Kurt Angle recently discussed his legendary match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 21, claiming Vince McMahon left the fate of the bout in the performers’ hands.
On April 2, 2005, Angle and Michaels would face off in what is considered one of the all time great WrestleMania matches. Recalling the match on a recent episode of The Kurt Angle Show, ‘The Olympic Gold Medalist’ remembers the WWE Chairman giving the legends complete creative control and Michaels deciding to put Angle over:
“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.
I 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 would wrestle again because there weren’t any plans for us to wrestle after that.”
The match would be the first, but not last, time Angle and Michaels were to face one another in the squared circle with the latter allegedly telling Kurt he was not afraid of him prior to the clash. The match, which lasted a near half hour, became PWI’s ‘2005 Match of the Year’ and Angle himself has described it as the best outing he has ever had.
Away from being the greatest match of Angle’s career according to the star, it was also the most financially rewarding. In an early episode of his podcast, Kurt revealed that the bout was his highest paid outing:
“My match with Shawn Michaels was my biggest payday, at WrestleMania 21. I think because it was a featured match and it was Shawn and myself. No title on the line, so we weren’t main eventing, but it was a dream match and I think that that’s the reason why Vince paid me more for that match than any of the other matches. You know I main evented WrestleMania 19, sort of WrestleMania 20 because I was in a World Title match and WrestleMania 22 which I was in a World Title match, but they weren’t on last, very last. But I made the same money on all three of those main events. But Shawn’s match I made a little bit more.”
Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle would face each other several times in 2005. Following their match at WrestleMania, the pair met at Vengeance and also battled it out in an Iron Man match on Monday Night Raw. However, no match would be as legendary as their bout on ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All.’
Credit for the interview: The Kurt Angle Show
h/t for the transcription: Fightful