Why Kurt Angle vs. Rusev now needs to happen at WrestleMania
Kurt Angle and Rusev need to be put on a collision course for Orlando.
Following the recent announcement that Kurt Angle is set to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, fans around the world began discussing the possibility of one more match for the Olympic hero. A variety of different names for opponents have been thrown around, however, there's one that stands out above the rest.
We are, of course, talking about the Bulgarian Brute Rusev. For what feels like a lifetime, people have pondered about the possibility of the former United States Champion taking Angle on at WrestleMania, with the natural storyline of the USA vs. evil foreigner seeming like the clear way to go.
However, as the months and years went on since Rusev's debut, the hope of an Angle-Rusev showdown began to diminish. That was until this past week when Angle's return to the company was met with about as much buzz as you could have anticipated when it comes to a topic of this magnitude.
After all, it's a standard stereotype for fans to speculate about dream matches once a legend comes back through the doors.
First off, when it comes to other opponents, who do you go for? There have been rumours that Kurt wants AJ Styles to be his last match but we've already seen that a handful of times in TNA, and it seems as if WWE has different plans lined up for The Phenomenal one leading into WrestleMania 33.
Plus, once someone is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, we very rarely see them compete inside the squared circle again. It feels like the end of a career-long book, with the final chapter often being one last match.
That is the send off the Olympic Gold medalist deserves, and given that he started with World Wrestling Entertainment that is where he should finish it all.
Then you just have to look at how far Rusev has fallen in the last two years. After a featured match against John Cena at WrestleMania 31, the booking of the monster heel hasn't been as solid as everyone was hoping.
He's reclaimed the United States Championship and had a big feud with Roman Reigns, but aside from that, there aren't too many noteworthy things that you can associate Rusev with in the WWE.
So the big question remains - is this the last chance to pull this match off? In twelve months who knows how far down the card Rusev will be, meanwhile, logically it just makes no sense whatsoever for Angle to wait at least another twelve months before returning to in-ring action.
Rusev's abilities as far as the actual wrestling goes are at an all time high, meanwhile, Kurt's history with injuries is well-documented and he's better off not risking any more injuries on the independent circuit between now and WrestleMania 34.
So with Rusev's star shining and Angle's fading into the sunset - one of the important factors left to talk about is the setting. Orlando, Florida. The place where Kurt ironically spent so many years with TNA in addition to making appearances there with WWE.
On that warm night at the Citrus Bowl as the sun begins to go down during WM33, there isn't a much better storybook ending in which Angle can put the full stop on his legendary career.
Plus, it could even signal the start of pastures new. Just down the road from the stadium is the WWE Performance Center, and the idea of Angle taking on a role there as a coach will actively excite fans who are looking towards the future. In terms of passing on the torch, just think about how many start-up careers could be improved by the presence of a former WWE Champion.
Then you have to consider what else there is left for Kurt to do from an in-ring standpoint. He's won multiple titles, been a top heel in addition to a great babyface, raised the profile of another company in the form of TNA and has brought great exposure to a number of promotions on the indies.
Given that his abilities have declined substantially in the last few years, it should be considered important for the guy to go out on top while he still has both his dignity and health. If you need an example of what happens when you lose that, look towards Ric Flair.
Finally, and most crucially - it just makes sense. We alluded to the character traits before, but my God this is just a perfect story when you consider the two men involved. Rusev, the human tank that represents everything Americans hate when it comes to foreign heels. Angle, the wrestling machine who dons the red white and blue because he loves his country and will die to protect it.
The promo package is sitting there just waiting to be made, and the world is watching. Make it happen, Vince.
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