Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin wasn’t Angle’s first idea for a retirement match, but Vince McMahon wanted it anyway.
Kurt Angle is one of the most decorated and beloved WWE superstars of the past 25 years. He had a Hall of Fame-worthy career and exceled in every aspect of being a superstar, whether that meant in-ring work, promo skills, and running the gambit from comedy to being serious.
But when the time came for Angle to have his retirement match, he and Vince McMahon had different ideas.
On a recent episode of the A2theK Wrestling Show, Kurt Angle explained that his initial choice was Jason Jordan to coincide with the big angle that Jordan was Angle’s long-lost son. But Vince McMahon nixed that idea and put Baron Corbin in Jordan’s position instead.
Kurt Angle still wasn’t feeling it and suggested John Cena as a replacement instead in a symbolic reference to Cena’s first SmackDown match with Angle from June 2002. But again, Vince had other ideas.
“Vince decided to put Baron Corbin in Jason [Jordan’s] position. I didn’t know I was going to retire at WrestleMania, but I felt like I was losing a step. I wasn’t able to be the Kurt Angle I expected myself to be, so, I decided I was going to retire at that WrestleMania against Baron.
But, I called Vince, and I said, ‘Listen, no disrespect to Baron. I love the kid, I think he’s talented as heck, but I’d really love to wrestle John Cena’ … Vince said, ‘You know what? No, because you’re doing a program with Baron Corbin. You have to finish this program.’”