Kurt Angle has lifted the lid on the match he had with Brock Lesnar for New Japan Pro Wrestling when Angle defeated Lesnar for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
After Brock Lesnar’s first WWE run came to an end in 2004, ‘The Beast Incarnate’ went to Japan for some lucrative matches. In his first match, he defeated reigning IWGP Champion Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono for the title. Lesnar then defended the title against Giant Bernard, Akebono, and current WWE Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura.
In July 2006, Lesnar was officially stripped of the championship reportedly for ‘visa issues.’ NJPW went on to crown Hiroshi Tanahashi as their new champion but Lesnar still held the physical belt. In 2007 for Antonio Inoki’s new IGF promotion, Lesnar returned to Japan where he lost what was now known as the IWGP Third Belt Title to Kurt Angle.
Speaking on The Kurt Angle Show [available via AdFreeShows.com], the Olympic gold medallist detailed what went in to making that match happen. According to Angle, he was handpicked by Lesnar to beat him.
“So he brought me over [to Japan], right, and did the job for me, and then he wanted to have the rematch [laughs] because he wanted to make more money. Brock is all about money, and he is a very stern businessman. Everything is revolved around money for him. It’s money first, passion second.”
“Well, Brock did approach me about working with him in Japan, and I ended up going over for NJPW, and I had a match with Brock. We had a phenomenal match over there, and I won the world title from him, NJPW, New Japan Pro Wrestling world title.”
The match wound up being Lesnar’s last bout until his WWE return in 2012. Angle says that originally Lesnar wanted a rematch that would have brought in a healthy payday for both men:
“You know, Brock, after the match, Brock said, ‘Hey, when we do the press conference’ because they always have huge press conferences before and after the matches,” Angle added. “And he said, ‘When you have the press conference, and we are sitting up there in front of the press, tell them you want a rematch with me.’ Well, I didn’t know at the time, but I heard Brock was making a ton of money on these matches. He was a remaining champion as long as he could, and then they wanted to take the title off of him. So, he wanted to do the match, but he wouldn’t do it with just anybody. So, he told New Japan, ‘Bring Kurt Angle over; I’ll do the job for him.'”
Kurt Angle held the IWGP Third Belt Title until February 2008. He had successfully defended the championship against Samoa Joe and Yuji Nagata before losing a title unification match to Shinsuke Nakamura.