. “I didn’t know that he did, what happened was when I met with Shawn 4 days before WrestleMania we went to the place where they structured the matches, and Shawn came to me and said ‘Hey, we don’t have a finish for WrestleMania but I think you should go over by tap out. I think you’re going to do a program with Batista, we need to make you look strong.’ I was like wow, Shawn Michaels just basically said he’s going to do a job for me. I was pleasantly surprised, didn’t know if he was serious but it showed me that he respected me and he knew we would have an incredible match and he knew it wouldn’t matter if he won or lost.”
“I do understand the program with Batista which never happened, but I’m sure it was supposed to. Shawn just decided to let me win without the guarantee that we were going to wrestle again. There weren’t any plans we were going to wrestle after that. Not at that point.”
Angle said the match between him and Michaels was the first time in his carer he felt like he actually put on a classic match. He said even when he won the gold medal, he didn’t feel like the accomplishment was complete because he wrestled with a broken neck.
“It was the first time in my life that I said I nailed this,” Angle said. “I didn’t feel that way at the Olympics because I was not healthy, my neck was broken. My match with Chris Benoit [at Royal Rumble 2003], I just had knee surgery, I thought I was rusty in the ring. My match with Undertaker at No Way Out 2006, those two matches, that and Shawn’s match are my three favorites. I didn’t feel that way in either match because I had a broken neck when I wrestled Undertaker and I just didn’t think I was 100%.
“With Shawn, I think I nailed the match. It was the first time I said this match is close to being perfect. All the stars aligned and everything went our way, it was an incredible match and I was very proud of it. I knew I nailed it and knew it would be considered one of my greatest matches of all time and possibly the greatest match of all time.”
Angle noted that Pat Patterson produced the match and was very happy at the result of the match. He said Patterson was moved to tears and was someone who paid close attention to anything that involved himself, Shawn Michaels and The Rock.
“Pat was over the moon about it,” Angle said. “He was crying. Pat was an emotional guy especially when you had an incredible match and he knew how hard we worked on this match and what we wanted to accomplish. Shawn and Me and The Rock were his three favorite wrestlers, Pat took an extra interest in us and cared about us a little bit more than the other wrestlers. He worked with the guys he really enjoyed working with.”
Angle also talked about heading backstage after the match was over and hearing Vince McMahon’s reaction. He said Vince told him he was the best, even though they were having some issues between each other at that time.
“Vince and I were not fighting, but having some arguments over certain things,” Angle said. “He forgot about it that night and he gave me a big hug and said ‘I’m so proud of you.’ That meant a lot to me because I was struggling through some things at the time and Vince wasn’t happy with me, I made a lot of mistakes. For him to say forget about it tonight, let’s just celebrate what you accomplished. He said you are the best.”
Angle referred to Michaels as one of the best wrestlers he’s ever been in the ring with. He only said that AJ Styles was the only other person that compared to Michaels and would be able to carry the “best of all time” honor as well.
“AJ and Shawn both deserve the top honors for being two of the best of all time,” Angle said. “AJ, not being so much in the WWE all these years but what he was able to produce in TNA and what he was able to produce in WWE, gives him the right to be up there. Working both of them doesn’t matter how many times I worked with them, I worked with AJ 300 times, Shawn only three.
“They made you look better than you are and when you wrestled them, you had the night off. If you wanted to work extra hard, you could work extra hard but they did everything for you. AJ and Shawn just had a great psychology and they were incredible athletes. They laid it out in the ring every single time. They were two of the best I ever wrestled.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Kurt Angle Show Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.