Kurt Angle has discussed beating Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson for his first-ever WWE Championship in October 2000 at No Mercy.
The Olympic gold medallist was in conversation on The Kurt Angle Show podcast about his rookie year in WWE. Less than one year after Angle’s debut in the company, he would defeat The Rock for the WWE’s biggest prize. Utilising his Angle Slam, Kurt Angle would pin The Rock in the main event of the No Mercy pay-per-view.
Discussing the lead-up to the match with co-host Conrad Thompson, Angle noted his surprise at the position he was about to be put in.
“The Rock told me five days before [that Kurt would be winning the belt], at a Smackdown. I wasn’t expecting that, because the last four months, the last four pay-per-views, I lost. I lost four straight pay-per-views and didn’t see any wins in the near future.
It was really surprising to know I was going to be world champion after I just did four ‘jobs’ at four different pay-per-views. But they were all enhancement matches, they were all with big names. I was affiliated with those big names, so it kept me in the limelight to some degree, even though I wasn’t a dominating heel – I was getting beat. But at the same time, The Rock made me world champion. I mean that guy, this match that we had was so important to me, and he didn’t have any problem with doing the job. I really enjoyed working with him and he was awesome, he was very giving.”
Kurt Angle would hold the championship for four months before losing it back to The Rock at No Way Out 2001. Angle’s most notorious title defence in this reign came when he successfully held on to his title in a six-man Hell In A Cell. That match included Angle, The Rock, The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H and Rikishi.
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