Reviews

TJR Review of WWE Untold: Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon at WWE King of the Ring 2001 (Includes Match Review)

This is a special retro review column here on TJRWrestling where I’m going to review WWE’s “WWE Untold” documentary on WWE Network that is covering the Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon match at King of the Ring 2001.

I’m going to begin with a review of the match itself and then go into the documentary. This was Angle’s third match on the show after he beat Christian in the King of the Ring tournament and then he lost to Edge in the finals. Those two matches took about 20 minutes, so Kurt wrestled for nearly one hour on this show.

Angle faced Shane McMahon in the second last match of the night. Angle was a heel while Shane was a face that had bought WCW. Their roles would change soon after this. Anyway, here’s the match.

WWF King of the Ring
June 24, 2001
Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey

Shane McMahon entered first to his “Here Comes the Money” theme song with the crowd giving him a solid reaction. Kurt Angle was next for his third match of the night. The announcers for this match were Jim Ross and Paul Heyman.

Street Fight: Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon

Angle with a tackle followed by a waistlock takedown. Shane tried to get going, but Angle knocked him back down with a knee to the ribs two times in a row. Shane came back with a leg lock takedown and an arm drag with Shane leaving the ring to take a break. Angle had a small cut above his eye. Angle dared Shane to try a takedown leading to Angle rolling through and punching Shane repeatedly. Angle with a gutwrench suplex followed by a belly to belly suplex. Angle worked over Shane with hard forearms to the face. Angle dared Shane to try to take him down again, but this time Shane kicked Angle in the ribs. Shane with a jumping elbow smash, two clotheslines and Angle did a waistlock takedown. Shane managed to send Angle out of the ring. Angle chased Shane while they were on the floor, Shane went to the barricade and Shane hit a back elbow. Shane followed up with a clothesline off the barricade onto Angle on the floor. Shane hit Angle with a kendo stick to the ribs followed by kendo stick shots to the back, but Angle shoved Shane back first into the ring post. Shane gave Angle a clothesline over the barricade and into the crowd. Shane with an arm drag that sent Angle into the barricade. Shane with a running shoulder tackle that sent Angle back first into the steel steps. Shane kept going for pin attempts, but Angle powered out every time. Shane tossed some trash cans into the ring along with a board and a street sign. Shane worked over Angle’s back with a street sign followed by a jumping shot to the head with a street sign. Angle missed an enziguri kick and Shane slapped on an ankle lock, but Angle kicked him to get out of it. Angle missed a corner charge leading to Shane hitting a DDT. Shane attempted a Sharpshooter, he did not apply it very well, but it was good enough that Angle was selling it. Angle managed to get to the ropes to break the hold, Shane held on and Angle broke the hold with a kendo stick shot to the back. Angle tried an attack with the kendo stick, but Shane avoided it and worked over Angle with a punch combo leading to a two count. Shane hit Angle in the head with a trash can followed by Shane hitting Angle in the ribs with the trash can two times. Shane put the trash can on Kurt, who held the trash can, then Shane jumped off with a Shooting Star Press, but Angle moved and Shane went ribs first into the trash can. The fans chanted “Holy Shit” for that as Angle got a two count.

Angle picked up Shane and dumped him over the top to the floor. They went up the aisle with Angle whipping Shane into the barricade. Shane countered a suplex into a suplex of his own. That’s a spot where Angle has talked about where he thought he broke his tailbone when his butt hit the floor. You could tell Kurt was in a lot of pain from that. They got into a slugfest where they exchanged punches followed by some beam that was holding up the King of the Ring staging area. They went over to the entrance area where they were on the concrete floor in front of the “KOR” glass. Angle gave Shane a belly to belly into that glass, it did not break and Shane landed ON HIS HEAD~! You can hear the “thud” noise when Shane’s head hit the cement. Absolutely fucking brutal landing. The referee Mike Chioda checked on Shane and Angle was checking on him too. The glass was supposed to break according to Angle, who said it was supposed to be sugar glass (which is breakable and is used in movies), but they had plexiglass there because somebody didn’t put the right glass. Angle gave Shane another belly to belly suplex that put him through the glass. Shane was bleeding hardway on the top of his head. There was another glass there, so Angle went for another suplex into the glass and once again it did not break! Shane landed hard on his head, but this time Angle did a nice job of catching him before he hit the cement hard again. Angle tried a belly to belly suplex again, but the glass did not break and Angle caught him on the landing. Angle had enough of that, so he just whipped Shane through the glass. Shane was a bloody mess with the fans chanting “Holy Shit” about what happened. Damn right that “Holy Shit” chant is deserved. Angle tried to pin Shane to end it, but Chioda told him the match had to end in the ring. Angle had blood all over his arms. Angle could barely walk because of the broken tailbone. Angle grabbed an equipment case, he picked Shane up, put him across the case and rolled Shane towards the ring.

They went back into the ring with Angle covering for a two count. That drew a good pop from the crowd because Shane appeared to be out of it. Angle went for a trash can lid attack, but Shane countered with a punch to the groin. Shane hit Angle in the head with the trash can lid three times and Shane hit the Angle Slam (or Olympic Slam) for a two count with both men looking exhausted. Angle, who could barely move because of the tailbone injury, gave Shane the catapult into the turnbuckle. Angle grabbed a board and hit Shane in the back three times. Angle set up the board on the top rope, he stood on it, Chioda held the board to help keep their balance and Angle hit the Angle Slam off the top (off the board) and the fans chanted “Holy Shit” chants again. Angle covered with his left arm across the chest of Shane for the pinfall win at 26:05.

Winner by pinfall: Kurt Angle

Angle had his arm raised as the winner. JR said the match was amazing and it was absolutely off the page. Heyman put over Shane for taking the fight to Angle.

Analysis: ****1/2 What a match. Absolutely crazy. The first ten minutes or so weren’t that wild, but then it really picked up in the middle portion of the match and the finish was very creative. That was a very intense brawl with several scary moments for both guys. I’m amazed at how impressive Angle was in his third match of the night while Shane more than held his own against Angle, who was arguably the best wrestler in the company at this point. The spots with the glass by the entrance were brutal to watch in 2001 and it’s tough to watch again nearly 20 years later. I admire the guts of both guys although if they had stopped the match when Shane’s head bounced off the concrete the first time, that would have been understandable. If it was 2019 I think the match would have stopped there. Angle getting the win made sense since he was a full timer, but I think Shane showed his toughness by doing as well as he did in this match. You know how some matches get “Holy Shit” chants for spots where they probably don’t deserve it? These guys deserved it. I wouldn’t call it a match of the year contender because there were so many great WWF matches in 2001 (Austin/Rock and TLC 2 at WM17 come to mind), but it was one of the most memorable matches in WWF history.

Angle ended up with a cracked tailbone. It wasn’t broken. He was back in the ring wrestling regularly 15 days later because he wrestled Booker T on the July 7 edition of Raw. It’s amazing that he was back in action that quickly after having this brutal match.

That’s the match. Let’s get to WWE’s documentary about it.

Review of WWE Untold on Angle vs. McMahon

The documentary featured comments form the combatants and others talking on the phone as clips/images were shown.

Shane McMahon spoke about the adrenaline in the match. Kurt Angle said that they had a lot to prove. Angle said that they weren’t the main event, but they should have been. Bruce Prichard talked about the sheer brutality of the match. Mike Chioda said that Shane wanted to prove anything and show that he belonged in there.

There were clips shown from the start of the storyline with Shane McMahon, who was the face, interrupting a Kurt Angle, the heel, medal ceremony. Prichard said it was about Shane as the boss’ son that wanted to prove he can compete against somebody as good as Angle. Shane put over Angle as a huge success. A clip aired of Angle challenging Shane to a Street Fight during a promo on Smackdown.

It was mentioned by Prichard that they wanted to do a different match, so that’s why they did a Street Fight. Angle said that Al Snow helped put the match together and he was phenomenal. Snow talked about how he was flattered to be asked by them to help with the match, so he worked with Shane to get him ready and Kurt would drop in as well. Snow talked about Shane wanting to learn about the Shooting Star Press, Snow was impressed by it and Shane learned it. They used it in the match as well.

Shane talked about how the idea with him costing Christian the match against Angle was to tire out Angle before his match. Angle said he didn’t prepare for the matches with Christian and Edge. Shane also cost Angle the match against Edge when there was a ref bump. Angle said going into the match, he was confident they would have a really good match.

Angle spoke about how early in the match, Shane punched him and bloodied him, so Kurt needed about six stitches. They talked about the spot where Shane gave Kurt a suplex in the aisle. Angle said that he thought he broke his tailbone with Chioda saying he didn’t know Angle had broken his tailbone. Angle said that it was cracked, but not broken off.

Shane talked about how Angle went for the belly to belly through the glass and Shane claimed that part of that was because Kurt didn’t have his usual power. Angle said that the problem with that is he had to arch his hips to get him through the glass, but he couldn’t do it because of the pain. Angle mentioned that it was the wrong glass. Prichard also mentioned the glass was reinforced because of the pyro that they used at the start of the show. Shane said everybody sounded like Charlie Brown for a second doing the “womp womp” thing. Angle said it was so loud and the fans reacted to it. Shane said he called him a wuss (for lack of a better word) and Angle gave Shane another belly to belly suplex that broke the glass. That’s when Shane started beating heavily.

Prichard talked about how Vince McMahon wanted the match to be stopped. Prichard said that he instructed the referee to tell them not to do it again. Angle tried to send Shane through the glass again, but it didn’t work two times and Angle threw Shane threw the glass. Prichard said that Vince wanted to strangle him because he was pissed off. Chioda said that he told Angle not to put Shane through the glass because Mike could hear Vince yelling at him. Chioda claimed that he asked Angle if he heard him, but Kurt claimed he couldn’t hear well out of that ear.

They went back to the ring where Shane kicked out of the pin attempt by Angle. Shane talked about how you could hear the crowd really get into it and it was such a great feeling. Angle set up the plywood board, then Chioda said that he grabbed the board to hold it because otherwise, they would collapse in the ring. That’s when Angle hit an Angle Slam on Shane off the top rope. Shane talked about how he was way up there because it was a high-angle Angle Slam. Shane said when Chioda counted the three, Shane heard Angle say something like “thank God” that it was over and Shane laughed about it. Prichard said he was thankful that the match was over.

Angle said that he didn’t see Vince, but he knew Vince was pissed off. Shane said that his dad wasn’t there because he had to excuse himself to cool off. Shane said he was in the trainer’s room with Kurt having beers and they were laughing about how they had to go to the hospital. Shane said that it was a special moment.

Angle talked about he’s glad he did a match like that because it’s one of those matches he never did. Angle said that he was very proud of the match. Al Snow said that he was honored and proud to help them with it. Chioda said that he was proud to be a part of the match. Prichard was also proud while saying that these guys created this memory that people will never forget. Shane said that the match was something that led to him bonding with Kurt because they entertained the fans and that was the ultimate goal. Shane said, “what a ride” to end it.

That was the end of the documentary after 20 minutes.

Analysis: That was really good. I like that they mentioned the sugar glass thing while Bruce Prichard also went into more details about why the glass didn’t break easily. It was cool to hear the perspective of Kurt and Shane obviously, but also to learn more about the match from Chioda, Prichard and Snow because they all had a part in it. Chioda’s role was important especially for the finish of the match because he was there to steady the board for the Angle Slam spot. If he didn’t do that, it could have been a disastrous fall for both guys off the top rope. I could also tell from the comments from Kurt and Shane that this was one of the favorite matches they ever had. As Shane said, they had a bond after this because of what they went through. I can believe it because it was quite the spectacle.

I would have loved to hear from Vince McMahon about what he was feeling during the match because of how brutal it was. Vince doesn’t appear on these types of shoes, though, so that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

I’m a huge fan of WWE shining the spotlight on a historical match like this. They need to do this kind of programming more often because fans are always clamoring for more info about matches or big storylines. This was from the Attitude Era, so a lot more people were watching back then too, which will make something like this more of a popular topic.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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