A list of rivalries for Your Olympic Hero? Oh, it's true. It's damn true.
WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle is one of those once-in-a-lifetime athletes that not only had a legendary amateur career (including when he won a Gold Medal with a broken freaking neck), but also a professional one as well, having tremendous runs in both WWE and TNA before retiring in 2019.
For this list, we're focusing on storyline rivalries Angle had with wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike, not speculating on what may have happened backstage..
In counting down the Top 50 Kurt Angle Rivalries, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories looked at the following criteria:
How prominent was the rivarly?
What type of stage(s) did it play out on?
How memorable were the matches and/or segments?
How much did the rivalry do to advance either person's career?
If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.
Ready? Here we go!
The first interaction between Kurt Angle and WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair took place in 2005, when Angle was drafted to Raw from SmackDown. The two icons had a "Woooo" off and then competed later that night. Years later in TNA, Angle and Flair had a tense in-ring confrontation.
In January 2000, Kurt Angle was still undefeated and on the fast track to stardom. He agreed to face a mystery opponent at the Royal Rumble, which was was Tazz, fresh off of a world-beating run in ECW. Tazz defeated Angle, successfully ending his winning streak.
Kurt Angle and WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi had a handful of memorable matches together in their WWF run. This included on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown, and in the finals of the 2000 King of the Ring tournament, which Angle won to become the new King.
Kurt Angle often made life tough for WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley when he was WWF Commissioner. Years later, they faced off in TNA, when Foley was the league's executive shareholder. This included a World Title match at Victory Road 2009 where Foley tapped out.
When MVP, Kenny King and Bobby Lashley formed The Beat Down Clan to gain control of TNA, Kurt Angle became Director of Wrestling Operations to keep the group in check. By early 2015, Angle returned to in-ring competition and battled MVP in a street fight, which Angle won.
While Kurt Angle and Eric Bischoff were fairly tight in WWE, the goodwill didn't extend to Bischoff's son Garrett in TNA. When Garrett and Wes Brisco joined the Aces & Eights faction, they did so by attacking Angle.
Kurt Angle had a rivalry with his ex-wife? It's true. It's damn true. When Karen Angle accompanied her husband to ringside in 2007, they often bickered. After she left him for Jeff Jarrett in real life in 2011, it became a storyline where Karen Jarrett was aiding The Chosen One.
When Kurt Angle had his head shaved by Edge in 2002, WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan was one of many poking fun at the Olympic gold medalist, even yanking his newly-affixed hairpiece off. The two met at King of the Ring that year in a non-tournament match, which Angle won.
Kurt Angle was there when Bobby Lashley signed a contract with TNA in 2009, announcing him as a member of Angle's Main Event Mafia. The alliance didn't last long and Lashley was soon challenging Angle instead. Lashley also defeated him in Angle's final TNA match.
Jay Lethal's career was made after a match with Kurt Angle. The Olympic gold medalist walked into the No Surrender event will all three major TNA Championships, and defended the X Division Championship against Lethal, who won and proved he was a viable competitor.
James Storm first drew the ire of Kurt Angle in 2011 when he defeated the Olympic gold medalist for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Angle later attacked Storm and the two begin a feud that included matches at Final Resolution and Genesis. In 2014, Storm and Angle reignited their issues again.
Daniels & Kazarian
Kurt Angle was almost accidentally pulled into a feud with Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian (a/k/a SCU) when the two heels targeted AJ Styles in 2012. This led to Angle teaming with Styles and feuding with Daniels and Kazarian over the TNA World Tag Team Titles.
In 2007, Abyss became number one contender to the TNA World Champion Kurt Angle. Angle immediately attacked Abyss, but that didn't stop The Monster from gaining victories over him in a tag team match on Impact. Later, Angle defeated Abyss at No Surrender, due to outside interference.
TThe rivalry between Kurt Angle and Bully Ray (a/k/a WWE Hall of Famer Bubba Ray Dudley) dates back to 2000 in the WWF. They had several clashes in TNA, including a four-way match at Against All Odds and a 2012 Bound For Glory series match.
In 2011, Bobby Roode won the Bound For Glory series to gain a title shot at Kurt Angle. While he didn't defeat the champion, Roode and Angle weren't done with each other by a longshot. The two men traded victories at Genesis in 2013 and Final Resolution in 2014.
Kurt Angle and Randy Orton clashed several times in the late-2000's. At WrestleMania XXII, they were both part of a triple threat World Title match with Rey Mysterio. But Angle also broke Orton's ankle on SmackDown, and the two fought at the second ECW One Night Stand.
During Angle's time as General Manager of Raw in 2018, he was sent "on vacation" by Stephanie McMahon and replaced by Baron Corbin. The two had several confrontations upon his return, including a final match at WrestleMania XXXV, in which Angle lost.
In 2000, Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon were part of a love triangle, though McMahon eventually sided with her husband Triple H. More than 15 years later, McMahon and Triple H took on Angle and Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania XXXIV.
Kurt Angle vs. WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels was billed as a dream match when the two met at WrestleMania XXI. Fans were shocked when Angle forced Mr. WrestleMania to tap out. Michaels won their rematch at the Vengeance PPV.
Kurt Angle and AJ Styles were intertwined during their TNA runs. While Styles was once part of Angle's Angle Alliance faction, he separated from the group and began feuding with Angle. They feuded again when Angle thought Styles was aligned with Aces & Eights.
While Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit were in a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania XVI, their rivalry extended to five-star matches at WrestleMania X-7 and the Royal Rumble in 2003. They even teamed on SmackDown, where the two were constantly bickering while holding tag team gold.
When Kurt Angle joined TNA in 2006, his first assignment was to referee a match between WWE Hall of Famer Sting and Jeff Jarrett. After teaming on and off, Angle and The Icon opposed each other in matches at Bound For Glory, Sacrifice and even in an Empty Arena Match.
Kurt Angle first ran afoul of The Undertaker when he was a WWF rookie in 2000, with the two of them battling on several PPVs when Angle destroyed The Dead Man's motorcycle. Several years later, they resumed the feud with an excellent yet controversial World Title match at No Way Out 2006.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Kurt Angle and WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin were often at odds while under the thumb of Vince McMahon in early 2001. Eventually, Austin turned on the WWF and joined The Alliance, prompting a feud with Angle. Then two weeks after 9/11, a patriotic Angle pinned Austin to win the WWF Title.
For the better part of 2000, WWE Hall of Famer Triple H and Kurt Angle were at odds, caught in a love triangle with HHH's wife Stephanie McMahon. The two battled at SummerSlam and No Mercy that year. Decades later, they picked things up with another power struggle that included a Mixed Tag Team Match at WrestleMania XXXIV involving Ronda Rousey and Stephanie McMahon.
In July 2013, Magnus (a/k/a Nick Aldis) became a member of The Main Event Mafia along with Kurt Angle. By November of that year, Magnus was opposing Angle, including in the semifinal round of TNA World Title tournament. Shortly thereafter, Magnus became World Champion and turned heel in the process.
In 2003, a rookie Matt Morgan opposed Kurt Angle in WWE when they were on opposite sides of Survivor Series teams. Years later in TNA, Angle hired Morgan for The Main Event Mafia and then ended up in a rivalrly that culminated in a match at Bound For Glory in 2009.
Kurt Angle and Kane have done battle numerous times. Their most famous confrontation was of course at WrestleMania X-8, which Angle won by pinfall. They also met for Angle's United States Championship and Kane's Hardcore Title over the years.
One of the final rivalries Kurt Angle had in TNA was with Rockstar Spud (a/k/a Drake Maverick). In June 2015, Spud cashed in his X Division Title for a shot at Angle's TNA World Title. Although Spud tapped out to Angle, it was a competitive bout.
In the early 2000s, Kurt Angle criticized WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry for his Sexual Chocolate persona and liberal lifestyle. Later in their respective WWE careers, both men dropped the comdy act. Angle met Henry at the Judgment Day PPV in 2006.
When Desmond Wolfe (a/k/a Nigel McGuinness) joined TNA in 2009, he immediately made a name for himself by attacking Kurt Angle. This led to a series of matches, such as a two-out-of-three falls match at the Final Resolution pay-per-view.
In the summer of 2005, Kurt Angle held a series of open invitational matches in WWE. Eugene won one such challenge, and somehow ended up procuring Angle's famed gold medal. This led to a match at SummerSlam 2005 between the two, where Angle reclaimed the medal.
Did you know that Vince McMahon and Kurt Angle once had a match for Angle's WWF World Title on Raw? It was a ruse, with both men turned on Commissioner Mick Foley,but years later, McMahon fired Angle as GM of SmackDown leading up to WrestleMania XX.
The Big Show
In 2003, Kurt Angle put a tranquilizer dart in The Big Show's back and while unconscious, shaved his head. This led to a prolonged feud between the two that lasted several months. Big Show also introduced his "Showster" persona against Angle.
The bad blood between Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy started in 2001, when Angle made Hardy tap in a King of the Ring qualifying match on Raw. Years later in TNA, Angle screwed Hardy out of a TNA title match because of hatred and jealousy. The two battled in a cage match at Lockdown 2012, with Hardy winning.
Austin Aries helped build his legacy in TNA by competing against the likes of Kurt Angle. In mid-2015, Aries opted to cash in his Feast or Fired briefcase in exchange for a shot at Angle's TNA World Title. The two had their match at the Destination X special (not on PPV), in which Angle ultimately defeated Aries.
When Brother Devon (a/k/a WWE Hall of Famer D-Von Dudley) was revealed as the first unmasked member of Aces & Eights, he was targeted by Kurt Angle. This led to a match at the Turning Point PPV in 2012, which Angle won. They also had several tag team matches.
Ethan Carter III
Ethan Carter III (a/k/a EC3) was on the upswing in TNA in 2014 when he decided to target Kurt Angle. The rivalry included Carter injuring Angle's MCL, which forced him to miss the Lockdown PPV. Carter also defeated Angle to win his first TNA World Heavyweight Title on an episode of Impact Wrestling.
Kurt Angle's rivalry with WWE Hall of Famer Booker T began in 2001, when they traded the WCW Championship back and forth. Four years later, they feuded on SmackDown, with Angle saying that he wanted to have "animal sex" with Booker's wife Sharmell.
For much of 2010, Mr. Anderson and Kurt Angle were embroiled in a bitter rivalry that began when Anderson eliminated Angle in the 8 Card Stud tournament. Later, Anderson stole Angle's military dog tags, leading to matches at Destination X and Lockdown that year.
Kurt Angle provided Rey Mysterio with his first feud in WWE, mocking his size. The two had a classic match at SummerSlam 2002, followed by a tag team feud on SmackDown and a World Title match at WrestleMania 22. The two wrestled one more time at 2016's URFight PPV.
The rivalry between Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle began when Shane purchased WCW and Angle opposed the new organization. This led to an absolutely brutal match at King of the Ring 2001, in which both men were bloodied, injured and Shane was tossed through glass.
In the early 2000's, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle were constantly at odds. They battled in singles and tag team matches; they even battled over the WWE and WCW Championships. They also competed at WrestleMania XVI as part of a Triple Threat Match.
Kurt Angle and The Rock clashed several times on The Rock's show SmackDown, but it was in 2001 they had their biggest match. Rock challenged Angle for the WWF Championship at No Way Out and left the ring with the gold belt.
John Cena's first WWE match was against Kurt Angle. They came together a few years later when Cena was WWE Champion and Angle was a persistent challenger, being egged on by Raw GM Eric Bischoff.
Kurt Angle had one of the most compelling rivalries in the history of SmackDown with WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero. They began as tag team foes during the SmackDown Six era and then feuded over Guerrero's World Title that resulted in a classic match in the semi-main event of WrestleMania XX.
When Kurt Angle joined WWF, he was associated with Edge & Christian, so it was a surprise to see the WWE Hall of Famer challenging Angle when Edge first became a singles star in 2002. They faced off at Backlash and Judgment Day, including a Hair vs Hair Match.
Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe were natural rivals in TNA. Angle ended Joe's 18-month undefeated streak at Slammiversary in 2005, but they continued to feud with matches at the Turning Point and Final Resolution pay-per-views. And in 2008, Joe won his first TNA World Title from Angle.
Part of Kurt Angle's rivalry with his ex-wife Karen most certainly revolved around WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett, in a real-life feud that carried over into the ring in TNA. Over a period of eight months, the two battled in several pay-per-view matches, including ones where custody of Kurt's children and Angle's gold medal were on the line!
The initial rivalry between amateur standouts Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar led to the main event of WrestleMania XIX for the WWE Championship, which Lesnar won. Angle made Lesnar tap out in their rematch at SummerSlam. They would meet again in a 60-minute Iron Man match on SmackDown, with Lesnar barely winning five falls to four. They even battled in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2007, which saw Angle defeat The Beast Incarnate, again by submission. An incredible rivalry.