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Why WWE should have kept Kurt Angle's return a secret

WWE should not have revealed the Olympic gold medallist would be returning to action.

ANALYST
Feature 21 Oct 2017, 16:22 IST
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For the first time in 11 years, Kurt Angle will step into a WWE ring.

Kurt Angle is going to be wrestling at TLC this Sunday!

OK, so it’s no secret, but my question is, why? Why was this not one of the biggest surprises of the year? Why announce it two days before the event is due to take place? I understand the card is subject to change — that’s part and parcel of being a wrestling fan, but don’t spoil what could have been a roof-raising moment in a news article.

Before I go on, I must say that I hope Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns get the treatment they need and recover quickly from the viral meningitis that they have been infected by. I have full confidence that WWE will take whatever precautions are necessary to ensure the safety and the well-being of all their talents.

Which brings me to my first point: WWE released a statement regarding the illness and the absence of two of their top stars from the WWE TLC event. They did this to explain the impact of the illness on their superstars and to promote the event so the fans will not be as disappointed that their favourite stars won’t be there.

Eat, sleep, make Reigns look strong, repeat.
Eat, sleep, make Reigns look strong, repeat.

Roman Reigns is considered by WWE and its backstage officials to be the top guy in the company, the face of the company, so they see losing him as being a hefty blow to their show, which is quite understandable. Especially as it was rumoured that the 5 on 3 match was designed to make "the Big Dog" look extremely strong. No change there…

Bray Wyatt missing the event is also a big shock to the company as they have been building the showdown with Finn Balor’s Demon for weeks, as Sister Abigail has morphed herself into Wyatt’s body supposedly. She’s been using him as a host I think…but whatever, it’s a knock to the storyline and a big part of the pay-per-view is in jeopardy.

With AJ Styles taking his place, you can understand them announcing this. It was common knowledge that Bray was not well if you read the dirtsheets and it was probably expected that he would miss the pay-per-view if he was not ready to wrestle.


AJ
AJ Styles takes Bray Wyatt's place at TLC.

Also, AJ Styles wrestles every week. Not only this, but he also doesn’t have a championship at the moment; it’s a bit of a dream match despite the lack of build-up, and I have to be honest, it has made me curious to see what will happen and I think the announcement will encourage people to tune in.

However, the same can’t be said for Kurt Angle. Don’t get me wrong, I am a massive Kurt Angle fan and I cannot wait to see him in action. It’s been 11 long years and I’ve wanted to see him don his legendary singlet and gumshield since his return to the company.

I've been looking forward to this...
I've been looking forward to this...

The news has already hit several outlets that have a large audience such as SportBible and I can see that WWE wanted to announce this to drive TLC viewership. It’s a strategy that will work too, I mean let’s face it, it will bring old school fans in too, as Goldberg did when he returned.

Nevertheless, from a regular viewer’s standpoint, this should have been kept a major secret. Now you could argue that it’s nearly impossible to keep a secret in the wrestling industry nowadays will all the wrestling news outlets and dirt sheets so you might as well announce it yourself before anyone else finds out.

But, WWE have shown that they can still surprise us, such as when Jericho returned at the Royal Rumble and no-one had a clue. The same could be said for the more recent return of Kane. It caught my attention, whereas if it had been announced, I probably would not have been as bothered.

It makes wrestling history when an unannounced return happens. The Undertaker has done it many times to great ovations as has Chris Jericho.

The reveal of Kurt could have been epic...
The reveal of Kurt could have been epic...

Picture this, The Shield come to the ring sans Roman Reigns and cut a promo about how their fellow Hound of Justice can’t be with them due to the reasons outlined earlier in the article. They then announce a mystery guest partner and Kurt Angle’s music plays.

Can you imagine the reaction?

WWE would certainly have enough B-roll to show in future promotional videos which show the WWE Universe in shock under the “anything can happen” mantra the WWE lives by. Yes, anything can happen, but they usually announce it before anyone can be surprised.

It’s a shame that the lost art of keeping a secret creates such a negative outlook on what is really great news. The Olympic Gold Medalist is returning to the ring to kick ass and take names and best of all, he’ll be backed up by The Shield.

Further to the point that his return should have been kept secret, it gives people, especially people like me, a chance to think of the negatives that are coming out of the news, rather than the positive of seeing one of my favourite wrestlers lace up their boots one more time

After the excitement died down I got to thinking about the opponents Kurt Angle will be going up against. None of them screams of a dream match that Kurt Angle should have been built for at a big pay-per-view such as Survivor Series, Royal Rumble or better yet, WrestleMania.

Angle has unfinished business with WWE's finest
Angle has unfinished business with WWE's finest

Going against old foes such as AJ Styles, Triple H, Samoa Joe or Brock Lesnar with some form of build and feud would have been much more exciting than watching him go up against a mismatched team of Miz, Strowman, DABARRR!! (Cesaro and Sheamus – The Bar) and Kane — "the Big Red Machine".

Furthermore, it devalues The Shield for me, as I see them as a rebel group. They dance on the line of what’s right and what’s wrong in the name of justice. I know, that sounds like a blurb to a Marvel series, but it’s true. And now, they’re teaming up with a man who represents authority.

What reason is Kurt fighting for? He has literally no real reason to be in this match. It would have been much more beneficial to have someone who’s been wronged by Miz or The Bar recently such as Matt Hardy. That would have been a good addition and a chance to move him fully into his #WOKEN character.

You may have other ideas, but the point remains that Kurt Angle just isn’t the right fit for this match.

In covering these points, I must stress that none of this would have gone through my mind if Kurt Angle had just shown up on Sunday as the mystery partner. It would have been a goosebump moment for sure and I would have had time to enjoy it before thinking of the negative points I’ve outlined here.

Will his entrance be as exciting now?
Will his entrance be as exciting now?

By the time it was all over, it would have been too late to think of alternatives, I would have enjoyed the surprise and enjoyed the show that Kurt is certainly bound to put on. I still will to be fair.

But, because of the announcement, the WWE have made about the situation, his return is now marred and the secret is out. It really is a shame and though it may not have made them as much money, and the viewership may have been slightly lower, I think the audience would have appreciated the surprise a lot more.

That being said, I certainly look forward to seeing Kurt Angle at TLC this Sunday! 


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