Kurt Angle Recalls His First Match With John Cena

When John Cena returns to "WWE Monday Night Raw" this evening, it will mark the 20th anniversary of Cena's first-ever televised match in WWE. That match took place on "WWE SmackDown" and saw Cena come up short in a competitive contest against future WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle, kickstarting a run that would lead to 16 world championships and a few blockbuster movie roles for Cena.

In an interview with TV Insider, Angle spoke about the match with Cena, and how then-WWE Chairman Vince McMahon reacted to it afterward.

"He said 'Great stuff,'" Angle revealed. "'You guys had a great match. This was a great debut for John.' He patted me on the back."

Angle also discussed a short conversation he had with Cena following the match.

"All I said was, 'You stepped up tonight. It was a great match,'" Angle said. "He said 'Thank you, Mr. Angle, for working with me. I really do appreciate it.' He was very respectful. I knew this kid was very special from the first time I got in the ring and after I got done wrestling him, I knew he would be a huge star down the road."

The match would ultimately be the first of several Angle and Cena would have over the years, with the two notably feuding over Cena's WWE Championship in the late summer/early fall of 2005. In their final major singles match, Angle defeated Cena in a non-title First Blood match on the January 2, 2006 episode of "Monday Night Raw."

While it's unknown what Cena will be doing in his return to "Raw", he has recently teased feuds with both Kevin Owens and the current WWE United States Champion Theory, who has openly expressed interest in facing Cena over the last few months.