Kurt Angle walked into the 2003 Royal Rumble as the WWE Champion and faced Chris Benoit in the penultimate match of the pay-per-view. In a quick-paced, hard-fought 20-minute match, Angle came out victorious and retained the title.
In a recent interview with Forbes, Kurt Angle revealed that the match with Chris Benoit at Royal Rumble 2003 was his favorite match. He spoke about the crowd reaction as well as the backstage reaction, including Triple H's comments about his performance.
"After I won, Team Angle came out, we celebrated and I walked out of the ring. The fans stood and gave Chris a standing ovation for 15 minutes, and it was a PPV Vince McMahon let it go, and the fans appreciating Chris showed us how good that match was. Even Triple H came up to me afterwards, I was only in the business three years at the time, and he said, 'You just raised the bar.' I didn't know how good the match was. I thought it was okay. Now when I watch it, I’m like, 'Oh my gosh, this thing's a masterpiece.' To have someone like Triple H telling you that you raise the bar, that's a huge compliment."
Triple H also wrestled at the 2003 edition of the Royal Rumble, where he faced Scott Steiner with his World Heavyweight Championship on the line.
Triple H and Kurt Angle's feuds in WWE
Triple H and Kurt Angle had a number of feuds in WWE, as early as 2000, when the two were in a storyline also involving Stephanie McMahon. Angle recently spoke about the infamous storyline and also opened up on why the angle was dropped.
The two WWE legends feuded again in 2002, before reigniting their rivalry in 2018, when they were in a mixed tag team match at WrestleMania 34.