Kurt Angle recently detailed his legendary match at WrestleMania 21, revealing that he and Shawn Michaels deliberately started the bout off slow.
Speaking on a recent episode of ‘The Kurt Angle Show’, the ‘Olympic Gold Medalist’ recalled the first moments of the legendary match against HBK and credits Pat Paterson for helping lay out the psychological aspect of the legendary match:
“I think that we wanted to lay out a good psychological story. We wanted to, even though we were jumping each other – one thing Pat Patterson always told us was ‘if you get jumped backstage, or a week prior to your match, it doesn’t mean you have to jump-start the match. It means you and him are gonna go one-on-one like real men and wrestle it out for the victory.’ So no matter if someone attacks you and you say ‘I’m not gonna go out there and lock up with him, he attacked me, and I’m gonna attack him back in that ring’.
Pat Patterson had a great concept. Y’know, a great psychology about ‘beating him like a man’ and that means to out-wrestle them. Shawn and I had that concept in our head, we had that idea that we wanted to prove to each other who the better wrestler was, not the better brawler, so that’s why we did what we did.”
The match, which took place April 2, 2005, would be the first encounter between Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels. The slow, methodical beginning of the match would build to a heated battle between the pair, with both men leaving it all in the ring. The near half hour tussle would go down as one of the greatest matches in all of WrestleMania history. Many colossal moments from the bout are still a part of modern day highlight reels, with Angle himself admitting it is the greatest performance he has ever given.
During the course of the conversation with podcast host Conrad Thompson, Kurt also revealed that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon left the fate of the evening in the hands of the performers:
“Vince left it up to us. I was surprised, I didn’t know that’s what he did. When I met with Shawn four days before WrestleMania, we went to ‘hotel party room’ where they had a ring set-up and you would structure the matches. Shawn came to me and said, ‘We don’t have a finish for WrestleMania, but I think you should go over by tap out and this is why. I think you’re going to do a program with Batista and we need to make you look really strong. I was like, wow, Shawn Michaels just told me he was going to do a job for me, I was pleasantly surprised and didn’t know if he was serious. It showed me that he respected me. And, he knew we would have an incredible match and it wouldn’t matter whether he won or lost.”
Kurt Angle would ultimately have his hand raised at the end of the night. However, this performance would help cement both men’s legacy as two of professional wrestling’s all time greats.
Credit for Interview: The Kurt Angle Show